When I confront a work of art of an old master (or not so old) I am sometimes smitten by the soul of the work. It speaks to me; it moves me. It tells me a story that I can unfold myself. When I look at a work of Damien Hirst I only see the outside. There is no inner emotion. It is perfect, but cold, even dead. It might be that Hirst wants to make a statement by copying what already exists and enlarge it as a comment on the consumer society.Am I an artist when I comment on whatever subject? Am I an artist, when I can up with a concept, which solely consists of an idea? I do not think so.
Art or products?
Therefore it is reasonable to discuss the question whether of not the ‘products’ of Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons can be labelled as art. It is extreme design, for sure. It is original, certainly, but it is just exterior. It is impersonal; it is a clever way of marketing. Good for Damien and Jeff. You have to be clever and cheeky to achieve what they have done. I can only respect the way they put the limelight on themselves. They are businessmen in the world of art and doing a great job promoting themselves. Real artists can learn from their methods, but if their work reflects no true mission of what is supposed to be an artistic message, it will be inanimate.
What I don’t understand is that museum-directors and curators fall into this commercial trap. Don’t get me wrong: I wish that more artists would have the capacity to market themselves the way Hirst and Koons do. I even think that art-academies should include this commercial aspect in their educational program. An artist is also an entrepreneur and there is nothing wrong with becoming famous and making heaps of money with artistic expressions. I wish that every artist would be able to make a living from their work, even better when they become rich with their aspirations. But if this is the leading endeavour in creating art, it can be regarded as a wrong aim.
The popularity of Hirst and Koons
It prove that the art-world wanders in misty fields. Conceptual art is one of the examples of this fact. It seems that since Picasso and Van Gogh the art-world has no new horizon, so everything that is weird, unusual and strange can be tagged as art. As long as curators embrace this development and force it upon the art-lover, the world of art is heading in the direction of failure. Hirst is Hollywood. It is fun and amusing, and the marketing is brilliant, but if the intrinsic value of their oeuvre fails to create a thrill, it remains a circus-act, funny, but fake.
24. August 2017
First of all, I am not trying to offend you in any way. I am giving you my honest opinion. I think this is the typical response from curators that understand, connect, and enjoy, classical art or art of the 'masters" ( art already evaluated and accepted as art by the majority of people). However, they do not understand, and do not connect with contemporary art, or for argument sake of any art that they do not understand.
It is easier to reject what you do not understand than it is to give it the benefit of the doubt and perhaps instead of rejecting it bring the arguments that curators from MOMA and other organizations that showcase it consider it as art.
I am pretty sure that Museums such as the MOMA, Guggenheim Museum , etc... do have a genuine connection and understanding of these two artist's work otherwise they would not show them, spend their money, and energy in them.
I appreciate the time you took to write this article.
Here is a documentary on Koons.
16. July 2017
Thank you for your comment and your reflections.
We always discuss comments in the team and are interested in what lives in artists nowadays.
Does the fact that marketing and market making play such a great role in the artworld nowadays have a big influence on how emerging artists work you think?
15. July 2017
I totally agree with what you write and it is something I am thinking myself for a longer time. But seemingly art is an expression of our time and seemingly ther eis a lot of superficial shine in the world and there is a race the crazier, the uglier the more non-sense the better. The important curators are part of the gme - I also know curatoros that disapprove this kind of game.But they are not the ones having the saying. It is a world of total marketing and not of quality- you have the same in every area. I heard that in art universites they teach you much mor marketing than art.
The discussion what art is, is endless.I just think people should ecide for themselves what feels right and good for them instead of constantly listening to so called experts who often change their mind and have a shallow understanding of the world in my opinion. But it is ok. I do not caree anymore about this - I do what feels good and right to me and I think I will atract the right people who appreciates my art anyway.
Vest regards and greetings to the Netherlands