Friday, 16 October 2009

George Soros and the Invisible Hand are no longer your friends.

Brightly coloured cutting edge with a sense of humour?
Understated lux grey-and-black-maybe-navy-or-an-occasional-flesh-coloured-thing?

Art Students and the Wealthy rubbed shoulders yesterday at the Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park. Sometimes the costumes were swapped, and, then, well, one ought to know better. The press were hungrily badgering for signs of d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r. Gallerists were canny to the gloom and doom game and had several pieces "on reserve", but, not fully sold. Some collectors haggled. Most dealers stood their ground. The best things sold with dignity. Sales have always been rather hush hush at Frieze, except in 2007 when things sold out before the doors opened. Those days are gone.

So what was on offer? Missmc focused yesterday on the Frieze Projects, presentations of art things that were not for sale. The aforementioned Superflex film was darkly humourous, with the phrase "George Soros and the Invisible Hand are no longer your friends" lingering after her down the hall. After that, I went to see the project by my old friend Anton Vidokle and his collaborator, Julieta Aranda. It was an alternative currency like the Ithaca Dollar thing, but, for artists and art workers. I looked for a giant something that was supposed to have "crashed" into the building but missed it. Rumour has it it was taken away.

Admittedly, I was seeking out the works that referenced finance or economics. In the past, the art world consideration of economics would be to include more artists from non-western countries that perhaps did pieces that reflected their culture.

Economics is a really hard topic for artists. Art is not about money. Art is not about money. Art is not about money. It is about ideas. It can be art about ideas about money, but, that only works in a recession. Otherwise, the money topic lifts art out if its ideas-based realm and plops it down uncomfortably, kind of 80's style, next to the topic of artists-who-knew-how-to-make-a-lot-of-money but were not necessarily good. And that kind of art ruins the market for both collectors and artists alike. Art is about money.

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