The Artist, the Marketer and the People @ SF Moma
Penelope Umbrico

The Artist, the Marketer and the People @ SF Moma

The Artist, the Marketer and the People @ SF Moma

Popular songs may have a catchy tune, but they’re only popular from being played over and over and over again on the radio till the listeners internalize the sound and lyrics.  Visual art, despite its need to stand the test of time is circulated over and over again, written about, spoken about in elevated diction, spent stupid money on, until they become ensconced into the minds of its audience.

Where does the artist play a part in all of this? Historically, he or she does not. His work evolves until it reaches the place where it permeates the psyche of the art lover/ collector, leading to his popularity and spiking price of artworks! Hence we view with bewilderment  Picasso’s early works of forlorn realistic faces, Gerard Richter’s early portraits as if in motion with blurry borders, perhaps suggesting the temporality of a situation, and Warhol’s early portraits such as the one of Elvis capturing the movements of a rock star and sold for chump change of $30M and wonder what carved the journey of these artists?! Until such time that the artist himself smartens up to the machinations of marketing and blasts his audience with mass-produced dots,  I’m not naming names here!

The tall spider holds its ground for all future women artists to find a place in a prestigious museum collection.    Twombly’s black board scribble rings in class room nostalgia at a ticket sale of $70 million at Southeby’s recently!  The children enjoyed running through the maze of Richard Serra’s large sculpture one of whose unsung merits might well be its indestructible quality!  I was not important enough to view the René Magritte’s special exhibit which only donors and patrons were privy to at the time of my visit.  A day later is when I could view it with the rest of the Joe Schmo!

The newly renovated San Francisco MOMA smaller than the one in NYC exhibited all of the iconic artists cleverly establishing at a glance the journey of the artist.  Worth it!


Tania Sen is a contemporary artist of Indian origin who lives and works in Philadelphia. Using mythology, politics, pop culture, ads, signage, Tania explores the process of transformation of human perception in an age of digital reproduction.