“After all, to be famous, that is, to be a celebrity, increasingly meant to pretend that you were like everyone else, a fiction that gradually caused the entire population of the country to believe it could (should) be famous. Programs like Mr. Paar’s and ”Person to Person” hastened what we could call the banalization of fame, its normalization. This has culminated in the use of the Internet, on which any narcissist can transmit his or her image around the globe and, with luck, become famous just for doing so. It used to be that a minimum requirement for fame was another person interested enough in you to print your picture or point a camera in your direction. No longer.
…My point isn’t simply that fame is ephemeral but that it once was a matter of posterity, something that counted above all after you were dead. Today celebrities just hope to sustain their fame through the week by providing the public with a constant flow of novel revelations; otherwise they drop off the radar screen. ”As soon as their now gets summed up, we move immediately on to another person,” Andy Warhol said, ”and another now.”
…This is the crucial matter: fame stripped of its everlasting value, its promise of a life after death, at least for one’s reputation, has lost its spiritual underpinning. Historically speaking, it used to be a spiritual matter, and it retains certain aspects of its spiritual character while no longer necessarily attaching itself to the ultimate spiritual goal, eternal existence.
Hence the vocabulary of fame still borrows from religion: charisma, idol. We still collect and revere pictures of the famous as if they were icons, whether they’re baseball cards or rock star posters. And what is an endorsement, in the end, but the sanctioning of something by the sanctified, the famous person’s lending his or her aura to a product? One of the memorable sights in the show is an old magazine advertisement in which Eleanor Roosevelt endorses a mattress (in another Steichen photograph). If the underlying issue were not aura, what difference would it make that a basketball player staked his reputation on the quality of a hamburger or that a First Lady liked a particular bed? Why should their word on these things have any special value to us?” [Michael Kimmelman on Fame and Photography]
“While past studies have suggested that there is a link between creativity and fame, Ingram and Banerjee found, in contrast, that there was no such correlation for these artists. Rather, artists with a large and diverse network of contacts were most likely to be famous, regardless of how creative their art was.
Specifically, the greatest predictor of fame for an artist [for artists in the Inventing Abstraction generation 1910-25] was having a network of contacts from various countries. Ingram believes this indicates that the artist was cosmopolitan and had the capacity to reach different markets or develop ideas inspired by foreign cultures. The “linchpin of the network,” he added, was Kandinsky. They also found that famous artists tended to be older, likely because they were already famous as abstraction was emerging, Ingram explained.
In terms of creativity, they found that neither the computational evaluations nor the art historians’ expert opinions were strong indicators of an artist’s renown.
In other words, if an artist had high creativity scores, they were not necessarily famous.
“An important implication of the paper is to show that diverse networks matter not only as a source of creativity…but could mean other benefits,” Ingram said. “That even aside from creativity…the artists benefit from the cosmopolitan identity.””[Cassy Lesser on Ingram’s and Banerjee’s study on Art Fame]
“Located at 77 White Street, in a six-story loft building owned by the artist Ross Bleckner, the Mudd Club was a dingy gray-and-black box inside, with a bar initially made out of folding tables and a bathtub behind them to chill the beer. The club’s self-mythologizing denizens were a mix of the famous (Debbie Harry, the Talking Heads), the soon-to-be famous (Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Debi Mazar) and the famous-below-14th Street (Glenn O’Brien, Chi Chi Valenti).” [Steven Kurutz on Richard Boch’s memoir of the Mudd Club]
“The ’hood was soaked in art. Boch made out with Rauschenberg in a building owned by a current Hamptons resident, the artist Ross Bleckner, who previously rented several of the floors to Julian Schnabel. A club is only as happening as the people inside it, so Boch ushered past the chain link ropes the likes of: Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, James Rosenquist, Pictures Generation art star Walter Robinson, Dennis Oppenheim, Kiki Smith, and the omnipresent Andy Warhol.
Jean Michel Basquiat was a regular, and a photo of him dancing at the club in the book is now the main entrance image of Basquiat’s enormous new show at London’s Barbican. Another regular Boch brought inside the ropes was British artist James Nares, who, like Basquiat, was also in a band as he got his art career started. “Mudd was the place with the most interesting people,” Nares is quoted as saying in the book, “the place where it was happening.”” [Sandra Hale Schulman on Richard Boch’s memoir of the Mudd Club]