Clippings from the salon floor, #10

diamond skull Bling and nothingness? Damien Hirst, quoted re his  £50 million diamond-encrusted skull in the Financial Times article What else can you spend your money on?: “The idea is very blingy but it turns out to be something much more. The way it looks is amazing. You almost believe that it is a victory over death.”

Immortality for a mere  £50 million? Hirst again, in the same article, re the art market’s allure to his peers among the superwealthy: “If you want to own things, art is a pretty good bet. Buy art, build a museum, put your name on it, let people in for free. That’s as close as you can get to immortality.”

“See it Venice, buy it in Basel Venice” From The Art Newspaper’s Venice Biennale proposes becoming a selling show again: “The Venice Biennale used to sell art openly—from 1942 to 1968. The Italian dealer Ettore Gian Ferrari had the official job of placing works for any willing artist, earning 15 percent for the Biennale and 2 percent for himself. ….When the president of the Biennale, Davide Croff, realised that Cornice [Fair] had the support of all the public authorities…and of a number of prominent art world figures… he considered whether the Biennale should start selling again from 2009.”

Signor Croff, non c’e piu bisogno di vendere l’arte, metti all’asta le camere d’albergo! From ARTINFO.com’s Phillips de Pury auction report: “Before the auction began, Simon de Pury announced that one member of the Guggenheim Foundation’s International Directors Council would not be able to make it to Venice and had asked that he take bids on her room at the Hotel Cipriani, with proceeds from the unofficial sale going to the museum. A flurry of bids brought the accommodations up to $45,000.”

The return of Milli Vanilli Maverick artist Anthony Burdin, describing a Frieze Art Fair showcase-turned-fiasco, from his Los Angeles Times profile: “The music kept cutting off while I was doing a song, and I would suddenly be singing with no music. So I would just scream ‘Milli Vanilli!’ to try and save myself.… I ended up just holding the disc player so it wouldn’t move, and I tried to do as many songs as I could that way. It was just like watching a cripple up there. It was a really big chance to do an amazing show in England, and it became one of the most pathetic disasters ever in my career.”

Artists and the Money Culture, part III: Weighing in on the topic that launched one of Artworld Salon’s longest comments threads ever, David Marcus in his Brooklyn Rail article Prelude to a ‘Criticism’ of the Future, :If art were not influenced by, or able to comment on, the ruling themes of our epoch (“money, lust, and market hype”), it would cease to hold even the marginal, second stage relevance it currently possesses vis-à-vis culture as a whole. Ignoring these themes is only another “position” i.e. in relation to them. A better question might be: Why is Kanye West more compelling than most Deitch Projects exhibits?

The gallery as velvet-rope nightclub: From the Guardian Online’s The art of waiting: “There has been a rise in art installations and exhibitions where gallery-goers have to queue to see the work. Eager audiences line up and linger to get a glimpse of an art work at the end… Why are we waiting? Is this delay tactic a way of forcing us to spend more time with the art work rather than the average number of seconds?

Glasnost no more From the NY Times item Russia Scuttles Export Of Art Images of Putin: “Russian Customs has barred the export of six works of art — including two that mock President Vladimir P. Putin … The Städtische Galerie in Dresden said a letter from the shipping company ExpART explained that the ban had been issued because the art was considered to have the potential to cause international discord.”

Vanity Fair‘s Venice From the cultural preview page in June’s Vanity Fair: “Tim Burton, Brian Eno and Rob Storr are among the hundreds of musicians, artists and thespians applauding on array of piazza productions, midnight screenings, and exhibitions at the Venice Biennale.”

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