ARTLURKER

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Michael Kimmelman Mot du Jour: Insiders/Outsiders

Unrelated digital photo courtesy of Rover, 2008

This weeks Mot du Jour is again courtesy of Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic of The New York Times, who generously sanctioned the use of his erudite verbalisms for the purposes of our deified feature. Thanks also to Amir Bar-Lev, award winning Director/Producer who worked with Michael to generate this text.

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Once you move away from commonly accepted standards then you move towards some other standards that have to be understood by a group of people– the patrons for this new kind of art. When this happens you immediately have an inside and an outside group, and the majority has to be outside otherwise there’s nothing particularly cool about being inside; that’s just in the nature of things. And finally when you move towards an art that is so ‘inside’ then you create a situation in which only those people who declare themselves to be experts are allowed, essentially, to tell you whether something is art or not. And I’ll give you an example: There’s really no difference between an Andy Warhol Brillo box and a Brillo box except that someone has decided to declare the Brillo box art. So most people look at it and say “Its a Brillo box.” But an art person says “Its art.” Now the fact is that the art in a certain sense resides in the declaration itself: the critic or artist, or critic and artist, and buyer and museum saying it is art is instantly going to be an alienating thing for most people. They’re going to say: “Well who are you to decide that’s art; its still a Brillo box! What makes it a work of art?” And it is that very fact that there is a group that declares itself the ones who get to choose that makes people feel, I think, bitter and resentful[.]

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Michael Kimmelman is Chief Art Critic of The New York Times. He is now based in Berlin, writing the ‘Abroad’ column for the Times on culture and society across Europe.

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For more information on Michael Kimmelman please visit: www.nytimes.com

8 Comments

  • I was there

    I fell it is important to note that the Brillo boxes in question were NOT actually Brillo boxes, they were skillfully and artistically rendered facsimilies of Brillo boxes. So there actually IS a big differance between an actual Brillo box and the Warhol rendition. I’m not sure if this has any bearing on the text but I thought I would just make this point.
    It was decades prior to this that the idea of the Ready Made and the assisted Ready Made was pioneered by Duchaump and Man Ray.
    But I digress the topic is Inside and Outside.
    It was Marx who said “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members” I feel this has more to do with the art world and the topic of Inside and Outside.

  • I was there

    I feel it is important to note that the Brillo boxes in question were NOT actually Brillo boxes, they were skillfully and artistically rendered facsimilies of Brillo boxes. So there actually IS a big differance between an actual Brillo box and the Warhol rendition. I’m not sure if this has any bearing on the text but I thought I would just make this point.
    It was decades prior to this that the idea of the Ready Made and the assisted Ready Made was pioneered by Duchaump and Man Ray.
    But I digress the topic is Inside and Outside.
    It was Marx who said “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members” I feel this has more to do with the art world and the topic of Inside and Outside.

  • Richard Haden

    From a hyper-realist point of view I would agree with “I was there”. Hyper-reality or its (ism) calls into question our ability to discern or our inability to distinguish reality from fantasy (or prop)
    The Brillo box is a simulacrum of the Brillo box. And both have content of a caustic nature but the original (authentic) formers content can rub out the other. The latter is packaged banality and exceeds the cost / value of the former…Marcel would have chosen the “Brillo” and Warhol chose the later facsimile of it’s container for he liked to make pretty things to sell…Marcel Duchamp’s gesture wanted to destroy Andy’s market but Warhol put his pop box back in it’s original package–the white cube of commerce.

    I will only post this once…my enter key does not stutter.

  • swampthing

    brillo schmillo.I actually held a warhol brillobox at holly solomon’s place. swamp loved andy but american modern is mostly disappointing. Rover is all about the ready-made. Iwasthere a-a-ain’t here now.

  • I was there

    Wow you held one?!
    you are cool.
    Regarding Kimmelman there will always be the art makers and the art writers. Those on the “inside” who make the stars shine and those on the “outside” who gaze up at the sky.

    I walked into Gavin Brown’s empty gallery once only to encounter a puddle of water on the floor. When I asked if the gallery was “inbetween” shows the bored looking gallery attendant pointed to the puddle and said the name of some obscure European artist.
    I laughed and exited the gallery in search of lunch.

  • Richard Haden

    The Art Makers and Art writers can be one and the same.

    Most art writers are press release writers…is it the turd on the cover that is truly out side. Or can I detect the faint smell of the scatological baring down on my olfactory…was it Warhol’s factory that was down wind of crtical thought or were we up wind barely old enough to be on either side…

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Michael Kimmelman Mot du Jour: Insiders/Outsiders