Tag Archives: Warhol

Kerfuffle Art & Money

“Art is what you can get away with”
Andy Warhol

most-expensive-art-money-artist-blog-01Picasso painting selling for 179 MILLION $$$$$$
 
Giacometti “Pointing Man”sculpture. 140 million!
 
What’s next? A Jeff Koons blowup dog on the block for a billion??? Oh wait they already did that.
“Art Market  Shady” so the headlines read. You Thinkkkk?
Money laundering , tax hideouts, all spell shady, and the astronomical money being paid for artworks today is intriguing if not downright suspicious. Because….One might ask?
 
munch-the-scream-auction-artist-blog-09Why are these phantom buyers spending like it’s going out of style for random paintings? And they are spending like there is no tomorrow!  Oh yes, hype tells us they are spectacular, beautiful, unique priceless, genius, but what does our gut tell us? It screams that these prices are a joke!
“All art is quite useless” said the infamous Oscar Wilde. Damn right.
It IS a luxury. It has become a crazy investment for the uber rich seeking ways to hide their ever flowing dirty money.
 
Makes me think of Lady GaGa’ s song “Dirty Money”.
 
warhol-dollar-sign-artist-blog-01“Beautiful, dirty dirty rich rich dirty dirty beautiful dirty rich”
She describes it as “a red light pornographic dance fight systematic, honey but we got no money”
 
She illumines the dichotomy of the gluttonous buying for self gratification theme,  with no real satisfaction because it’ s not really genuine. Hence —- Dirty Money.
 

KERFUFFLE…

 
Anyone with even minuscule brain cells, understands that these artworks are not worth this kind of bread. Not on any level of sanity,  and the painters of these works,  are laughing hysterically either in or out of their proverbial graves.
Such a joke on the public!  Yes, an  investment I guess, and  yes,  an activity for the wealthy to indulge their excess. Entertainment. But ! Do they love the painting, or expensive-art-money-artist-blog-02do they love the thrill of the game, the ego blast of ownership, the love of dabbling in the arts, because truth be told,  “those that can’t do teach” only substitute teach with BUY. Those That Can’t Do Buy! A kerfuffle indeed.
That word. It’s a real word folks, not made up. Webster says that kerfuffle is “a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views“. The Urban Dictionary says that kerfuffle is “a social imbroglio or brouhaha.” It can also be confusion, chaos, disagreement. Or a little bit of each. You decide.
 
warhol-and-friends-artist-blog-08This is how I see it . Because artists paint, sculpt, do their thing out of love, passion, or some natural genetic attraction, whatever their calling or motivation they just DO IT. Few are raking in big bucks, and  yet they pursue. Picasso met dealers repeatedly, often making them beg him for a price on a painting  they already had a buyer for. He was on a mission and it wasn’t to gratify greedy art dealers or satisfy a customers need to pretty up her dining room with a floral still life. On the other hand, Warhol was the ultimate consumer junkie. He loved the dollar and was not ashamed to profit whenever he could. He craved the wealthy socialites attention, the celebrity sycophants, flaunting  their abundant bank accounts, ready to spend on the hot new fad which of course was Andy Warhol in the sixties. Didn’t a recent painting  of his recently go for mega millions????? He sold a painting of a soup can and made people love it. Was it really about the can, the soup, the painting, or the Warhol persona?
 
merton-quote-artist-blog-05Impressions are everything!!!!!!  EVERYTHING!!!!!!. If something is perceived to be cool,  then chances are it IS cool, and then  everyone wants it. Warhol was freezing. He made Cool look Warm. There are no midpoints also known as average in the world of impressions. It is either Cool bordering on cold, ultimately freezing, OR hot, heading towards burning ! burn it up, or melt it down!! Warhol took it to sub zero and he  took the people with him. They say thatafter he died, when discovered, his townhouse revealed a five floor hoarding zone,  full of his Manhattan flea market pillargies, his Madison Avenue scavenger hunts, and a massive collection of pure junk. But who cared? The point is that he is Warhol,  and he made his impression in the concrete of NYC much like a handprint blazoned into wet cement leaving that permanent imprint for  eternity . And YES his painting of “Elvis” at Christies auction sold for 69.6 Million my friends!
 
steven-pressfield-war-of-art-artist-blog-11Jargon is always floating around to artist types about “just do it, don’t resist, follow your dream, passion is the thing”, I could go on and on , but you get the idea. Steve Pressfield, the artists guru of persistence vs. resistance, vows that the “enemy of creativity is resistance”, and then he lists his top ten Greatest Hits of the true artists play book, and they all are in direct and aggressive opposition to today’s Wild West of art commercialism and the rampant status symbol stepping stones to success! Pressfield makes a statement in his very COOL book, “The War of Art”, ” the artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling. If you don’t believe it, ask Van Gogh, who, produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer in his lifetime.” He goes on to say “to labor in the arts for any reason other than life is prostitution.” Yet……
 
money-hoarding-rich-wealthy-artist-blog-07TODAY,  how does one live on such a dreamy fantastique philosophy, when the  cost of living is f’ing obscene?  Dylan could hang in greenwich Village on 20$ a week playing for pennies in the GV coffeehouses like the legendary GasLight on Macdougal Street, Basquiet could roam the barren alleys of SoHo, do graffiti, and be discovered in the clubs on the Bowery, and Blondie and Patti Smith could sing at CBGB for broke, and be discovered as superstars, while Jackson Pollack was networking in his drunken rages at the Cedar Tavern with the other New York School painters slumming it in Greenwich Village back when that was possible!
 
