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Con Art - Why you should sell your Damien Hirsts while you can Paperback – March 24, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Julian Spalding was director of art galleries for the cities of Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow. He established the award winning Ruskin Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art (Glasgow), the St Mungo Museum of Religious Art and Life, the Open Museum and the Campaign for Drawing. His books include: The Poetic Museum - reviving historic collections: The Eclipse of Art - tackling the crisis in art today; The Art of Wonder, a history of seeing (which won the Bannister Fletcher Prize as the best art book of 2006) and The Best Art You've Never Seen - 101 hidden treasures from around the world (a Rough Guide). His satirical novel about the contemporary art scene, called Nothing On, is also available on Amazon Kindle.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 44 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475088434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475088434
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Harrison VINE VOICE on February 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a short but nicely-written presentation of the author's opinions. He is critical of much modern art and of the modern art market. I happen to agree with him. The problem is that his book requires, rather than provides, an understanding of art or the market. For that I recommend Don Thompson's The Twelve Million Dollar Stuffed Shark. Reading that book, though, makes Spalding's superfluous unless you want to read confirmation of Thompson's opinions from an art expert (Thompson is an economist).
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Julian Spalding has never been shy in the presence of dignitaries, luminaries and authorities - several anecdotes he proudly relates in this book attest to that. His short-lived tenure as museum director in Glasgow as well as several critically acclaimed exhibits curated by him, establish that he really knows what he is talking about. And Spalding does not hold back - be it the reorganization of the National Gallery in London, the Tate building, snobbish gallery owners, lack of drawing skills, "multiples" ... and on and on and on. I want to go back to the times before pissoirs became art, when sharks remained in the ocean, and I did not need instructions to understand the meaning of a piece of art! Where have all the flowers gone or the gentlefolk in the meadows or a landscape by Hockney? Written as an opinion piece, probably a little too long and a little too repetitive, but never for a split second is there any doubt about Julian Spalding's standing. I think, he is also in the Queen's corner.
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This essay and that is what it is, should be read after reading Mr. Spalding's biting satire of the art world, "Nothing On." In a terse and laconic manner the writer, controlling his emotions, attempts address the question, "Why should we care about conceptual art."

Disregarding his opinions about various artists, he confronts the general public with well reasoned and valid thoughts about not only what is happenning in the art world but also why it is happening and how it affects the newest generation of artists. Intellectual black lists and intimidation abound in the art world. The most insipid, pernicious type of censorship is being practiced through the left's favorite mechanism which is the total ignoring of any artist who does not follow the party line.

Good for you Mr. Spalding for attempting to challenge current trends and to take art seriously. I only hope that your name does not end up in Tracey Enim's next rude "Unmade Bed," you old rake.
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Conceptual art is not all rubbish. But much of it is a put on job. Spalding is right on. And describes the system that supports it with brutal honesty. Shit in a can at the Tate? Then again, if a collection needs to reflect the times so be it. The poor conservation expert though . . .
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I bought this book wanting to gain an insight to current arts practice. I'm unclear as to how any one can take this writing by Julian Spalding seriously. It is fair enough to have an opinion, but opinions need to be backed up, supported & thought through. Throughout the book Spalding makes references to artists & their work, but doesn't include any detail or any context to the work. The writing appears more like a name dropping dinner party guest who actually has never met or been in the same room as the person. Putting David Hockney on par with Michelangelo is a reflection of the depth (or indeed, the lack) of analysis and critical thinking this book revels in.

To anyone seriously wanting to investigate contemporary art, its artists, art & the world surrounding it, this book offers nothing other than the what appears to be a very personal attack.

Alas, it was released on April 1st, so maybe this conceptual provocation is really a work of art in itself...

another thought:

The artist who is after success lets himself be influenced by the public. Generally such an artist contributes nothing new, for the public acclaims only what it already knows, what it recognizes.

ANDRE GIDE, Pretexts: Reflections on Literature and Morality
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I am a full time artist and although I am personally not against conceptual art I am extremely tired of it.
It dominates what is taught in art schools, what wins competitions, and what modern galleries exhibit. I can live with all of that to a certain extent, because I believe as Artists it is our responsibility to change things.
However I do hate seeing young artists being pushed in any one direction, and the conceptual art push in schools is more like a vicious shove, with the students that are designing it getting all the accolades.
If you take a radical idea and make everyone do it, it is no longer radical! On top of that the creation of conceptual art seems to be to the detriment of technical ability.
I am actually a Ceramic Artist and when I saw that conceptual art is also influencing ceramics, I decided to create a work that discussed this. I am just at the research stage, so when I looked online to find information from both sides of the argument, I struggled to find documented informed writing that was against the anti art movement. So I was truly delighted when I found this book.
Not only is it clever, informed and written by someone indisputably in the know, it is really funny and entertaining. The only thing that disappointed me was that it came to an end.
I don't agree with everything that was written, but the point is having all sides of the arguement, (and there is plenty written in support of conceptual art elsewhere) so you can form your own opinion.
And for the record, Damien Hirsts shark worked for me as it was powerful and dramatic, I love originality in any form.
I am not conservative or as previously stated- anti the anti art movement. I just believe it's time to move on and this book takes away the illusion of presuming that because it is conceptual, that it is also clever.
Sincerely
Rebecca Shawyer (NZ)
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