Painter David Hockney displays his iphone art. Image via: The Daily Mail.
- Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales describes Wikipediaart, a project by artists Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kidall, as “alleged performance art” run by “trolls” seeking publicity. Two months ago, the artists created an entry under the heading “Wikipediaart” with the hopes that the “art” conversation about the entry would be enough to earn its place on the site. Not surprisingly, Wikipedians didn’t buy the concept and the site was removed after a small amount of debate. The artists migrated all correspondence to their domain Wikipediaart.org, at which point we assumed the story had died. Not so much. Wales hired lawyers who sent the Stern and Kidall a letter requesting the two change their domain name so as not to be confused with Wikipedia. Some debate has occurred as to whether the correspondence was a request or a demand — Wales says no, legal advisers for the artists say it was. Not that it makes any difference, though. Wikipedia’s worries over such a small outfit make no sense, and reads as a possible publicity stunt. We just hope the artists characterize this debate as legal squabbling and not art. Resting the art laurels on a legal dispute gives the initial work a weight it doesn’t deserve.
- In other grating news, The Daily Mail reports famed artist David Hockney creates digital paintings on his iPhone and He also sells prints created on his computer in limited editions. If there were any interest in this project past the fact people are actually willing to pay for it, lifestyle, the display of Hockney’s iPhone on an easel certainly destroys it. Surely the artist doesn’t use the easel to make the work and the iPhone is not equivalent to a stretcher– its frame is invisible– so why display it as such? The iPhone as medium is a gimmick that needs to die a quick death.
- On a related note, conversation in the AFC HQ about this story prompted the observation that limited edition work seems to have greater importance in the art world than it has previously. Despite the ease of digital production, the exclusivity of the object remains desirable to collectors. To cite a parallel example in the music world– nobody’s buying CD’s but we seem to like records still. The sound is different, yes, but certainly their rarity makes them appealing. Notably, earlier this year I wondered whether digital reproduction would force change upon the art world model of scarcity. Today that conclusion seems absurd.
- Stacey Williams-Ng uses her friends’ Facebook updates in her paintings — mashable.com reports the story. Bad art is not bettered by a topical status update.
- As it happens, I will speak on a panel organized by Sharon Butler in New Haven next Thursday about social networking in art with Matt Held (I'll Have my Facebook Portrait Painted by Matt Held), Sharon Kleinman (author of Displacing Place) and An Xiao ( http://thatwaszen.blogspot.com ). I intend to discuss the pivotal role Eyebeam played in the development of the net art community circa 2001 – 2006 and the consequences of losing some of those artists to the commercial Fine Art and Internet world. I realize this is a contentious statement to make, but with only a few exceptions, I don’t see a lot of good social networking art being made. What’s more, there is an unwillingness amongst many net artists — the leaders of all things Internet — to engage newer technologies. Innovation exists within surf clubs, but I’m not seeing the same engagement in Twitter or Facebook. I suspect part of this comes from a resistance to certain branding; privileging Twitter over del.icio.us for example is a little like choosing to wear Nike over Converse for the average net artist. Personally, I find these concerns a great distraction from art making.
- And on that note, I leave you with the Opportunist guide to art, a small blurb courtesy of New York Magazine telling readers art isn’t a “cool t-bond”. Apparently, art is always a luxury and only affordable if you happen to be sitting on a little money. I can think of a few people likely to disagree with that sentiment.