Andy Warhol’s Factory
The artist is present at work

It’s pouring without mercy, but here this is highly appreciated.

»I like rain«, says Andy Warhol, founder of the famous Factory, as he greets us at the entrance of what appears to be an enormous post-apocalyptic amusement exhibition hall. »The rain suits the atmosphere well.«

»Everything we do should be an in-the-moment experience. Something that people can feel.«, he adds while we are entering the entrance. Inside the massive hall we are overwhelmed how massive it is and how much is going on inside. Only the Gigafactory can equal this in terms of complexity and size. »I like big things.«.

After founding the first Factory in 1962 which was located at East 87th Street, things went very well for Andy. This first studio was also known as »The Firehouse« since it was housed in an abandoned fire station.
The actual famous Factory – the legendary Silver Factory – was situated in Manhattan, between the United Nations headquarters and the Grand Central Terminal. In February 1968 they moved to another place inside Manhattan before the old building was demolished.

»Art is business…«

Under the increasing influence of the employees Paul Morrissey and Frederick Hughes, the factory was finally transformed from the bohemian-like field of experimentation and drug handling to a »clean« security and camera-monitored office.
In July 1968, the Warhol actress and women’s rights activist Valerie Solanas entered the still open new building and shot Warhol, after he had refused to film a script for her manifesto of the Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM). The loose sixties »factory years« were now finally over and the once spontaneously spiced up studio gave way to a financial-oriented high-gloss art group including board and managing directors.

After entering the entrance, Andy leads us to one of the factory’s conference rooms. »Art is business«, he formulates it while we are passing the first robots of tremendous size and unusual eloquence. »Those robots are quite huge, aren’t they? With them we can produce paintings up to a size of a football field«.

»After the last studio also was getting to small, I decided we needed to get bigger, more flexible for production«. So they went public at the New York Stock Exchange as the first stock run by a fine artist with the ticker symbol PAWF, standing for Public Andy Warhol Factory. Also a much bigger factory was going to be built in Shenzhen, China. It’s the factory we are currently in and it is truly astonishing.

After going public they also established a corporate structure that enabled to gain a maximum of capital to work with and also to let Andy still control the factory. »There a two stocks existing of PAWF. The one for the public only has one voting right, whereas the stock I posses to 71% does include a voting power of ten.« The other 29% of those are controlled by several employees that got more and more important over time. Back then when the Factory was on the track of steep success, the first employees started to demand more stakes for their work.

With the rise of poststructuralism and their pioneers like Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida and most importantly Michel Foucault, the concept of everything would be constructed out of language and if one would change this, everything could be changed into the way one wanted, history and science became obsolete and also even dangerous. »For us as a fine art factory this was the best possible move that could have happened«, Andy says. Because of this change in thinking, historical narratives no longer mattered and even high art became a waste product for short term consumption. Art no longer mattered trough millenniums, it’s all just a matter of context now. Art can be repeated and reproduced as long as the context changes. And the context is changing every second as time moves on.

Today PAWF is the biggest multi billion dollar company for high and popular art. »We offer art for every size of wallet, wether you have 50 bucks or a multi million. It does not depend on how much you can spend, only your willingness.«. In fact, the Factory can show off with extraordinary growth rates since new sales markets are getting tapped. With every mixture between technical and genetical life forms that are creating more and more life variations and also new places in space to be discovered and utilized, the potential market for art rises steadily. Thanks to »The Declaration of Free Intelligence« all of those new subjects coming to life, guaranteeing free-will for all artificial and natural intelligent life forms, the future of Andy Warhol’s Factory is certainly going to flourish.

Arriving after a longer walk at the conference room, the interior of it is lined with aluminum foil and sprinkled with silver paint, based on an idea of the former employee and photographer Billy Linich. The large windows to the outside are covered with silver foil so that day and night can no longer be distinguished from each other by artificial lighting.

»In the past we did a large amount of screen prints and objects by hand. Now, we use automated ways to produce things.«, Andy says. Indeed, the Factory has changed a lot and is nowadays looking more like a high tech company than an artist’s studio. But nevertheless Andy managed his path as a poor American immigrant to one of the internationally most well known persons in the art scene.

After visiting the conference room, Andy shows us around at the factory, showing us the different sections in it. The whole campus is divided up into several pieces. The biggest section is for installation and art in architecture. Then there is sculpture and painting. The third is for everything that has to do with digital art. The smaller ones consist of merchandising and prints. There is also a separated main tower in where all the art is getting thought trough and trough which every person has to go when entering the company. It is like a think tank for ideas, fueling the complete factory. A piece of art is no longer done with the hand of an artist, but by different kinds of robots and 3 dimensional printers. »And you can’t even distinguish wether an artwork is made by hand or by one of our machines«, Andy is concluding proudly.

Currently the factory is in preparation mode for some commissions which is why we cannot see a lot of interim results at the moment. Nevertheless, interesting things can be seen at the factory. Their current biggest corporate commissioners include public companies like Tencent Holdings, YY.com, JD.com, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Ajinomoto but also several other collectors who rather want to stay anonymous.

»Luckily, we are producing way better work than the companies of Takashi Murikami, Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons. So proudly, we can call us market leader.«, Andy mentions, while bringing us back to where we started our journey.

All in all, we had a lot of fun during our visit at the Factory. Getting insight into the life of Andy Warhol and also getting a sneak peak of what is being created inside the Factory, is something you won’t be able to see that often. »Very sorry to leave you here at the entrance hall, but I need to do some art. Until next time, see you!«, Andy concludes before we leave.




»Hello, my deep neural friend.
Let me show you the world«
by Martin Kreitl
Art critique

It has been said that art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves simultaneously.

The extent of the truth of that saying by Thomas Merton entirely depends on how one chooses to interpret it. This particular article will be looking at the artwork: “Hello my deep neural friend. Let me show you the world” by Martin Kreitl. Here we will basically be looking at the series that the artist came up with creating one of the some unique combos, bringing together the art of photography with artificial intelligence. We will see how he analyses the process of moving from unknown to known; proving debatable the fact as it had always been, that: learning is much harder than forgetting.

Description

In coming up with the artwork, the artist is keen to note in details how photographs that were taken during a travel then were then presented to an algorithm that can be characterized to the field of artificial intelligence. Its purpose is then try to comprehend the images thorough trying to gain an understanding of them and then to hoard them. The results that were then achieved from this were presented. The artist intends to walk the visitor through the part of the world that he had visited thorough the images that now speak to the soul leaving him not to utter a single word and so, it will be upon the visitor to try and interpret the images. This article also seeks to compare what has been previously done on the same.

Analysis

From the presentation, the artist was keen to observe the time the algorithm took, moving from the point where nothing was known to getting a good clue of the photograph. Then there was the comparison of this made to the timespan taken from the point of having the clear clue to forgetting. This brought out the latter taking longer than the previous. This he compared to traumatized individuals. The reason for this was used was to show how it actually is in reality and barely noticed as the common consensus whereby it is presumed that learning is generally harder than forgetting, going unquestioned. This form of art could also have been used to understand certain situations that happen and cannot be explained by words but only though images. Sometimes a certain feeling cannot be efficiently conveyed though words and a picture, worth a thousand words, would just do the fit.

Interpretation

The learning process after completion was able to present the results that were from the stored in the algorithm. The photographs were altered to a form that can communicate deeply to art lovers though the interpretation of the algorithm. A remarkable inference was created. For many in the field they were fascinated with how the computers could be taught how to paint. For others however, this remains a threat as they fear looking their jobs to these computers that will be increasingly accurate. In such kind of art, you can barely know what the real picture entailed. Such images speak to the emotions of the viewers.

The art could also be used in psychology to be able to see someone’s emotions. To be able to read through them and see what they could be thinking about – rather the trail of thought.

Judgement

Compared to other works in the same field, the output of the algorithm in this artwork was finer than when the discovery of this form of art came to be. At the beginning, simply by turning the image up- side- down, one was able to interpret the image. If a random beginner in the art was to stumble upon the page, it would be quite difficult for them to follow. However, the art can speak to them. Only that it would be extremely difficult to interpret. However, it is not entirely useless as it presents artists a point of working together with computers. This is helpful in the art industry. From the title, my deep neural friend’, the artist presumes that those who will be viewing will be those who have knowledge about the neural network, which may not be the case thereby forcing those with no knowledge to have done prior research or fail to understand the art completely. This series also presented a new way of thinking whereby teachers and schools could now adopt the method of teaching using images. More children will be able to lean and retain.

Summary

This article has brought to light the deep art that can be generated from paring computer technology with photography. It has also brought deep intense art that can not only be seen but felt too though deep comprehension of art lovers, despite the fact that they may just show as mere blurs to others. The explanation of how the algorithm calculates through its neurons and the ability to store the output has also provided the artist the platform to explain to his audience how all his art transpired. One important lesson not to be forgotten from this art piece is how the production of the art was used to come to an antagonistic state with the generally accepted concept that learning is harder that forgetting. We have seen that once images have been brought in to the image, then forgetting becomes easier said than done. The art then finally depicts the worlds to the universe through a different lens.

