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In the motion picture The Other Guys, the meaning of ready-made artwork is satirized by a riff on being educated aesthetically in order to ridicule artists as a McGuffin for a buddy police procedural film about forensic accounting. This is yet another example of artistic parody beyond rank satire or mocking, but as meta-criticism, especially art in an institutional context.
Cultural value is about the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of objects. The message is wealth and the medium can be anything, all defined by property ownership and the value assigned to it by a number of actions. The institutional problem emerges from a market of speculative investment values.
Here are three examples.
The first one is J-Lo and A-Rod’s digs which are also a site of conferred status.
432 Park Avenue, was briefly the tallest residential building in the world, and seems culturally problematic because as we’ve learned more about the property development industry from the previous guy’s money laundering, there are so many investment scams which bear little resemblance to the need for home or shelter. This signifies a financial bubble that aggravates even the zoomer generation.
When the New York Times published a report last month about 432 Park Avenue — the floods, the faulty elevators, the building infighting plaguing residents — the internet delighted in the irony. How delicious it was that some of the wealthiest people in the world could drop tens of millions of dollars on a brand-new condo in the sky only to get stuck in elevators for an hour and a half. But almost no one enjoyed the niche New York City real-estate drama more than Louisa Whitmore, a 16-year-old in Vancouver, British Columbia.
So when the Times published its story, Whitmore felt vindicated — and inspired. As anyone else her age might, she took to TikTok to talk about it, having finally found a reason to discuss her obsession. On an account called @432parkavehatepage, she began proselytizing about her deep-seated distaste for the building. Quickly, it struck a chord on the app: 2.8 million people watched her second video, in which she appeared in front of a photograph of the tower while explaining the genesis of her hatred. “I didn’t even realize how obsessed with it I’d become until I figured out I could start any conversation with ‘Hey, you know that building I hate?’ And all of my friends and family would immediately know what I was talking about,” she joked. Before long, the page had over 200,000 followers.
Whitmore has devoted hours and hours of research into shit-talking 432 Park in addition to other “ugly” architecture that fans submit, like a McMansion McDonald’s on Long Island, Paris’s Tour Montparnasse, and Chicago’s “corncob” towers. Time and time again though, she returned to the same supertall, discussing not only her aesthetic indignation but also the simmering class rage it inspired in her. “It stands out so much that you kind of have to look at the building, but the only people who live in it are incredibly rich people who do not want you to know about them, which makes no sense,” she says.
teens doing architecture criticism (that goes viral!!) on tiktok gives me weird hope for the world https://t.co/Jo94SG40IU— p.e. moskowitz (@_pem_pem) March 31, 2021
“a gridded tube abstracting and punctuating the more leaden masses of the lesser boxes around it”
432 Park Avenue is a residential skyscraper at 57th Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, overlooking Central Park.The 1,396-foot-tall (425.5 m) tower was developed by CIM Group and Harry B. Macklowe and designed by Rafael Viñoly.It features 125 condominiums as well as amenities such as a private restaurant for residents. 432 Park Avenue sits on Billionaires’ Row and has some of the most expensive residences in the city, with the median unit selling for tens of millions of dollars…The tower is segmented into 12-story blocks separated by open double-story mechanical spaces that allow wind gusts to pass through the building… As of 2020, it is the thirty-first tallest building in the world, sixth-tallest building in the United States, the fifth-tallest building in New York City, and the third-tallest residential building in the world….As early as 2012, a dozen potential clients were described as being interested in occupying units at 432 Park, and by the next year, tenants had signed contracts for over a third of the units. The following year, that proportion had risen above 50%, with all of the tenants collectively paying an estimated $1 billion.By the end of 2015, close to 90 percent of the apartments had been sold, with almost half of those owned by a foreign citizen, “part of a global elite that collects residences like art.” Many of the buyers were wealthy Chinese, though there were also numerous Brazilian and Russian clients.The German newspaper Der Spiegel estimated that the majority of the units would remain unoccupied for more than ten months a year.
432 Park’s association to wealth inequality was also remarked upon by the building’s own architect, Viñoly, who commented that “There are only two markets, ultraluxury and subsidized housing.”
The second example of conferred status is a jar of preserves that is more about the Holocaust narrative than any glass or fruit.
