Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Disumbrationalism Sweeps the Art World

"I got more publicity from this little joke, which had occupied me no more than an hour a year during the three years I was engaged in it, than from all the serious work I ever did over many decades." -Paul Jordan-Smith

The merit of art, be it music, film, painting, literature, etc, is of course purely subjective. Being a product of culture, the nature of what makes art appealing is deeply routed in what's around you. In the grand scheme of things, almost nothing seperates Radiohead and Nickelback, but in our deep cultural immersion they are worlds apart.

So what happens when someone plays a trick on the culture? In 1924 Pavel Jerdanowich swept the art world with works such as "Exaltation":

The catch was Jerdanowich wasn't real. He was a man named Paul Jordan-Smith, who was a little miffed at art critics for dissing his wife's realistic still life paintings. So he spent half an hour bullshitting the above painting, and then took this awesome picture of himself:

After submitting the painting, photo, and a fake bio thru art world channels, he quickly found himself to be critically acclaimed, so he bullshitted a series of increasing amatuerish and bizzare paintings. Jordan-Smith grew tired of the joke in 1927, and confessed to the hoax. This caused uproar in the art world, with some critics who had praised him claiming that they weren't wrong, but that Jordan-Smith simply posssed genius all along, and was unaware of it.

Of course this was just the critics trying not to look stupid, but maybe in a way they were right. Through his keen satire of the art world, Jordan-Smith actually managed to make art with cultural impact, and is remembered for it to this day.

Also, the awesomeness of this painting is hard to argue with:

Disumbrationist School of Painting: A Hoax that Emabarassed the Art World

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