Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


I don't know much about art…

…but encasing a skull in millions of bucks worth of diamonds and thinking you’ve made some kind of statement strikes me as uninspired in the extreme. Of course, this matters not, because this is “the work with the highest intrinsic value in modern and contemporary art” according to a guy who works for an insurance company. Ok, then. Price of everything and value of nothing, my friend.
Alternatively, here’s art that makes you think, and perhaps not coincidentally has no “intrinsic value” other than the opportunity cost of the artist (which almost by definition is nil).
As long as we’re on the subject that money spent on some so-called art has better uses…
Here’s an art idea: take something that could save a life (say, $5 worth of medicine), encase it in cheesy rhinestones and make a belt-buckle out of it. Make it known that for every belt-buckle left unsold, the artist will donate $10 to a charity which will provide said medicine to those who would otherwise not get it. Every buckle sold, in essence, is two lives not saved. I predict a sellout.
Here’s another one. Take a thousand five dollar bills. Put them in a lucite cube containing an electrically operated mechanism. When a button is pushed by a gallery visitor, a single bill is picked from the heap and burned. Tell gallery visitors that all money left in the cube at the end of the exhibit period will be used to provide food/medicine for those who otherwise would not get it.
Extra bonus variation on the above: Same money, same cube. Each time a bill is burned, a photograph of a child in the recipient pool is displayed to the gallery visitor who burned that bill, along with basic details about that child, such as her first name, nationality, and age.
I have some issues with the last of these (and with another variation which shows the picture and details *first*, and then lets people burn or not burn the money), but maybe I can patent this as a business process and license it. That way, it’s other people who are doing the bad stuff and I am just earning a living. Right? Right??