notes | news

paul w ruiz art notes

Auction House Alien (Part 2): Reclaiming A Cultural Encounter

lucian_freud_portrait

lucian_freud_portrait

In response to my mini post concerning  the auction house, reader Nick Johnston writes,

"Following the recent sales here in London of Picasso’s painting La Lecteur at c. £25m and now Bacon’s small triptych of Lucien Freud at c. £23m – both to vanish into private, anonymous collections I presume – it’s a salutary reminder that art can always be reduced by the global art trade to secure and lucrative personal investments. No doubt, in 10-20 years’ time, the same paintings will reappear in the major auction houses, and fetch even greater sums for their new owners. Can these works now ever hope to escape the celebrity status of becoming auction house blockbusters and be seen again as paintings, as ART – made not for money but for some kind of love – when the price tags threaten to eclipse them?"

This is partly a question of perspective. It could be argued their celebrity has considerably diminished their potential for being experienced as individual works of art  - where they are approached in purely commercial terms,  instead of as objects made by an individual, as works with their own historical context.

La Lecture c. 1932

La Lecture c. 1932

Cheyenne Westphal says Bacon's was "an artwork that radiates 'wall-power'". 

Whether a work has 'wall-power' or any cultural resonance is a curiosity that is best explored, not an opinion to be blindly accepted. What we do with our curiosity is key. Without the effort to seek out and experience the work first hand, the artists, and not just their works, remain far removed from any kind of artistic or cultural experience that can be called worthwhile. We are too easily saturated with the digital image, instead of transformed or provoked by the physical matter of a created work encountered in real space and time. In the face of cult celebrity, alienation and vulnerable art market, this is the one physical response we should be encouraging people to have.

 

 

"deepen the game"

When personal and financial sacrifices are being made in order to pursue a path with few certainties and even less security, it is worthwhile questioning your motives and objectives behind making work in the first place. I have no interest in painting as recreational activity..

Read More

Photography & the Sculpted Image | Interviewing Agatha A. Nitecka (Part 2)

"I wanted to capture something of the lost world, as they definitely won't know the world as we know it now. …I imagined myself sitting there by the projector" [READ on for Part 2 of the interview with Agatha A. Nitecka.]

Read More