Jerry, Jerry Jerry:
Once upon a time in the nineties, art that wanted to be complicit with the system, that tried to lure collectors as it criticized the artist-dealer-buyer complex, had an edgy Trojan-horse coerciveness. A lot of people got rich creating a gigantic industry of artists, dealers, and curators who’d do almost anything for the limelight. By now, Colen’s high/low art–paintings made of cheesy materials; kicked-over tricked-out motorcycles; those skateboard ramps–is not only lazy thinking. It is old-fashioned art about old-fashioned ideas about commodity-art-about-art that no one cares about anymore. At this point, continuing to follow in the footsteps of Warhol, Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons appears derivative, completely mechanical, and possibly corrupt. Colen fetishizes a moment that no longer exists, and behaves like nothing’s changed. People seem scared to say a lot of this art is bad; it’s as if they fear being uninvited, cast out from the circle of social light.
Actually, the 90s was when Deitch went bankrupt trying to fabricate Koons’s balloon dogs and got bought by Sotheby’s. When Prince couldn’t sell a joke painting for a dollar. And when Murakami and I would stand around speaking Japanese at Marianne’s nearly empty openings in SoHo. [Actually, that was 1999.]
The period you’re describing was in 2007: “To his credit, Murakami’s eagerness to outmarket everyone makes artists like Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons seem decorous by comparison.”
And 2008: “Money has made more art possible, but it has not make art better. It made some artists — notably Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, and maybe Piotr Uklanski — shallower.”
And 2009: “Most of Pinault’s art is about the market, and is made by market darlings: Richard Prince, Mike Kelley, Rudolf Stingel, Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans, Takashi Murakami.”