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Hub Culture Salon: London

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2nd Oct 2008

So what happens when you put a dozen smart, intellectual arty people in a room after walking their heels off all day at Frieze? We wanted to find out with the first of a global series of Salons produced by Hub Culture, and we got an earful. Thanks to the 12 of you who came and contributed... excerpts and lists below of the movas and shakas:

Hosted by Hub Culture with Lauren Prakke...

Who was there?

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Damien Hirst : True Rascal
Beth Derbyshire, artist

Shezad Dawood, artist

Amanda Gore, PSFK

Tara Luis, Psychologist

Maria Marshall, artist

Frits Prakke, Alchemy Partners

Lauren Prakke, Prakke Contemporary

Oliver Sorrentino, VJ Anyone

Scott Rudmann, Nectar Capital

Mauro Perucchetti, artist

The dinner kicked off after most of the group checked out the Christie's Contemporary party at Christie's St. James, featuring notable Italian works and a few great German pieces.

Getting the hub culture nod were the Matthias Weischer, Martin Eder, Dirk Skreber, Lisa Yuskavage and Anton Henning pieces, which were all quite whimisical and slightly surreal. Of the Italians, Alighiero Boetti was cool, and everyone tried not to spill any champagne near the $300,000 Damien Hirst work placed in a busy hallway.

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A Starry Night in Saint-Rémy, Vincent Van Gogh
At dinner the plan was to talk about Frieze but no one really got around to it. Instead it started with Olivier and Maria talking about the growing influence of hip hop in art (Why hasn't hip hop hit high art we ask?) - with Maria talking about how she wants to do a rap movie and Beth on her efforts to rescore the British national anthem with a more progressive beat. A brilliant idea.

Inevitably DJ Spooky (AWESOME) came up at this time, and as far as we are concerned his art is high art, therefore relaxing the whole hip-hop in art conversation.

Beth rose the question of "art marketing" a new(?) term coined to describe what the big supermarket fairs such as Art Basel and Frieze embody - but the economists at the table maintained that the idea of PR'ing art has relevance. Mauro disagrees: "Pop art pisses me off because it's all about concept, not art." - Hence the spectacle of Carsten "two dot" Holler's slide at Tate and Jake & Dino Chapman's efforts for White Cube (1/2 hour portrait while-you-wait, 4,500) descent into sophisticated marketing exercises for their hosts, rather than "art for arts sake".

Shazad "I am a romantic idealist" and "All money is corrupt" Dalwood indicated little moral objection to the idea of patronage, whether from a Colombian drug dealer, cigarette company or rich philanthropist with a snow-white conscience... a mute point since he is only underwritten by his own projects.

We particularly loved Tara's erudite contribution, when asked about the psychology of art, that great artists of the past, such as a Van Gogh, may have never realized their potential in the modern world. "Van Gogh was a bi-polar manic depressive - I've studied his letters - and if alive today they would have had him on a combination of Lithium and Lexapro."

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Carsten Holler's Slide installation, Tate Modern
Maria disagreed, maintaining that he never would have taken his medication properly in the first place, which prompted someone else to point that "Ted Turner is bi-polar and been on lithium for 20 years - look where it got him." - a point to which hub culture can only speculate.

Dance music and clubbing - is it art? For the VJ world and people like VJ Anyone the answer was a definite yes. Scott is involved in the field, working with Renaissance and Hed Kandi, and seemed to agree - with all nodding their heads to the idea that video art is the hottest thing ever. (Have you seen Hub Culture's first DVD? - check 'Retrospectives') so of course we agree.

Finally, it wouldn't be Frieze without a bit of trash for Damien Hirst... the master of PR and using the world of commerce "to raise the value of your ideals." It wasn't us who pointed out that "Damien was famous because he got lucky - if he hadn't gotten drunk at a party, threw a chair out a window and landed face up in the mud, no one would ever have known who he was."

With that, the speaker reached for another glass of wine.

Thanks to Carpaccio for the room and thanks to all of our participants for your fascinating input!