Museumsdirektør beskylder stenrig verdensstjerne for at lave fupkunst
Kunstkritikeren Julian Spalding sammenligner Damien Hirsts succes med 'Kejserens nye klæder'.


AF LONE THEILS, KORRESPONDENT, LONDON
Offentliggjort: Apr 7, 2012 2:34 PM © POLITIKEN.dk

Helt hvor meget ballade han havde skabt i den britiske kunstverden, gik for alvor op for Julian Spalding, da han tidligere på ugen forsøgte at komme ind på Tate Modern i London, hvor britisk kunsts enfant terrible, Damien Hirsts, udstilling var til skue for pressen inden den officielle åbning.

BBC i London havde planer om at interviewe den britiske kunstkritiker foran de berømte malerier af prikker, der udgør en stor del af Damien Hirst-udstillingen. Men museet nægtede ham ganske enkelt adgang.

Overhovedet ikke kunst
»De er rasende på mig. Jeg har sagt det, som så mange andre mennesker har tænkt, men ikke turde sige. Konceptkunst er et stort fupnummer. Og det har ramt kunstverdenen på det ene organ, hvor det virkelig gør ondt. Ikke hovedet, ikke hjertet, men det, der er af læder: tegnebogen«, siger Julian Spalding.

Hans bog ’Con Art – Why you ought to sell your Damien Hirsts while you can’ (’Fupkunst – Hvorfor man skal sælge sin Damien Hirst mens man kan’) har vakt så stor opsigt, at han indtil videre har givet interview i blandt andet britisk, russisk, spansk og italiensk presse, der har døbt ham ’den nye anti-Hirst’.

»Jeg er på en måde som det lille barn i ’Kejserens nye klæder’. Det, der tør sige, at kejseren jo ikke har noget på. Når folk køber Damien Hirsts haj i en beholder for 12 millioner dollar, så får de faktisk ikke andet og mere end det: en haj i en beholder«, siger han og går videre i sit angreb på netop Damien Hirst, der er blevet mangemillionær på at sælge sin kunst.

»Der er folk, der siger, han er en dårlig kunstner eller en middelmådig en af slagsen. Men jeg går et skridt videre og siger, at han slet ikke er kunstner overhovedet. Han bidrager jo ikke med noget selv«, siger Julian Spalding og bruger blandt andet de mange malerier af prikker som et eksempel.

Ingen gad se på prikker
Damien Hirst malede et par få stykker selv og brugte indtægten fra deres salg til at hyre andre til at male de resterende op mod 1.400. På samme måde hyrede han eksempelvis også et firma til at udstoppe den berømte haj, der med ét slag gjorde ham til en international kunstsensation.

»Det eneste, han gør, er at udvælge ting. Men det er ikke kunst for mig at se«, præciserer Julian Spalding.

Sammen med en journalist lykkedes det Julian Spalding at komme ind og se udstillingen som menigt medlem af offentligheden.

»Vi stod der i lang tid, men ingen brugte egentlig tid på virkelig at se på nogen af værkerne. Det var ligesom en slags religion. Når man spørger folk, hvad de får ud af det, siger de, at det får dem til at tænke. Når man så spørger, hvad de tænker, så siger de, at det ikke er pointen«, siger Julian Spalding.

Oprindelig var bogen, der kun er udkommet som e-bog til Amazons Kindle, bestilt af en britisk forlægger, men han trak følehornene til sig, da han læste det kontroversielle manuskript, der sammenligner de høje priser på konceptkunst med ejendomsboblen, der brast og førte til den globale finanskrise.

Den bedste valuta i verden?
Selv medier som Time Magazine og Financial Times er nu ude efter at høre Julian Spaldings mening om og opgør med moderne konceptkunst.

Financial Times har endda beregnet, at priserne på Damien Hirsts kunst rent faktisk er gået ned, og konkluderer, at kunstneren er bekymret over udviklingen.

Men i et svar til kritikken siger Damien Hirst til den britiske avis The Independent, at »folk skal holde fast i deres Hirst. Priserne er slet ikke så høje, som de kan blive«.

Han tilføjer, at kunst er en fremragende investering.

»Kunst er den bedste valuta i hele verden«, siger den 46-årige kunstner, hvis personlige formue menes at være i et trecifret antal millioner i britiske pund.

Men Julian Spalding er ikke imponeret over Damien Hirsts svar:

»Damien Hirst har kritiseret mig og sagt, at jeg kun bruger ham som et middel til at sælge min bog. Det er latterligt set, i betragtning af hvilke priser han tager for sin kunst. Min bog koster under 1 pund og indeholder langt flere originale ideer end hans samlede værker«.

Filosofi er ikke kunst
Julian Spalding mener, at mange er blevet forfærdede over hans angreb på konceptkunsten, netop fordi han som tidligere gallerileder, museumsdirektør og anerkendt kunstkritiker ikke er et uformående medlem af offentligheden.

»Når Metropolitan Museum i New York eksempelvis vælger at udstille Hirsts haj i tre måneder, går de jo også med på forestillingen om, at det her er kunst. Og når der kommer en, der er en del af den verden, og kritiserer Hirsts berettigelse som kunster, så sætter jeg jo også spørgsmålstegn ved deres bedømmelse«, siger han.

