Martin Creed: new definitions for ‘gift’

Regular readers may recall from a recent editorial that when ‘we’ bought Yinka

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Shonibare’s Trafalgar Square bottle to stand outside the National Maritime Museum ten times more was paid for it than had ever been paid for a work by this artist at

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auction.

That story of casual profligacy is google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; now repeated in respect of inarticulate chancer Martin Creed, whose

entire career is the creation of src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> State Art. Without the life support machine of public patronage the likes of Creed would be stacking shelves.

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wp-image-1301" title="light switch" src="http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/light-switch.jpg" alt="" width="637" height="980" srcset="http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/light-switch.jpg 637w, http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/light-switch-195x300.jpg 195w, http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/light-switch-35x55.jpg 35w" sizes="(max-width: 637px) 100vw, 637px"
/>In September 2013 the Tate bought Creed’s work no. 227, the lights going on and off, for £122,000, to

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add to the twelve other
works it already owns by him. In passing, one of these is an editioned
sheet of paper with ‘fuck off’ typed on it, a masterpiece considered so significant the British Council also owns it; indeed, four of the five Creed works in the British Council’s

collection are duplicated in at least one other of the Tate’s, the Government’s or the

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Arts Council’s holdings. The Art Fund contributed £40,000 of their charitable donors’ money to the acquisition of no. 227. The fact that the Fund had already contributed to seven other Creed ‘gifts’ to the Tate via the Artist Rooms Endowment and to another work for the Scottish National Gallery of

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Modern Art indicates the now symbiotic relationship existing between The Art Fund google_ad_height = 90; and State Art – the Fund’s head is, of course, a former google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; director of Tate Britain. To call this network an incestuous racket is to compliment it.

Ownership of work no. 227 is in

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the form of a certificate bearing a terse description of the piece, which comes officially in an edition of two plus one artist’s
proof. The

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idea of an ‘artist’s proof’ existing for a sheet of typed paper is,
of course, ridiculous, a misuse of an otherwise important distinction. Sadly, this is the
sort of mercenary scam we have come to
expect from fashionable contemporary
art. Work no. 227 is actually src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> in an edition of /* xin2 */ 3. One of the other two pages was bought in 2005 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, one of seven Creeds in their collection. MoMA won’t google_ad_width = 970; say how much they paid for no. 227 as they don’t “share information about

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the acquisition of objects”.

£122,000 is a sum significantly greater than has ever been

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paid for any other work by Creed. It should have cost much less. A more financially savvy Tate could have bought at auction a similar work in July for

a quarter

of this
sum.

In

won the £20,000 Turner Prize. He was //--> nominated for a touring retrospective – he was the grand old age of 32. His Turner exhibition party piece was, famously, work no. 227, which was ‘made’, typed presumably, the year before. It caused the kind of concerted debate which instantly projects //--> a merely notorious work to the status of modern classic. Creed