“My struggle with this assessment [of zombie formalism] is that it appears to critique the artist based on his decline in market value. There is no comment made about the work, other than that it was large and sold at a thesis exhibition, the implications being that the work was arrogant and ostentatious and that the artist was young. The legacy of Lucien Smith, Schneider believes, can be summed up by an inference from an art collector.
This conclusion seems to ignore Smith’s rejection of the market, his own commodification and the desire to explore beyond painting that came in the wake of the fixation on his work’s selling price within the press (both to primary buyers and at auction). I’d theorize that having artists reach those sorts of auction prices in their early twenties is dangerous because the buyers have to contend with the rest of the artists’ lives; it raises the risk of the investment. So why, then, if the fluctuation of the contemporary art market is so ridiculous, do we not commend Smith for reclaiming his artistic agency? Why is he not vindicated? [Allan Gardner on Zombie Formalism]
“Generating sales is not really the most important thing for me. Especially living out here, the money that I spend day to day is significantly less than it was in the city. I don’t have a humongous overhead on my studio and my apartment. I don’t have assistants. I don’t need to be making art sales to keep my studio or my business alive. And without that pressure it really creates a freedom for me. For the first time, I feel like a real artist… the model that was set for me when I was younger, it wasn’t a healthy model. It was about sucking up to collectors and trying to sell for the highest prices. That stuff isn’t real. That’s not art. For the last four years, I’ve been trying to create this nonprofit called STP [Serving the People]. It’s about spreading awareness about health and how to make a creative environment. I want to provide a place for people outside of school and people who haven’t gone to school to be able to talk about and share their work before it goes out into the world. So they can get critique and positive feedback from their peers.” [Lucien Smith on his career]
“I seek to understand the relationship between photograph and image through a painting perspective. The notion of the ‘instant’ form rivaling the traditionally mastered and an investigation into source imagery. Navigating through social media as a resource I notice the relationship between images I bookmarked. A subconscious narrative begins to form, each image like a chapter in a book, and like any book is incomplete until the last chapter is written.
This search for imagery allows me to disembark from the confines of my studio as the Impressionists once would, and embrace the abundant source of imagery accumulated through the gaze of others. Nevertheless, this new freedom has raised attention to the positive and negative effects of this Accidental Tourism. [Lucien Smith Accidental Tourist]