A new book you might want to look at

RECEIVED A NEW book a few days ago and wanted to share a few thoughts about it with my readers. The book, i sold Andy Warhol. (too soon)* is written by Richard Polsky, also author of I Bought Andy Warhol, written some years back. Polsky founded Acme Art in 1984, an art gallery in the Bay Area of California — the same year I co-founded ART TIMES with Cornelia Seckel. He had begun his career in the art world a couple of years earlier; I had been writing artist’s profiles about the same time, writing for various publications since about 1980. So — generally speaking, then, our “art world” careers are commensurate in duration — but that is where any similarity between our experiences abruptly comes to an end. Oh, we both traveled the world a bit in our “art world” careers — I’ve been to Germany, Italy, England, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and China for exhibitions, art studio visits or for giving lectures — Polsky to probably many of the same countries — but, again, not at all to the same places or to visit the same “art world” denizens. For one thing — and it’s important — is the term “art world”. I’ve kept it in quotes purposely, since — although there are plenty of ‘definitions’ — there is no clear or consensual agreement of what this “world” consists of. Even more troublesome is the word “art” — something that no one today seems to agree on. In regards to Polsky and I, there seems to be absolutely a glaring gap between what he considers “art” to mean and what I mean by the term. And as far as our “worlds” are concerned, we may well be referring to different planets. Polsky is dealing in the “world” of — what he calls — “high-end” art — a term he seems to like since he uses it often in his book to describe “high-end” dealers, “high-end” collectors, “high-end” buyers — in brief, “high-end” movers and shakers in his “world” of “high-end”, if not “art”, then surely of money transactions. To my mind, Polsky seems to only consider “art” as “art” when it translates into “high-end” prices. This “world” is far indeed from the one I’ve inhabited for the past thirty-or so years — especially since my “world” is heavily influenced by Oscar Wilde’s astute observation between “cost” and “value”. I have had some brushes with Polsky’s world — a visit to Sotheby’s (where I felt like an alien — and was, I suppose), a visit to my home by a dealer in “high-end” art who blandly stated that I had “shit” on my walls (“shit”, I suppose, was his way of saying “low-end”) but these, as I say, were merely brushes with a “world” I had no desire to inhabit. The artists I know, have written about (and have hanging on my walls) are, I suppose “low-end” since none (as far as I know) have brought in millions of dollars. Polsky, incidentally, tosses around millions much like our government tosses around trillions — most certainly an alien planet to me. So, I guess I’ll just have to plod along in my “low-end” benighted world with artists who can only dream about millions. Still, you might like to pick up and read Polsky’s book — it certainly engaged me — even if, at times, it made my hair stand on end and my teeth grind. One thing’s for sure — I could not have survived as many years in his “world” as I’ve done in mine.

*Other Press LLC, NYC, 2009. 269 pp.; 5 ½ x 8 ½; Where to See Artists; Sources. $15.95 Softcover.

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One Response to A new book you might want to look at

  1. Annie Hoffstatter says:

    I enjoyed your blog reviewing, i sold Andy Warhol. (too soon)* written by Richard Polsky. It spoke to my own feelings of how often the “Art World” seemed overly ego driven and exclusive. To surround yourself with what you love and paint because it brings you joy is to appreciate your own unique spirit and to feed it. I’m so glad you encourage your readers to see it all – the Masters who left their genius on their canvas (most who never became rich), and to also appreciate the artistic interpretations painted by todays truly gifted artists. Personally, you have brought me from someone you had an interest in art into the Real Art World of the artists as people over commodities and to enjoy that feeling that comes with holding a paint brush in my hand.

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