I’m sorry, guys. I’m sorry. I have to apologize up front for even passing this story across your screens today, but it’s one of those things that I just cannot overlook.
Los Angeles art house Cory Allen Contemporary Art announced yesterday that it is “re-pressing” the Steve Jobs figurine that Apple snuffed out of existence two years ago, but this second version adds a new wrinkle: is made out of porcelain and “a recycled resin made up of Steve Job’s residential trash the artist collected from the tech icon’s home several months before his death last year. “
Yes, you read that correctly. Trash. Taken from Steve Jobs’ house.
Now, I have a problem with the American public’s reception of Apple products. They think they’re somehow more than just mass produced things. We see it on BetaNews every day. Joe Wilcox will write an article about Apple and people inevitably find some way to take the whole thing personally. Many people seem completely unable to separate their personality from the stupid devices they use.
The real problem is that this fanaticism causes the for-profit media to continue covering Apple like it is the most important thing on Earth. When we write about Apple, it’s because the market demands it, not because we particularly care. We have to pay our bills, and for some reason, people keep clicking on the Apple stories.
The same thing apparently goes for art, too. Make a worthless vinyl figure of Steve Jobs without his permission, attract a cease and desist order…Boom, you’ve got yourself a profitable art career with an artificially scarce consumer icon. The original figures were trading for more than $2,500 on eBay after Apple legal stepped up to M.I.C Gadget.
So now that Jobs is gone, they have gone ahead and rehashed the same idea while the public still has its head up its ass over Apple. Of course, the artist who created this particular figurine, XVALA, frames it as an icon of social criticism.
“The artist created the sleek sculpture to be mass produced in an appropriate work environment, encouraging Apple to impose the same standards on Foxconn or to completely disconnect their working relationship,” Cory Allen Contemporary Art said on Thursday.
XVALA’s entire schtick is a soft-headed criticism of Internet technology, saying the same things that we all said years ago like “Tweets are graffiti,” or “Fear Google,” or “Once you’re on Facebook, you’re never off.” Last year, he said he’s making “Post-PC art.”
It appears he just repeats hackneyed tech buzzwords in an ironic way, which I suppose is cool, because I do that every day.
“God damn, this sandwich is so Post-PC, it makes me wanna B my own D.”
But I digress. Though XVALA is perennially compared to street artist Banksy, his art mimics the urban sedition pioneered by Crass in the late 1970’s, and the mass-produced pop idolatry most famously devised by Warhol in the early to mid-1960’s. This guy appears to be taking a well-worn method of social criticism, and applying exclusively to Silicon Valley technology. Of course, we’ve all heard these criticisms coming from software engineers from the beginning. He’s late to the party both stylistically and rhetorically.
So when these statuettes go up for sale on October 13 in Los Angeles, by all means, go ahead and buy a bunch of them, but you’re going to have to hope Apple issues a cease and desist on them, because that’s the artist’s stock in trade.