Artist & creation: should we separate creators from their art?
The question of whether or not we should view art separately from the artist (and our perception of them) is as old as time. Perhaps now more than ever we are faced with this question on a monthly, if not weekly basis. Cancel culture has become ingrained in society and controversies surrounding celebrities grow exponentially. However, not many people know that many artists whom we admire for their contributions to art history used to have quite controversial views too. Back then, people were also questioning whether or not we should separate the artists from their creations, history is now the judge of how things turned out for them. I will be looking at a couple of examples that I found striking.
Printmaking: from 1400 until now
The immense power of print as artistic media can be traced back more than 5 centuries. Print is, perhaps, one of the most democratic art mediums to exist in art history which has made it one of the most popular and accessible forms of artistic expression. There are many techniques that have been developed over the year to execute prints, although, nowadays, with the existence of printers, it is easy to mistake an act of printing something out with the artistic process of making a print. Today, I’d like to delve into the history of printmaking and highlight some of my personal favourite contemporary printmakers.
Beeple & NFTs: what is going on in the art market?
In the week of the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, history was made again. This time, in the art market with a new ground-breaking auction record. On 11th of March 2021, the first ever auction sale of an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) took place at Christie’s auction house. The work in question Everydays: The First 5000 Days is by an artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple in the digital art world. The work is a collage of 5000 individual artworks which Beeple has been releasing daily since 2007 (he hadn’t missed a day since he set out to achieve the goal of 5000 works). The auction was open for two weeks on Christie’s website and the bids started at $100; however, they escalated to $15 million by the morning of the closing day, skyrocketing to $40 million in the last 15 minutes of the auction. After almost crashing Christie’s website, the work hammered at $60.25 million (adding the fees to that made the final price $69.3 million). This has made Beeple the third most expensive living artist sold at auction, following Jeff Koons ($91m) and David Hockney ($90m). So, why is this particular sale important for art history and what does it mean for the art market?
Picasso's modernity through 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon'
Thinking back to the dear days of high school (sixth form) art history and the number of times my friend and I would make fun of Picasso and the modernists fills me with joy. That was the most fun we have had in a class during our 4 years at that school. Perhaps, our, at times, dismissive attitude towards serious subjects in art which were expressed in a different stylistic manner is reflective of a wider audience's reaction to such representations now. Even back in the 20th century Paris, Picasso did not reveal the painting above, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, multiple years later after its completion, even though he was one of the pioneers of the avant-garde and was much appreciated for the work he was doing for the art world.
J.M.W. Turner - legend and innovator
In light of a new lockdown in London all museums have been, once again, closed. I have unfortunately been unable to visit the Turner exhibition before lockdown, so I will proceed with some general thoughts and insights into his art to make up for the missing out on the show.
Titian: Love, Desire, Death exhibition afterthoughts
All the reviews of Titian’s exhibition at London's National Gallery that I have come across have been surprisingly different. As an art historian, I can appreciate the complexity with which those reviewers are approaching and unpacking the subject of the exhibition. However, none of them really focused their attention on an aspect that stroke me as a major focal point - Titian's choice of subjects - which happen to show the duality of beauty and power. So, I shall. Here, there will not be any “shocking” factual breakdowns of why using sex workers as models was meant to mock the patron of those works (Philip II - prince and then king of Spain that is), neither there will be any speculations on the cultural integration of slavery due to the colonialist expansion of Spain. As interesting as those things are, I would like to look at the visual and symbolic imagery of the mythological narratives that Titian chose, which are surprisingly topical.
Look out for these 5 emerging artists
An increasing number of fine art graduates decide to pursue the career path of an artist in the hopes of reaching the level of success and international recognition of artists such as Banksy, Jeff Koons, Marina Abramović and Damien Hirst. However, the pool of talented emerging or semi-established artists is so vast that even an art-world expert would struggle to keep up with all the names of up and coming talents. After working in a commercial gallery for 10 months and being exposed to artists of all levels, I wanted to share some of the talent that could be the next Jeff Koons.