Allegedly David Hockney recently took a dig at Damien Hirst when a poster for his upcoming show at the Royal Academy of Art read, “All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally.” The Royal Academy of Art has since clarified that the phrase appeared on Hockney’s gallery wall, not their poster, and Mr. Hockney was not attacking anyone specifically.
This got us thinking. It’s not uncommon for artists to have assistants or employ experienced craftsmen to help with the production of their work. Sometimes, that’s the only way to bring their ideas to life. Sometimes, that process is part of the art’s conceit. Sometimes, they just want the money without doing much of anything. Here’s a brief and wide survey of classical and contemporary artists who conceive, but don’t or didn’t always “make” their own work. This is not exactly “in defense” of Damien Hirst. It’s a bit that, but more of … “in contrast,” just some thoughts to levy the hype and hate currently swirling around the artist. Let’s get to it!
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We know that “everyone’s a critic” is just a saying, but, when it comes to public art, seriously, everyone is a critic. We can’t blame bored teenagers, confused moms, and everyone in-between for poking fun at the usually-gigantic installations imposed on cities who want to convert their everyday spaces into an open-air museum. As much as we love some good highbrow criticism of these sorts of pieces, we’re just as interested in the controversies these works create on the street. After the jump, check out nine hyped works of public art and the dirty nicknames, biting jokes, and larger scandals forever swirling around their legacies.
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“An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist, an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist, an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist…” reads Marina Abramović‘s artist manifesto. Cynical? Live with another performance artist in a van for a decade, and then decide.
Ah, artist couples. Their love is fraught with temperamental tension and lubricated by each others’ creative juices. How does it work? Let’s look at some famed artist romances that are still smearing their mark all over art history.
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Taschen and Phaidon. Two art publishing houses with two very distinct reputations. So don’t you think it’s high time for a face-off between the two? Good! Let’s begin with the Collector’s Edition wars.
Benedikt Taschen turned 50 this past February and his debaucherous party was written up in The New Yorker a few days ago. The cult lowbrow publisher never fails to shock and titillate, and his aim to create lasting, limited-edition books has made him a hero to many. On Taschen’s website, Benedikt writes that he “sensed early on that books could open doors to different worlds, and that a world full of artists and free-minded spirits was the world I wanted to be part of.”
The venerable Phaidon Press is now in its 88th year, and it launched by printing a large format Van Gogh monograph in 1936, which sold out within two days of publication. On its website, Nigel Spivey, a lecturer in classical art at Cambridge, writes that Phaidon is named after Plato’s middle-period dialogues on the immortality of the soul. “By means of beauty, beautiful things become beautiful,” Socrates says to Phaidon and company. Which is one way of putting it, we suppose.
The gloves are off, and the niceties have been done away with. Let’s brawl!
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