Friday, March 12, 2021

ARTSPEAK, continued

Among the objections to my “Artspeak” piece (leading to it being posted here and on Facebook on 3/1) instead of the art publication for which it was intended) was that I spent too much time “going after” Adriana Varejão’s corrupt ex-husband, Bernardo Paz, who built a pavilion for the Gagosian artist’s work in his art park, and that his “financial malfeasance has little to do with how the muddying of the language marketing the work helps sell it.” I was told that more than “one sentence” about it would “read to others as mean or vindictive.”

Let’s not be too hard on the venal, okay?
And we wonder why the art world is the way it is. And why the world is the way it is.
Could I be the only one who sees irony in the fact that this shady monied background supported an artist who describes her art using the language of the “woke” as if to represent the oppressed classes? (i.e. her work being based, as the press release states, on “hybridity,” “decolonizing subjectivities” “mythic pluralism,” and “transnational exchange”).
Meanwhile, I came across this riveting Bloomberg article from 2018, which begins by telling how, after 9/11, Paz rushed to NYC as the Twin Towers were burning to take advantage of the horror and chaos to buy art on the cheap, only part of an account of financial audacity that boggles the mind. The guy rivals Trump in his cheek but has better taste in art, which is what has redeemed him thus far.
In my piece I quote a 2020 ARTnews article reporting that Paz was acquitted of money laundering charges, with his lawyer saying that it’s unlikely the government would appeal given that “the laundering occurred through a criminal organization that wasn’t part of Brazilian law until 2013, and the alleged wrongdoing happened some six years prior” —to which the lawyer adds, “Justice was done.” And I’m worried about artspeak?

Bernardo Paz, 2016.

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