View Full Version : Global credit crunch and art?
12-11-2007, 06:12 AM
With the 'global credit crunch', I was wondering what effect does this have on culture and art?
I dont mean on sales of artists but I mean in individual and collective
'zeitgheist', cliched word.
I mean in the end of the 80s, mainstream largely consisted of in my opinion 'vulgar' fashion and music. OK ok, some of it was admitedly good in a cheesy sort of way.
Then as the last credit crisis that effected the mainstream in US and UK at least, people moved away from that and 'grunge' and 'new age' became more fashionable with the 'sheeple' as a majority realised they didnt have as much money as they though, or worse.
Perhaps something like this may happen again? Im not too concerned either way but thought it was an interesting trend.
With visual art, I cannot see a similar pattern, perhaps its less fickle?
In the 80s it seemed to be concept art, 90s too, please enlighten me if I am incorrect though, it would be interesting to know....
I may have a distorted view of this as I was 16 when grunge was in vogue, I wasnt into that so as I prefered the Pixies.
First, visual art is the result of individual artists making stuff. And, while the most famous ones are grouped into "trends" by capitalism, for its own reasons, the type of art being made at any given time is always of an infinite variety of styles, levels of quality, and saleability.
Just because Jeff Koons sells a sculpture for $50 million, you, or Glenn, or Evaldart do not all rush out to make similar work. Oh, sure, a few recent MFA's try, but without the $20,000,000 investment in fabrication, they fall far short. Instead, the vast majority of artists just keep on doing what they have always done- make the art thats inside em.
I would hazard to say that in every single era, you could find tens, if not hundreds, of great artists who not only dont follow the prevailing "trend", but are down right oblivious to it.
So to posit a connection between trends in marketing and the great art being made at any time- it just aint there. And marketing, you must remember, has only one purpose- to sell crap. It has nothing to do with the interesting music, fashion, film, writing, or art of its time. It may steal the easiest to digest surface bits, but it never gets at the core of things.
Secondly, I would say your history of music is somewhat lacking.
Grunge started in my home town, Seattle, in the early 80's, as a backlash against some of the trite, overly commercialised pap you limey's sent us- things like Flock of Seagulls and Human League, as well as homegrown monstrostities like the Eagles.
The bands young Kurt Cobain adored and wanted to be like, Green River, The U Men, Tad, Gas Huffer, and, of course, the Pixies, were all anti-commercial, DIY, attempts to break free of the orthodox lockstep of hardcore punk, while still retaining the punk ethos of sex, drugs, and revolution.
Cobain himself admitted lifting several hooks directly from the Pixies- he was a bigger fan than you were. And he saw his music as quite similar to them, and indebted to them as well.
Sure, Grunge was commercialised, and bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam took it in an arena rock direction, but they came later and were pale imitations of the original fire.
If you look at the continuium of non-commercial music, from the 60's thru the New York Dolls, Punk, Grunge, Jungle and Techno, you see distinct threads and influences, where the Pixies are very close indeed to many of the Seattle bands, where Frank Black and David Thomas of Pere Ubu are close friends, and MIA does a mashup of the Pixies and Joy Division. Its all connected, and everybody influences everybody in music. New Folkie Devandra Barnhart plays with jazz-trance improvisers SunBurnedHandoftheMan, or Micheal Giro from the Swans.
The car adverts want you to think Grunge, or Garage, or Trance, are little discreet objects they can buy or sell- but really, its a lot more complicated, incestous, and, well, human, than that.
And better, obviously.
12-11-2007, 10:48 AM
Sorry my history of music is lacking, im not really into that kind of music anymore and prefer jazz, modern classical and classical and would prefer to learn more about the history of that.
I didnt have much time for grunge when I was younger although I knew some of it was influenced by the Pixies.
I think if you live in society, you are influenced by trends, perhaps wrong word, by fluctuations in the belief systems of society if you buck the trend then you are influenced by the trend you are bucking.
In my post, I should have steared clear of mentioning music scenes.
The main point I was putting across with the 'credit crunch', this can be taken as purely economical and nothing to do with marketing.
And in that way surely some artists not all, are influenced by things like that in society. What about the change of perception with new movements in art before world war 1, the great depression, world war 2, the cold war, the opec oil crisis etc etc etc.......
I can at least find examples of changing perceptions of some great works of art in relation to the first 3.
I think you must have misunderstood what I was trying to say as it seems i hit a nerve by relating marketting to art. BUT I agree with you actually, marketting is rubbish and only is a pale imitation of art, the sport of surfing for example is a good sport but is made into a whore by marketting.
I hate advertising agencies who think they are artists. I prefer to make money doing visualisation for engineers etc and this helps me with sculptural work.
I guess my main point is that most artists are stubborn curmudgeons who would be doing exactly the work they are doing, regardless of world credit situations.
This is not to say that world events do not influence artists, in terms of how they think about what they do- of course they do.
Picasso made Guernica, Goya did paintings of war, the Hudson River School of painters were depicting nature thru the lens of the economic and philisophical theories of their time. The Futurists in Italy were immeasurably affected by World War 1- several of them died in it.
But the motivation to make art is internal, not external. The artists who keep at it, all their lives, do so because of inner drives, not world conditions.
Great art has been made in battlefield trenches, on whaling ships, in insane asylums, at night at home by janitors and mailmen, and in all manner of troubled times and places.
Even old much maligned Jeff Koons proves the point- far from being a profit hungry scammer, he went millions and millions of dollars in debt during the early 90's to build the celebration series of sculptures. The fabrication costs on these pieces was stunningly large, and Koons mortgaged everything he had, and went into personal debt to the tune of several MILLION dollars, based on his own belief in the work. This is not the action of a sane man, or a businessman- its the typical mental state of an artist, who is driven to make the work he or she sees in their head, and damn the consequences.
This type of thinking is immune to global credit crunches- and I speak from experience- just ask my wife.
05-31-2008, 07:20 PM
Ries has pretty much covered this one...not an errant word up there. But since I believe that more is always more, I'll spout.
I saw Mudhoney and Kyuss at their peaks and the Pixies was one of the loudest messes of a show I had ever seen, absolutely joyful (they crescendo'd at "Gigantic" and I thought " I can die now". But I decided to live on and do more things).
Credit Crunch, what the hell is that? I have had good years in bad economies and bad years in good ones. 08 has been off to a tear though, might be calming down soon for me (allowing more unsellable abstractions to litter the yard). Sculptors are at an advantage in terrible art markets and hard times because we can always step sideways and make a living doing all kinds of useful things (though we'd rather not). Painters and poets starve...not sculptors. "Global" is what you see on the news (and its usually not true anyway).
05-31-2008, 10:32 PM
My response comments here are less to do with the recent global credit crisis, and more about the changing trends of art and whether artists comply with them.
In terms of following art trends or otherwise, one of the important factors is age and experience of the artist.
Perhaps the younger artist are more likely to find out and get influenced by art trends. Obviously the older artists with long experience would not care too much.
06-01-2008, 01:54 PM
Thanks for your insight Evaldart. This year has been on a tear for me also. Don't want to question the circumstances to closely; not sure I have the time right now to be introspective. Just have to get up earlier, work smarter, and if possible after work is done - play harder.
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