The cry of the artist in an age of commoditization.
Increasingly, artists have come to judge their own success through money, too.
This is the reason today that we feel the genre writer’s cry “I sold millions” so powerfully, even though in truth it can say little about the art form other than ”it sold millions.“ Changing disciplines, if we take this commoditization of art to its natural limit, we arrive at Damien Hirst’s diamond encrusted skull (2007). Commoditization has here become the only point. The work, such as it is, centres on its cost and value and comprises also (I would say mainly) the media storm surrounding it: the rumors that it was bought for £50m, or that Hirst himself bought it, or that he offset his tax bill by claiming diamonds as tax deductible artistic materials, or that he didn’t buy it at all, or that nobody has bought it … And so — postmodernly — on; the paradox being this: that by removing all criteria, we are left with nothing but the market. The opposite of what postmodernism originally intended.
— Edward Docx. First published in Prospect Magazine, August 2011
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