Saturday, September 12, 2009

Art without art

Marcel Duchamp played one of the biggest jokes on the art world, when he used the ready mades to propagate his doctrine of art without an artist, the signed urinal which he exhibited (and which today no doubt costs a fortune) being one of the best known examples. It of course raised a whole set of questions about art, which are still being debated.

Now a gallerist friend of mine in Milan, Pasquale Leccese of Le Case d’arte, and the artist Richard Prince have gone a step further. They prepared a poster advertising an exhibition in the Panama Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. But there was no exhibition; it never took place.

The result?

Well, the poster, which sold for 10 Euros then, is now selling for 1000 Euros. It has become a collector’s item.

What a hoot!

But there is of course a serious side to this one, too.

After all, Sandro Botticelli, who illustrated all of the Cantos of Dante’s Divine Comedy, left some un-illustrated. Especially notable is that the Canto in which Dante speaks of how the highest fantasy fails him and the last one, in which he simply abandons his will and desire to the love that moves the sun and the other stars are left un-illustrated by Botticelli, thus leaving it to the imagination of the viewer or the reader to create their own (mental) images.

I imagine that the pages left blank by Botticelli are worth millions today.

No comments: