more on artisanal photorealism

...and the trend of Western contempo artists hiring painters from mainland China who will render any image you send them as an "original oil." This has been going on since at least the early '00s--Ludwig Schwarz did it and also an artist from Munich who's name I'm forgetting.

Of course in some cases these paintings are supposed to be bad but not everyone thinks that way. In a recent studio visit in Dallas I met an artist who had stacks of paintings that had just come from China. He was in three shows and was using the artisans for cheap studio assistants. He was emailing back and forth with them on what kind of painting surfaces to use and they were sending him back proof prints as they were working. This might get a pass if the paintings were good but their appeal had more to do with the digital collages he was making--he should have just shown those.

If you merely needed "painting fodder" to put in an installation (say, where you were digitally inserting a painting into a TV show where the characters were talking about a painting) this might be a plausible reason to "cheap out" but ultimately, if it's on display people are going to have to look at the thing. Possibly it could be a semiotic investigation into cross-cultural misunderstanding: how artists hand-render an image that they have no emotional investment in or cultural attachment to. But if the point is to have a sellable object to place oneself in the Western commodity-based discourse then you are just injecting the art equivalent of grey goo into the system. Like we need more of that.

some of the above is salvage from an earlier, deleted post