In the most staggering for NYT manner SOUREN MELIKIAN in his February 24, 2011 article
- questioning the validity of the entire term "contemporary art"
- calling contemporary art "contemporary rejectionism"
- establishing the lack of financial security in the art based on negation
- calling into question the financial sanity of its hyper-inflated price tags
- stating the necessity to define the style of the artist and the shared aesthetics within the group of artists
- and, oh, havens, openly sarcastic of an untouchable Koons!!!!!!
isn'it what NOVOREALISM is all about!
“The feverish debate goes on about contemporary art, causing considerable angst among its many new fans. How safe a haven is it for those in search of tangible assets for their liquidities?” he opens up with a really big, couple of billion bucks worth question.
He questions the reasons for volatility in price swings: “One reason is that it is often impossible to define the style of the artist”
Then he offers a refreshingly open, sarcastic view on Koons noting on his "work" that “neither was made by the artist using his hands” upon which point duly proceeds to laughing at a resell of household and hardware store items on the “art” auctions.
Yet the most staggering and consequential part is this:
“The day has yet to arrive when someone comes up with a clear definition of just what contemporary art is/emphasis is mine, AS/… Works by long dead artists are sold under the “contemporary art” banner…At Sotheby’s in November, 36 of 55 lots were credited to defunct artists, and at Christie’s 52 out of 76. Arshile Gorky died in 1948, Mark Rothko in 1970, Andy Warhol in 1987, Roy Lichtenstein and Willem de Kooning in 1997, to mention but a few among the most famous and expensive.”
This is one of the central points of concern I have been raising on this pages and in my public talks - the gross inappropriateness of using outside of its proper commonly shared meaning of a clearly defined in the dictionary word to market a very narrow, arbitrarily picked items of vested interest while implying that everything else is not "contemporary." The word "contemporary" does not have any qualitative meaning attached to it and can only be used to describe anything or anyone present concurrently in our time. Any artist working and alive today is a "contemporary artist" while long dead Andy Warhol is most certainly not.
Then while observing that “the absence of shared aesthetics is glaring” within what is sold under “contemporary art” brand Souren addresses its main unifying quality:
“..But while the works dubbed contemporary are as disparate in visual terms as they vary in their material execution, they can be said to reflect the same cultural reality: one way or another, they proceed from a violent reaction against the century-old tradition of Western art as it developed until World War I”
From this he concludes that “the only binding characteristic is they all “form of rejectionism.”
Then he goes to the root of Marcel Duchamp factor “The French intellectual, contemptuous of the establishment, wanted to bury the ancient culture of Europe.”
And he calls him a grand father of “artistic nihilism that much of the contemporary art promoted on the auction scene represents.”
Than Souren makes an important analysis:
“If there is one thing that cannot be guaranteed to be financially rock solid, this is an art based on negation.” Now that’s really BIG – Wall Street dirty handed hedge-funders, Russian social climbing oligarchs and Chinese Nouveau riche better pay good attention.
From that sound financial advice Souren proceeds to giving the best definition to what is now pushed on us as contemporary art – it is“contemporary rejectionism” bravo NYT!!!!!
It’s a really great term all the way around that really shall be adopted by the institutions as it finally defines what it is that they so fervently, adamantly and narrowly represent!
The closing of the article is really worth pondering for many in every corner of our great and diverse truly contemporary ART world - the ART world of our days:
“The day one of the pundits discovers that the king has no clothes on, all the glib talk of marketing teams telling investors how savvy they are will not prevent tens of millions of dollars from melting like butter in the sun.”
Thanks NYT! Finally!!!!!!! Thanks Souren!