Lawrence Swan Ponders Art Market, Shit & Formaldehyde (Comic)

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Artist Lawrence Swan has started a new comic strip (or is it a graphic novel) titled Art Bum Comix.

The self-professed zen baptist & leftwing independent (I’m going by his Facebook profile here) has been sharing images from his sketch pad with some of us via Facebook. I found his latest addition (pictured above) a clever commentary on the art market today…though he also had this to say, I love his take on Damien Hirst:

People will go on making art, whether there is a market for art or not. Some people seem to think the market collapse could be good for art. “As has been true before,” Holland Cotter wrote in the NY Times, “a financial scouring can only be good for American art, which during the present decade has become a diminished thing.” But a lot of the art world commentary on the economy makes me think of a title of a German painting (who was it?) in the 80s that was something like “When the Bomb Falls the Easels Will Shake.” “It’s day-job time again in America, and that’s O.K. Artists have always had them,” Cotter writes. But almost all of the artists I know depend on day jobs already and now they, like almost everyone else, are worried about losing them.

Someone I know commented that Damien Hirst, by bypassing the dealers and taking his work directly to the auction house, screwed with the system and offered a “critique” of the market. He gamed the system, he didn’t critique it.

I’d argue that Bernie Madoff’s performance art was a more profound critique of the market itself, or made a critique unavoidable, by exposing our whole system as a pyramid scheme. On the other hand, aesthetically (and you may quote me on this), Hirst puts the “formal” back in formaldehyde.

Two words: FUCKIN’ HILARIOUS! I can’t wait for his next installment.

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