love-vs-money-artist-blog-06But hey, NYC isn’t what it used to be Dorothy! That’s over, and anyone trying to survive being an artist, today in the NYC State of Mind, will wake up real quick, when the rose colored glasses come off and reality sets in. The days of the Belle  Epoch, the Greenwich Village sixties, the Punk Bowery days eighties, the dirty,  freaky seventies, are long gone. Replaced by technology, social greed, excess of materialism, and the computer. It’s called progress baby! Deal with it!
 
So. I say as an artist that you are kind of in a unique position because you really don’t have a choice. Morphing into a greedy socialistic tool will screw you for good, and  yet starving in a box under the Williamsburg Bridge won’t exactly blow your socks off either!

KERFUFFLE.

Society beckons. The artist works alone. Kerfuffle.
Money is key to survival. Or is following your passion the REAL key? Kerfuffle.

giacometti-artist-blog-10

Giacometti

None of the French impressionists were living like kings on mega millions while alive and yet it didn’t stop them. For them making their the art was their key to  survival not the money. Today in our commercial gluttonous driven society,  our vision is skewed , altered by tacky disposable items,  and quick efficient easy solutions, looking good surpasses feeling good and if you are not making money and a lot of it then what’s the point? This is an entirely polar opposite life style and mentality then what once was. Back in the day when geniuses were giving us their gifts of awe!
 
So for the kerfuffle led artist, he has to decide. Will he or she stay true to his primal identity, or will he sell out and be sold, gratifying himself with the money he gains at the price of the soul he had to sell? In Pressfield’s book, he describes a HACK this way:

“When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t’ ask himself what’s in his own heart. He asks what’ s the market looking for. It can pay off being a hack. Given the depraved state of American culture, a slick dude can make millions being a hack. But even if you succeed , you lose, because you’ve sold out your Muse, and your Muse is You, the best part of yourself.”

Kerfuffle.
Yes. And Yes. And Yes again.

“So What?” from the Pope of Pop

andy-warhol-diaries-pop-art-blog-nycIn “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol”, Warhol, discusses in a chapter entitled, Time, his “So What” theory.

It’ s pretty radical in it’s simplicity, and it’s an awesome freeing message!

Andy says ” sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, “So What?”

“My mother didn’t love me.” So what?

“My husband won’t ball me.” So what?

“I’m a success, but I’m still alone.” So what?

He goes on to say that he has no idea how he survived before he learned that trick, but that once he got it he never forgot.

WORD. To. The. Wise.

Andy-Warhol-quote-pop-art-blog-nycSo fast forward to Today Speak, we can translate Andy’s “so what?” Into “whatever”. Right? Nothing is THAT important, that serious! Isn’t it all kind of blown up from that deflated balloon reality where it all begins? Light hearted, whimsical, fun, POP!  The lofty, uber pretentious days can be historically interesting but in real time also a colossal drag!!!

His book, a masterpiece of ingenious witticisms, logic, and unique observations, is a real X-Ray into Andy Warhol’s Head. A head full of confetti. Like one of those old school bubble gum machines with prizes mixed in with multi colored gum balls. Put the penny in and you don’t know what you will get. But you will get something you didn’t have before. And that’s what Warhol’s book gives us – new ideas, a new way of looking at everyday things. It’s all about the NEW, because face it people don’t really dig the old. Not really. They may pretend they do, but actually— Noooooo.

We want it hip, hot, fresh, right off the grill, spicy, the day after Today!

Warhol-marilyn-monroe-pop-art-nyc-blogAnd his art was like that. The pop concept, everyday things become artworks. A soup can, a shoe, a dollar sign, a cereal box, Marilyn Monroe, anything really that caught his eye. And his method of reproducing his art using silkscreen, so there was no possibility of ever running out of a painting with a one time sale. He was guaranteeing the infinite, removing limits, his eternal dollar signs multiplying with every copy the silk screen spun out.  His photographic technique for his portraits of the jet setters he worshipped and who followed him around like the pied piper of NYC, were all inherent components in achieving his  popularity and fame. He turned the boring stuff of life into something exciting and new. But only through art, and his cutting edge, off the grid lifestyle, that attracted everyone from the down and out in Beverly Hills types to the hoity toity silver spooners of Park Avenue. They all wanted to join Andy’s fraternity of pop! Membership guaranteed your POPularity , the ticket to Oz, the trip from dullsville to Crazytown, where everyone wanted to live in the psychedelic sixties!

warhol-factory-nyc-pop-art-nycBut only the Cool could enter. And that could be anyone from his drugged out blue blood friend Edie, to his Factory drag star UltraViolet, to his best bud Samo aka Basquiet, Ingrid Superstar, and of course his telephone mate Bridgette, his alter ego earpiece from “The Andy Warhol Diaries”, his prime requirement is that they are funny and they entertain him. “Funny people are the only people I ever get really interested in, because as soon as somebody isn’t funny, they bore me.”

