In my post last week about SF, I made a little art historical reference that may have been missed by some. One thing that is incredibly annoying about the artworld is it’s pretentious intellectual currency. There is an air the permeates these circles making it hard for commoners such as myself to break-in. I always have a hard time wrapping my head around it. Now that I officially do marketing and sales for a living I can’t help but wonder from a business and industry standpoint - don’t we want the masses to buy more art? Don’t we want people to become collectors so more artists can subsidize their lives and world becomes filled with more creative energy?!
I spent yesterday ironing out marketing strategies. Business is one of my passions which is why I find the popularization of art so intriguing.
I love its irony, its culture and most of all the art; even when urinals and polka dots sell for millions.
Wait? Urinals sell for millions?! They do and they did. When I was in my early 20’s
(always the youngest person in the room…) I went to the opening of the famed Damien Hirst’s spot paintings before moving to Pittsburgh. They were a series of fairly simple polka dotted paintings. I remember barely being acknowledged by the staff and thinking to myself, “There has to be a more approachable way for people to access art.” Queue my first company and eventually this blog.
Large paintings of Polka dots covered the gallery walls. The irony is he only painted a few of the paintings in this series. The rest were done by apprentices. Art critics were in a fury!
On the other hand the Gagosian Gallery was having scavenger hunt for its wealthiest patrons. If I remember correctly, the Gagosian gave free signed prints (prints not paintings) to collectors who managed to attend openings in all 10 of the galleries. Their galleries span across Europe, China and America! Here’s an article written in 2012 summarizing the cultural slap in the face.
Talk about having a strong marketing strategy. Through engaging their top clients in an exclusive VIP experience, the Gagosian created the ultimate environment to cultivate client loyalty.
As for my urinal reference: Marcel Duchamp was one of the first artists to poke fun at the hypocrisy of the art world. Whether he intended to or not is up for debate. Between 1913-1915 in a series called, “Readymades,” Duchamp took ordinary objects- a urinal, re-positioned them with his signature and called it art.
Like the spot paintings it had art critics questioned what constitutes as art? Is art an object or an idea behind the object? If it’s the concept behind the object then does it matter if the artists never painted it themselves?
Duchamp certainly didn’t cast a porcelain urinal himself. After losing the original (probably because they were common household items.. Are we sure he checked the garage?!) he commissioned reproductions of the 13 readymades and they are displayed in museums all across the world. Love it or hate it, it happened. I find it fascinating.
What do you think? What kind of art gets you going?