Ask The Art Life #3

Art Life Nov 16, 2009 No Comments

Jesse Cohen has followed up her previous question with a more detailed query about the art world. She asks:

Is Jasper Knight the poor man’s Hazel Dooney?
Is Jon Campbell the poor man’s Robert Macpherson?
Is Anthony Lister the poor man’s Brett Whiteley?
Is Patricia Piccinini the poor man’s Charles Saatchi?
Is Noel McKenna the rich man’s Jenny Watson?
And were Stephen Mori and Juliana Engberg separated at birth?
Tell me if I’ve gone too far.

To take the last question first, the answer is no. Mori and Engberg are not related, and although medical science is capable of many wonders, separating such imposing figures is not possible at the moment. Thus we must conclude that they are different people. As to your other questions – ditto no. It often feels that contemporary artists are somehow ‘related’ to overseas artists or to an elder cousin in Australia, the thought being that artists today are just copying each other. This is a misconception – artists have always copied one another. And some do it very well. The ones that do it less well are thought to be “original”. This is where the confusion begins. Being original is overrated but being too derivative is seen to be a bad thing. How then do we decide who is good and who is bad? Do we rely on dubious notions of quality and originality – or do we enjoy what we see on its own terms? You have not gone too far Jesse – this is all quite normal. Hope that helps.

Got a question? Send it to the art life at hot mail dot com.

Andrew Frost

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