There’s so much to scratch one’s head over in this interview with Lucien Smith. It’s not clear whether the Times is glossing Smith’s own comments when it says he has created a new website to list all of his works to “subvert the gallery system that profits on the illusion of limited supply” or whether that’s simply the Times’s over-eager spin.
Then there’s the straight-faced assertion that moving to Montauk is somehow getting away from the art world, its pressures and expectations. (Montauk!?)
Finally, Smith now seems to want to suggest the news of his “retirement” was a rumor generated by others.
No matter. The website is worth taking note of and is more likely to generate sales than discourage them:
Why did you want to start this website? And why now?
Really, what started this was thinking about the amount of work that I’ve produced, and how there wasn’t a cohesive way to get it all together. I started getting more independent from the galleries and adopting my own art systems, and I thought this experience should be more available to everyone. It’s always going to be a work in progress. Everything I’ve made since college is on that website.
When you say separate from the galleries that represent you, what do you mean?
There was a lot of stuff happening last year: mentions of what my father said on the internet, and my personal life, and how much money my works were reaching at auctions. Work that I was making when I was 21 was on the cover of Sotheby’s catalogues. That pissed a lot of people off, but that’s an accomplishment. I have to say that it’s an accomplishment. I reached a point when I was independent financially and I was able to take a step back. I was producing work like a madman—I wanted to be this “superartist,” and I saw artists going down that road, and I didn’t want that anymore. I wanted to find a more honest approach to making art. That’s why I say independence. Being that age and having that much attention, I was misled a few times, and still learning lessons.
Lucien Smith Refocuses On Art Amid the Spectacle (T/The New York Times)