This work by me appears in the video: The Case for Copying, by The Art Assignment / PBS Digital Studios, at @7:00.
The purpose of the video is to defend the sometimes maligned contemporary art practice of appropriation, and when giving historical context it returns to Duchamp’s “Fountain”, and then quickly segues to my appropriation of Duchamp’s appropriation.
The source they must have used for my artwork ,titled, “The Urinal” [NOT “The Fountain”], is an article, which I shared on my blog: Artist exhibits Duchamp’s “Fountain” in restroom to take the museum out of art. While the work is attributed to a German artist named Eric Küns, that is just one of my aliases. Here’s a pic of the same image from the article:
This video, put out by PBS, has been viewed over 120,000 times. It’s good to see my art reaching a larger audience, and being shared as a legitimate contribution to the evolution of art history. I’ll take the accolades. Cheers.
If you think I might just be taking the credit for a work by, uuuuh, Eric Küns, here’s my original Photoshop work showing all the layers and crap involved in the process of rendering the image:
I’m not sure if this is purely subjective, and a consequence of my familiarity with my own PS creation, but, to me, mine looks more authentic than the original photo, and much more pleasing to the eye.
Yes, this isn’t a real sculpture and never appeared anywhere. The article, the artist, and the work were all created by me, back in 2013, to punk the art world and its bullshit. Now, my prank is heralded as part and parcel of all the super important, radical, conceptual art world that I was lampooning. It is taken seriously as a seminal work of art by those that applaud and defend exactly what it is parodying.
An astute viewer might notice that the “Fountain” is taken out off the pedestal, out of the museum, and put back into the restroom where it belongs. A proper reading would be that this must be critical of “The Fountain” and its importance in art history. The article states as much, and more.
The video propounds all the postmodern gobbledygook I abhor, and which I have dissected and deconstructed in loving detail on this blog.
The video argues that “the good artists copy and the great artists steal”, a pernicious and self-defeating misunderstanding attributed to Picasso, which I destroyed in my article, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Not so fast. Since I’ve already written at length on the topics, here I’ll just give pithy one sentence rebuttals. If great artists steal, who do they steal from, crappy artists?
They regurgitate bankrupt rhetoric by Roland Barthes, about how the author is dead, which I unraveled in my feature length article, “The Death of the Author” Debunked. If originality is impossible, who did the first writers copy from, aliens?
They present Sherry Levine’s re-photographs of Walker Evan’s photos as ground-breaking philosophical art. I shredded the arguments supporting that belief in my article, Dismantling the Dominant Art Narrative. If Sherrie Levine’s copies of Walker Evans photos are original works of art, everyone’s mix-tapes are original musical compositions.
I wonder how my faux conceptual sculpture ended up in the video. When my fake Koons painting appeared in another video, people just assumed it was a careless grabbing of a pic from a Google search.
But in this case, The Art Assignment went through the trouble of typing the name of my fictional artist, and the date of creation, in their font, and graphically included it in a box in the bottom left of the screen, as they did with all the works they shared. Somebody must have thought it was legit, and nobody else stopped it from appearing.
It’s impossible that the makers of the video are pranking ME, because you don’t bother to prank a nobody. I like to think that someone among their staff, who is one of my handful of fans, slipped something in there by me in order to F with them. Another possibility is that they deliberately gave my work attention in order to covertly promote me. But, the far most likely possibility is just that they fell for my prank because they can’t tell the difference between official bullshit and parodic bullshit.
The video, and postmodern/contemporary art theory in general, holds as the highest art that which proposes to insert itself into art history and repudiate hackneyed ideas and methods. They shared my parody as an exemplar of this approach, but didn’t realize that the hackneyed vantage point it critiqued was theirs. I dunno, future generations might look back and say I did something original using new technology, social media, and appropriating the appearance of authority and rhetoric from the dominant art world in order to subvert it, and hence I’m actually really a conceptual art demi-god. Jerry Salz will sing my praises after he’s finally retired, in a tweet that nobody reads. But that’s not going to happen. I mean, come on, I’m a white male for starters!
The video encapsulates pretty much everything wrong with the art world, and its unwitting inclusion of my prank as a legitimate pillar in their narrative undermines the whole production.
Meanwhile back in reality I’m a nobody in the art world (except when it comes to my fakes and pranks) and make nothing for my art (except for small donations from a handful of my patrons, who I love unconditionally). There’s a statement attributed to Andy Warhol in the video that stood out to me.
The artist’s job, so Warhol claimed, was not to offer up new images of beauty, but to reproduce images of what society had already approved.
Maybe that was HIS job. I’ll stick with producing new and visually compelling imagery using skill and imagination. Check back in in a week or so to see may latest creation, which I’m wrapping up now, and need to get back to.
And if you like my art and art criticism, and would like to see me keep working, please consider making a very small donation. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month. Ah, if only I could amass a few hundred dollars per month this way, I could focus entirely on my art. See how it works here.
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Or you can make a small, one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).