I’d Rather Watch Artists Paint Cars

via C-Monster.net

via C-Monster.net

So people seem to have been pretty fascinated with the opening of GREED, A New Fragrance by Francesco Vezzoli, an exhibition at Gagosian’s gallery in Rome. This is the entire Roman Polanski-directed commercial, starring Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams, and it comes across to me as a very short idea that is dead on arrival. I haven’t seen the exhibition but I can’t imagine it offering much more in person, even with the decorative needlepoint portraits and whorehouse red curtains. Mainly it doesn’t give me much to think about–there’s really no suggestion let alone counter-suggestion. Maybe if he had called it CHARITY I’d find it more interesting.

As C-monster points out, the idea has already been done at least twice. Vezzoli has cast it as an homage to Duchamp’s 1921 Belle Haleine, Eau de Voilette, but he seems blissfully unaware of Daniel Bozhkov’s showing at the Istanbul Biennial four years ago. There seems to be a lot of that going on–with or without accusations of copyright infringement.

Consider Subodh Gupta, dubbed the Damien Hirst of Delhi, who preempted Hirst in 2006, creating Very Hungry God, a giant skull rendered in stainless steel pots and pans before Hirst opted for diamonds. Greed isn’t just ugly it’s derivative and boring. If that’s Vezzoli’s point, then maybe he has succeeded at something. But it’s not art. It’s more like something the William Morris Agency would have a hand in producing. Gagosian purportedly started out in their mailroom (if you knew him then, please contact me); maybe all this time he’s been capitalizing on the fact that the big talent agencies don’t sign visual artists.

The New York Times is more successful at getting me to ponder greed: might the manic art market of the last five years have been fueled by offshore proceeds? When the whole world seems to have been commodified to an ungodly and destructive degree, watching pretty little cinema things roll around on the floor in an attempt to commodify greed seems late and empty.

I’d rather watch artists paint cars.

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