Dash Snow represents one pole of the artist’s identity: the radical outsider up-ending and commenting on the shibboleths of the world. But that idea of what an artist is–or can do–is a product of Romanticism. Peter Aspden tries to explore the other pole in his Financial Times story on the soon-to-open Pop Life show. First, Aspden sets up the image of Jackson Pollock being venerated in the famous 1949 issue of Time magazine as the heroic, bohemian artist:
Warhol turned that image on its head. “Rather than the bohemian outsider, he became an infiltrator and decided to grapple with modern life in its own terms,” says Cullinan. Warhol’s fame, rather than an embarrassment, became a principal theme of Warhol’s art.
This radical move gives the forthcoming show its intellectual ballast. The post-Warhol era became the ultimate repudiation of the Romantic idea – to which we are still absurdly wedded – of the lone artist battling pennilessly outside the system to provide transcendent observations on a world in which he will never play a part.
Rather than see this as art’s sell-out, says Cullinan, it is more of a move back towards the practice of Renaissance workshops, which discouraged the cult of the individual, and emphasised detached, precise craftsmanship above all else. “In some ways we have come full circle,” he says. The Romantic idea is a very modern invention. But tortured genius is old hat.”
The article goes on to make a case for Koons’s sincerity and Murakami’s perfectionism in embracing high production standards along with low-culture imagery and ideas.
Exhibition’s Look at Art and Money (Financial Times)