Boy, the democratic nature of the Internet sure helps out struggling emerging artists! Thanks to Sara Tecchia Roma New York for picking up on this trend and curating a show of U.S. Saatchi Online Artists titled “And Who Are You?”.
“You don’t have to pay a dealer 50% commission.” says the gallery’s quoted Saatchi PR even though the existence of the show testifies that all those collectors scouring an uncurated site, with limited search functionality, and no shopping cart function have not yet made the concept of a dealer antiquated. Unintentionally challenging the very concepts they wish to promote — “If you’re not in the loop, if you didn’t go to the right art school, if you don’t know the right people who have the right dealers, it’s very hard to break in.” — the gallery highlights artists who already have a robust exhibition history including Eric Doeringer and Jay Batlle both of whom have shown at the Whitney.
Of course, once the gallery starts promoting the artists suddenly the show concept isn’t so much about the democratizing power of the Internet as it is about examining pre existing structures of hierarchy.
“Whether thought to oneself or spoken to another, the question “and who are you?” can be the start of a cocktail party confrontation, an opening gambit for flaunting one’s own CV or the catalyst for a profound crisis of existentialist and creative purpose. Working in various mediums, each of the artists in “And Who Are You? Work from Saatchi Online” uses Saatchi Online as a platform to address questions about how the established art world parcels out or responds to value, fame, favoritism, integrity and pretension.”
Putting aside a weak exhibition concept – we all know how the name game works – the heralding of the online Saatchi site seems needlessly overblown, since the majority of these artists simply uploaded their work to the site and aren’t using it as an essential element to their practice.
In an interesting footnote to all this, The New York Observer reports And Who Are You? curator Ana Finel Honigman wasn’t too pleased that participating artist Kristian Laliberte of the collective Fame Theory lifted some of her unpublished writing to promote his fame calculator in a mass email. Laliberte claimed confusion in a later response while shamelessly promoting his own product.