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tom moody

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Eric Doeringer Bootlegs

Above are my Eric Doeringers: he calls them bootlegs of more famous works by "name" artists, and sells them at an open-air table outside art fairs and in the bleak Chelsea gallery district. I consider Doeringer a "name," too--a practicing appropriationist in a lineage with Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Sherrie Levine, and especially Elaine Sturtevant. His craft is good and he has an eye for the most generic "knockoffable" commodities in a practitioner's oeuvre. The critique of authorship and authenticity is especially welcome with Chelsea dealers going nuts pushing said brand names to Bush millionaires: Doeringer is a kind of Mini-Me of the hard-working gallery owner.

Generally he is tolerated, but today a Chelsea gallerist decided he'd had enough, and allegedly sicced the cops on Doeringer. The artist was forced to fold up his table, box up his wares, and move on. James Wagner has a blog post on this. I confess I heard from Doeringer about this earlier in the day and felt that if I were going to be a journalist, I should call the dealer and hear what he had to say, since this particular gallerist has been supportive of unknown artists through publications, curating, and the like. As with the right wing echo chamber, now it's news, though, because someone posted about it. It's just rumormongering at this stage, and this page will priggishly withhold the dealer's name until someone gets a comment in the inevitable first amendment pile-on. Not that it sounds like there can be two sides to this. Assuming it's true, calling the cops for "selling art without a peddler's license" in Bloomberg's incarceration-happy Manhattan is bad karma, bad vibes, and censorship, since it's art we're talking about here and not hot watches.

Update: Someone outside the GNYNVOVEZ (Greater New York Non-Virtual Object Viewing & Evaluating Zone) wondered how bootleg these paintings really are. Left to right in the photo above: The "Damien Hirst," painted on a Fredrix pre-stretched canvas, is decently made but cookie cutter; the colors don't match any particular Hirst. The "Richard Prince" is a scan/ink jet print of a random ad with cowboys; it's not Marlboro, or at least not any Marlboro Prince rephotographed. The "Martin Kippenberger" is an ink jet print of a Kippenberger figure, cut out and collaged onto a Fredrix canvas with little flecks of paint on the surface to look painterly, then sealed with matte varnish. So, to answer the question, his craft is good enough to make a facsimile that passes from a distance, but it's not like they're meticulous forgeries. In his studio he has 10 or 20 lined up in production like an assembly line.

Update 2: As expected, search the dealer's name in technorati and the first eight hits are bloggers dissing him. The money quote, from James' blog, is "He said that he didn't like 'seeing people walking around with tiny paintings...'"

Update 3: It's Mike Weiss! But you already knew that.

- tom moody 11-07-2005 6:26 am [link]