Monday, November 28, 2016

Don't Fool Yourself...

Unlike Steve Martin, writer Russell Smith is not a fan of Lawren Harris's work. He says the paintings would "look great on posters advertising breath-freshening gum." (The 180 )

Canadians don't want to be Americans. Oh no, we'd rather continue to smugly claim how much we're unlike 'them'. Simultaneously I suspect we don't really appear to actively want or know how to proactively be Canadians either, having little confidence in our own culture. I say this in light of the most recent sale of the Lawren Harris painting that was on the auction block, selling for 9 million bucks, which left me feeling ill.

The commentary by Russell Smith from the Globe and Mail, did a great job summing up my feelings about the whole art market bloat, having nothing to do with art or artists, but everything to do with investment, those with big bucks, deep pockets and celebrity status. It all leaves most contemporary artists, especially those struggling, with an increasingly, really bad, disgustingly bitter taste in their mouths.

Sadly, and not surprisingly, we live in a Canadian kind of anti-culture, where art, creativity and artists are not recognized or valued, unless of course you happen to be a famous American celebrity, with very deep pockets, who can give us the illusory superficial thumbs up, that Canadian culture has historically bought into. Any one other than a poor sop of a Canadian, can give real credence and viability to our dead or alive Canadian artists, suddenly making us feel okay and good enough. Hell, we might even get excited about art! Celebrity and deep pocketed individuals, who can dole out nine million for that Lawren Harris painting, tells us, they like us, they really like us!

Thanks Russell Smith for saying what needs to be said, seemingly over and over again. The art world has completely morphed into the art market.

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