Monthly Archives: June 2011

M F Hussain No More

Maqbool Fida Husain,  popularly known as MF, an artist of Indian origin passed away today.  He was called as the Picasso of India and was one of the global faces of the Indian art scene.

May his soul rest in peace.

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Who creates your art work?

Image Courtesy Wall Street Journal

I recently read an article on Wall Street Journal, titled, ‘The Art Assembly Line.’  The article discusses the increase in use of art assistants by artists to help satisfy the demand for contemporary art.

Let me put it in the way I understood it! It is simply telling you that the next time you walk into an art gallery, find a new painting by a leading artist on the wall, stop to admire it, buy it by paying a hefty sum, bring it home and hang it on that drawing room wall, the chances that the artist who you thought created the painting and who actually created the painting being two different people is very, very high!

I am not suggesting that leadings artists shouldn’t employ apprentices to create an art work. In fact, I am all in favor of apprenticeship. Apprenticeship provides emerging artists an opportunity to learn from an expert and build a portfolio of art work while providing them with a source of employment. And this is the way even legendary artists like Leonardo da Vinci mastered his skills. I see the relationship between an apprentice and a master as mutually beneficial where everyone involved thrives.

But we are talking about art assistants here. And this is a whole different ball game. This looks like an arrangement where leading artists are taking advantage of the cheap labor in developing countries and exploiting the assistants by not giving them the credit they truly deserve. And to me, this is a despicable behavior that neither an artist nor an art patron should tolerate.

We do want the artists to make hay while the sun shines and take advantage of the art markets’ increase in appetite for contemporary art but where does one draw the line?

I am curious to know your thoughts. So drop a comment.

Until next time…

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