Let’s just get one thing straight. Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin Chess Set was voted Best Sculpture by Artinfo.com at Art Basel Miami. Really? Now, usually I’m not one to put a work like this down, but this is design, Artinfo, are you being serious? I mean, it’s pretty. But is it sculpture?

Sure, it’s a sexy bit of retro-future 60′s Pop, with a hint of Barbarella mixed with Fantasia, and if I had the money and a large, white cube house that could fit a small Afghani village, sure, I’d buy it. Hell, if Ikea sold a version of the chess set for $150 then yeh, definitely. Maybe.
And Yayoi I want you to know that this ain’t personal. But my beef is the fact that though your work is voted best sculpture, there are other, lesser-known artists being rejected on a daily basis precisely for being “too design.” And here you are, a blue chipper, coasting along and whether or not you know it, rubbing it in the face of all of those talents making beautifully sculpted works of art that speak more to the natural, material and social world, than those perverse, whacked out psychedelic objects of desire made especially for the art glitterati.
But it gets worse.
Artinfo gives Martha Rosler “a special shout out” for “injecting some much-needed anger into the fair” with works from her “House Beautiful Bringing the War Back Home, New Series”. Again, nothing against Rosler; her work looked great in the recent Istanbul Biennial, but only because it came from the period in which the artist was at her most visceral – during the Vietnam War. Her newer works are flat, removed, and, well, elementary.

And the worst thing about this work? The people at Art Basel Miami probably know full well what is happening in the world “out there” but they just don’t give a shit. I mean, Artinfo can’t even articulate the anger expressed in this image and yet are happy to give a shout out to Rosler for expressing it. Whatever “it” is. It keeps things relevant, you see.
Well done, Martha! A gold art star for you!
What these two works show is the state of contemporary art as it stands: the production of playthings for the rich by brand names, and the sorry attempts at staying topical by the Art World’s fashionable market-army keen on the value-raising kudos. Ay me. It’s a shabby, shabby Art World that is becoming shabbier and shabbier by the day. So shabby in fact, even Charles Saatchi had a swipe at it. A typical Saatchi move, and just more evidence of how bad things really are.
If The Crisis still hasn’t quite managed to break the Art World yet, at least we can now be sure of its moral bankruptcy.
Maybe it’s time to Occupy it.

-via themalcontessa.wordpress.com