Monday, May 27, 2019

RECOMMENDED: There is no F in Art

Imagine you came across a book which says all the things about contemporary art that you think - but only occasionally say 'out loud'.

Imagine a book about 'art' which really makes you think about what's art and what's not.
Who says it's art and should we believe them?
You'd want to read it - or at the very least look at the juxtaposition of pictures and quotations and statements of facts about the current art market.

It's not often I come across small books which make you think about art - and the art world. This is one of them

I was sent a copy of There is No F in Art by its author Eli Castelli and found it both provoking and and enjoyable.

The book is a bit like a rather clever picture book which highlights the juxtaposition of words - often quotations - with images images of artwork and some clever graphics.

In essence it really highlights how much the importance and value of art very often lies 

  • NOT in the art itself or the artist 
  • but rather in the words written about it - often written by people other than the artist!

These are my comments to the author.
You love words don't you? I keep wondering what your background is - and it has to involve words....

It's thought provoking. I think the bits which hit home clearest for me was how the art is often in the words of those labelling or marketing the art and the value is often attributed by the words rather than created by the artist i.e. who makes the art - the artist or the wordsmith or marketeer.

I kept getting a sense I'd heard some things said before - but that made sense when I got to the bibliography at the back and might possibly be to do with my own reading on similar subjects.

Nevertheless it's a much more accessible way of making the essential points.

I've maintained for a very long time that Damien Hirst's real talent lies in marketing!
It turns out I was right and the author's background involved marketing and the music business in the past.

It takes a marketing person to spot what's product and what's marketing - and where the value lies!

I feel conceptual ‘art' relies on 'art speak’ to justify it as a genre, as most of it fails to speak for itself - Eli Castelli

About the book - There is no F in Art

RECOMMENDED: This is a small book which identifies what you really need to know about contemporary art and the art market.

I very definitely RECOMMEND this book

  • to art students 
  • to those wanting to get involved in the contemporary art market - as either an artist or art collector 
  • to all those who want to write about art - mainly so they stop sounding like pretentious [expletive (plural) deleted].
The book covers:
  • What is Art
  • Who says it's art and should we believe them?
  • Isn't Charles Saatchi the Artist?
  • Is Conceptual Art a Con?
  • The Art of Marketing Art to the Art Market?
  • Is the Best Art the Most Expensive?
  • Tate Modern - Scared Institution or Sunday Playground? 
  • The Next ...Ism

Title: There is no F in Art
Author: Eli Castelli (it's a pseudonym. This and the name of the publishers is why I said yes when asked did I want to review it)
Thanks for the swift reply Katherine. You are only the second person to notice the "juxtaposition" of Eli Broad and Leo Castelli
Publisher: Sven Dali Press - note the puns continue!
Pages: 112 pages
Paperback / Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 1.3 x 12.1 cm
Price (new) £7.99
You can find it

About the author

My background is Marketing and when Saatchi first put a Shark on display in Boundary Rd, I said to my aspiring artists friends "this feels more like my world than yours!" I was at the Tate Modern in February 2018, looking to impress my visiting niece with some of the finest art and it felt more like a playground (adult sized swings & giant disco ball) than a sacred museum (attached). I was further 'uninspired' when we moved onto the Conceptual art room & more so, when the room guide told me the Curators wrote the wall descriptions.

I contacted Saatchi, Tate Modern curators and read several books by Sarah Thornton, Grayson Perry, Don Thompson, Georgina Adam, Sotheby's Philip Hook and watched endless interviews with Rauschenberg, Koons, Poons, Hirst, Gagosian, Richter, Murakami, Emin, Robert Hughes, Jerry Saltz... I also saw and thoroughly enjoyed the Swedish film, The Square.

When the book was printed The Price Of Everything came out soon after. There's a lot of common ground, purely by coincidence.

Art students are my main customers so far, an MA from St Martins saying "it's a beginners guide to the art market."

My aim was to stimulate some sort of conversation, the way art does and should in my opinion. I also tried to create a mirror effect within the book's layout & design and added art history references for people to discover & question for themselves.
Instagram: @NoFinART

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