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Re: [BKARTS] Fabrication/frustration/sex and drugs

Charlene wrote:
>Back to the bench to ponder why sex and drugs is in the header.

Charlene's issue is somewhat different. The situation I originally described at
is when artists create Works (whether with their own hands or not isn't a consideration) that are based largely on the ideas and original work of other artists. If the originator is "unknown" and the artist who uses the idea is famous, then the famous artist is likely to get richer on it while the obscure artist may die in poverty. This stimulated Charlene, which is good, as it expanded the discussion.

The sex and drugs came into it the usual way. If you are squeamish about such things, don't read the rest of this paragraph. I was writing about the New York City art world of the 1970's and 80's, and how to become a poker chip. If you were male and willing to have a same gender curator insert a rigid organ into your gastrointestinal tract then you had a much better chance of getting into certain very important collections and exhibitions. There were other players with different interests. There were upper art world murders and suspicious deaths, which you might recall. I wasn't hyperbolizing when I said City Confidential. If you provided dealers, collectors, curators and critics with heroin, reefer, cocaine, acid, mescaline, mushrooms, or whatever then you would also have a better chance of making a substantial art career and going to all the "right" parties.

It wasn't the 40's or 50's and the Cedar Tavern. Artists then had no idea that there would ever be Money in it.

The question of credit for ghosting others' art is something else. My 1980 business card was entirely in Copperplate Gothic and said "Richard Minsky / General Fabricator / To The Trade Only." Besides books, I fabricated works in all media, including sculpture and installation art. None of them had any credit or indication of my work, and only went under the name of the "artist." Of course I had a lot to do with the design, and the "museum finish" that I specialize in was entirely due to my skills in handling materials that the "artist" couldn't work with. That was ok with me, because the "idea" was the artist's. It was my job to refine and realize that "idea" as a museum quality object. I would suggest design, materials, and construction methods, and the artist would have final approval. To me, it was a job, and one my studio was well suited for. I had worked as a photographer in the warehouse of the Hirshhorn Museum, handled and photographed over over 2,000 works of art there, and knew what a museum object should look and feel like.

I put my name on it when it's my idea and I have final approval. It doesn't matter who makes it.

If Charlene's book was her idea, and the artist is a collaborator, then credit is due. Ken feels the word "design" is the key. That's a tricky one, and gets us into the relationship between art and design. Any of a number of designs can be suitable to a work of art without altering the idea. If the artist asks for a 6' x 10' book, it's the artist's choice, and if there are other design factors that are not important to the book as a work of art, then they are not an issue. Could someone else have made the binding without altering the book's concept as a work of art? If not, then the binder's name belongs on it.

Design is not art. Design is to art as engineering is to science. Design can be used in the service of art, or of merchandising. A building is known by its architect, not the structural engineer. It's a visionary thing. When discussing typography the boundaries can blur. That's when the discussion gets interesting. Boundary conditions.

How many "artists" have used Barton Benes's 1973 idea of a book tied up in rope with or without nails in it? I've seen at least four exhibitions with imitations of his "Censored Book" or "Bound Book" that seem to claim the work on exhibit is original.

And if you want to throw another element into it, we can discuss academia-- what it gives you as an artist and what it takes away.

Bruce and Kathy are correct if it's an issue for you--work out a credit agreement in advance, and sign the binding. I use a "binder's ticket." But it doesn't go in every book I make.


Flag Book Bind-O-Rama and Exhibit
Entry Deadline, September 15, 2006
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