Want to Be an Artist? You’re in Luck. This One Is Selling His Practice.

The tendency of the artist to drop out, whether he simply drops out of the scene socially or actually stops working, may be as old as the scene itself, but it can catch on. In 1967, Agnes Martin moved from New York to the New Mexico desert, avoiding the art world for years. In 1975 Boss John Adder Disappeared after traveling alone across the Atlantic in a small boat, leading to speculation as to whether this was his last artistic gesture. Stanley Brown, Charlotte Poseninske and Lee Lozano have disappeared themselves, and, more recently, Cady Noland became legendary for abandoning his work and the art scene.

Now another New York artist is making a unique and provocative exit. On Darren Bader’s hilariously named website, aaronbader.coma sign reads: “20 Years: Selling My Practice.”

“It’s been a good ride,” he says on the site. If he finds a buyer, he will be denied being Darren Bader’s contemporary artist, and that identity will be taken over by the buyer. All of his work to date will remain the property of the current artist, but if the buyer wishes to continue creating trademark Bader works, they are welcome to have a crack at it. (Whether collectors and buyers will continue to buy them, of course, is another question.)

What is the asking price? He has seven numbers less in his mind.

Is this a gag? It’s often called a (barely) joke, but if it’s a joke, it’s the kind that comes with an eight-page contract, drawn up with attorney David Steiner (also known as artist Alfie Steiner). has gone It will be published in an issue of the online journal Triple Canopy in the coming weeks, along with a video about the artist by filmmaker Picchu Wells and text by Badr.True to life.

“It represents a typical career arc for me,” Triple Canopy editor Alexander Provin said by phone, “from hard work to exhaustion to establish yourself as an artist and as an individual.” up to. The possibility of this identity, at work and perhaps in life.

Contract says it all, in a way that’s as simultaneously dull and fun as you might expect, dryly defining terms like artist, work, and practice. The buyer gets Badr’s exercise: that is, his fame in the art world and the right to use the name on new works. Bader will not legally change his name, and can use it when he becomes something new: television host, art dealer, comedian, etc. If all goes well, Bader sheds the art world skin he’s worn for 20 years.

The project follows a century-old tradition of immaterial and conceptual art that began when Marcel Duchamp proposed an ordinary urinal (titled “Fountain”) for a 1917 exhibition under the pseudonym. “He created a new thought for the object,” Duchamp said, defending the fictitious artist, “R. Mutt.”

Started in 1959, Yves Klein “Zones of immaterial photographic sensibility” were sold, with a collector receiving a receipt for a certain amount of blank space. Love the fantasy. Lawrence Weiner And Robert Barry resisted the commercialization of art in the 1960s and 70s, making art that was sometimes merely descriptive and did not need to take physical form. And in the NFT era, artists like Beeple and Pak have mastered the art of charging people (tens of millions in Beeple’s case) for artwork that most people in the art world don’t even explain. See what they really are. consist of.

Although not quite a household name, Bader has carved out an enviable career and has produced an impressively diverse and cerebral body of work. He has appeared in career-building exhibitions, such as the Whitney Biennial (in 2014) and the Venice Biennale (in 2019), and has had solo shows at institutions such as MoMA PS1. He is represented by four prestigious galleries: Andrew Krepps in New York, Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, Sadie Coles in London and Franco Noiro in Turin. I 2018 profile In T Magazine, Nikhil Saul wrote that Bader is “famous … for bringing his profanity and absurdity into the realm of high art.” Similarly, his self-deprecating description on Kreps Gallery’s website refers to him as “an aging sculpture working in AR, elision, found object, humor, permutation/chance, poem, rhetoric, and video. / is a literary brand.”

So when we met at a bar in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, the question was obvious: Why? “One, it’s not meant to be goodbye,” he told me. “But two, there is a surfeit of identity. There is an ‘I’ in everyone’s mind. And three, there is a barrier to creativity.

“Project mocks this codified concept: when did the term ‘art practice’ originate?” They said. “It’s frankly disgusting.” “It was one of those half-baked ideas. I think it must have happened when thinking about selling the dentists’ practice,” he added in an email. In part, he’s worried about the very dubious concept of the Art World brand name he’s selling.

A few examples illustrate his period. His first book, “James Earl Scones” (2005), contains many suggestions for doomed projects. In one, he asked the director of Rome’s Capitoline Museums for permission to ride naked on the famous ancient Roman equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, assuring the director that “this performance is both a continuation and an invincibility of Western art.” An act of sheer reverence. The presence of history.”

In his 2012 book “With 77 and/or 58 and/19, That passage states “Motorcycle on birth control,” in which the buyer will put the pills, as prescribed, into the vehicle’s gas tank. Characteristically for Bader, it combines the two in an ambiguous way, perhaps feminizing a cliché of masculinity, perhaps abandoning the notions of freedom that the motorcycle evokes.

Behind the humor, the artist sees higher purposes. When the Calder Foundation awarded him the Calder Prize in 2013 (“His installations often take on a grotesque character,” Atelier Calder admits.) and asked how his work extends Calder’s legacy, Bader replied, “in questioning what the limits/definitions of sculpture can be.”

If it seems absurd to the average person to put a price on an exercise, he is interested in how we value things, including art objects and money. In a 2014 show at Craps, some pieces involved only monetary exchanges. For example, for $25,800, you could get a “$15,031” piece while some works were the opposite: for $4,200, you could buy a “$16,937”. (Kreps told me with a laugh that he admonished his staff, “We can’t just sell this work. He might buy it all.”)

Some of the past works are essentially instructions on how to interact with a work, even as they challenge the way we value some things while we discard others. In the 2014 Kreps show “To Have and To Hold,” a show about sculptures of found objects, some as insignificant as bottle caps, the collector is challenged to stay with the object, its Like more collections, destroy or lose the original item (optional), then start giving away the collected items.

Jeff Poe of Blum & Poe reconciled with Bader’s decision. In a phone conversation, Poe recalled his awe at first seeing Bader’s work at his 2012 show.Images” at MoMA PS1: “You walk in and you see A sofa and a couple of cats And Two burritos on a windowand, down the hall, A perfect grid Plinths with fruit on top. It was such a dirty, accurate, historically informed and hilarious show that it pissed me off. If Duchamp and Phyllis Diller had a child, it would be Darren Bader.

Poe added, “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s completely in line with his trajectory. “He’s embraced the wrong. He came on stage breaking the fourth wall. Now he is walking out of the trap door.

But if anything is “wrong,” says Bader, it’s the state of the art world he’s leaving behind. In an online journal on the site where he is offering the practice for sale, Bader expressed his distaste for dealer Barbara Gladstone. telling the Times that the late collector Emily Fischer Landau’s habit of not buying artwork as speculation was a “surprisingly old-fashioned tradition”.

Badr wondered, “What world have I been a part of for two decades?”

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