Everything we see hides another thing,
we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.
We have a joke that runs something like “what happened in the 80s, stayed in the 80s” not because of the nature of the events that transpired but rather because there seem to be huge blocks of time that lie hidden by what came after. For many, it was a continuation of the hard-hitting party scene of the late 1970s where weekends began on Wednesdays. Certainly, it was a knock-down drag’em out decade for living large in the most conspicuous ways possible but underneath the silk and sequins was the attempt to make a place for oneself in a world that was expanding faster than most could keep up.
Surrealism held a strange fascination for the up and comers – in those years, a plethora of counterfeits by famous artists circulated in the most unexpected places. There was a generation of eager collectors – just a little too young to have gotten mired in the mud of Woodstock, they had found sources of income (legal or not) that brought heavy benefits; the stock market was booming and flush with cash, they wanted to acquire those trappings – good Italian suits, then hard to find luxury brands, fast cars and art – that would give them an aura of class and refinement. Unfortunately, and not for lack of trying, most of them didn’t know the difference between sh*t and shinola.
It was too good to be true in so many ways – young budgets with an eye on the future, and a taste for art that wasn’t suitable for hanging in their parents’ dining rooms, were wise investing in better quality, limited-edition traceable prints by artists like Leonor Fini and Saul Steinberg. We bought what we liked, whether it was on canvas or paper, sculpted out of iron or old tin cans – our aesthetic a tangible addition to the layers that we built up around our personas. Whether it is worth anything today is a story for another time…
For more skewed views have a look at: