Monday, 13 February 2012


Art is not a supermarket of baked beans, even though Andy Warhol tried to make it so. To be real and to be enjoyed, it has to be done - in my mind - by the individual who had the original thought, not by an army of slaves. Personally, I really like the idea that the artist puts the paint on the canvas himself; that she did her own sewing, and that their ideas were their own.

Of course, this has been happening for years: all the major artists for centuries had schools, with other excellent artists working for them, under one so-called brand. Valasquez and Damien Hirst have both taken advantage of their public needing more art. But at least Velasquez did the tricky bits.

I have to feel for a piece - and so one of my favourites is by a young artist called Kirsten Glass. I bought it about ten years ago, and everybody asks me who painted it. Well, I know she did. All of it. I think it is one of her best works and I love its name: 'Voodoo Dolly'.  Another piece I love is a very large white elephant by Marc Quinn, which I bought at auction in order to aid the Indian pachyderms. I felt total passion and I still have it. But probably my biggest favourite is a 'Sensory Deprivation' white skull chair by Atelier Lieshout, which I look at every day.

Personally, I am of the belief that you only buy something when you have a coup de foudre. However stupid, however ridiculous, you must be in love and this must, like real love, not be attached to money or pedigree. It has to be entirely pure. I have never been taken in by fame or money, but I have heard more conversations with artists about real estate than anything else.  

The truth is, British artists and the art world in general have become rather bourgeois. And while I can forgive them this - because it is an epidemic - I find the crappy intellectual talk tedious.  Have you ever tried to decipher a catalogue about contemporary art? You will fall asleep in seconds.

I agree with Charles Saatchi who recently said that the art world was vulgar and full of hedge funders and Eurotrash. On the other hand, I know that he has sold to many a hedge funder and in so doing has turned the whole rotten cabbage on its head.

Actually, art works are being sold at huge prices because art is a reasonably safe place to put your money in. Money attracts money, so no wonder art has become used a passport for a social life.

I think Charles definitely had an intuitive eye and instinct which he then sold to the hedge funders with no imagination and packets of our cash. In the rush he, the artists, and in turn the money men, got consumed by greed and have enjoyed the power it brought to all of them.  But is it still art? That is the question?.

The answer is yes. And on top of that, out of nothing Mr Saatchi has made an industry with a few other clever men, among them Gagosian and Jay Jopling. This has had a rippling effect throughout the world.

That's not say that money should not be respected, or that a banker is less artistic than a gallery owner. Often the gallery owner sounds like a vegetable-seller and - let's face it - no one wanted to show Vincent Van Gogh and nobody bought his work. If a Eurotrash hedgie had invested in Vincent back then, I'm sure he would have been delighted.

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