“Poison has consequences. Art has none. Except maybe a slow acting one…. Poison just crept into my pictures. I was looking for brilliance of color, and it happened to be toxic…. In small doses it can be medicinal.” But Polke didn’t do diminutive—he had a voracious, ambitiously scaled output...
“We don’t need pictures, we don’t need painters, we don’t need artists,” he said. “We don’t need any of that. What do you get out of an artist?” A self-negating nihilist, Polke nevertheless never quit. “Art is cannibalism,” he noted, and it actually, physically did him in. The art business, which Polke assiduously shied away from, has a tendency to eat away at your innards too. In the end, Polke had no kryptonite to shield him from the well-known, deadly effects of his chosen poisons. It saddens me to think of what might he might have done for another 10 to 20 with such gifts and proclivities. Polke wasn’t a dot, inasmuch as we are all specs in the scheme of things. He was significantly more—a scientist, magician, and great artist who strove to fail as much as succeed. Jesus may have died for our sins, but Polke perished for our pleasures (and enlightenment). [Kenny Schachter on Sigmar Polke]
You walked into the party
Like you were walking on a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf, it was apricot
You had one eye on the mirror
And watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and
You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
[Carly Simon You’re So Vain]
“Above the doorway entering the Punta Della Dogana, there’s a text that reads, “Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth,” the first of many quasi-intellectual allegories and allusions. Amotan is not only the perfect kind of figure to inspire (or purportedly inspire) an exhibition of unhindered opulence, but a clear poster boy for hubris, greed, indiscriminately poor taste, and capriciousness in the art world. (In the semi-fictional catalog, former Louvre director Henri Loyrette muses on these as traits of a Gemini, which also happens to be Hirst’s star sign.) Speaking of poster boys, Hirst himself makes an appearance as a bronze, potbelly-up, in Bust of the Collector (2016), shrouded in branches of coral. The aha-moment he’s positing is that since the 2008 auction that wrecked the market for his work, he never went away, he was simply preparing for his grand resurrection in Venice, a gem waiting to be pulled up from the depths.” [Janelle Zara on Damien Hirst]
MAURIZIO CATTELAN — How much ego is involved in your posts on Instagram?
JERRY SALTZ — There’s ego in my Instagram, for sure. I’m not sure “how much” or exactly what “ego” means in this context. People who say, “This isn’t about my ego” are egoists. The better question might be: “Is there id in your Instagram?” Yes. In the West and in the current art world, pleasure is seen as suspect. The superego wants the id out. Especially any id not preapproved or somehow tamed. It strikes me as impossible that a platform made entirely of pictures wouldn’t be almost all id. This makes Instagram an unexpected vent of pleasure open to anyone, a way of communicating without words — fractured for sure, imprecise always, odd and unformed at best, a temporary thing that repeats but that feels slightly different every time. Somehow, our idiot ardent pictures make online tribes form and reform, then ossify and die like everything else. Instagram isn’t deep, but it’s easy to spend long cerebral seconds, ring bells, shake cages. If it causes a ruckus up in the office, that’s fine, too. That’s what images do! [Maurizio Cattelan and Jerry Saltz in conversation]