artists


artists
  ---- by Richard G. Smith
  Baudrillard commented on artistic movements - Hyper-realism, Pop Art, the Velvet Underground - and the work of artists such as Enrico Baj (UB), Sophie Calle (PFM), Barbara Kruger (UB), Charles Matton (Baudrillard, 1991b), Olivier Mosset (UB) and Andy Warhol (Baudrillard, 1995a) throughout his career. He wrote substantial essays on art in some of his earliest books (CS, CPS), an interest that spans his oeuvre (AA, CA). Several essays by Baudrillard (for example, Foster, 1983) and interviews with Baudrillard (for example, Baudrillard et al., 1991) appeared in art books, exhibition catalogues (for example, Baudrillard, 1988) and numerous art magazines (Art in America, Artforum, Art Papers, Art Press, Art & Text, Block, Eyeline, Flash Art, Galleries Magazine, Parachute, Paragraph, Tate Magazine, World Art and so on). Furthermore, he gave several invited lectures in the United States, perhaps most notably at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1987 where he spoke about Andy Warhol. That said, it is also worth noting that Baudrillard's own theoretical writings had a considerable influence on artists and the art world, and he was the subject of numerous articles in the art press (for example, Carrier, 1988; Foster, 1986; Hughes, 1989; Kester, 1987). However, this influence had far more to do with the power of Baudrillard's name and fame for lending intellectual cachet to certain artists than a truly artistic engagement with Baudrillard's ideas about simulation, hyper-reality and art as disappearance. Indeed, Baudrillard appeared to be quoted by many artists rather than understood by them.
  Richard Vine (1989) noted that in the 1980s the name 'Baudrillard' had become a password of tribal identification, a buzzword, in New York's contemporary art scene among both critics and artists alike. At that time a generation of abstract geometrical artists known as 'NeoGeos' (Geometrists of New York) or 'Simulationists' had emerged, who described and discussed their art as simulation and hyper-reality as they tapped into the hype around Baudrillard's ideas. Baudrillard became required reading, footnoted, cited and most quoted by artists such as Ashley Bickerton, Ross Bleckner, Jenny Holzner, Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine, Simon Linke, Robert Longo, Allan McCollum, David Salle, Haim Steinbach, Philip Taafe and Meyer Vaisman. However, it was perhaps Peter Halley who most explicitly appropriated and publicly announced his enthusiasm for all things Baudrillardian, on one occasion commenting that 'Reading Baudrillard is the equivalent for me of looking at a painting by Andy Warhol' (cited in Baudrillard et al., 1991: 9), while elsewhere he confessed that 'it was Baudrillard who allowed me to understand what I was doing with those day-glo colours I had been using. All of a sudden I began to see them as hyperrealization of real colour and I don't think I could have conceptualized that without Baudrillard' (Halley, 1986: 33).
  It was in the context of such enthusiasm for his work that, in 1987, Baudrillard embarked on a speaking tour in America sponsored by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Columbia University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. However, the artists were in for a surprise when in a lecture at Columbia University he delivered his verdict on those artists who had appropriated his work: 'I cannot get involved in explaining this new art of simulation . . . In the world of simulation, there is no object. There is a misunderstanding in taking me as a reference for this work' (Baudrillard, in Heartney, 1987: 18). Indeed Baudrillard pronounced 'the end of art' in an era of simulacra and simulations, and so he was hardly going to endorse and praise those artists who were now claiming their art to be simulacra.
  Finally, Baudrillard's influence on the art world was not simply one of American admirers and one-way unquestioning adoration. In 1987, White Columns in New York organised and sponsored an 'Anti-Baudrillard' exhibition and panel discussion (organised by the artists' collective Group Material), which 'disputed the primacy within the art world of the theory of Jean Baudrillard' (Miller, 1987: 49). The irony was that Baudrillard himself sided with the 'Anti-Baudrillard' camp, because in the art world at this time the excitement around Baudrillard was to do with the logo 'Baudrillard', not with Baudrillard's actual philosophy. In short, in the art world 'Baudrillard' became a logo, a gesture and a signature, and so ironically came to be, not a singularity, but merchandise, a part of art as the simulation of the act of disappearance.
  Passwords
   § art
   § disappearance
   § hyper-reality
   § simulation

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.

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