We Are Anonymous...

I’m Seeing Spots, but I’m Looking for Substance.

Damien Hirst was recently written up in Newsweek for his new work; very large groups of paintings with polka dots. It was written that one of these paintings reportedly sold for $2.5 million dollars. Hirst is the artist known for his, arguably, more intriguing work of animals incased in glass enclosures filled with formaldehyde. While I’m sure the concepts behind his polka dot paintings are equally well thought out, their visual simplicity begs the question; is Hirst yet another in a long line of modern artists tweaking the noses of the naive-well-healed-art-buying public? Is this the artist saying, “Hey, you’re willing to pay a fortune for the preserved corpses of animals you can buy by the pound, for thousands less, in a grocery store. What will you pay for paintings of polka dots executed by my assistants”? Apparently the answer to that question is, again, $2.5 million dollars. There’s a certain irony here, no double entendre intended. Hirst got into some trouble for comments he made to the Guardian in 2002, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/sep/11/arts.september11, regarding “911” being a work of art. While a provocative notion, I believe I understand his intent. Due in part to artwork like his own polka dot paintings, I would submit that there is often greater artistic merit found in actions where there’s no artistic intention. For example, the graphic nature and startling content, of Anonymous’ videos (1) with their V For Vendetta masks and dire warning to the 1% are far more forceful then many visual objects labeled art. A more traditional example would be the humble snapshot’s (2) unintentional, yet seminal, impact on the photographic aesthetic. It stands in stark contrast to the more pretentious-overcrowded world of fine art photography. As a result of financial pressures, and too many institutionally trained “artists”, we see a lot of work that looks like art but lacks emotional content, aesthetics, or technical expertise. It appears that in this world of postmodernism gone awry, the “objective criteria” of good art is often determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.
http://stephengoldingwork.com/Blog_files/category-art-on-the-edge.html (Still from an Anonymous video)
http://stephengoldingwork.com/Blog_files/Snapshots.html (Blog entry on the snapshot aesthetic)