Catastrophic Art and Its Instrumentalized Selection System : From work by Hunter Jonakin and Dan Perjovschi

재앙적 예술과 그 도구화된 선별체계: 헌터 조너킨과 댄 퍼잡스키의 작품으로부터

  • Received : 2012.03.12
  • Accepted : 2012.04.14
  • Published : 2012.06.30


In terms of element and process, art today has already been fully systemized, yet tends to become even more systemized. All phases of creation and exhibition, appreciation and education, promotion and marketing are planned, adjusted, and decided within the order of a globalized, networked system. Each phase is executed, depending on the system of management and control and diverse means corresponding to the system. From the step of education, artists are guided to determine their styles and not be motivated by their desire to become star artists or running counter to mainstream tendency and fashion. In the process of planning an exhibition, the level of artist awareness is considered more significant than work quality. It is impossible to avoid such systems and institutions today. No one can escape or be freed from the influence of such system. This discussion addresses a serious distortion in the selection system as part of the system connotatively called "art museum system," especially to evaluate artistic achievement and aesthetic quality. Called "studio system" or "art star system," the system distinguishes successful minority from failed absolute majority and justifies the results, deciding discriminative compensations. The discussion begins from work by Hunter Jonakin and Dan Perjovschi. The key point of this discussion is not their art worlds but the shared truth referred by the two as the collusive "art market" and "art star system." Through works based on their experiences, the two artists refer to these systems which restrict and confine them. Jonakin's Jeff Koons Must Die! is avideo game conveying a critical comment on authoritative operation of the museum system and star system. In this work, participants, whether viewer or artist, are destined to lose: the game is unwinnable. Players take the role of a person locked in a museum where artist Jeff Koons' retrospective is held. The player can either look around and quietly observe the works, which causes a game-over, or he can blow the classical paintings to pieces and cause the artist Koons to come out and reprimand the player, also resulting in a game-over. Like Jonakin, Dan Perjovschi's some drawings also focuses on the status of the artist shrunken by the system. Most artists are ruined in a process of competition to survive within the museum system. As John Burger properly pointed out, out of the art systems today, public collections (art museums) and private collections have become "something unbearable." The system justifies the selection system of art stars and its frame of reference, disregarding the problem of producing numerable victims in its process. What should be underlined above all else is that the present selection system seriously shrinks art's creative function and its function of generating meaning. In this situation, art might fall to the level of entertainment, accessible to more people and compromising with popularity. This discussion is based on assumption and consciousness on the matter that this situation might cause catastrophic results for not only explicit victims of the system but also winners, or ones defined as winners. The system of art is probably possible only by desire or distortion stemmed from such desire. The system can be flourished only under the economic system of avarice: quantitatively expanding economy, abundant style, resort economy in Venice and Miami, and luxurious shopping malls with up-to-date facilities. The catastrophe here is ongoing, not a sudden emergence, and dynamic, leading the system itself to a devastating end.