"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

Gregor Schneider – Fartist

This Gregor Schneider ‘piece’ is the first post in a new category about Fartists – Feeble artists (a complement to our FEBL media category).

Here is how it is described in copycat white-wall gallery speak:

“Gregor Schneider’s art expresses the concerns and anxieties of today’s world. Bondi Beach, his latest work, brings into question the values that we associate with the sun, surf and sand image of the Australian beach and asks us to consider the fundamental openness of Australian society and the freedoms and liberties we enjoy as citizens.”

What this means is that he has taken the idea that Australian’s are prisoners of the fashion of sun bathing – and built a sunbathing prison. A brazenly literal interpretation of an already waning fashion, a cliched metaphor so hilariously unimaginative that it makes pretty good satire – except its serious.

Schneider’s latest planned piece is to recruit a dying person and have him or her die in an art gallery. The idea is, of course, couched in dignified reverence, but it sells itself all the more on its potential shock value.

If you are going to do something this dramatic there should be depth and subtlety, something that this lacks – on the scale of a wet curry fart in an elevator. When Duchamp put a piss pot in a gallery, I am sure he though he had closed the door on this, instead it has only encouraged people like Schneider – who are ultimately so old-fashioned and Bourgeois, that they still miss the point after nearly a century.

Schneider does Duchamp in the way that Musak do Beethoven. Trying to be a rebel without breaking free of the traditions and places where people buy and sell paintings isn’t being much of a rebel – the artist equivalent of being into Death Metal in an Ohio suburb. Talented creative people these days work elsewhere and the traditional gallery no longer remains supreme rather like the most prestigious art form of ancient Greece – Lyre playing.

Who plays the Lyre these days?


5 comments on “Gregor Schneider – Fartist

  1. Thomas Eberwein says:

    I really enjoyed your blog so far, but I think this post is a bit ill-informed. Maybe check out some of the older works from Gregor Schneider, as opposed to the “death” piece idea everyone is talking about at the moment. Judging from the youtube it seems to be a really successful piece (in terms of achieving it’s intentions)

    “What this means is that he has taken the idea that Australian’s are prisoners of the fashion of sun bathing – and built a sunbathing prison.” The press release means the openness of society, not being victim of the fashion of sun bathing.

  2. admin says:

    The sun bathing, I assume, complete with Speedo’s and bikinis is part of that openness – to take your kit off. And “expresses the concerns and anxieties of today’s world…brings into question…asks us to consider”, I am so jaded with reading vapid crap like this in descriptions of artists work.

    I did have a look at his stuff – I had seen some of it before and vaguely liked Dead House project, but he seems emblematic of what makes me utterly bored with most 2d art school artists (with notable exceptions such as Gelitin). Schneider is spoiling for a fight with the death in a gallery piece – and I’m looking for one.
    Marquis of Queensbury rules.

  3. Jamey Hecht says:

    Building a cage on the beach; canning one’s own excrement; confronting gallery-goers with a tankful of formaldehyde and a dead shark — these are the gestures of exceedingly fortunate little opportunists in a solipsistic enclave of bogus “high culture.” These artists are people who have not yet discovered that vast arena of real meaning: OTHER PEOPLE. Nor do they tend to be very aware of the past, nor of the deadly urgency of civilizational collapse, Doing this “art” is a way of making money, and a robust defense against one’s own lack of imagination. Buying it is the same thing. And writing about it — oh, God, writing about it is either a grotesque but basically victimless way to feed one’s children for a few days, or an exercise in self-deception, or both, depending on who’s doing it and how.

    You hit the nail on the head: ““expresses the concerns and anxieties of today’s world…brings into question… asks us to consider” really means that there is nothing going on inside the person who made the “piece.” The work itself is not some living offspring of a deep mortal psyche suffused with the pain and joy of a limited unique life, but the inert “execution” of a sterile idea from his or her head, as in, “gee, wouldn’t it be cool if I were to….” Notice that this can be expressed without adjectives like “real” or “authentic.” Bad art is real bad art.

    Tips for recognizing art-bullshit:

    1. The claim that the PURPOSE of the art is to make people talk about it, regardless of what they actually say. Everybody who saw it was either bored or disgusted, but they said so! Therefore it worked. If this is not clear, apply the reductio ad absurdam for clarity: if someone were to cover himself with feces and walk through Central Park accosting people and hugging them, everyone would hate that and everyone would talk about it. At that point the artist could claim that the “piece” had fulfilled its purpose.

    2. They call it “bold,”or “risky” or “courageous” — especially without saying just what the risk was, just what the bad consequences were to which the person exposed him or herself.

    3. They use the favorite term of Marxist 19th Century social critique, “bourgeois.”

  4. Roger Ramjet says:

    That was a pointless piece of work!

  5. Bryce says:

    I actually stumbled across this while in Australia. Not knowing about it I was able to view it through fresh eyes. I myself entered the cells, and while it was apparent what the meaning of it was, it failed to have any impact on me. A piece implying any kind of caged existence seems too obvious. You could argue that anybody’s in some kind of cage for a multitude of reasons. However, I applaud the ‘intereactive’ delivery. Art through an experience is at least an uncommon vehicle.

    On a side note, most people used the cells for privacy at the otherwise crowded beach which I’m sure they appreciated.

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