Heiner Blum nominated for Durex Art Award
Reckitt Benckiser art division

The Durex Art Award is one of the most renowned awards for living artists.

Heiner Blum, professor at University of Art and Design Offenbach, has been nominated for the Durex Art Award, the Praxis Center for Aesthetic Studies as part of the international company Reckitt Benckiser, that owns the condom brand Durex, recently announced.

This year, out of a huge amount of considered artists that had either submitted or had been suggested, the jury had the difficult job to select a shortlist consisting of four artists where Heiner Blum is the first to be announced of.

Blum, a German who lives in Offenbach, earned a place on the shortlist with his approach to conceptual artworks.

»We have two awards to offer in order to support fine artists«, says Mia Lian, head of the center. »The Durex Art Award is one of the most renowned awards for living artists with an oeuvre that one can call sovereign and also helps foster the creativity and talent of many artists across the world. The award is especially for artists who approach their artworks in a hermetical way with a high amount of seclusion against critique. Artist who rather making statements than asking questions in their artworks.
As a point of contrast we also created the Cillit Bang Award that seeks for artists who practice a different approach for their work like asking questions instead of giving answers. Many artists of both approaches adapted these strategies and also had noticeable amounts of success in the scene of art.«

The Reckitt Benckiser art division gives more than 300 000 £ in scholarships annually to top awards recipients. The division also partners with art institutes, colleges, and universities to earmark scholarships for college-bound scholastic award recipients.

Annals of Private History by Amalia Ulman
art critique

The Annals of-Private History by Amalia Ulman is a piece of art that takes the format of a subtitled lecture that explores the history of-the diary and the culture of diary keeping.

This is from when the diary was first invented to its changing form in the modern world we now live in. Key to note is that the modern version of the diary is heavily influenced by various platforms made possible by the internet including Video Blogs commonly referred to as vlogs.

In this piece, Amalia Ulman tries to explain the different aspects and functions of a diary. She does this through the eyes and voice of the narrator and effectively uses both audio (through a female narrator’s voice, tonal variations etc.) and visuals (animations, films, illustrations) to pass across her message.

Description of the piece of art

The Annals of-Private History by Amalia Ulman starts with a question being posed by the narrator asking:

“Is this a meeting or is this a date? Is it early or is it late? Is it early or is it great…with no further evidence with your face raised high…you no longer believe in anything. ”

In the background, sounds of birds chirping can be heard and visually, there is a mixture of graphics and a video of a white bottle with a smiling face kind of a decoration. Key to note is that this sets the pace for the content that the video holds.

Amalia Ulman’s piece of art then quickly transitions from the introductory scene to the next scene, which has a different feel altogether. The background is filled with sound of a busy place with a child’s voice being heard from a distance. Also an Arabic-like kind of music fills the ears and immediately, the audience is thrown into a home like environment.

Against a backdrop of curtains with roses and teddy bears, bold red letters spell out, “YOUNIVERSE” and we know the voice we are hearing is supposed to be one coming from within ourselves (monologue) and not two people having a conversation.

The voice goes ahead to remind us of the things we supposedly did in the past, including dining in an Italian restaurant, which the narrator (the voice) thinks in funny.

At this point we see the photograph of a child writing and are thus signaled to imagine these things we are hearing are not just imaginations but emanate from our own entries to a diary.

Also we can see a rotating padlock and key, which are both symbolic of the secrecy and privacy of the information we wrote down.

As the video proceeds we get to see different words flashed on the screen including; PROTECTION, Levels of TRUST, and a verbal reminder not to take pictures as this is our LITTLE SECRET.

The voice then proposes that we imagine we have entered into a new life, where we already know each other and naturally decide to spend some time together which the voice terms as;

“Creating a perfect burble out of time”

After being asked to close our eyes and make a wish, she instructs us not to tell, but rather;

to keep it all in and suffer in silence’.

History of diaries

We then transition to yet another section of Annals of-Private History as we are led into and fed with information and history of-the diary including the functions it plays.

A flashback kind of effect is used to take us back to the 17th century as videos depicting the household of the Innocentis, which is where the first diary used by 13 year old Lisabetta. We are taken through the pains and frustrations of the young girl who writes down her troubles of having to go through rape and getting infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

The narrator then goes into the details of how gifting girls with diaries came into being. Personal journals and notebooks, she says, were different in context but similar in shape. This was confusing as the diaries boys and girls used were similar.

