january 30, 2004







I’m feeling cynical today. In the daily rags,amongst other things, a content free article in the P.I. reviewing a survey show titled “Seattle Perspective“, which attempts to define a Northwest style. This story competes with a puppet show in the Theater/Fine Arts section.

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I did get my hands on a great article that appeared in last week’s (1.23.04) Wall Street Journal titled “Art Appreciation”. Analyzing what really drives auction prices was both informative:
A reliable tip-off of an artist about to take off: when an auction house takes a work on an international tour.
and out right entertaining: Still any amount of hype can’t stop sea of change in tastes, which in the art market can happen in the span of a season or two. Few  artists were hotter during the 80’s than Julian Schnabel, a burly  innovator of ” big paintings” and Ross Bleckner, a fixture on the art  scene whose vertical stripe paintings sizzled. (Both were big enough  names to make the Encyclopedia Britannica). But as crockery  started popping off Mr. Schnabel’s cracked plate paintings and Mr.  Bleckner kept turning out fairly similiar-looking works, both artists  fizzled at auction….Vincent Fremont, Mr.Schnabel’s agent, both dismissed the declining auction prices, noting that prices remain strong privately. “Everyone loves to pick on Julian,” Mr. Freemont   says. [yeah, well did he ever listen to Schnabel’s music CD “Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud?‘]

The best part of the article was the accompanying grid breaking down the facts into bite size pieces. Listing “50 prominent artists” and their corresponding style as the parameters, anyone sick of academic art writing will appreciate the bare bones analyzation, case in point:
Damien Hirst- Pickling cattle; medical art
Mark Rothko- Floating bars of color
Edgar Degas – Ballerina fetish
Andy Warhol- Marilyn, soup
Jean Dubuffet- Blobs and squiggles
Pierre Bonnard- Poor man’s Monet (hey!)
Grandma Moses- Teaching herself to paint
Tom Wesselmann- Nudes with tan lines

You get the point, see for your self.