Thought Sketch #0003 - Jeff Koons, and How Capitalism Cannibalises The Artist
Thought Sketches are the long-form microblogging notes I would traditionally post to Facebook, Tumblr, etc. These thoughts are documented here as brief snippets of thought and contemplation, a public journal of my observations and insights, as I’m not really one for blogging or writing the way I’m “supposed” to.
NOTE #1 - Jeff Koons: A Portrait Of Mediocrity For Money Laundering
jeff koons' career is proof that the art establishment's primary purpose in this world is money laundering and the maintenance of capitalism.
setting aside historical provenance and significance of pieces (which, to wit: is also the product of supremacisms dictating who and who isn't worthy of being considered as part of the dominant or official narratives presented to, say, schoolchildren), the main function of these astronomically high prices on artworks is to provide a means of transferring cash that is less scrutinized by financial regulators and the law.
why else would anyone buy a horrifically mediocre white man's failed play-doh project for $22 million fucking dollars?
NOTE #2 - Capitalism and the Consumption of Artists
I've been getting back to making art lately and thinking a lot about how it fits into my body of work and my goals for myself in creating work.
I've also been considering how capitalists and capitalism - through the eager and complicit pretentiousness of "the art world" and the desire to be an "insider" - preys on the genuine passions of artists. These absurdly wealthy, greed-driven hoarders, exploit the desperate psychological need (exacerbated and agitated by our current economic and political supremacisms) to be immortal and remembered to facilitate the death of the planet now. Is this type of exclusivity, cultivated validation, and temporary immortality really what we're allowing to shape our ideas of who and what is creatively and culturally significant in the visual arts?
What does it mean to be a culturally relevant artist? Is that something worthwhile to aspire to? What is the purpose of art in a postcapitalist future, when we are talking about cultural landscapes completely foreign to our current realities? These artworks with astronomical valuations are being vaulted away - defeating their core function as works of communicating thought, stored as pawns of keeping the resources of their owners from being equitably redistributed to society by transmuting it and exploiting the immorality of borders to avoid financial obligation. Artists willfully and eagerly submit their work to this grotesque display because creation is as deeply personal as it is political: we create because we want to be heard and to gather community to us, and they are told that’s what they’re doing when they aspire to deeper and deeper complicity with capitalist greed.
The conclusion I came to is that critical acceptance is irrelevant. It may establish provenance through prestigious ownership, or build the social capital of your pricing, but it means nothing as to whether or not your work is historically or culturally significant and sustaining. It tells us nothing about who you speak for and to within society. Art is about being heard and witnessed effectively, and all the art establishment does is suffocate the creative spark out of you so they can pack your muse's dead, cold corpse with money and make you into fertilizers for the flower gardens in the aftermath of their self-inflicted, post-apocalyptic dystopia.
Resist the siren song. Create because you must.
Not so you can be a pawn of your own exploitation and demise.
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