When the art market goes home shopping

Quick notes about ART, PRICE AND VALUE – Contemporary Art and the Market which closed a couple of days ago at the Strozzina – CCCS center in Florence.

Artists’ take on money and the art market are almost inevitably tongue in cheek but Christian Jankowski‘s video Kunstmarkt TV is by far the most hilarious approach on the art market i’ve ever seen.

0aatelemistysiuer.jpgChristian Jankowski, Still from Telemistica, 1999

Jankowski’s work betrays a fascination with visual entertainment media. He gained fame in 1999 with his contribution to the 1999 Biennale in Venice: Telemistica. In a very approximative italian, the artist phoned five different fortune-tellers on the Italian television to inquire about his success at the art biennial. Caught a bit off-guard by the unusual demand, the TV-predictors try their best to ensure that his work would meet with a resounding success.

The psychics’ televised sub-titled answers became the work itself.

The CCCS was showing two of his other videos: Point of Sale a threefold screen which puts side by side a gallery-owner selling art and a retailer selling electronics describing the business strategies, financial goals and client structures of the other one, while a business consultant comments on the rules of successful business.

0aaabatani.jpgChristian Jankowski, Kunstmarkt TV, 2008, DVD 45 min, courtesy the artist, Gallerie Klosterfelde, Berlin

The second video, Kunstmarkt TV, is basically a home shopping channel for contemporary art.

While his sexy young assistant is all sparkling eyes and grace, the presenter is busy applying his brightest smile and ‘value for money’ tactic to a series of contemporary art works. To give him credit, the guy does seem to have done a bit of research beforehand but that doesn’t really prevent him from describing the merits of pieces by Vanessa Beecroft, Noshitomo Nara, Raymond Pettibon or Jeff Koons as if they were juice extractors and slimming creams. He justifies the price of each item not only by explaining the career and notoriety of each artist but he also enthusiastically points at details such as the quality of the frame and the simplicity to nail the ‘item’ to your wall. The show was streamed on the internet and anyone interested in purchasing the goods could call and get their hands on the artwork of their choice.

0aaatelemarketinggt.jpgChristian Jankowski, Kunstmarkt TV, 2008, DVD 45 min, courtesy the artist, Gallerie Klosterfelde, Berlin

More to come.