Bangkok, Thailand. 14 January 2024 (2567!)
Well then, off to a decent enough start innit? Hands up, those in agreement?
In the House (condo) of Frost (et al) it’s mostly been a busy year, the first two weeks of it. And now here we are staring at Week Three and just figuring it’s gonna somehow come together. Well, probably.
Weird shit: I listened to two art-world insiders speculate on who would be the first blue-chip artists to full-on embrace “AI” (in whatever form) and they didn’t even mention Urs Fischer, who I think is the obvious choice.
Kawita Vatanajyankur is not blue-chip yet so she doesn’t count, but mark my words, Dear Reader, she’s going to be remembered as one of the main people bridging the gap between the AI nerdiverse and the Big-Time Art World. Most of what you see from her is the video/performance art pieces that are about humanizing various forms of mechanical labor – with a nice dash of BDSM if you have an eye for it – but a lot of her new stuff is about AI.
Anyway, these dudes were betting on Jeff Effin’ Koons. Really?
Urs Fischer did friggin’ NFTs, people!
(Pretty cynical ones in my opinion, but having listened to an inteview with the Ursmeister himself, I’m not going to double down on it… he’s more thoughtful than he wants you to give him credit for. Which is maybe a Swiss thing?)
Hands up, those…
Do I still have your attention? Are you still here? Is here a real place?
If two AIs do a
Voight-Kampff Turing test on each other, and one wins,
does anybody hear (about) it?
Is Alex Katz a good painter? I mean, he executes as well as anyone, but are the paintings good? I can never make up my mind. David Salle says yes, emphatically, but I’m not sure I buy the reasoning. The NYT is convinced, and I’m sure he deserves the recent attention, he’s been on the scene forever and he’s a thoughtful painter, but… I dunno, something about the work itself. Maybe it’s just too New York for me?
Oh, and speaking of artists, several of them are there in my latest, quietly published latest issue of Several Artists. I should flog this more, but I should also write it more – as with the art itself, I feel like the doing is the most important thing right now, and I can worry about the audience later. Which is probably a terrible idea.
So on a more positive note, let’s consider for a moment the genius of Joseph Mallord William Turner. Now that was a painter! What talent, what precision skill honed in endless hours of practice, and still what creativity, what vision! He even had a movie made about him! (I jest, but actually it’s a very good movie, if you have the patience for it.)
How is a picture like this even possible? It’s not what he saw exactly, but it’s the essence of it, it’s what we need to see in order to see what he saw, if we have the capacity to see it. That’s Norham Castle up there, a real place.
I’m glad Mr Katz has found fame and fortune and critical acclaim, and I’m happy he’s still alive to enjoy these celebrations of his work. Must be a great feeling, to walk through the Guggenheim and it’s just all you, all over the place, after so many years of making and showing and selling the work.
But just like me, and probably just like you, he’s no JMW Turner. And this is a thing that makes me wonder about our ever-expanding universe of art in my time on the planet: are we getting better, or are we just getting more?
Art Thought of the Day: if you have an idea for a painting, before you do the painting ask yourself why does this need to be a painting? As opposed to any other thing it could be – a silkscreen, a video, a song, whatever. If you don’t have a good answer, don’t make it a painting.
The world is turning faster…