Ras le bol de Warhol! (Part 2)

Following up on yesterday’s post, here are a few words on the consequences that can be directly or indirectly  imputed to M. Warhol.

Unfortunately, pop art continues to influence entire swathes of contemporary art. The sad success of Takashi Murakami, who was recently exhibited in Versailles, gives credence to this theory. The Japanese “Neo-Pop” artist has the ambition to show to what extent mass entertainment and consumerism have determined a puerile regression of culture in Japan and the rest of western world. His theory of superflat mixes “top” and “bottom” culture, although it rather seems to introduce “bottom” culture to the “top”. You can see the introduction of the manga culture in the arts as the same as the introduction of comic strips and industrialisation in painting by pop artists. His atelier Kaikai Kiki producing Kawai (cute) products is even more efficient than Warhol’s factory.

But the case of Murakami is an even more conquering one than Warhol as people are used to the japanese manga aesthetics since their childhood. His success is due to low expectations: his work might tackle the infantilisation of society, but it does not do anything other than to expone it, with out offering any elements of analysis.  There lies the rub.

Even more than at Warhol times, television pre-determines people’s sense of aesthetics. Television and internet format people who are used to images which are too easy to decipher, with very brief argumentation and a narrative rhythm that allows no time out. An aesthetics that is found in a lot of contemporary art practices, which leaves no time for questioning, use colours in a functional way, renew sequences permanently. This is blatant at the Venice Biennale, which resembles more a theme park for smart educated adults than a challenging vision of art. This prefabricated aesthetics does not prepare people to observe and to analyse a work of art.

The proliferation of images on the internet, the immediacy of chatting and the habit of click and scrolling down will certainly not improve this aesthetic conditioning. It is possible to avoid taking an interest in Koons (or Hirst, or Murakami), but this requires taking a certain distance towards mainstream art trends. Instead why not getting in an interest in young artists, follow the work of young curators who are there to choose and stage talents while recontextualising them. Aiming at reestablishing aesthetic judgement and deepening of thinking instead of sensationalist unchallenging art.

This is what Ponyhof Gallery strives to counter. We created Ponyhof to have a quality online gallery. All the other online galleries I came across are like supermarket of art, putting next to each other like on Amazon works of artists, without selection, without thoughts or vision behind. We want to encourage people to look at art, neither to quickly click on it nor scroll it away. And we want people to take an interest in young emerging artists who have a vision and produce a coherent work, rather than give in to reproductions or unchallenging commercial art.

Liv Vaisberg


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