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Amazon now selling discount text books and … fine art!?

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"Victorian Meh" by Nikki Bradley

“Victorian Meh” by Nikki Bradley

Last week Amazon.com launched their beta Fine Art site, selling … uh, fine art, apparently? The details are a little suspect and sketchy, but it seems that Amazon has teamed up with a variety of galleries and art dealers to sell actual, authentic fine art pieces. Well, some authentic fine art pieces.

Predictably, criticism of the project has been mounting in art world corners. Amazon is reliably tone-deaf and ridiculous in their categorizations and recommendations. As Hyperallergic points out, only one “Artist You Know” (how is that a category!?!) is a woman (Helen Frankenthaler). Plus the site offers an “In Room” view that places the art in a generic living room with a table and chair for perspective. I guess one should just squint and do their best to imagine how this artwork might look in their own Ikea-festooned living quarters.

The best, and perhaps only good thing about this (other than the fact you can order your own Monet!?! Maybe…) is the scathing comments that range from sarcastic criticism of middle/upper class consumerism to precise, art historical interrogation.

In the first category, my favorite is the series of comments and ratings for Warhol’s “Hamburger Michel.” Currently at 4.5/5 stars and on sale for $1,450,000.00.

One reviewer complains that the colors don’t match her Rachel Rae(sic) cookware:

Screen shot 2013-08-13 at 12.35.16 PM

Another provides solutions to the blurry print:

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While the tongue-in-cheek commentaries are entertaining, what really drives the point home are the art historical comments that subvert the entire complex. Take, for example, this “Under the Horse-Chestnut Tree,” by Mary Cassatt with an “About This Artwork” that reads: “Lithograph on paper.” An astute commenter states:

Screen shot 2013-08-13 at 12.43.48 PM

If the dealer and/or Amazon can’t get the details of works that are (in theory) selling for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, perhaps its best to stick with the tried and true method of acquiring such work. I assume that method is taking one’s private jet to Basel, Miami or Frieze and follow around your high-priced art consultant in a race to snatch up all the masterworks fresh on the market. Just be sure not to pack too many bags (or bring the step-kids) because you’ll need the extra storage space on the ride back and jet fuel is just SO EXPENSIVE these days.

Goddamit.

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