Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Chinese Art Market

In all this foment, the contemporary art scene is somewhat at a standstill. Yes, new records are being set for contemporary Chinese works at every successive Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction. And every foreign visitor to Beijing, art aware or not, now has to walk around “798”, the chic factory cafĂ© and gallery area, formerly a wonderfully anarchic artist community. And it seems that “millions” are being made by all concerned within this bustling, over-heated art market. But the art itself isn’t moving. The big five names are all producing exactly the same cartoonish works they have done for years, because that is what sells. Every new artist who arrives on the scene produces not-so-subtle variants of that same work because that is what sells. And even reproduction specialists have switched from copying Degas, Monet and Rembrandt, to producing “genuine” Wang Guangyi, Zhang Xiaogang and Yue Minjun knockoffs, because…
Read the Art Newspaper article here.

Olympic Predictions

The Olympics start tomorrow - we'll be watching avidly and predict that:

Several Chinese athletes whom no one has ever heard of, will win gold medals in some arcane sports that no one watches.

An American sprinter, favorite to win a medal, will pull a muscle in one of the qualifying rounds.

Sullen-looking Russian female gymnasts will battle it out with very young Chinese gymnasts who never smile either, but somehow manage not to look sullen.

Cuban boxers with years and years of "amateur" experience will beat up on everybody.

Skinny African-born long distance runners will run for a variety of non-African nations - where they are now citizens - and sometimes still lose to someone still running for Kenya.

Because of the way that she looks, Americans (and only Americans) will wonder in silence how come Dara's last name is "Torres."

Some nation which has never won the FIFA World Cup will nevertheless win the Olympic gold medal for soccer.

The United States better win the gold medal in basketball or someone is getting their butt kicked.