Week 5: Likes. Liking. Likeness.


After 4 weeks’ testing, I observed a pattern of artworks that distracts me. First of all, ancient artifacts – nay. When I say ancient, it needs not relate to time long past, but its archaeological representation. Containers, decorations and garments of traditional craftsmanship would likely be skipped. Portrait painting is the second eliminated genre. I mean they are great – I still remember the madam on Jan 1 but I just can’t appreciate much from the details of texture, assuming that the colour is of best printing quality. By elimination, the remnants that attract me seem having interesting stories or histories, like Islamic manuscript and The Chess Players. Hence, with this pattern, the pick of this week should be Paul Signac’s The Jetty at Cassis, Opus 198. The french artist’s pointillism offers a harmonious transition of ocean blue to warm sand, very eye-pleasing indeed! Signac was experimental at his time that created an influence to later movements. That should be interesting to know too.

Nevertheless, to my surprise, I opt for Georges Fouquet’s dress ornament in 1930s on Jan 29 to look into. Decorated with diamonds, jade, enamel, the ornament glows in alluring turquoise. When I flipped to that page, I couldn’t help but recognise a face instinctively. Is it a face of extraterrestrial, of a theatrical opera mask, or of geometric underwater creature? When I was studying the page for more hints, a familiar last name was found in the credit line – Chow. The piece was donated by Eva and Michael Chow in 2001. Michael Chow is a restaurateur who owns Beijing cuisine restaurants in London, New York, Beverly Hills, Miami and so. Chow’s residence has hosted President Obama for a fund-raising dinner. I haven’t heard of them before; until I googled them, it explains perfectly why they collected this ornament – Chow’s father was a legendary Peking Opera grand master; Chow is an architect while his wife Eva is a fashion designer, both of them contemporary art collectors!

Art is for all, but some particularly speaks to you. One has his/her own likings influenced by one’s family, upbringing, profession, values which are coined as demographic profile in marketing language. That’s why marketers would always define a target segment, and custom-make a message with strategically crafted tone and manner. After all, one message/ product can’t fit all.

It’s true for gallerists to market their artists to certain clients, but even truer for art organisations to develop audience alike to your vision. A Like may tell you something; many Likes accumulated can give a fuller profile. Big data nowadays equals to opportunity and effectiveness. When the world operates this way, we can choose to do it in a smart way.

P.S. My unexpected keenness towards Fouquet’s ornament over Signac’s painting demonstrates one point: “Nature provides exceptions to every rule.” Exception means an extended inclusion. You can’t know yourself well enough, but it’s good to know more rather than less, sooner rather than later, likewise for your audience.


More about the works & the people






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