Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Made-to-Order Artwork to Fit a Corporate Budget

The subject of this article in the Times is a touchy subject for me. With my work and being on the corporate end of art I understand that designers/architects have budgets when buying art - especially in this economy. But what makes my skin crawl is when companies like Novo Arts (in the story) take away art sales from hard working artists trying to make it. I deal with a lot of art publishing companies and I know their assembly line mentality of hiring artists to make salable art pieces, but at what point is it just selling out? I just think that the american way always makes the consumer want goods for less...and less money...but what about quality or the value of the artist's name? I am very sensitive to this subject and I understand both sides. It is just when designers want cheap knock-offs that upsets me!

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know ann, i get upset too. i just want to make art, but corporations say they want it because it IS beautiful. i think that conservative art can be great too though. it is not like art has to be in company to be conservative. it can be a little wierd in a company, but the wierd part might have to be on theback side so only when it is being carried through the hallways can any one see the real true side of the art. the front of the painting it truly just a conservative front, to a crazy backside with all sorts of non-conservative stuff so that when the company gets with what is important, they can just turn the painting around and everyone will be happy and interested.

10:14 PM  
Blogger John Azoni said...

what bugs the heck out of me is on trading spaces or any of those home decorating shows when the designers take a blank canvas and just pour paint on it, or just take cheap house paint and slap a few brush strokes on it and call it "abstract". That irritates me so much. One lady was sooo thrilled to have "original doug something-or-other" art in her home. He's an interior decorator! not a painter! nobody knows who the heck he is! It just sucks that we're out there trying to make a name for ourselves and sell our art and people just take this idea of abstract painting to this whole new level of cheese with the attitude of "it's so EASY to make great art for real cheap!"

11:59 PM  
Anonymous leoqueen said...

I agree with you John...I watch those trading spaces shows, and enjoy them until they get to the "art" part to put the final finishing touches on the rooms. The art is no more important than the "water feature" , etc.

This comes in large part because many designers and architects dont want artists showing up THEIR handiwork....I cant tell you how many times my art dealer has had to tussle with architects for new large buildings who say that the building design is already enough, that the molding or the graphics built in already is enough and real art would be a 'disturbance'. This attitude goes all the way back to Frank LLoyd Wright, who didnt allow anything else in his homes but his work. Believe me, I'll bet he had a big laugh when he was commissioned to design the Guggenheim Museum! When you go there to look at art you are standing on a slight incline, and you sure cant back up to get a good look, or you will fall into the abyss in the middle!

My art dealer is persistant, though, and she convinces the consultants working with corporate situations to purchase art done by professional artists...and when they are installed, everyone is happy because the work just MAKES the buildings! And the workers love the art.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous dETROITfUNK said...

I think our very young society is rapidly racing towards trying to be a pure Capitalist state, and that process is wholey incompatible with any type of true art.

The Revolution must come from the grass roots.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous topher said...

I wouldnt blame the capatalist group. I see the trading spaces concept as more socialistic. Meaning "everyone" can and should make art regardless of intent. A few weeks ago little lizzy (the little girl) had a big show at that bar. everyone loved it. Why does everyone hate asshats who slap crap together and hang it on a wall, ala trading spaces. i see no difference. God bless little izzy though. As for the capatalism and socialism stuff. Look I'm a republican and bought a fine limited edition silkscreen by a famous low brow artist for under $100. It is now worth almost $500 in only 6 short months. The same people on trading spaces and buying little izzy's art are gunna be tossing it out in 3 months without every getting a return in their investment.
Corporate art...i dont think its an issue. some of the best art in the world is owned by Corps. I would be proud to have my art part of a grand collection...AND GET PAID NICLEY FOR IT. Be carefull, as artists we are all prostitutes. Its just that some never get above the $2 crack hoe and few get to be the 2 grand a night escort.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous pacopez said...

Corporate Art is a slippery slope I think. There is some good and soul-less.. I remember being incredibly inspired by the Payne-Weber collection that was on show at the DIA in 97. Some corporations really go out to have great sincere collections. And some are a great service where otherwise nothing is happening and no one else is buying.

I agree there is a huge problem with interior decorators most of whom are over-priced middle people.
Many artists of all levels do not understand the control
designers have been able to excercise in the market over the last 10 years. Can artists afford having so many people above them in control? I think the art world has suffered badly for this.

Someone whom posed as a friend got me into his garage in Berkley as a studio space. It was heated and unused for years and he said he just wanted me to take advantage of the space at a time when I was in need of space and a transition.
As soon as I was to move in he raised the rent and started coming in un-announced all of the time.
When I asked him to stop this he refused to saying it was his garage! This and more continued..
I started noticing that his design work was incorporating more than ever superficial aspects of local detroit artists and my art. With his hard work put into his connections he was recieving great
comissions though his skill level and artistic experience was little.
Over the years he became cosy with the dean of CCS and got his family and friends teaching positions at CCS in illustration, interior design and sculpture! They hardly had any experience besides being capitalist creators of crap!!
The guy blatently stold ideas from my studio and incorporated them into his made-to-order art! Even a $5000.oo crucifix for a California church and this guy is an adamant athiest!! He stole the idea for the crucifix from a beautiful sculptural form I had saved from the trash in a cemetery and was keeping on the wall for inspiration.

The world is truely backwards right now. I wish more artists would take a stand in whatever humble or undercover way to heal
the art world. We need to restore our position of influence in society.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous cooper said...

Ok, what needs to be aknowledged is that there is a divide that occurs between "art" and "decoration." This divide is not nearly as simple as saying something is "corporate" or not. Even declaring something as "mass produced" is not a substantive criteria since some of the strongest (in my opinion)contemporary work happens to be print work.
The crux of the issue is really intent. If we want to go the "art is everything/everywhere" route I would argue that the art is not so much in the product of "decorative" work, but within the system/process itself. E.G. when there is an assembly line cranking out art that is mimicking a once original thought, the art is more in the marketing of this product than the actual product.

Its like this: If you buy a handmade oriental rug, you are buying a piece of art. If you buy some white stainmaster carpet, you are not buying art; the art is in marketing this and convincing you that you need this. The art is in product placement, advertising, and the salesman giving you his/her pitch. The art was in the original development that set the production process in motion.

So essentially I guess I am saying that NoVo arts is making decorations. The real art is in developing the idea and market for somethign like NoVo arts. Its like systemic preformance art. Sort of hilarious and disgusting.

ch

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giclees are sell-outs too.

4:32 PM  
Blogger RichardTScott said...

Hi, I actually worked for Novo Arts simply out of the the necessity to pay the bills right after I graduated with my MFA from the New York Academy. Marlaina Deppe, the owner of the company, proceeded to deride and condescend me throughout my freelance employment. Not only does she run a veritable sweat shop, but she insists that the work produced is the ugliest second-hand crap imaginable. She refuses to be professional and even refused to speak to me and now has decided that she won't pay me what was previously agreed upon, and now wants to pay me $7/hour. I didn't spend $40,000 on my education to be insulted, exploited and paid like a Wal-Mart employee. Jeff Koons treats his employees better!

Here's the whole story, Novo Arts Exploitation

4:41 PM  

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