Monday, June 27, 2011

My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic: Everything you need to know about Art, Ads, Life, God and other Mysteries…And weren’t afraid to ask…ISBN 978-0-7148-5747-3, book report by craniv boyd.

My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic: Everything you need to know about Art, Ads, Life, God and other Mysteries…And weren't afraid to ask…ISBN 978-0-7148-5747-3, book report by craniv boyd.


I suspect that many artists, or current arts spectators, familiar with the name of the author of My Name is C……. S…… and I am an Artoholic, those who may not have met the reclusive Iraq born, and United Kingdom based, collector of Art made recently, in person, shall be intimidated at the prospect of reading utterances and aphorisms in interview format of a wealthy, living, visual arts patron. I for one was able to quickly set aside my own reticence and prejudice when I started this slender and portable tome from the Phaidon press, due to a combination of, Charles Saatchi's abrupt matter of fact answers to the queries posed, and the graphic layout of the book, unobtrusive application of the modernist Swiss classic, Helvetica san serif type.


This book happens to be good.


Charles Saatchi writes in a conversational manor that reads much like banter from Oscar Wilds novel. As readers we can gather that the author likes artworks, artists, Art critics, Art Dealers, and Art collectors. The Author talks of the lived experience of collecting recently completed art works from the stand point of a man who has been doing such since the nineteen seventies. The author transports readers, in the form of an off the cuff anctecdote, to the basement South of Houston work space, that Italian born Art Dealer Anina Nosei, furnished the at the time of occurrence twenty years old J.M. Basquiat with. Saachi, offers the vantage of an art collector who failed to purchase the works then in nineteen eighty one priced wholesale at five hundred dollars per Canvass, because he thought the work to be overtly derivative. The author also recounts another studio visit with a New York painter active during the same decades.


Saatchi writes of visiting J. Schnabel's working environs prior to that painter's breakthrough works with shattered crockery. He speaks of how the artist's sense of conviction that preceded five years of brilliant painting that J. Schnabel, subsequently created. Saatchi then muses that a major New York City museum should bring Julian's works from that time (1979 -1984 I assume) together for a significant retrospective and that some such top tier Manhattan art institution should not wait until the artist has departed to do so. I was in firm agreeance when reading those words of Saatchi in that there book of his. So I am asking rhetorically to: Please give the early paintings of Julian Schnabel, one of the most visually productive and generous alumni of the Whitney Independent Study Program, a New York Museum exhibition. Not to do so would be to deprive, New Yorkers, from one of their most courageous and protean art visions. It is somehow a rather obscene redaction, not to have early Julian Schnabel paintings on public view in New York City, why excise third or fourth generation expressionism from the timeline of newly created art?


This book just happens to be quite artist friendly.


By the term artist as used in this book, one could apply the definition to those few individuals working with painting, sculpture and perhaps maybe tentatively installation. People who fabricate artworks, art objects, from the responses that are collected in this book from Phaidon, readership could have a rather light time of seeing that Charles Saatchi is sympathetic towards artworks, and the artists who make them. He shares a conservative perception of what art is, in common with duopolies, occasionally dueling, sometimes colluding Blue chip auction houses, Christies and Soetheby's, video-art, installations or æsthetics á la N. Bauriaud, are all types of art production that have, as yet, to establish their respective presences, in the evening sales that are often written about in headlines, of the developed world's leading and trusted News Papers. So for the "geniuses" out there working with oil on canvass or rotting bovine carcass encased in glass, you may potentially have, in Charles Saatchi, one of the converted to preach to, of your own genius so to speak. However Saatchi makes clear that his is interested in what an artist has to say insofar as they are able to communicate it with their art.


Dispelling myths and rumors.


As art collector, Saatchi, is quick to abdignate the imagined power he is believed to hold, as being or having "made" or conversely broken careers of artists. The practice of "dumping" or selling art works én masse, is an action, some people believe, adversely affects the market value of a work of art, applying a like rubric of Bond, Stock or Bean Futures sales, to value in artwork. Saatchi claims that his sale of seven S. Chia paintings or sales of S. Scully paintings to other collectors or art dealerships had in no way hampered the value of either artists work, or their career trajectories rather. In the instance of Sandro Chia, Saatchi, postulates that the artist himself possessed a need for public rejection. The comments imply that the actions of singular art collector purchasing versus reselling, have no bearing on the temperature of an artist, art patrons, are not rainmakers, figuratively speaking. Both answers to an interview question represent a kind of anti economist or anti trend forecasting approach that Saatchi as a collector of new art possesses. In this place as in others, over the course of the book, the author is keen to mention the importance or rather autonomy of artworks themselves influencing their reception in favor of the tool chest of that all too recent science of economics. A sale, a resale or value of a painting or sculpture is in the work itself. For Saatchi the result of a sale of an artwork depends more on if the artwork its self is quality, he demotes himself from the mythical stature of wealthy collector altering the destinies of art makers, by taking yet another occasion to emphasise that what he is interested in, is that which lasts, chiefly art works.   


A decider of sorts.


Saatchi mentions how choosing and selecting and trusting ones own eye is important in becoming an art collector. Saatchi refers to which art works he responds to personally, in making a decision, the middle men of art advisers are out of the picture for him, he claims he needs no self invented expert to inform him which artwork by whom are hot and purchase in-hopes of a return on initial price, he keeps things simple buying that art work which he likes, because he likes it, predicting the future or viewing art work as an "investment" are for Charles Saatchi, reassuringly, boring. by craniv boyd.  

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