Friday, September 21, 2012

Good money for bad art

This is getting better and better!

A really shabby and botched restoration of a minor work in a small church in Zaragoza, Spain, by an unknown artist (?)/ restorer (?), Cecilia Gimenez, was hailed by many as a real contribution to contemporary art, although it is only fair to add that many others laughed at it. I believe that a description of it as "an intelligent reflection of the political and social conditions of our times" is not far off the mark (lots of laughs here).

After attracting so much attention, it has of course become a celebrity - and celebrity status ultimately leads in only one direction -- money, lots of it.

And according to today's Guardian, this is exactly what is happening.

Now, after the church started to rake in the cash by charging the multitudes who came to view this bizarre restoration, which makes Jesus look like a hairy monkey, the restorer herself wants a cut of the cake. After all, at 4 euros per admission, this is not an insignificant sum. Hilarious.

See, I told you, if a curator of contemporary art had been wise and bought the work outright (when it would have presumably been sold for a song), all this money would now be flowing in a different direction.


Margaret Bowker said...

After reading your two blogs on this, Professor, I'm feeling a little insecure. So people can really see value in this form of expression? I once was distracted from a very good lecture on the immortal Jane by a work of modern art on the back wall, evidently composed of random dots. It seemed incomprehensible even after two hours. Does this type of art need special application? Or - getting back to your blog,can I just enjoy your wit and not worry about it.

S.Z. said...

Oh, I think that you should enjoy the wit and not worry about it - but only up to a point. I think that this is the result of years of giving what is essentially without much merit prominent places in leading galleries, and pretending that it somehow addresses major issue of our time and of intellect. The man who defaced the Rothko painting at the Tate last week claimed that it has increased its value. He is almost certainly right about that, but of course it does not (in my view) increase its value as art but art in the service of commerce. Some papers have made much of the fact that Marcel Duchamp similarly defaced Leonardo's Mona Lisa. But Duchamp did not in fact deface the actual painting itself but only a reproduction of it. He was, I think, merely making fun of the art establishment. Unfortunately, and without realising, he created a precedented that is being unthinkingly exploited.