Frank Artsmarter: The Final Word on Art
For more than two decades, multi-media artist Christopher Blay has interrogated and de-propositioned the visual art world. At the heart of all of his exhibits, writings, and stunts are the questions, “What is art?” and “Says who?” Blay recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of his Thrift Art Show and Auction, a liquid collection of alarmingly bad art culled from thrift stores all over creation. Now Blay has gone viral. As Frank Artsmarter, a patently pretentious art-world mover and shaker, Blay has been setting up pranks and doing skits that involve real-world local visual artists and art-world denizens. Though some of the skits are a little hard to follow, most are nicely edited and include mood music. In one particular skit, Frank sits down to chat with Fiona Luxemborg, an art patron somewhere between Peggy Guggenheim and an antebellum-South gasbag with entirely too much money and time on her hands. In another skit, Frank prank calls the Kimbell Art Museum, demanding that one of his collections be exhibited there. The ostensible purpose is to have fun and shake up the staid art world a little. Will the art world change for the better? Probably not, but if Blay-cum-Frank can turn one person on to new ways of thinking about the corporatization of something as personal as art, then maybe there’ll be one less artist memorialized in the Thrift Art Show and Auction.