Money v.s. Love

It is time for the second edition of the “Art and Markets” video blog, a collaborative endeavor with dear Peter Levin, of Rethinking Markets.  The topics?  De-valuation, Burning, Murakami, Rap, and Louis Vuitton.  As always, we’re eager to start a conversation with you.

Links for the stuff:

Jay-Z, “Moment of Clarity,” The Black Album

Kayne West, “Good Morning,” Graduation with Murakami animation:

Murakami video for Louis Vuitton:


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7 responses to “Money v.s. Love

  1. mike

    Two things: (1) I’m sure this can’t be easy but I think you guys should link to a transcript of these discussions. I’d like to go back and read pieces to experience your ideas that way. (2) I’d like to hear more about potential pitfalls of life dominated by logos. I’m not convinced it’s such a bad thing.

    Keep up the dialogue. I’m really enjoying this!


  2. I guess we could include notes or something on the general themes (at best), but transcripts would require less fun work than I would suspect either of us is willing to do.

    And I also thought JL at the end began to move into the No Logo space – but with content (and in the specific sense, that Murakami video is pretty damn creepy). I’d put the question differently: if there is such a thing as overlapping spheres – or however we think about it, maybe more like Zelizer-circuits) – and Murakami is indeed making a strong claim for content that is relentlessly commercial, what does this mean?

    Are you going in a ‘money in art makes more art’ kind of direction, or a ‘who cares if LV co-opts high art’ or someplace else?

  3. Jenn Lena

    Mike: Sorry, buddy, but I’m not going to be writing any transcripts. I’m working at over 100% capacity, as it is.

    I was riffing at the end, and will think more about the issues I raise. I don’t think Peter’s helping me very much by invoking (publicly) the ghost of our dear Naomi, because I’m not on an anti-corporate tip. If memory serves, I specifically target the danger when art is so immersed into commerce that critique from outside those realms is no longer imaginable. For example, when Murakami’s significance and his relationship to commercial art/culture is “read” as “essentially Japanese”, we have failed to recognize the complicated nature of Japan’s ideologies viz. material culture. The more comfortable we become with “flat” culture, the less free we are to dream, I would say. Another way to say this is: I don’t think Murakami is going to inspire the next Murakami.

  4. Some comments from Erica. She says that:
    1) I say ‘um’ too much
    2) Considering the possibilities of looking horribly stupid, we both look kinda normal
    3) You speak in jargon
    4) For the LV / Murakami clip, you introduced it only after we played it
    5) She didn’t get the point about Warhol being art/commerce divide for the sake of playing the divide, versus Murakami marketing his art at each price point.

    For that 5th point, once explained she liked it a lot. She suggested the question, what distinguishes Murakami from, say, the digital art designer at (where she works). Many companies place different product lines at different price points, but one of the main considerations for them is, how to do so without diluting the high-end brand. E.g., Armani Express and Armani. Why doesn’t Murakami dilute?

  5. Jenn Lena

    Sounds like Erica is an adept critic. We can explore her 5th point, perhaps, in the next episode. I recognize #’s 3 and 4 as the product of circumstances, not habit.

  6. May

    Murakami doesn’t dilute because it only costs a lot. Armani Exchange sells jeans, those dumb t-shirts, and accessories for much, much less (and smattered with logos) than either Emporio Armani or the high-end Armani. There is no low-end Murakami LV. You can get the brown monogram for a mere $250 for a small wallet, but the multicolored and now camouflage Murakami versions remain in the low to mid $1000s. There is no difference between much of the LV stuff because it all remains so expensive. The point in purchasing the Murakami stuff, from a consumer POV, is to show it off. Notice, the LV monogram is always so prominently featured. Why are we not discussing the Epi or Damier lines? Because there is no logo!

  7. Peter

    May – no, no, no, this is only the LV line. Look at Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd., for instance. It’s TM’s commercial arm. For instance:

    “Controversial for his Superflat theory, Murakami believes that the flat, consumerist society we live in calls for a rethinking of the relationship between commerce and art, and the acceptance of this fusion is more evolved in Japan.”

    They sell “pillows, bags, towels, key chains, sticker sets, and even soccer balls emblazoned with Murakami and other Kaikai Kiki artists’ colorful designs.” I would say this is not a conventional way to protect a brand, so to speak. So again, why doesn’t it dilute?

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