I first met the author/art critic Julian Spalding in 1989/90 when he was director of Glasgow Museums. He’d put on the ‘Out Of Control’ exhibition at the McLellan Gallery, which included an installation of the robotic figures by the artist/inventor Jim Whiting who I was helping at the time. I’d met Julian again in October with Jim Whiting at the British Museum, but a month ago I suddenly saw him on Channel 4 News. His new book Con Art: Why you ought to sell your Damien Hirsts while you can had been released on Kindle to coincide with the Hirst Exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. This was picked-up by the media, including the Financial Times who seem to agree pointing out that the ‘price of Mr Hirst’s work has fallen even further than the wider contemporary art market, according to data from Art Market Research’.
As part of my horizon scan into the eBook revolution, I interviewed Julian. I was particularly interested that someone in their mid-60s ,who I hadn’t considered as being particularly tech savvy, was now publishing eBooks and conducting a social media marketing campaign that had been picked up by the media across the globe. We discussed a number of themes, including: his book; his late adoption of ‘modern world technologies; Kindle as a platform for ePamphleteering and the spreading of ideas that can change the world; and his campaign to show that conceptual art is a con. You can hear this interview below, but also see his cheerful anti-conceptual art polemic over on Vimeo: