CULTURAL PROSTITUTION

art as "a new kind of product

expanding the ECONOMIC horizons

of all parties involved"

The following is a transcript of Jeff Koons' sales pitch, available on the Louis Vuitton fashion website, promoting the luxury bags he has designed for Vuitton ( images of paintings by old masters and their names in gold letters on the front of the leather bags) which shows just how far he goes in prostituting himself - and art. We recommend watching this 'interview'. 

"I have been dealing with a series of work recently called ‘gazing ball paintings’. And what this series is really about is to have an appreciation for things that came before us or things that are outside the self. You’re able to have a larger life with more breath to it. My primary motivation for making this special project is to make things that I wanna make. Companies like Louis Vuitton have become really major sponsors of the arts. There is so much freedom in working with Louis Vuitton. So in designing the bags and having the names of the artist - you know… da Vinci or Rubens being in the reflective type is actually in a way performing like the gazing ball would within the gazing ball paintings. But there is also kind of a reflective process about the person being interlinked with the bag. I would hope that when somebody walks down the street with this that what they are doing is that they are really celebrating humanity. I hope somebody that sees the bag will emotionally feel this connectivity. And working with the monogram - you know I had the idea to reduce it somewhat and by reducing it in a way it is actually amplifying it. Also make the JK like the LV and have them side by side. And we both have the same objective: we wanna make something that really uses material, uses texture, colour, communicates, creates something that’s desirable. Louis Vuitton does that and my art tries to do that through idea and through the same appreciation of craft.

I wanted it to become art. I believe that these bags are art.”

Jeff Koons 

http://uk.louisvuitton.com/eng-gb/stories/masterscampaign#section-jeff-koons

https://uk.louisvuitton.com/eng-gb/stories/masterscampaign2#

And not a single critical voice in sight. Everybody literally buys this utter nonsense. The real damage lies in the fact that the obscene success of Koons' work cements it in the public view as one of the valid definitions of art. His extraordinary market success thus shapes the idea and expectation of what art today and in the future must look like. Koons' market success is so overwhelming that any criticism is inevitably futile as forces outside of art have vested interests in the perpetuation of its myth. The permanent and sustained coverage of Koons' work in the media promotes and perpetuates his success.

It is evidence of the spectacular not only failure of art critics and art journalists / the media to keep this rampant capitalist hollowing out of art and culture in check, but highlights their outright enthusiasm for this development.

 

 

The Guardian art 'critic' Jonathan Jones, for example, hails the replacement of art by commerce as a 'lesson in art history' and evidence of passion for painting: "Jeff Koons' Louis Vuitton bags - A Joyous Art History Lesson - In championing the likes of Fragonard, Rubens and Titian, Jeff Koons’ line of Louis Vuitton accessories brings high art to the high street – and shows off his sincere passion for painting"

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2017/apr/12/jeff-koons-louis-vuitton-bags-fashion-fragonard-rubens-titian

Other artists who have been propelled to superstardom through their collaboration with Vuitton include:

Cindy Sherman, 

Jake and Dinos Chapman, 

Yayoi Kusama,

Olafur Eliason and

Richard Prince.

"The relationship [between Takashi Murakami and Vuitton] was especially controversial because of its unabashed commercialist core, and came to a critical head in 2007, the year the artist’s show “© Murakami,” a 1,000-square-foot popup store offering $960 Louis Vuitton handbags, opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

 

Art critics like Dave Hickey bemoaned the way “the museum has turned into a sort of upscale Macy’s.” 

http://www.artnews.com/2015/07/21/louis-vuitton-ends-its-13-year-relationship-with-takashi-murakami/ :

 

Though Museum of Contemporary Art's chief curator [!!!] Paul Schimmel offered a more compelling viewpoint, as quoted in the same New York Times article: One of the most radical aspects of Murakami’s work is his

 

willingness both to embrace and exploit the idea of this brand, to mingle his identity with a corporate identity and to play with that.

 

He realized from the beginning that if you don’t address the commercial aspect of the work, it’s somehow like the elephant in the room.” Murakami’s Vuitton collections (Multicolore, Monogramouflage, Cherry Blossom, Character Bag, and others) will be phased out of stores by the end of July [2017], after which time you will doubtless find Murakami Vuittons selling on eBay for the price of a lesser-known Warhol."

Art is now used to expand the ECONOMIC HORIZON only:

"The first deluxe boutique to be integrated in a formal exhibition, the Murakami-Vuitton store is 'a terrific example of not just the artist embracing commercial success but proactively going after it', said Elizabeth Currid, the author of “The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art and Music Drive New York City” (Princeton University Press, 2007).

 

In this kind of venture, everyone profits, Ms. Currid said. “You are creating a new kind of product, one that expands the economic horizons of all the parties involved.”

we recommend reading the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/08/fashion/08ART.html

In the online magazine Dazed, under the heading 'Louis Vuitton’s best cult art collaborations' we read:

 

"For SS03, Vuitton enlisted contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami on a collection which launched some of the most iconic It Bags of the early 00s. His white Multicolore Monogram accessories were forever immortalised in everyone’s minds thanks to appearing on the arms of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan in the cult movie Mean Girls – and the black iterations were just as popular. Murakami's further collections – Cerises, Cherry Blossom, Monogramoflague – and his character print bags were just as coveted, and although it was previously announced that the relationship between Murakami and Louis Vuitton was coming to an end after 13 years, a few accessories created by the artist remain in stores globally today."

 

http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/35567/1/louis-vuitton-art-collaborations-yayoi-kusama-richard-prince-cindy-sherman

François Pinault, the billionaire and owner of Christie's auction house in London,

as well as owner of the Vuitton luxury brand,

has recently opened his own museum in Paris:

designed by Frank Gehry,

promoted by Sotheby’s,

praised by president François Hollande, 

covered by fashion magazines such asVogue and Vanity Fair and

articles by art critics around the world, 

showing star artists such as Olafur Eliasson et al. 

 

Thus the circle is complete. 

 

The Louis Vuitton Fondation Opening Cocktail Party was, by the way,

hosted by President François Hollande

and Bernard Arnault (chaiman of the luxury conglomerate LVMH—'the wealthiest man in France and one of the most elusive, whose empire stretches from Dior haute couture to Sephora, and whose many holdings include the Jardin d’Acclimatation')

with star guests including

Karl Lagerfeld,

Anna Wintour,

Jeff Koons

etc.

http://www.vogue.com/article/foundation-louis-vuitton-opening-party

"Bernard Arnault, chairman of the luxury conglomerate LVMH—the wealthiest man in France and one of the most elusive, whose empire stretches from Dior haute couture to Sephora, and whose many holdings include the Jardin d’Acclimatation—is making his formidable presence felt through a spectacular building rising in the park. The Fondation Louis Vuitton, a new center for “artistic creation,” designed by Frank Gehry "

Why Paris's Newest Art Museum—the Fondation Louis Vuitton—Is Like None You've Ever Seen

 

François Pinault is also converting the 19th century Bourse de commerce [Stockexchange] in Paris into an art museum with the help of architect Tadao Ando:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/26/former-paris-stock-exchange-to-be-reborn-as-major-new-art-museum#img-1

What could more perfectly exemplify the current state of the art world than an art museum inside the stock exchange?

As art emulates fashion, fashion emulates art:

Forget fashion shops: how designers embraced art exhibitions

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/sep/19/why-fashion-houses-are-staging-their-own-exhibitions

The following are quotes from a Financial Times article, an example illustrating how journalists -enthusiastically and uncritically- promote the role of art as a driving/'revitalising' economic force. This is now called 'art-philanthropy':
 
"Buenos Aires: can art revitalise a city? The Argentine capital is hoping that a partnership with Art Basel will give its artists and gallerists global reach":
 

https://www.ft.com/content/b98f675a-c3a2-11e7-b2bb-322b2cb39656

 

 

 

 

 

[...] a new kind of magic in the air. It was first identified as the Bilbao Effect, when the coming of the Guggenheim museum to that city some 20 years ago did a boot-straps job on its ailing reputation and economic prospects.

 

Then there was Tate Modern, and its dynamic impact on the sadder bank of the Thames, not to mention Britain’s tourism figures.

 

And then the city of Miami, where Art Basel’s annual art fair provides — according to its global director Marc Spiegler — a yearly boost to the economy worth many millions of dollars. Despite the fact that it lasts less than a week.

 

It’s quite a claim, but it seems that this magic-wand effect is so powerful, and so well-established, that it’s now fully marketable.

 

Art Basel’s next move, while running three top art fairs a year — in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong — is to launch its new Cities Exchange programme, which applies the company’s expertise to a collaboration between city authorities, national government departments, local arts institutions and galleries.

[...] various local authorities and their mayors, in search of the magic bullet of cultural regeneration, began to approach Art Basel suggesting that the company start a new fair in their town.

 

Instead, Spiegler and his colleagues realised, a different sort of ongoing collaboration could work even better. 

[...] the finance is approximately 70 per cent sourced from the city, tourist boards, investment boards and a range of central government departments, with the remainder from private sources and sponsorships.

[...]the company has brought along its loyal principal global sponsor, UBS, which announced its partnership commitment last week, as well as other existing supporters such as BMW and Audemars Piguet.

[...] introducing new companies to the notion of arts philanthropy as part of what Art Basel can bring to the city. 

 

The aim is that the Cities Exchange programme will grow to encompass new locations and partnerships, possibly even at the rate of one a year.

[...] for Art Basel’s first partner city and every one involved in its art scene, as well as for the company itself, “failure is not an option”.

recommended in this context:

The record sale of ‘Salvator Mundi’ is a symptom of a market that has lost its bearings

https://www.ft.com/content/6d342fca-db4a-11e7-a039-c64b1c09b482

For our German speaking readers:

A podcast reporting on the new phenomenon and rise of 'Art Malls' in China: 

http://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/art-malls-in-china-kunst-als-konsumanreiz.1013.de.html?dram:article_id=392946

 

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