Two Views on the Beautiful

Sarah recently posted a facebook thing that gave voice to a view of the beautiful. I am calling that view ‘grunge’. In contrast to that view I offer the operatic. Below is the graphic Sarah used to convey the opinion I am calling ‘grunge’ and two quotes, one from Karen Blixen and the other from Dostoevsky, that I am associating with the operatic view. The first view, grunge, suggests that what is claimed to be beautiful is in actual fact not beautiful but shit, the proclamation of beauty is just a lie. The second view, basically says: ‘isn’t shit beautiful.’ This is noteworthy because the view that Sarah put forward stands in contrast to her poetry work which accords with the second view.

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Banning ‘Super Art’: A step in the right direction

In response to a strongly worded letter that I was going to write the authorities have swung into action. Rather than simply warning people of the dubious nature of investments in art, as I argued should be done here, a recommendation has been made that the practice be banned in the instance of self-managed super funds (reported in the Australian here).

In a review of self managed super Jeremy Cooper has recommended that making art works part of an investment portfolio standing as a self managed superannuation fund should be outlawed. In this recommendation the hucksterism of the art world – the fundamentally fraudulent nature of any value being attributed to art works – has been recognised.

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Art is Theft

Andy Warhol collectors are currently up in arms about the dramatic loss in value some works attributed to him are suffering. One work from the Red Series made the dramatic descent from $2 million to nothing. The cause of the decrease was the stamping of ‘denied’ in bright red on the back of the canvas.

That stamp was a costly little addition given by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as part of its authentication efforts. What, above all, has got people up in arms about that stamp is that the actual process of determination is entirely secret and appears arbitrary. That 1 in 5 of works attributed to Warhol are knocked back amplifies the significance of the issue. The ramifications, however, run much deeper than the trade-able value of certain works by a certain artist, the situation highlights a general arbitrariness in the determination of art as art.

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