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Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets by Lila Rajiva, Will Bonner

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Portrait of the Artist as a Scalawag

One corner full of them is the art world. Take Heatwave.

Heatwave is a Barbie doll inside a rotisserie oven, lit with an orange glow, so that Barbie is basking and baking. Another favorite is Sunbeams, where the doll is draped over a Sunbeam mixer with her posterior jutting into the air and the whisks of the Sunbeam whirring closely.

Defending his art in the The Telegraph,9 Forsythe reminded us of another thing that grubbing for money is better than. Gimmicky and foolish, Heatwave is the sort of thing you would expect from today's culture today.

“When I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun,” said Hermann Göring once.10 The German aviator was roasting in hell before Forsythe was even born, so he never had a chance to see Heatwave. But had he seen it—and had you been present at the show—you probably would have wanted to duck.

The artist in Europe today has a special status, somewhere between a Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan and a carny for Barnum and Bailey. The artist is a rebel who gets invited to all the best parties. He is a bit actor on the margins, taken seriously by the rich and the powerful. He is an icon buster, peddling his own shoddy image for worship and glorification. And he is a born genius, with no visible talent, except for self‐promotion.

In short, the artist is a humbug.

Artists have always been critics of the conventions of the day. When Dante drew his picture of Hell, he made sure to put into it the leading citizens ...

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