Art Whores (exerpt)


One artist at the Moscow WWWArt Centre, Aliona, has placed what amounts to a
two-page ad on the Web headed with her own three-word message: "ALL FOR SALE".
The body of the text explains that in other places and at other times maybe
your basic starving artist could afford to starve, but not anymore, at least
not in Moscow. Then, the clincher:

"Thank the Lord, I am a woman. That means that the old and romantic
profession of prostitute, as long as I am young, is open for me. And more
importantly - I am an artist and therefore can turn any occupation or
detail of my biography into art."

Whoa. At first glance I see five potential heated arguments ruining (or
enlivening) an evening, but for our purposes here, let's just move onto page
two, Aliona's price list, led off with the words, "Art is luxury - It must
therefore be expensive". You can't help but love the way that one word,
"artist", jazzes up the menu: "Videofilming artist's naked body in any
position, 45 min ( $4999)", or "Voyeurism complex (looking at copulating
artist, possibility of masturbating for a customer), 30 min ($599)".

The selling of one's very self, the stench - hell, the mere whiff - of
commerce was once an anathema to what used to be "the Net community", now a
bustling city resembling something a bit more like the real world. The Net
was supposed to represent yet another New World Order: Anarchy that works.

Not anymore. The turn-around must have come when the talents of these same
people were suddenly worth bunches. Companies started hiring them to put up
Web sites good enough to get linked to by Yahoo!, itself a project begun
for the hell of it and recently gone public to the tune of, what, $1.2
billion for a while there at first, all of it, according to Arthur and
Marilouise Kroker, "virtual value".

Virtual or not, for the tiniest fraction of it that could be translated
into cold, hard cash, how many would cut the pose and collect for art that
had once been done for love's sake?

By the way:


+ + +

Date: 6.6.96
From: Alexei Shulgin (
Subject: nobody's buying

hello, david,

this may be interesting for you:

nobody buys aliona!
i made this provocation exhibiting her project (she doesn't know what
internet is) in order to sell her.

but - no response!