“Even when contemporary art insists on its sincerity, many of its stances — anti-consumerism, say, or anti-bigotryare so predictable as to feel reflexive. It’s fashion without passion, at no real risk. Beyond the West, the risks are real: Ai Weiwei detained in China, Tania Bruguera hounded in Cuba, members of Pussy Riot beaten in Russia. And those are the rare artists who gain international attention. In other authoritarian regimes, artists just disappear.
Their courage shames even the noblest efforts of their peers in the West. Yet one sympathizes with Americans in the arts, whose alternatives are preaching to a meager choir or being booed by a large one, all in near-certainty that neither side will be shifted. This doesn’t mean their only choices are haranguing or remaining silent. To just acknowledge what is happening — however artistically interpreted — is something. When society gets wretched enough, aloofness looks reprehensible….” [Tom Rachman on Contemporary Artists and Politics]

Mortdecai: [arriving at the curb of the Standard hotel in L.A.] Jock! Dear, sweet, sperm-heavy Jock. Behold this America, this new colossus, this fair land of the free!
Mortdecai: [entering the Standard and suddenly aghast at the bikini clad women and louche swingers lounging in the lobby] What kind of hell-place is this?
Mortdecai: [to no one in particular] I feel as though we’ve made a wrong turn and arrived on the set of a pornographic film.
Mortdecai: [addressing the bored clerk at check-in] Have we taken a wrong turn and arrived on the set of a pornographic film?
Hotel Clerk: [with attitude] Checking in?
Mortdecai I am Mortdecai – Lord of Silverdale. I should like to request a bucket of ice, a “Do Not Disturb” sign, and a bulldozer
Hotel Clerk :  [emphatically] Checking in? 
Jock [Losing his patience] Yeah, we’re checking in. 
Mortdecai : [addressing the clerk] I suspect I may need to redecorate. 
Hotel Clerk [holding up a hotel room key card] Room 326. Overlooks the pool. 
Mortdecai [takes the key card]  So… all I must do is show up, and I’m presented with a… credit card? No wonder your country’s in financial ruin
Hotel Clerk : Do you need help with your bags? 
Mortdecai No, I do not need help with my bags. [nodding towards Jock] I have a fucking manservant…. Strange country. [Mortdecai Script]

The art world darling. The term’s ties to youth are not surprising, ever more now that youth in the art market doubles as a texture, a feature of desirability—a quality that is not necessarily bound to age, but to attitude. The cult of youth has held strong since the Victorians, and its associations with affection still stand. While the term darling (dear-ling) and its tender definitions may not have evolved over the past few centuries, the idiomatic media darlingthe darling that belongs to the crowds, not to the individual—certainly has. The contemporary art and art market darlings are young and brilliant, bright and seductive, mysterious and coy—painted as both coquettish and confrontational. There is often something oppositional within their career objectives (i.e. their persona battles the institution, at the same time their work gains value at auctions and fairs for being housed within certain museums and public collections). In a particularly telling formula, which ran in BLOUIN ARTINFO this past September on Danh Vō, “when asked about the practical or conceptual foundations of future projects, his favorite rejoinder is: ‘I have no idea.’ Today, however, Vō is an institutional darling…” In darlings, the modest is conflated with the inflammatory, just as their implied youth—a play on inexperience, false or not in the press—is synthesized with value.” [Stephanie Cristello on Art World Darlings]

“What all these artists have in common is a desire to find inspiration beyond the pale of what has traditionally been considered fine art. They look to either the vernacular forms of mass culture, such as comics or fashion, or kinds of drawing often treated with condescension, such as architectural drafting or ornamental design. Even those, such as Elizabeth Peyton, who make images that recall conservative realism depend more upon the techniques of contemporary fashion illustration than they do upon schooled ways of figurative drawing…
Artists today feel no obligation to perpetuate the craft and practice of drawing that absorbed artists from the Renaissance until the mid-twentieth century. In a larger sense, they are also free from the arduous submission to tradition that T. S. Eliot believed must first occur before an artist can create work of significant originality. (Few of the artists here would agree with Ingres’s observation that drawing is the “probity” of art.) Although the emancipation of drawing from such restraints has led to many brilliant bursts, the losses are also obvious. Without the ongoing support of tradition, artists often have little but their individuality—reflecting the Babel of selves that is modern culture—and often yield to a kind of regressive narcissism in their view of the world. They resemble self-made folk artists who piece together art from what’s left in the drawers, except that they are so painfully self-conscious. The permissions of postmodernism can create a free-form prison.” [Mark Stevens on Drawing Now MOMA 2002]

Johanna: The Duke told me that Bunny has the painting, but I can’t find him.
Mortdecai: Which Duke?
Johanna: … Of Asherboroughdon – Bronwen’s lover!
Mortdecai: Bunny? “Love, your Bunny!” Eww! The note in the studio… It was not from a child, it was from him. The Duke is Bunny!
Johanna: And it wasn’t his tadger…
Mortdecai: Come again?
Johanna: The Duke kept trying to get me to go into his lavatory to look at his John Thomas.
Mortdecai: Ooh – Randy bugger.
Johanna: Only that wasn’t it at all! He was trying to show me the real painting. “The Duchess of Wellington” is in Bunny’s loo! [Mortdecai Script]

“For much of the mid ’80s the art establishment was held in thrall to David Salle’s addictive brand of bad-boy defiance, which courted misogyny and cynicism in the name of esthetic liberty. No one could top Salle as the artist responsible for the largest number of art-world dinner parties reduced to out-and-out shouting matches. In keeping with the moment, a streak of opportunism a mile wide ran through his project, one that was less a Warholian gesture than a sparring match with Julian Schnabel, Salle’s erstwhile competitor for most all-consuming art-world ego. I’ll admit it now, I’ve always felt a little guilty for loving Salle’s ambivalence and yet at the time it all seemed to make sense as a kind of anticriticality disguised as deconstructivist mischief.
Somewhere along the way, as it invariably does, the air went out of Salle’s will to play the heavy. Brattiness doesn’t last, a little voice said, but great paintings do—and thus another fine upstart went astray. By the late ’80s, Salle’s paintings had become luxurious testaments to a basically smart and ambitious guy’s desire to he remembered foremost as a painter. For a while, there was even a corresponding tension between the remnants of his talent for choosing and juxtaposing images, and the courtly manner in which he rendered them. In fact, the plan would have worked had his painterly talents been anywhere near as developed as his audacity. But like many of his forebears, from Jim Dine to Kenny Scharf, Salle’s ambition is tied to an absence of self-criticality, which caused him to turn his back on the gestures with which he first gained notoriety and to denounce them as mere posturings, thus instantly eliminating his entire support structure.” [Dan Cameron on David Salle]

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