Ifølge Julian Spalding viser de seneste års fokus på konceptkunst – eller fupkunst, som han kalder det – at der er gået noget fundamentalt galt med selve systemet, der uddanner kunstnere.

»Det er altid billigere at uddanne folk til at få ideer, end det er at uddanne dem til rent faktisk at kunne udøve deres håndværk. Det er billigere at anskaffe sig et skrivebord end et helt atelier«, siger han.

»Faktisk er det nu kommet så vidt, at man for at blive optaget på de fleste kunstuddannelser ikke længere skal møde frem med prøver på sit arbejde. Man skal bare møde frem og snakke om sine ideer. Men hvis det handler om ideer alene, så kan man jo lige så godt uddanne sig til filosof«, mener Julian Spalding.


Harvested in 2012 from the url: http://politiken.dk/kultur/kunst/ECE1590440/museumsdirektoer-beskylder-stenrig-verdensstjerne-for-at-lave-fupkunst/ for "A Collection of Essays on Art" by Michael B. Chang http://www.michaelchang.dk/04_words/workwords/on_art.html#_references


Kilde: The Independent

Julian Spalding: Damien Hirsts are the sub-prime of the art world

If you are unfortunate enough to have acquired any Hirsts, sell them before they become worthless

Julian Spalding

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Some people argue that Damien Hirst is a great artist. Some say he is an execrable artist, and others put him somewhere more boring in between. They are all missing the point. Damien Hirst isn't an artist. His works may draw huge crowds when they go on show in a five-month-long blockbuster retrospective at Tate Modern next week. But they have no artistic content and are worthless as works of art. They are, therefore, worthless financially.


If you want a pickled shark in a tank, you don't have to pay the $12m Steve Cohen paid for the one selected by Hirst. You only pay that much for the artistic content that Hirst has added to it. If there isn't any, what are you buying? You could argue that you are buying an investment. But that depends on people in the future valuing the artistic content in your shark even more highly than you do. If they don't, what are you left with? A shark in a tank, which is what you bought.

I've coined the term Con Art, short for contemporary conceptual art and for art that cons people. Contemporary conceptual art? All art is a concept in the sense that it's the product of thought. But all art must also be a creation. You have to be able to see art; it can't just be a projected thought. That's how the emperor got dressed; his expensive robes were all in the minds of people around him, when in reality he had nothing on.

It's often been proposed, seriously, that Damien Hirst is a greater artist than Michelangelo because he had the idea for a shark in a tank whereas Michelangelo didn't have the idea for his David. What separates Michelangelo from Damien Hirst is that Michelangelo was an artist and Damien Hirst isn't. Michelangelo's extremely subtle, profoundly moving ideas were manifest in what he made; they weren't pretentious profanities tossed off the top of his head.

The trouble with found objects is that you can't tell just by looking at them what the person who put them in front of you is trying to tell you unless he or she has altered them in some meaningful way. Nor does the act of placing something in an art gallery, whether it's a stack of bricks, a bin bag or an unmade bed, automatically make it a work of art, any more than framing a canvas with paint on it automatically makes it a painting. Art can be made out of anything, as Picasso famously demonstrated when he put a bicycle saddle and handlebars together and made a bull's head, but art has to be made.

Where did this idea that anything could be a work of art come from? It's generally believed to have come from Marcel Duchamp. In 1917, a urinal was sent to an art exhibition in New York, supposedly by Duchamp. But recent research has shown that the urinal was actually submitted by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Her gesture was an early feminist attack on a male society. She didn't claim the urinal was a work of art. She was taking the piss.

Duchamp stole her idea much later when he began to promote himself as the founding father of modern art. The whole idea of the found object – the basis of conceptual art – was a con from the start. Why did the idea that anything could be art catch on? Con artists, cashing in on Duchamp's scam, chose a few found objects and sold them to gullible collectors as gilt-edged investments, with the help of a small coterie of dealers and museum curators who wanted to be at the forefront of art no matter what the public thought. The bubble that is Con Art blew up, like the sub-prime mortgage business, in the smoke-and-mirrors world of financial markets, where fortunes have been made on nothing.

The art education world, strapped for funds, has clung to the Con Art bandwagon, because thinking costs less than making. It doesn't involve learning craft skills in studios. Damien Hirst's ghastly reputation glows in the black hole at the heart of British culture.

Art is a collective reality. When we look at a Rembrandt, we all know we are looking at the same thing, responding to the same source of experience outside ourselves. We might respond slightly differently, according to our natures, but the heart of what Rembrandt has given us is something we know we can share. What art shows might be painful, even vicious, but the showing is beautiful because it is shared. That is the optimism in all art – it helps us to build our collective consciousness on which the future of civilisation depends.

Real art is always positive, for if it wasn't why would anyone make it or want it? Con art is negative: it gives us nothing. That's why you'd be well advised to sell your Hirsts, if you've been unfortunate enough to acquire any, before they become worthless. Because worthless they will be, when everyone realises that they've given nobody anything. Damien Hirst's "works" are only of value if they're works of art. They're not. That's the naked truth.

'Con Art – Why you ought to sell your Damien Hirsts while you can', by Julian Spalding, is published 1 April and available via Amazon Kindle