wonder what is happening in the world of art and culture that
an E-mail such as the one I received from the Paul Kopekian Gallery
was sent out to their entire mailing list, and no one seems to
be particularly surprised.
They write: "We are looking for work that is not politically
charged and has no emotional or other negativity"
for Photographs and Works on Paper
We are looking for photographs and artwork that fall into the
1. Southern California Landscapes (Photographs)
2. Local San Francisco shots (Photographs)
3. Abstract Works on Paper/Photographs
4. General Photography and Works on Paper - mainly landscape
There are no size limitations for the work. Tryptics and dyptics
are acceptable. We are looking for work that is not politically
charged and has no emotional or other negativity. We would also
like to avoid work that has people in it, especially where faces
are close-up or recognizable. The work must be appropriate for
a corporate environment.
If you have any series of photographs or artwork that fall into
these categories, please email jpegs to the gallery.
implications are, that there are images that have no content at
all. Well, even the abstract work on paper, they are requesting
can have serious content, or otherwise the question would be,
are they suggesting that all abstract work is devoid of content?
Furthermore, what on earth is this specification of images without
people? I was totally bewildered upon reading that they wanted
to eliminate people, as if the ideal would be the result of a
neutron bomb, an explosion that leaves all material objects intact
but is capable of eliminating any trace of life. To suggest as
desirable something as nefarious as this, coming from someone
in the art world, made me wonder what is happening to culture
in the United States of America.
Upon further inspection of the email in question, one comes across
another gem: "The work must be appropriate for a corporate
environment". I was wondering, what sort of moronic corporation
would want to have such art work, defined as devoid of any emotional
content. What is the purpose for a corporation to purchase art,
if it is not to inspire? or if all they wanted was glorified wall
paper, why spend money on so called art through the intermediation
of an art gallery, when what they want are objects as far removed
from what anyone could define as art.
Lastly I was also focusing on the impact that such a request as
that of the Kopekian Gallery could have on a younger generation
of photographers, who upon seeing such utter banality as this
request, might believe that this is what they have to do with
their work in order to be able to sell and be successful. In a
very ironic way, I imagine that this sort of negative influence
on the photographic community is precisely the political statement
Paul Kopekian wanted to avoid by seeking work devoid of emotional
You can not get away from it, no matter how much you try, all
photography has significant meaning, even the banal stuff the
Gallery is requesting. All of this brings to mind some fundamental
questions as to what is happening to art in the USA, when a corporation
wishing to collect work, comes up with the definition for the
art that they want as work devoid of content. Could a corporation
really consider that having art that is devoid of meaning, represent
their interests best? If so, then we surely can say that such
a statement is in itself a political statement. Or does someone
consider that a billboard with "Happiness Sold Here"
is devoid of meaning? One could argue that there is no negativity
in such an image, other than of course, the pathetic statement
that suggests that happiness could be purchased.
Coyoacan, Mexico City.
of Fine Arts
© Pedro Meyer, 2006