From Mark Manson’s subtle art of not giving AF * ck to eating Jake Paul’s Cheerios off a pair of Jordans, a common complaint among 2020 snobs is that the cultural works that catch the most eyeballs have run out of substance.
From Kim Kardashian’s gleaming bottom to the travel bloggers with millions of followers and frantic “presets” that add nothing to society except teaching their followers how to get millions of followers and frantic “presets”, it sometimes feels like if we were caught in a huge environment, vapid pyramid scheme.
Enter: Banksy. The graffiti grandpa is one of the few well-known artists (although he didn’t die 400 years ago). It’s enigmatic, macabre, and provocative.
Banksy has been active since the 1990s. His thought-provoking stencils have earned him worldwide fame.
Banksy recently reappeared on the newsfeed when news of his artwork, “Show Me The Monet”, went under the hammer at Sotheby’s London at their evening contemporary art auction on October 21st.
In a piece of wild irony, the anti-capitalist painting is expected to fetch between $ 3.9 million and $ 6.5 million. But that’s a topic for another time (discussed in more detail here).
Today’s topic is how Banksy, who is believed to be 46 years old, got such high heights in the first place. In a world where few non-art lovers know any other creator than the long-dead (think: Monet, Picasso, Van Gough), how did Banksy break into the public eye with such a rift?
After discussing the irony of his “Show Me The Monet” sale with one of Australia’s leading art dealers, Michael Reid (OAM), DMARGE was asked: Is Banksy the base slut, the top 40 hit, the rosé on a blanket ? the modern art world?
Before we get into that, read what Mr. Reid said about selling Show Me The Monet.
“In order for Jerry Maguire-esk’s ‘Show me the Monet’ artwork to work, Banksy has to sell for a large wedge of money,” Reid told DMARGE exclusively.
“Selling the artwork for a good amount of money is central to Banksy’s multiple inversions of popular culture that kick high culture up the ass.”
“Picasso said, ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal,’ and Banksy certainly said thieves with a pirate smile. In ‘Show me the Monet’ 2005, Banksy Art-Jack’s Monet’s masterpiece, The Water Lily Pond 1899. ”
“Banksy writes the artist’s name; the title of the work of art; Taking a leap into the artist’s values in the art market, he visually populates Monet’s calm, green, lightly speckled beauty with modern trash from the mall. In terms of art history, Banksy’s artwork is a compelling multi-vehicle auto accident with limbs scattered across the freeway. “
Even so, Mr. Reid told DMARGE that Banksy is not looked down upon in the art world: “Far from it; The world of contemporary art has experienced an implosion of high and low culture in the last ten years and has thoroughly accepted and implemented this change. Now every major art museum exhibition in the work ‘Exits Through The Gift Shop’. “
“Yes, Banksy would be among the top 40 contemporary artists in the world, especially when it comes to art sales at auctions. The top 40 would be populated by living contemporary artists like Gerhard Richter, Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons, Ai Weiwei, David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hurst, etc., ”added Reid.
“Playing the system is an ancient game in any market. Remember, Vincent van Gough’s brother Theo was a major art dealer. Without Theo, Vincent would have died as nobody. Vincent, despite all his talent, had an insider run from a brother who was at the top of his game who promoted him. “
Mr. Reid told DMARGE that many people only know the names of centuries-old artists because modern art institutions primarily target a middle-aged population – “those who spend money to come along and continue to spend money there”.
“From the art museums, the boys really only see the greatest hits of their parents’ childhood.”
“If the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney puts on another Andy Warhol exhibition, I’ll be fucking screaming. As interesting and important as Andy was, he died in 1987 or 33 years ago. That was a generation and a half ago. Andy is a modern artist. He’s not a contemporary artist, but you’d never know as the institutions pump out much of the program based on middle-aged demographics. “
When asked if the top artists of 2020 will be as famous as Monet and Picasso in 200 years (or if Instagram hits will be successful), Reid said, “More than a handful of the artists from NOW will focus on visual the future will pass generations. When historians and the public look back on us, they will do so through the eyes of people who have told their own story, and when that single visual voice is added to a chorus of visual voices, the future will understand. “
“Even as a document of who we were, some artists and their practices will survive in the future – original or not. Perhaps the question is not whether the artists at NOW are unoriginal, but whether our time is and they reflect us. “
Mr Reid said the last artist in his eyes who broke public consciousness and became a household name like Banksy without adopting the iconography of famous works by other artists (a la Banksy) is Damien Hirst.
“His shark in a tank, or fully known as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Head of Someone Who Lived in 1991, seemed to come out of nowhere and is now considered one of (if not the) most important works of art of the 1990s.”
It gives your morning bite of culture served hot.