When is art not really art?

15 things you should know about art

15 things you should know about art

Why is the "Balloon Dog" worth $ 58 million? Are you allowed to laugh at him? Everyone is talking about contemporary art, but what is really important? PETRA author Jürgen Ziemer explains

1 HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE GOOD ART?

If a work shines too perfectly, critics usually consider it kitsch. On the other hand, even a layperson often realizes that, for example, a folk high school watercolor “sunset” cannot possibly be art. And that's usually how it is. “Art should look like art and at the same time like non-art in order to be recognized as art,” claims theoretician Boris Groys. The artist can only resolve this contradiction if he stops working on time. Less is usually more!

Jeff Koons is currently the most expensive living artist, his "Balloon Dog" has just been auctioned for 58.4 million dollars. The buyers of such works are often internet billionaires, investment bankers or real estate tycoons. Many people want to show off their own wealth and taste. There are already a dozen luxury limousines in the garage - why not buy a famous painting that is as expensive as the apartment in which it hangs?

A picture by the graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat achieved an increase in value of almost 100 percent at an auction last year. Tempting, isn't it? However, it would have taken almost $ 50 million to bid - plus enough change for insurance, transport and safe storage. If you love art and occasionally buy something affordable, with a little luck you can experience an increase in value on a small scale. However, the risk on the stock market is lower.

4 IS EVERYTHING ALLOWED IN ART?

No. As for freedom in art, Ai Weiwei is the most prominent example of authoritarian governments' attempts to circumcise artists.

But even with us there are limits. They have less to do with criticism of the regime than with criminal law and youth law. Notorious was the Viennese action artist Otto Muehl, who died last year, who wanted to break the boundaries between art and life. He provoked with feces, blood and intestines and was sentenced in the nineties to seven years in prison for “sexual intercourse with minors, fornication and rape”.

5 CAN YOU LEARN ART?

“Art is neither learnable nor teachable. Art arises from their instinct. The beings who speak of the teachability of art are either followers, mediocre or, at best, dictators, ”asserts the artist Jonathan Meese. Perhaps art schools will at least prepare their talents for life as an artist - and teach them how to assert themselves in the tough commercial world of the art market without having to bend over.

6 WHAT IS CURRENTLY THE MOST IMPORTANT ART TREND?

The German Pop Art artist Jim Avignon has a clear opinion on this: “Street Art. Which I find pretty boring, however. Many people think of Banksy, but he is more of an exception. Street art is now less of a name for art that takes place on the street than a trend that is easy to sell. You want to appeal to a young audience, that's why everything is very flashy and trendy. There are an incredible number of skulls in neon colors, and Stefan Strumbel, one of the shooting stars of the scene, paints cuckoo clocks in bright colors. And unfortunately that is the level on which street art predominates. "

7 CAN I COLLECT ART WITH LITTLE MONEY?

“Yes,” believes Jim Avignon, who always makes sure that there are pictures for less than 100 euros at his exhibitions. “But you have to see a lot, know a lot and definitely have your own opinion and taste. It's worth buying unknown artists in small galleries. ”Film tip: The documentary“ Herb & Dorothy ”(via amazon.de) tells the story of two former municipal employees who have made an enormous collection.

8 WHY ARE ARTISTS OFTEN SO Eccentric?

Because we expect them to. While many people are stuck in the mechanisms of a 9-to-5 job, artists are supposed to lead a life full of freedom, creativity and debauchery. That's a cliché, of course, but one that the artists themselves like to fall for. The stylization of one's own life can also become an important part of a work. The best example is Gilbert & George, who have been presenting themselves as living works of art since the sixties.

9 CAN ANIMALS PAINT?

In 2012, London's Grant Museum of Zoology hosted the first exhibition of animal art, especially elephants and great apes. The chimpanzee Congo - obviously an avant-garde who was ahead of his time - was painting in front of the BBC's live cameras as early as the 1950s. Congo often had several canvases in front of him and would get angry if a carer took a picture from him before it was finished.

Art is an attempt to show and understand the world. In the beginning, cave paintings were sufficient, later battle paintings were in demand. The more complex society became, the more advanced technology and possibilities, the more abstract and artificial the art became. So-called ready-mades (works of art that are made from found everyday objects or waste) such as the famous urinal by Duchamp reflect industrialization. Concept art puts the idea above the execution. But it's always about a radical confrontation with the present.

11 WHAT ACTUALLY DOES A CURATOR DO?

The word comes from the Latin "curare" and means to groom or to worry. So a curator takes care of exhibitions. This ranges from organizational tasks to the selection of the individual exhibits. Good taste, knowledge and a feeling for trends are essential. A curator is a DJ for art, the exhibition is his mix. The Berlin Klaus Biesenbach made it to the "Chief Curator at Large" at the New York MoMA.

12 CAN YOU LAUGH AT ART?

Bad if it weren't for that. When Martin Kippenberger was badly beaten once in 1980, he overwritten a photo showing him with a bandage and a badly swollen face with the title: "Dialogue with the youth". Banksy is almost always funny actually. Under the motto "Sirens of the Lambs", the street artist sent a cattle truck through New York's Meatpacking District. There was a lot of mooing and bleating from the transporter, but there were no sad pigs looking out, but cute stuffed animals.

13 WHAT ROLE DO WOMEN PLAY IN ART?

The most influential person in the art world at the moment is a woman: Sheikha Al-Majassa bint Hamad bin Chalifa al-Thani can spend a billion dollars a year as head of the museum authority of the Emirate of Qatar. The British art magazine "Art Review" therefore selected her at the top of its "Power 100" list, in which artists such as Marina Abramovic and Cindy Sherman also occupy top places. Nevertheless, it is still mostly men who set the tone. Still.

14 WHAT'S THE IMPRESSION OF COLLECTING?

We asked the musician Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music), who is a passionate collector: “Before I landed on the music scene, I studied art with the pop artist Richard Hamilton. I've been collecting since the late seventies, and that's a big part of my life. I've always enjoyed spending money on art. The financial market, with its stocks and shares, has never interested me. I also don't own a Ferrari or a boat. But I love painting, especially the works created between 1915 and 1920. These are not insanely expensive works compared to the contemporary art market. But they are beautiful pictures that you can live with. And I've been doing that for over 30 years. "

15 WHY DOES ART ALSO SUCK?

The journalist and author Nicole Zepter explains: “My book, Art Hassen‘ is the reaction to a widespread, almost religious worship: We believe in art like in Santa Claus and let us tell too much about it. Art has become a cliché. Much of what is produced in the studios is still great. Just what is shown and how it is shown makes me angry. You don't have to hate art, but the complacent institutions and the for-profit art business. Because they mostly produce boredom. ”(“ Hating Art - A Disappointed Love ”by Nicole Zepter, Tropen, 144 pp., 12 euros)