Hard Truths: Art World Advice Column on Handling Overinflated Egos | ARTnews.com

Art world ethicists Chen & Lampert advise on how to deal with egotistical artists and working beyond commercial art galleries.

— Read on www.artnews.com/art-in-america/features/hard-truths-art-world-advice-column-overinflated-ego-1202676814/

I have an artist friend who’s smart, witty, and overall very fun, despite being a total narcissist. To be honest, his work is pretty terrible, and, what’s worse, he continually talks about all his “masterpieces.” I am OK with art people being brash and egotistical if it’s an intentional attack on bourgeois taste, but my friend is clueless and overconfident. I write art criticism, and he’s always fishing for compliments. I avoid talking about his art, but feel like a hypocrite. How long can I sustain our friendship if I can’t tell him what I really think? Can I even be his friend?


YES! 100% you are being a huge hypocrite. Are you worried that your friendship hinges on your approval of his work? If so, I’d take another look at the basis of your friendship. I never expect my friends or family to like my work, if they do that’s awesome, if not, so what? That’s not why we are friends in the first place.

Furthermore, of course your friend has probably been, as you put it, “fishing for compliments.” Obviously he knows you do it professionally and most likely fully respects your opinion. It’s actually a compliment if you could get off your own high horse for a minute and see it. But it sounds like you’ve already placed this “friend” in a certain box and written him off as never achieving more.

So why should you bother to lend him your actual opinion? To get real, be honest, and offer some constructive criticism. Heaven forbid perhaps maybe your opinion might actually help him to improve his work! Because then, who knows? Maybe he may actually create something you actually like. But no, we can’t have that. Then he wins.

Instead you‘d rather hold your opinion hostage. An unspoken ransom is set as he blindly pleas for your acknowledgment. Obviously you don’t think he‘s worth the sincerity, honesty, or even time of day. You’d rather watch him naively make a fool of himself. And then of course by that logic, why would you even want to keep him as a friend?

Real friends are honest with each other. That’s the definition of friendship. Sounds more like frenemies to me.

If you see something, say something!

Take solace in knowing that you aren’t the only hypocrite at your friend’s opening. We all have close buddies who we support in life despite feeling deeply embarrassed by their art. Pained by their formal choices and easy gestures, the aesthetes among us are quick to denigrate their work as only worthy of hospital cafeterias and Panera Breads. One need not be a critical theorist to be made irate by your chum’s mental laziness and yucky art-dude vibe.    

Or wait, let me guess, you see his ego is so fragile and precious that he’ll fall to pieces of you say anything in a negative light about his work. His ego is a priceless bejeweledFabergé egg that you must handle with kid gloves.

Honestly, if you don’t tell your him your opinion, you’re only bringing this upon yourself. Either you tell him your opinion and say you do crush his spirit, my guess is he probably won’t ask you again. There problem solved again.

Or am I being irrational? Is it really that difficult these days to be honest and forthcoming? Am I so gullible as to believe that people actually mean what they say? I think I must be, or else the alternative is to only think that everyone is bold faced lying every time they open their mouth.

ROTHKO … Stability and my own misguided bitterness

A new art rating service will help collectors determine if the pricey works they are purchasing will disintegrate or last over time.
— Read on www.barrons.com/articles/how-stable-is-your-rothko-1412014364

The featured cover image is not a Rothko, so don’t anyone start commenting, “that’s not a Rothko,” or anything like that. It’s a piece I did a few years ago, one summer in my mother’s garage. I had recently started been revisiting his work and his life story.

Previously I had, at times, discounted his work and thought it something a child could do. The same a lot of people who know nothing about art might say. But the problem was that I did know a thing or two about art and what’s worse, it was while I was going to art school!

You see, I worked at a framing & print shop and we had a few prints of his more famous works. People would come in and have them framed for their office or suite, perhaps their dinning room or even patient waiting rooms (it was a well-to-do community with doctors and shrinks). Needless to say, I found myself reframing and mating the same Rothkos, day in and day out.

I began to become a bit bitter of his work. Often thinking, “I can do that, that’s easy,” never truly taking in the shear scale and painstaking number of hours to create each piece, or his elaborate process of mixing pigments, chemicals, animal glue, eggs and other elements to make his own paint. The exact recipes he kept secret, but much has been discovered about his process through groundbreaking technologies in art restoration.

But back to me. Reflecting on my cocky youthful attitudes with almost two decades between then and now, I have realized where I came to that conclusion. It was at the cross section of redundancy and ignorance. It’s a hard street corner to work, but I had found myself there blindly. Telling the passers by which sights to see in a town I knew nothing about.

I had forgotten to take into account the experience of being in front of a Rothko, under its spell, absorbing the spiritual experience they can guide you on. When you take photos of trips or parties or any other sight you’ve seen, it’s to capture that moment and recount it years to come. That photograph acts as a trigger. The second it’s pulled, BANG, in your mind you’re there, you remember the sounds, like air, the people, the place, the things, you remember what you were feeling, maybe what was happening in your life at that time, that day, that year. This is the same reason why we’re obsessed with photographs and Instagram and sharing them with the world.

When people were getting those petite replicas framed, it wasn’t because they thought they had a Rothko, but it was the recount the experience in just a small way. Not to mention, it’s not like everyone can afford a Rothko. They go for what, $50 million a pop now?

Well, I’ve deviated completely from the subject at this point, but that’s okay. I’ve become experimental with some of my paint mixtures, but no animals were harmed in the process.

I believe I still have a drafted blog post from a while back about the defacing of a Rothko at the Tate Museum and the efforts they employed to save it. I’ll try to look into REVIVING that one as a follow up. You think?




Cecily Brown: Remixer of the Renaissance | Artspace

Brown is primarily known for vigorous, large-scale oils that blur the boundaries between figuration and abstraction, or, perhaps more accurately, render figures in abstract terms; her snaking, libertine incrassations make steaming hash of the Renaissance, unmooring pathos and narrative from their stodgy compositional prerequisites. Her dynamic canvases transform paint into flesh, using viscera as the groundwork for commentary on desire in all its shimmering, fractious ambiguity.

Drawing on the ethos of predecessors like de Kooning, Brown subverts painterly conventions of the female nude by invoking the grotesque, the repugnant, and the ineffable. Still, there’s no shortage of generosity and humor in Brown’s work, and her signature harshness never gives way to cruelty, preferring instead to articulate the shared existential mire of human embodiment. Bodies, not just gorgeous or sinful ones, are faulty, and gross, and so often needless; Brown does not shy away from our frailties, but rather constellates them, and her edgeless testaments to want and its discontents pulsed far too loud to avoid notice.

— Read on http://www.artspace.com/magazine/art_101/meet_the_artist/a-101-guide-to-the-work-of-cecily-brown-remixer-of-the-renaissance-56314

This Artist Smashes Stereotypes by Giving Male Superheroes a Sexy, Pinup-Style Makeover

If you know me, you know this sort of thing is right up my alley. Having a pin-up tattoo on my arm of a sexy sailor would be the dead give away, though I don’t often go out of doors in muscle Ts or Tank tops these days… anyway, enjoy.

In David Talaski-Brown’s mind, Thor doesn’t wear a red cape and full-body armor — he rocks a pink polka-dotted robe, green Hulk slippers, and, well,
— Read on www.popsugar.com/love/Sexy-Male-Superhero-Artwork-46296962/amp

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