Sunday, September 27, 2009

More on Art Without Art…and something new about Money Without Art.

I have found out more about the non-event at the Venice Biennale (see my post of September 12), the poster for which is now selling at 1000 Euros. Apparently, even though it never took place, people spoke about it with wonder and said how much they had enjoyed it.

Well, at least they had done so in their mind. Why not?

As well, a correspondent sent me a link to another non-event, from which there remain some photos. Maybe they also cost a fortune now.

rt is of course inextricably linked to money. And art, or at least good art, is difficult to produce. Art is really the realization of a brain concept. But, as I have argued in my book, Splendors and Miseries of the Brain, artists more often than not find it difficult to translate the rich concepts in their brains, derived from many experiences, into a single work of art or even a series of works. This leads to dis-satisfaction, and in the fiction of Balzac (The Unknown Masterpiece) and Zola (The Masterpiece), even to suicide (there are also examples of suicide from real life).

One solution to this depressing state is not to produce a work of art at all, but only to think about it.

So, I would like now to extend the “art without an artist” of Marcel Duchamp and what I have called “art without art” of Richard Prince and Pasquale Laccese and introduce what I believe to be a new concept, though of course steeped in examples taken from the past.

I call it Money without Art.

Given that people are prepared to pay astronomical sums for works of art by great artists, or fashionable ones, and given the difficulty of producing works of art, I have this suggestion.

Just let the artist sign an empty canvas or a frame, with the inscription: “I had such and such a concept in mind” for this work.

The artist then need not bother with producing the work, and therefore need not be worried about being dis-satisfied. All he or she needs to do is to sell it to a collector. The collector will have the guarantee that the artist thought about the work, even if momentarily, and therefore be satisfied. His acquisition should increase in value with time. Viewers can conjure up all sorts of scenarios for what the artist could have produced.

Of course, the artist must be an eminent one, or at least considered to be eminent. No one would want to pay a penny for an empty canvas by me. But it would be quite another if the empty canvas were signed by a great artist.

I would be surprised if an empty canvas by Picasso or Matisse signed and inscribed with the words “I wanted to paint such and such on this canvas, but did not do so” would not fetch thousands. Just as I would be surprised if the empty page not illustrating the last Canto of the Paradiso, from Boticelli’s series of illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy, did not fetch thousands if it were ever to come on the market.

The application of this concept of Money without Art (or Monsart, for MONey Sans ART) would also be an addition to contemporary art which, I am told, questions more profoundly the relationship of the viewer to the work of art and to the concept in the artist’s mind.

After all, with an empty canvas, the possibilities are limitless, and so perhaps is the cash.


PsyArch said...

Two similar examples:

1 Seen at the London Art Book Fair. A chap with an electronic payment machine. The buyer could choose the price of, and receive a receipt for a book. The "book" is in fact the receipt.

2 "The Centre of Attention"
An artistic duo, Pierre & Gary, who paid to be included in the list of artists at a group show. Their contribution to the exhibition being their presence on the list (and that alone).

Anonymous said...

Hasn't this been done already? It's called conceptual art, I think.