On Francesco Vezzoli's Mirror To The Art World

It's a relief to know that some folks in Venice did know they were being targetted by Francesco Vezzoli's Biennale-stopping Caligula trailer--and are fans of his work because of it. Our Other Man In Venice was like, "but that's the whole point--it's an institutional critique from within the system. Vezzoli is a hustler, and he sees how the system works and is exposing it. And still, he's best friends with Miuccia."

And after reading about Donatella's costumes for the Caligula in W, and how Vezzoli describes the work as "mirroring the superficiality of the film industry," in Vanity Fair, I'm confident that Vezzoli knows what he's up to. He'd have to be on top of things to be able to shoot the trailer in March, and still able to plant these fashion magazine stories in time for the piece's Venice debut. To paraphrase Choire Sicha, Francesco's a master in the medium of publicity machinery.

I'm totally cool with a smart artist exploring--and even taking advantage of and critiquing--systematic vapidity. But it still bugs when the art world looks into the mirror that artist holds up and doesn't recognize itself.

Related: Marc Spiegler's look at the Biennale-hype Industrial Complex in Slate; actor Glenn Shadix's report from the set of Caligula ['deliciously over-the-top and outrageous and the food was excellent,'], plus photos and VF scans; 'the best part of the film is the trailer'? on Jen Shiman's 30-second Bunny Theater.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: June 26, 2005.

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