*Milan - Santa Maria delle Grazie Church - "The Last supper" (1498), Leonardo Da Vinci. Digitally manipulated by L.
"Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art". (Andy Warhol).
Controversial and debatable quote that makes us reflect on the meaning of Art and its colonisation of the mass-market. Fruition of Art by a wider, non-elitist, audience could mean as a consequence its reduction to a mere "act of consumption". Therefore: can we really talk of expansion and democratisation of Art or, instead, of its degeneration and manipulation exerted by economical and political powers? Tracing back this phenomenon brings us straight to the XVI century and the age of "Lordships" and "Dominions" where the crucial figure of Leonardo Da Vinci began to operate, contributing to define the era of "Renaissance". Art by commission: used by rulers to promote themselves in order to magnify their public influence. Hence the commencing of the modern concept of political propaganda.
Could we even consider Art without its political allusions and deprived of its economical context? Surely the same dilemma applies to fashion. The latter being so associated with the world of artistic creations that to separate them would mean neglecting its true contemporary essence.
More and more often, artists, illustrators and photographers collaborate with brands as strategic players in the making of advertising campaigns or, even, in the product-design. Robert Mcginnis for "Prada'; Angelica Hicks and Coco Capitán for "Gucci"; Jeff Koons for "Luois Vuitton": are some of the current celebrated names. Fashion Maisons marry the distinctive esthetic of the chosen artist, but, at the same time, artists sacrifice some of their "values" to a commercial logic in order to increase the sponsoring-brand visibility and, ultimately, its commercial revenues.
What is left then of the revolutionary power of Art? Can we conceive a world where Art is an independent voice and not driven by the market? Translating this idea to our direct experience of the urban context I wonder: which thoughts can cross people's mind walking down Dalston Lane when looking distractedly at the subversive beauty of the "Hackney Peace Carnival Mural" (London,1985) where, although in a colourful and energetic way, the incumbent nuclear bomb threat is tragi-comically represented?
Finally: is Art a mere object to be consumed or is it something more? Isn't Art also the message and the words associated with its visible out-come; the attributes that its creator uses to "announce" it to his audience? Going further: doesn't even the audience itself (that means all of us) contribute to define and re-define it in a never-ending evolution by "sharing", "commenting" and "liking"?
"Pop art is a way of liking things". (Andy Warhol)
*London - Dalston Lane, "Hackney Peace Carnival Mural" (1985), by Mick Jones and Ray Walker, photo by L.
*Milan - Largo la Foppa - Gucci "Bloom" campaign launched on 6th September 2017. Art-work by Ignasi Monreal, photo by "Paperdoll".
*Milan. Prada, FW 2017 RTW collection illustrated by Robert Mcginnis. Shop window picture by "Paperdoll", digital manipulation by L.