Incident in a NJ Supermarket— Michael Perino (@ProfessorPerino) February 14, 2021
At the supermarket today, I found a small, elderly woman standing in front of a high shelf holding @BonneMamanUS preserves. She was having trouble finding the flavor she wanted because the jars were set back on the shelf.
She couldn’t read the labels. She could barely reach them. I offered to help.
After I handed here the raspberry preserves, she thanked me, paused, and then asked, “Do you know why I buy this brand?”
I laughed and replied, “Because it tastes good?”“Yes, it tastes good.” She paused again. “I am a Holocaust survivor.”
This was not the conversation I expected on a Sunday grocery run.“During the war, the family that owns the company hid my family in Paris. So now I always buy it. And whenever I go to the store, my grandkids remind me, ‘Bubbe, don’t forget to buy the jelly.’”I told her that that was the best reason I ever heard to buy any company’s product. And then we both smiled behind our masks and went our separate ways.Thanks everyone for your comments about this story. I am glad so many people were moved by it. I certainly was. A few people have raised questions about whether it could be true. A few thoughts below.1.This lovely woman had just shared a beautiful story with me. I was not about to cross-examine her on the details of it in the grocery aisle. She appeared utterly sincere to me.2.When I got home, I discovered that the Bonne Maman brand was not created until 1971 but the company that created it was founded in France in the 1950s. A number of commenters have done some fact-checking and provide evidence that support the story.3.Is any of it dispositive? No, but let me ask you this question—what possible reason would this woman have to go out of her way to lie to the perfect stranger who just retrieved a jar of preserves for her?
It seems authentic. “We were complete strangers to everyone in this village, Biars sur Cere, which then had about 800 people; it’s the village where Bonne Maman preserves come from." https://t.co/gSsdlo60io— Eloise (@EloiseMcNaulty) February 15, 2021
Meanwhile, back in prewar Germany, Moritz and Irma Mayer worried about their children, and decided to get them out. “My brother, Fred, my sister, Ruth, and I ended up in a village in Alsace, with much older cousins, and later, still with the cousins, in a town in Burgundy, then in Vichy for a year and a half. We were expelled from Vichy in July 1941 because we were foreign Jews and ended up in southern France,” Mr. Mayer said. His mother, who stayed in Worms, was deported to Belzec and was gassed there in 1942. (His brother died 10 years ago, and his sister, whose last name was Rothschild, died about a year and a half ago, he added.) “We were complete strangers to everyone in this village, Biars sur Cere, which then had about 800 people; it’s the village where Bonne Maman preserves come from.
Finally there’s the continued mania for commodified the site-specific graffiti that is Banksy’s art, challenging the mediated value of the artwork versus its ability to be possessed and preserved to retain the conferred status of auction value. The non-tangible token may soon render meaningless the work of art in the age of blockchain digital reproduction.
Banksy mural removed from Nottingham wall and sold to Essex gallery https://t.co/hu4LxJTQQR— The Guardian (@guardian) February 17, 2021
Brandler Galleries in Brentwood said it had bought the mural from the building’s owner for a six-figure sum and it had been removed by workers from a specialised company on Wednesday morning.
The gallery owner, John Brandler, has collected a number of Banksy’s pieces, including Season’s Greetings, which appeared on a garage in Port Talbot, Wales, in 2019.
Brandler said he planned to display the hula-hoop mural in an exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, later this year.
The owner of the building on which the mural appeared, who has chosen to remain anonymous, told NottinghamshireLive they had not wanted to keep it. They said they had tried to donate it locally but “discussions with a number of local organisations, charities and national bodies” had not led anywhere as “none were able to commit to taking ownership of the art”.
They did not disclose how much the work had sold for but said they would donate the proceeds privately.
The mural was displayed next to a bicycle with a missing wheel, the original of which was removed by the owner of the building for safe-keeping and replaced.
Local residents expressed sadness that the mural, which attracted queues of people when it was first created, had been taken out of the city.
“I’m sad that the Banksy in Nottingham is not going to stay in Nottingham, it was put there for a reason,” one person tweeted. It has been suggested the piece was a reference to Nottingham’s history as a bicycle manufacturer, with the bike brand Raleigh established in the city in 1887.