In the contemporary climate, every new generation of artists is faced with the task of originating new forms of work that fall outside the margins of established commodity. In other words, to create work that is uncommodifiable, though it will not remain so for long. This is the cycle, the dance, the lie at the heart of the avant-garde, and everyone knows it. As the art market sets crunchily to work figuring out how to sell the unsaleable, the best or cutest or savviest of the new generation are called to join in the carousel, or production-line, churning out their visionary, uncommodifiable commodities, which have acquired in the meantime a price tag in accordance to their very resistance to commodity status, their rareness, their avant-gardiness. Avant-garde simply means as-yet-unsold (though-we’re-working-on-it); “outsider” art denotes that-for-which-we-can-see-no-buyer. I’m not talking about discrete objects, but about processes and concepts – and if it sounds abstract, it is. For the art game, after all, is the slipperiest and most opaque of markets, all smoke and mirrors and business cards and canapés and champagne, and the emperor’s new clothes paraded through the Whitney.
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