Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn
One of the most irritating things that entered my hands over recent weeks was the book /’catalogue’ for a ‘curated’ group exhibition at Hauser and Wirth, New York in 2017. The feeling of staleness that surrounds such arbitrary linkings of artists under the guise of formative art history is now so palpable.
This often emanates those imperial dealers* who are the dregs of what was once fresh, lively and open, and who want to claim the world in their own formulation. Not content with that, they take it as a life-style choice, the supreme hobby and plaything of the over-wealthy. Once it was golf and yachting, now it is contemporary art, and there are is no depth of obscurity that they will not undermine in the need to seem ‘cool’ and exciting.
What in fact they do is debase the mystery of difficult things, the gradations, layers and revelations of slow discovery, and make everything equal. Too much information, taken as ordinary and undifferentiated, too quickly pretended.
Then at the same time they invent artists work, as custodians of their estates, they cull notebooks and sketches, and produce work that would never have been made. They even invent artists, but that is a longer argument and one for another occasion.
The half-decent dealers retired early, like Anthony d’Offay and Yvon Lambert, knowing there was nothing left to do except empire building on the golf course, and selling all the bad pieces they had left in storage to too-late collections like the Vuitton Foundation and the Benesse Art Museum in Japan.
* I resist the list, but when you see the inducements to artists, art-historians and their oligarchical clients, you might be forgiven for compiling one! SC