The Society of the Spectacle …

A really interesting article written by Sara Malm for the dailymail:

“A famous American culture critic has announced he is quitting the world of art as he claims it has become obsessed with celebrities and money.

Dave Hickey attacks the contemporary arts scene saying anyone who has ‘read a Batman comic’ can make a career for themselves in art.

The professor and author condemns the ‘tourist mentality’ of the industry, complaining it has led to well-known artists being overestimated.

The 71-year-old arts and culture critic said it has become ‘calcified, self-reverential and a hostage to rich collectors who have no respect for what they are doing’.

‘Art editors and critics – people like me – have become a courtier class,’ he told The Observer.

‘All we do is wander around the palace and advise very rich people. It’s not worth my time.’

‘If I go to London, everyone wants to talk about Damien Hirst. I’m just not interested in him. Never have been.’

Mr Hickey said the emergence of arts consultants has led to collectors buying what they have been told is great art, instead of forming their own opinion.

‘It used to be that if you stood in front of a painting you didn’t understand, you’d have some obligation to guess. Now you don’t.’

‘If you stood in front of a Bridget Riley you have to look at it and it would start to do interesting things. Now you wouldn’t look at it. You ask a consultant.’

His harsh words comes after several contemporary art curators called the works of modern ‘celebrity artists’, such as Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn, glorified.

One said their acclaim is a result of ‘too much fame, too much success and too little critical sifting,’ the Observer reported.

One anonymous curator called Emin’s work ‘empty’, telling BBC arts editor Will Gompertz the high price tag led to curators defending Ms Emin’s work.

This comes just over a week after Damien Hirst’s Verity – a 67ft bronze statue of a half-flayed pregnant woman – was erected in Ilfracombe, Devon despite hundreds of letters of complaint.

‘Money and celebrity has cast a shadow over the art world which is prohibiting ideas and debate from coming to the fore,’ Mr Gompertz said.

Mr Hickey’s ‘resignation’ was the result of the world of art becoming too bureaucratic, he told GalleristNY.

‘What can I tell you? It’s nasty and it’s stupid. I’m an intellectual and I don’t care if I’m not invited to the party. I quit.’

Will Gompertz added that the focus on big names had led to difficulties in debating and critiquing art.

‘At the moment it feels like the Paris salon of the 19th century, where bureaucrats and conservatives combined to stifle the field of work.’ ”







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