[-empyre-] Eddies, Whirlwinds, Trade Winds

G.H. Hovagimyan ghh at thing.net
Thu Apr 2 23:03:34 EST 2009

On Apr 1, 2009, at 8:35 PM, Michael Angelo Tata, PhD wrote:

> Aside from Warhol, the place toward which my mind immediately turns  
> as I think about what Nicholas refers to as the Immaculate  
> Deception is Camille Paglia’s identification of Jacques Derrida as  
> a junk-bond salesman in her “Junk Bonds and Corporate  
> Raiders” (part of Sex, Art, and American Culture).  I think my mind  
> races to this piece of writing because it does raise the important  
> question of the potential bankruptcy of theory in general (a risk  
> that does not seem to plague philosophy quite the same way).

Well now what.

As a child of the 1970's art world, I remember Warhol as more  
commerce than art.  He did have three areas of production that  
related to each other and were reflections of commodity capitalism,  
the mode of America in the late '60's.  The three areas were his  
films which involved a party culture at the factory, his silkscreen  
paintings and Interview newspaper.  The social scene,party culture  
migrated to Studio 54 and the clubs in the 1970's. My friend the Art  
Historian Alan Moore coined the term, "Clubism" when that scene  
morphed into the Late Seventies East Village Punk/Performance scene.

The idea of a brand name and signature style was the legacy of  
Warhol's silkscreen paintings.  Interview was a sort of media art  
work that was about celebrity as a commodity.
The progression of these notions in American Culture continues.  
Reality TV shows are about banal people being promoted to  
celebrities. celebrity as commodity becomes a quality that can be  
created by obsession.  The signature style/ brand name  products of  
Warhol became appropriation in the late seventies and copyright,  
remixing and sampling culture in the present.  The other part of this  
commodity matrix continued in the 1980's  when the market became more  
important than the art object or the ideas behind it. This occurred  
with the Neo-Expressionists and Neo-Geo. The discussion was that if  
there is an end to historical modernist progression than all styles  
are viable. The market decides what is art.  Money trumps ideas.   
This market logic was manifested in the first explosion of 400  
galleries in the East Village in Mid-80's and continues today in  
various art market expansions  in particular the latest L.E.S  
galleries and the art fair as a sped-up/condensed art buying experience.
I come from the intellectually opposite camp. I believe in Idea overs  
form and in particular that art should be a force for experimentation  
that critiques the main culture rather than glorify it. I also feel  
that the utopian spirit in art is alive and is an anathema to the  
"Extreme Marketism" of the art world mantra of unique object/ 
signature style/ brand name.  What this means is that in this 21st  
century art world the signature style and uniqueness of any any art  
work gives way to collaboration and collective expressions.   
Interestingly enough that doesn't mean that individual expression and  
creativity goes away. Within any collaboration there is something  
else that occurs; the collaboration encourages the individuals to  
push their practice further and to look at the world from unthought  
of points of view.

What has occurred in the USA with bubble markets is a lot of money  
(capital) in the world seeking a safe haven and a decent rate of  
return. The US has been the beacon for this because most of the rest  
of the world is politically unstable or doesn't give a decent rate of  
return.  Essentially it's capital looking for an investment instead  
of a producer looking for capital. It's essentially a disease of  
success like obesity.  It's also a consequence of the dismantling of  
our manufacturing base.  Manufacturing creates wealth. The logic o  
Capitalism is the differential.  Labor is still the basis of that.   
What happens now is that we have a situation where the culture and  
the world are trying to find a new world system based solely on ideas  
and abstractions. The problem is that the motivating force behind  
this is greed and markets. In an earlier time it might have been war,  
conquest and plunder that was an organizing principal for societies.   
This current moment is about creating small utopias that are outside  
of the markets.
G.H. Hovagimyan

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