After two centuries, Harold Scott Wood designs a modern diary with a side padlock helping to make a distinction between the notebooks used by the two genders.

The word PASSWORD is then flashed on the screen and the voice of a man states, “Finally women will stop contaminating public discourse with their inner rambling.”

At this point, the lecture switches to music about my secret journal’.

The element of trust and safety is then re-introduced with an emphasis not to trust anyone.

Towards the end the same is emphasized through the words; “Diaries are swallowed by-the beds girls-write their journals from.”

Annals of-Private History by Amalia Ulman then switches to various vloggers introducing their vlogs (video blogging) and it tackles a myriad of topics including; being a sugar baby, transitioning from male to female, plastic surgery, liposuction, fasting, pregnancy diary etc.

Analysis and Interpretation of the art work

Amalia Ulman in her work Annals of-Private History uses a variety of features which all serve to covey specific ideas and notions. The use of a diary to write down personal information, for example, is presented as a practice reserved for girls and women.

1. The Lock and Key

The lock and key used in the presentation is a depiction of how secretive the content of the diary is to the user as within it include (or might include) emotional and social issues that the writer could be going through. These according to the narrator, were issues that were kept far away from the public arena as they were perceived as an act of; women contaminating public discourse with their inner rambling’ never mind that some of these issues were as serious as rape and inequality.

2. Use of word graphics

The use of words including PASSWORD, TRUST and SAFE all further bring out the whole secretive and privacy nature of society towards issues that should be brought to the forefront and addressed.

At the end of the video, we are told that;

“Diaries are swallowed by-the beds girls-write their journals from.”

This further strengthens the notion that whatever goes into the diaries is not important enough to tell the world, or to bother everyone else with (or rather that is how we should imagine it).

3. Use of Social Media

And while delving into the modern age of using social media including Tumblrs and Vlogs, the narrator tries to bring out the fact that today the things people previously kept private has now become a matter of public affair. The very existence of the diary and the diary keeping practice is therefore at stake.

Judgment of the piece of art

Amalia Ulman’s piece; Annals of-Private History shows originality in the use visuals and audio visuals through the use of day to day objects, illustrations, language, graphics and sounds to drive her point home.

While some might argue that what is seen in the video lacks originality as they have previously been used elsewhere, I feel the combination of the narration, music, animation etc. is what makes this piece original and unique from others that are in existence.

While doing this, she is able to bring our attention to the issues of rape, anxiety and inequality especially amongst the female members of the society, topics that have deeply plagued the society both in the past and now.

The use of subtitles in the lecture is also an effective tool as it enables the audience to follow the lecture even better by both listening, reading and viewing of the visuals adopted in the presentation. This is also an effective way of reaching an audience that might be hard of hearing or who might not be able to comprehend the narrator’s accent.

In summation, Annals of-Private History by Amalia Ulman is a piece that has achieved the intended purpose of the artist, as it sets an avenue for public debate on what society has for a long time considered less important. Issues to do with rape, inequality and mistrust amongst human beings is definitely one that are well tackled in this piece.

Brexit: 35% additional tax on artworks
Punitive tariff

After the inglorious Brexit voting of the UK leaving the EU, both parties started to negotiate the conditions for exit

and it certainly is going to be a tough time for both. »Britain will fight back if the EU will not strike an acceptable deal on Brexit«, finance minister Philip Hammond said. He also said that Britain would »do whatever we need to do« to be competitive if the country left the European Union without concluding a trade agreement.

As of now one thing is for certain: The EU announced that it is going to establish an additional tax of 35% on every transaction of anything having to with art. »As being a strong European Union we are going to encounter protective duties against artworks of lesser quality. And by that also UK’s art businesses since they are flooding the markets and European artworks are getting exported to Britain’s channel islands Jersey and Guernsey in order to function as backup capital for their financial market and nobody can see these works anymore.«, as EU minister of culture Simon Lang said.

By bringing this tax to life artists with already high markets prizes like Damien Hirst or Andrew Vicari, two multi-millionaire British artists, are getting even more expensive. This might not be a good move for them as collectors certainly are less willing to pay 35% more for the same artwork.
This is also might be the reason why Wolfgang Tillmans, also multi-millionaire, campaigned against the Brexit so badly.

When the European Union sets up its barrier on art, the UK will follow for sure as they announced to fight back their way for every bad tax the EU creates. It maybe start a war on trade if both parties can’t find some deals for free trade.