Or: Still laughing.
Ok. So Murakami designs a fabric for Louis Vuitton. Part of the fabric gets chopped up and made into handbags (1k a pop) and some gets the better treatment and is streched like canvas (6k a pop). “Butter Mogul” Clint Arthur (NBC LA’s words, not mine) spends 12k on two prints (instead of getting 12 handbags) and is unhappy he hasn’t been told it’s the same material. So he rejects the refund (plus interest) and sues. (http://tinyurl.com/cynzhs)
I will throw out some unreflected, cynical and naive comments about this case, just because I happen to feel like it.
A: In my universe, 1k for any handbag is ridiculously overpriced.
B: 1k for a handbag made by a respected artist is potentially quite a bargain.
C: Seeing the same material in two places at once for different prices and deducting from this evidence that it is probably an entirely different material of entirely different value is, … ah … almost conceptual art.
To reverse my argument, let’s compare it to the butchers: Some slices of the same cow will cost you more than others. It’s still the same cow. Try sueing the steakhouse.
D: Accusing an artist who is known for crossing the boundaries between art and commerce of secretly crossing the border between art and commerce is a bit of a paradoxon, innit? (Even if you’re suing Louis Vuitton for it. It’s a Murakami in the end, right?)
E: Claiming the prints came from repurposed materials is just as valid as saying the handbags were made from the left-overs of the prints (like steaks are made from the leftovers of leather boots – or was it the other way around, I can’t remember).
LV isn’t a brand from my universe and Murakami isn’t really an artist from that one either. So I for one wouldn’t open my wallet for any of it. I see Murakami’s point, but the point is neither new nor exceptionally well made (in this case). It’s two chromium celebrities mudwrestling, enjoying the attention, in my humble and uneducated opinion. And sueing is like jumping into the ring, wanting a piece of the action. Especially since Clint probably isn’t really in need of the 12k, at least if it’s the same guy whose “house is worth what” (link).
No offence meant, Clint. You go on living in your universe, I’ll stay in mine.
But I can sort of understand why friends of mine who are consulting mainstream media look at me weird, when I say that I’m collecting art. What they suddenly see, if only for an instant, is not me, it’s Clint Arthur or another one of those gold-plated celebrities who are reportedly visiting art fairs. “So, did you see Beyonce?” – “No, fer chrissakes, I was looking at the work by this Danish artists who is really doing some awesome work!” “But you did see Beyonce?” It’s your fault, Clint.
I’m just glad that the LA Times called him a “buyer”, not a collector (like NBC LA did). I’ll point to that, explaining to my mother: “See, he’s a buyer, I’m a collector. Big difference.”
I don’t know about you, but I just had a lot of fun for a few minutes. Now I’ll go into the weekend, silently being happy about the work by Troels Carlsen I went for this week.
PS: And I’ll continue using the 20 year old burlap bag I pinched from my wife to do the shopping.