Martin Creed | Notes on Looking

Steel Life, organized by Zak Kitnick

I  didn’t read the press release before half way through Steel Life at Michael Benevento Gallery, and when I did I snorted with laughter. The pr quoted an artisan iron craftsperson as this iron guy was himself quoted in the catalog of high-end lifestyle accessory management firm Restoration Hardware. Gruff, romantic, simple and sensitive (all to a bombastic degree), this person extolls the virtues of hand-madedness (“his door handles are sculptures that just happen to be attached to doors”), he assures the reader of the life force, or chi,  that courses through his metalsmithing (this chi increases an object’s interest and value to people). “I want to know how to do things the best way possible. I’m kind of obsessive that way” The Restoration Hardware artisan continues in a similar vein for 15 heartfelt paragraphs. As against computers and our “over-technologized culture” his work “…is honest, made by hand.” Such are the fantastic demands marketers make on our credulity. “Believe in us (and our craftspeople) because we bring magic to materials.” Hah! Come to think of it, if you switch a few terms and ratchet down the soulful, sensitive artist rap, this merchandising catalog entry reads very much like the promises a gallerist will make about the next big thing in a current exhibition at said theoretical gallerists space. (Everybody engages in bullshit, stuff like this is why no artist since maybe Andy Warhol should market themselves. Any claims one makes for what is essentially inexpressible (art) are necessarily expressed in words that devour more meaning than they convey, and claim too many of the wrong things. Dealers are paid to bear this burden for artists.)...