Tuesday, October 23, 2007

so capitalist it's Marxist

Jonathan Jones on Frieze

The Frieze Art Fair is the best advert for capitalism I've ever seen. Compared with almost anything you'll see at a public venue it is closer to the pulse of new art, richer and wilder and less predictable. The exhilaration lies in really being able to feel you are plugging directly into something vast and energetic and apparently unstoppable - an art machine always shuffling its selection to reveal one more new idea; but you can hardly miss the fact that you are also plugging directly into the electricity of money.

By the time art reaches the Turner Prize or any other public event it has already been analysed, criticised, institutionalised: at Frieze you can get it raw. It's like going down to the fish market and buying a live lobster. Visit the stand of Edinburgh gallery doggerfisher (Stand G19) and you can see - or even buy - blanked out photographs by Nathan Coley , shortlisted for this year's Turner Prize - get him while he's fresh. Move on to the Stephen Friedman Gallery (Stand D4) and there is a horrific work that no museum is going to be showing for a while: an object by Thomas Hirschhorn that incorporates "trophy photographs" of human bodies not just killed but pulped. Don't, by the way, on any account let a child see this.

Hirschhorn is the best advert of all for the marketplace. The piece he shows at Frieze is revolting and shocking but it is just a souvenir of this year's most important exhibition at a London commercial gallery, ...

1 comment:

T. C. Bunstead said...

Hello PP

I came across the Jonathon Jones 'so capitalist its marxist' and was waiting for people to comment on the guardian blog, but no one really did. So I thought I'd say hey to someone else who picked up on it.

The thing is, art isn't disconnected from its culture either in the way the phrase suggests it should be, or in the way you talk about Frieze - an advert for art. Its an art fair. For people to buy art. Part of a culture that is 'relentlessly commercialised' (Charles Baxter), and at times throwing up some interesting things about that culture - from within its capitalist tropes.

Not really starting a fight, just can't see what the fuss is about!