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 www.carpetcleaningpenarth.net

Recent Posts

Dog Plays | Hayley Silverman

Hayley Silverman’s “Dog Plays,” an ongoing series in which a cast of untrained dogs take on the role of characters from a range of pop-culture texts, disrupt the canon of identities traditionally represented in Hollywood as they are re-inhabited by animals. Calling on artifacts ranging from Richard Linklater films, to science-fiction thrillers, to Depression-era musicals that rhapsodize class difference, these performances investigate how our understanding of narrative, authority and identity transforms when we project stories,… [read more »]

A poem by Ser Serpas

ripped apart you rip me apart collage million dead collage donde queda mi cuerpo el temporal como dios en mil partes clothing as point of impact a totem is a wrap around a city as it is engagement with one’s surroundings and engagement with that which has been worn out discarded and filtered into alms buckets and newly tagged i wear my surroundings on my feet when it wears out i see only my vantage… [read more »]

DISCREET Call for Participants

DISCREET – An Intelligence Agency for the People The 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art invites you to apply for one of fifteen spaces open to individuals interested in taking an active part in a three-week-long public workshop conceived of by Armen Avanessian and Alexander Martos for the formation and development of a civil secret service organization. Held from June 22 to July 11, 2016, the workshop brings together renegade experts from art, theory, technology,… [read more »]

Parent and Parroting | Nancy Lupo

Each year retail displays are readied in preparation for the gestation and labor of the catch-all holiday season before floating into a colorless postnatal celebration of mundane plenty. Capitalism’s sympathetic pregnancy makes for a cold and lifeless pas de deux, at times humorously inseparable from the vitality of social milestones. In Parent and Parroting, Nancy Lupo continues with a series of interventions into commercial products and industrialized food. Her interferences often reveal or reconfigure the… [read more »]

Telfar and White Castle | FW16

No ATM for time — seeking the sublime of brown. Black. White. Tonight. Back. Amen. (Excerpt from a Telfar-inspired poem by Jamie Richardson, the Vice President of White Castle. Written on a hamburger carton.) After a rabidly loud party crusade at America’s most iconic fast food chain restaurant last fall, fashion designer Telfar Clemens has become the king of White Castle once again. To celebrate the FW16 ‘Tricolor’ collection, he brought the Telfar squad back… [read more »]

The Speculative Time-Complex | Armen Avanessian & Suhail Malik

The following is an excerpt from the Introduction to the Post-Contemporary Issue to be launched in April. The issue is edited by Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik, with contributions by Benjamin Bratton, Elena Esposito, Victoria Ivanova, Laboria Cuboniks, Aihwa Ong, David Roden, Nick Srnicek & Alex Williams. Armen Avanessian: Time is changing. We are not just living in a new time or accelerated time, but time itself — the direction of time — has changed.… [read more »]

Eckhaus Latta | A/W 2016 @ PS1

For Autumn / Winter 2016 Eckhaus Latta produced their most mature collection to date and did so without diluting many of their signature motifs, their close ties to the art world, and their resistance to stereotypes such as notions of an ideal body, rigid gender, race, or the fetishization of youth. Taking place within the VW Dome in the courtyard of PS1 MoMA rather than the more traditional venues of New York Fashion Week, Eckhaus… [read more »]

Starting everywhere, ending nowhere, spreading like wildfire: Telfar SS16

For SS16 TELFAR continued to refine and expand his core practice of taking what is most utterly normal in American style — and doubling down. The result is a speculative wardrobe for the future-present: a style-fi uncanny precisely because it’s so familiar. In this video TELFAR teams up with art-collective-cum-anime-miniseries culturesport, creating an in-world advertisement in which Telfar Clemens himself plays a young designer fighting corporate backers not only over the use of his name,… [read more »]

Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé | Curated by Timur Si-Qin at Andrea Rosen Gallery

Organized by Timur Si-Qin at Andrea Rosen Gallery, the group exhibition Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé (Changing Woman) is an ambitious display of varying capabilities of artistic production. In the world Si-Qin constructs, the artist is not only a regenerative creative force like the mythic namesake of the exhibition, a central figure within Navajo mythology who grows old each winter and is young again come spring, but also an architect looking at extant forms of culture in order… [read more »]

Sonic identity politics with Christine Sun Kim

The social conditioning of deaf people constitutes Christine Sun Kim’s inquiry into the anthropogenic definitions of sound. As a sound artist born without the ability to hear, Kim investigates the sonic as a form of capital, and the currencies it formats in social, cultural, and political life. A former artist-in-residency at the Whitney Museum, she has compared American Sign Language and music in TED talks and was featured in MoMA’s Greater New York, cutting through… [read more »]