Who can overlooked the fact that he refers to his tape recorder as his “wife?” I could read so much into that but I am sure you could too, so I will just leave it alone for now.

andy-warhol-soup-cans-art-gallery-nycAnd boy, his pop art certainly fulfilled that need to be entertained, in it’s color, it’s whimsy, it’s humor, it’s cultural relevance, it’s 60’s iconography, they all integrate to promote his psychology, his pov, his kooky perspective, and he didn’t give a shit whether or not you dug him or not. Actually in his “philosophy”, he makes it clear that he goes for the opposite of the current reality. On purpose.  His take on money is beyond the pale because it is sooo radical, he loves money, clearly his shopping excursions on Madison Avenue attest to that, but he also dismisses it and has a voyeuristic attitude toward the rich and famous people he associates with who warhol-factory-party-pop-art-blogclamour around his factory parties looking for the newest kick to amp up their boringly money infested lives. He sells his art with this kind of ambiguous talking point, sealing the deal, because hey it was the sixties, and if it was hip and new , and involved drugs, sex, and rock and roll, it was a hit! Andy managed to do all of this and then some.   Capote got axed when he spilled the dirt on his so called friends in that hated tell all ” Answered Prayers”, taking him into a spiral of doom, as his friends banished him from their social circles, after he betrayed their trusts, in an embarrassing expose. But Andy does it differently because he philosophized from his own point of view about the generalities of people and situations without really getting specific, but you got the message! No harm. No foul. He managed to slide by, while Capote fell off and got stepped on.

andy-warhol-quote-pop-art-blog-brooklynThat’s art! Get the message or don’t get the message! I look at Matisse’s “Woman with a Hat”, and see stuff, that you don’t. Great! So What? Why can’t everything be like a big SO WHAT? Why are we soooo concerned by minutia, the idiotic crap that energy is expended on daily, that’s of no real importance or substance, just time filling misdemeanors?

In the Philosophy of… Everything is simplified according to Andy’s world. He turned his interests into art and business. A joint affair. He loved gossip! LOVED. Hence “Interview Magazine.” Loved celebrities, hence the pop portraits. He loved commercial style, and fashion, from his clerking days in Bergdorfs, and his store window dressing making a living 9-5 days at Bonwit’s,  hence his chosen icons and the neon colors he used coming  straight out of the sixties, and the  psychedelic moroelight show acid trip world he lived in at the time !

philosophy-of-andy-warhol-art-blog-brooklynI can read the “Philosophy of Andy Warhol”, and still get new crumbs from the golden nuggets of pop isms, after the fifth reading, because it’s just one of THOSE books, but for me it’s also a genuine artist book written by the Master of Pop Art, an art legend that the hipsters of today have only read about in art class or perhaps viewed his Gold Marilyn at the MOMA, or strolled by that funky silver statue in front of his old office building in Union Square in NYC.

His breakdown of philosophy into the major life areas: is genius. He is right on. Like what else really matters?

Love. Work. Beauty. Fame. Time. Death. Economics. Atmosphere. Success. Art. Titles. The Tingle. Underwear Power. That’s it!

The beginning. The middle. The end.

You want to paint? Paint. Want to write? Go for it . Act? Yes. Sing? Ok!

Think about cool stuff? Like Philosophy?

“In the 60’s everybody got interested in everybody.

In the 70’s everybody started dropping everybody.

The 60’s were clutter.

The 70’s are very empty.”

What about Today? in 2014, Millennium  years, what have we become? What would Andy call us ? How would he define us in  a chapter in his book, published in 1975? What kind of art would he be making today?

He wouldn’t.

15-minutes-of-fame-andy-warhol-nyc-pop-art-blogIt was a time, HIS time, HIS generation, and HIS mark in history, a pop culture icon, the most famous celebrity pop artist on the planet! He once said , “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”. It’s a universally known easily identifiable Warhol quote. Reality Shows of today prove his prophecy, as well as people’s personal Youtube videos, sex tapes, and the various computer resources available for publicity hounds seeking attention. Everybody seeks that fame Andy talks about , even if it’s fast and furious, the 15 minute in and out.

In his own case, however he didn’t need any of our super tech assets to stake his claim to fame. And it is a lot longer than 15 minutes! It’s Forever!

Translate »