Discover

Disillusioned

May the Unnoticed Remain So

The Gagosian Doesn’t Want you to See this Image.

There is a big silver-grey painting, or perhaps a piece of metal, that could be mistaken for a carpet covering the back wall. There is a pink walrus on a low plinth. There is a scrap metal sculpture on a pedestal around the corner. Two women are cleaning the art fair booth. One, on the right, holds a vacuum cleaner hose and looks with a faint smile at her colleague who is on her hands and knees cleaning and invisible spot on the grey floor.

Though the gallery had initially consented to their participation in a photo shoot by DIS Magazine, Gagosian Gallery subsequently refused to permit the showing of this image in the context of the Frieze Art Fair. This prompts us to question what the motivation for this act of censorship, never explained, really was. What follows is speculation:

Since the Gallery chose this particular triangulation of pink walrus, scrap metal assemblage and silver carpet/painting/metal sheet, we can assume that it was not the reproduction of this constellation of things that proved contestatory in the eyes of the most profitable gallery in the world.

If not those three, we will have to assume there was something about the two women that proved undesirable for Gagosian. Was it their mere presence, as people in an environment of objects, that provoked their banishment? Or was it their presence as woman, women of color to be precise? Or was it their occupation as cleaners that was so upsetting? Or was it, finally, some combination of all three?

The art market is an object world. The buyer is presented with white walls and objects as clean as if they emerged out of those very surfaces. But this walrus, silver hung square and metal heap would not be as desired without certain unseen, but nevertheless crucial people:

The “people” the art market favors thinking about is the lone artist toiling in his studio. The artists assistants that typically contribute to the production of artworks with Gagosian price tags are much less favorably thought of–or rather, they are not thought of at all. Then there is the dealer’s side of things. A private equity art aficionado decides to buy art particularly when it is sold by Larry Gagosian. This is why the man’s name is on the door and why it is less interesting to think of the 150+ staffers of Gagosian Gallery (let us also, as an aside, assume that it was not Larry Gagosian himself who made this particular judgment call, but rather one of his minions who–perhaps fearing reprisal from the boss or a potential drop in prestige and, subsequently, sales prices–was behind this specific act of iconoclasm.)

Far behind the artists assistants and the dealer’s minions are a slew of people who are employed to keep up appearances and therefore must remain especially invisible. Should they finally be seen, after all, buyers risk remembering that this is just a shopping mall like any other; that unwanted objects always gather dust after a while; that people earning minimum wage do in fact interact with priceless things; that people are not always white like gallery walls; and that walruses are not in fact ever pink.

See more from Fair Trade

Recent Posts

DISmiss presents Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is one of the few living artists people call legendary without hesitation. Since the late ‘60s, the avant-garde provocateur has helmed a wildly prolific career as a groundbreaking performance artist, inventor of industrial music, writer, confrontational thinker, and “wrecker of civilization,” as deemed by Parliament upon P-Orridge’s eight-year exile from Britain in the early ‘90s. Few words are profound enough to match the astounding story of such a shapeshifting radical, someone who has,… [read more »]

All That is Solid Melts into Airbnb

Last Tuesday, feelings of curiosity, enthusiasm, and skepticism surrounding Airbnb filled the Swiss Institute for a night of discussion on the app’s relationship to architecture. Consisting of Alessandro Bava (Airbnb Pavilion), legendary designer and architect Andrea Branzi (via video projection), Airbnb representatives Rachael Yu and Aaron Taylor Harvey (who tried to avoid being perceived as representatives), and moderated by Sean Monahan (K-HOLE) — the event was almost predestined to provoke spontaneous architectural theories. If one… [read more »]

So So In Luv | “1+0nly”

Since announcing the lineup for the third installment of DIS Magazine on London’s Rinse FM, one name has got people scratching their heads. Here on DIS, So So In Luv present their debut single “1+ Only”!  The track is a romantic but aggressive declaration of affection with an impressive array of sound design. Listen to the brand new track below. So So In Luv will be performing tonight alongside Onika and MssingNo at a live broadcast of… [read more »]

Fixed Agency | Private(i)

Fixed Agency is a multidisciplinary art collective working at the intersection of participatory performance and interactive technologies. Consisting of Isaac Eddy, Peter Musante, Rachael Richman, Eva von Schweinitz & Alessandra Calabi, FA is a Visiting Artist at BLDG 92 / The Brooklyn Navy Yard, where they developed Private(i) — a site-specific experience set in the year 2020, where privacy has ceased to exist. Marvin Jordan: I had the chance to attend your first production of… [read more »]

Siblings Gino and Leslie make plop art cute — one public sculpture at a time.

Gino & Leslie are New Jersey-based siblings with a passion for sculpture. Or, more accurately, a passion for having their photos taken in front of publically accessible sculptures. Ranging from Josephine Meckseper’s temporary installation ‘Manhattan Oil Project’ to a small Tau Beta Pi honor society sculpture in the garden at NYU. Jumping on a ~*future_trend*~ prior to the ArtSelfie phenomenon, these sibs turn public art into destinations for their self-directed adventure.     The sibling’s… [read more »]

Meet DeSe, the ALTimate Kardashian

The long-lost Kardashian sis No.6 and New York City’s One-In-A-Million-Angel is ready to pack her bags and take the world by storm. Come read about the doll!! “Everything is better with a K,” Kim Kardashian told Harper’s Bazaar in 2011. I’ma let you finish, but that was four years ago. Today, everything is better with a De. As in DeSe, as in Mz DeSe Bae Escobar—the long-lost #AltKardashian sister No.6 and living epitome of a… [read more »]

R. B. Schlather | Alcina

In the wake of the historic closing of New York City Opera last year and the intense labor disputes at the Metropolitan Opera in August — which threatened to shut down their entire season — what does the future hold for opera? This weekend at the Whitebox Art Center, opera director R. B. Schlather will be presenting a theatric installation of Handel’s Alcina that formally poses an alternative to opera’s predominant yet struggling economic conditions.… [read more »]

Where are the female networks in the art world?

If the art world isn’t talking about it, Anicka Yi wants to bring it up! Her new podcast Lonely Samurai is a space to rekindle dialogue around contemporary social, economic and art world issues. In the inaugural episodes she talks to a range of prominent thinkers –from practicing artists and art collectors, to a master perfumer, to an intellectual property lawyer– and everyone brings a different P.O.V. In What Was Collaboration, the first episode of… [read more »]

Bruce Smear | “Junktion”

Introducing Bruce Smear! A New York-based producer with more gripping pop energy than a Sprite celebrity basketball tournament. We were lucky enough to get a premiere and free download of his brand new track “Junktion” off of his forthcoming EP. We also sat down with Smear to find out how he keeps his music so lively. Chlorine EP: 1. Intro 2. Pick & Roll 3. Junktion 4. Touchy 5. Rodeo The EP has some subtle… [read more »]

Discerning the Darkness: Wyatt Niehaus’s  ‘Lights Out’

“In post-Fordism, there exists a permanent disproportion between ‘labor time’ and the more ample ‘production time.’” — Paolo Virno1 Lights Out, Wyatt Niehaus’s first solo show, was held last Saturday evening at Retrospective Gallery, the relatively new venture between Joel Mesler and Zach Feuer (opening in January of this year). The space was filled with temporary transplants from New York City and the surrounding area, feeling like an emptied out Soho loft, a facade broken… [read more »]