To me it seems as though a lot of this... this work is people who are scared to live a life in the first place. Incredibly unradical people who play a game of a radical life within very safe confines of some Kunsthalle or other museum in Germany or France.
- Gavin Brown, gallerist, The Gavin Brown enterprise, about artists related to "relational aesthetics".
The quote comes from a film by Ben Lewis called "Relational Art: Is It an Ism?" (2004).
What I like about the film is that it's (sometimes) funny and doesn't fuss around.
What irritated me though was that beyond the humor I kept feeling a bitterness I despise. So when we discover in the film that Ben Lewis used to make art (with vegetables) and then decided he wasn't good at it and stopped, Lewis' slightly too aggressive attempts to ridicule the artists he talks about become, well, put into context. I would love to see the rest of the Art Safari series to see if it's juat the case of this episode, or is this the "intelligent irony" we should expect in every episode. (correction: I just realized I had seen an episode with Sophie Calle. And it's pretty much the same thing).
But then... I found this famous article of his about the art world - "Who Put the Con in Contemporary Art?" which basically claims it's all an evil world, a clique that only wants profits. And although I agree with some of the statements he is making, it's the tone that really discredits him. (The joker became the prophet!) Especially given he is publishing on the site of... the Saatchi Gallery!
The paintings, (which in my humble opinion are rather unrelated to the topic of relational aesthetics), are by Peter Doig, at the Gavin Brown enterprise. (They are here because of solitude, reflection, one's place in the world as an artist and a person. And skiing.)
The photo is by Ryan McGinley.