domingo, 15 de mayo de 2016

The Corporate Stupidity Files: Jumex, fake art, galleries, and auction houses

By Victor Hernandez

For this edition of the Corporate Stupidity files I'm going to focus on art.

You see, some of the richest corporations in Mexico, Grupo Carso and Jumex, both have their own private museums slash art galleries right next to each other in Polanco, one of the richest neighborhoods in Mexico City.

And they both pretend to display "art" at their respective galleries.

Soumaya, which is the name of Grupo Carso's museum, named after the late wife of Carlos Slim, owner of Grupo Carso and one of the richest men in the world, has made some headlines lately because of their pop-ish shows, featuring Beatlemania collectibles. But at least they don't pass it as art.

Jumex, on the other hand, had the nerve to call "art" a bunch of crap they had on display. This is one of the pieces on display a month ago or so:

You're special? Really? Because you know how to fingerpaint?

Well, I suppose this dog who can actually sign its name is A LOT more special then:

Now, before you start saying that art is subjectuve (it isn't) let me remind you that I have a university degree in art. So I know what I'm talking about when I say what the Jumex musem put on display was utter incorrigible crap.

What Jumex did with that exhibition, which at its peak of excellence included some replicas or Roy Lichtenstein and a copy of Duchamp's urinal painted in gold, and at its bottom a standard definition TV displaying scenes from a telenovela, was not an actual display of actual art. That was actually fake art. Much like what Sotheby's and other such auction houses of that ilk do; convince idiots with money that the crap they peddle is valuable and, therefore, sofisticated and worth paying a shitload of money... for a load of shit. The only difference being, Jumex wasn't selling the pieces as far as I could tell. They were just pretending to be a museum of art.

Yes, the Gorilla Girls are right. Auction houses and expensive galleries are defining as "art" only a small amount of cookie-cutter crap and then they are selling it for millions to rich people along with a certificate that says the crap they bought is valuable.

To the rich people, that certificate is the only thing that matters. Some of them don't even look at the crap they buy. They just want the certificate from the gallery or auction house because then that certificate turns the crap they bought into a commodity.

Remember how Bansky sold a bunch of paintings for 50 bucks in New York because nobody knew they were buying an original Banksy? Same principle. The stuff the Jumex musem had on display, along with the stuff expensive art galleries and auction houses peddle is not worth that much. Nobody on the street would pay more than 50 bucks for it. But if some rich guy wants to turn his money into an art certificate as a portfolio diversification instrument, then all they have to do is to have Sotheby's or an expensive gallery say some piece of crap is high art and worth a lot of money.

How is this corporate stupidity? Well, because if somebody who actually knows about art walks into the Jumex musem and looks at that "I'm special" piece he will leave the place thinking "this is so stupid..."

On the other hand, peddling crap as if it were art to super-rich people may not be an act stupidity on behalf of the museums, galleries and auction houses per se. After all, they are suckering rich people into giving them millions for shit. It is, however, a clear instance of stupidity by the rich people who often are at the helm of some pretty big corporations.

PS: I decided to title this piece of conceptual art From Within:

It is on sale for two million dollars. Four million if you also want a performance of me recreating the piece, which conveys the inner struggle of the subconscious as it pushes out its darkest subjects in the everlasting controversy with the ID... after eating a bean burrito.

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