THROTTLE by GORDY GRUNDY
APRIL 2007; ISSUE No. 5
AGE AFTER BEAUTY
January 30, 2007, the Los Angeles Times published ‘Never
Too Late’, a laughable essay on age and art making. The writers,
David Galenson and Joshua Kotin, propose a
wild theory that as one ages, one makes better art. Clearly, the
authors demonstrate little
of the realities, standards and practices of the fine art world.
The piece should have appeared in the comics rather than the Opinion
argument begins with the arse of Clint Eastwood. Everyone is kissing
the success of ‘Letters From Iwo Jima.’ The Japanese language
World War Two epic has been highly lauded and I personally believe it should
won the Oscar. At the age of 76, the film director is making the best work
career. But I also wonder how the same material would have developed in
the hands of an artful innovator or a young firebrand. I wonder if the
have made a greater statement had it been made in the Yiddish language. I wonder
if a rap-laced soundtrack would have given the anti-war film a contemporary
to Iraq. Clearly, Eastwood is not thinking outside the box, as only the
The authors evidenced
their naiveté when they noted that Louise Bourgeois
just sold a recent artwork for a record price of $4 million. This does not mean
the sculptor is making better art with age. It merely indicates that she is nearing
her greatest profitability. The old gal will turn a century if she can hang on
for five more years. In the world of high finance, it is called Futures Trading.
In the art world, collectors call it S.O.D. or Smell Of Death. That’s where
the money is. Buy when it’s most stinky. The best bio of an artist
includes an obituary. I wonder if the owner of the $4 million sculpture
Bourgeois to ask how she is feeling?
Most hilarious is
the statement that “career arcs—gradual improvements
culminating in late achievements—account for many of the most important
contributions to the arts.” Nonsense. We do not want arcs in art. The art
world wants artists to create just one thing and to keep doing it until they
die. This is how one develops recognizability. The arts are an intellectual pursuit.
Status is accorded to those who can ‘Name The Artist’. How can I
have a dinner party and impress you with my good taste if you can’t recognize
the painting on the wall? “I love the Warhol.” “No one does
a dachshund like Hockney.” That’s why we hate Sigmar Polke;
his work changes too much and too often.
The article states, “It’s dangerously easy to parlay judgments about
early work into assumptions about entire careers.” Is this a
bad thing? Art collecting is about speculation. It is a gamble. Why
if it will
not appreciate? The engine of the art machine is fueled by early work.
judgments, the art world would collapse, gallerists would starve and
sober collectors would spiral to another addiction.
gave me a laugh was the notion that success in the arts is a “trial
and error accumulation of knowledge that ultimately leads to novel manifestations
of wisdom and judgment.” Yah, right. You either got it or you don’t,
One would assume that the fine art world would be socially progressive and of
a liberal mind. It is not. In truth, the art world is the caboose of our society.
It is the last entity to modernize and illuminate. It is racist, sexist, homophobic,
fearful of religion and wholeheartedly ageist.
In defense of the article, our world is changing. With medical innovations and
health discoveries, people are living longer and leading active lives. I have
read that even old farts in their fifties are able to have a healthy and active