Modern Eye for Modern Art: George Wayne on Georges Bergès
You know, come to think of it, when artsy-fartsy folk contemplate and ponder the query to yours truly, “George – who is the next Andy Warhol?” I always tend to reply – George Wayne is the next Andy Warhol, darling! And then when the curious artsy-fartsy retorts, “And who is your Fred Hughes?” I tend to say that it’s the new art world genius that I have just unearthed, who goes by the name, Georges Berges.
If you know anything about the history of modern art, you will then of course know that without Fred Hughes – his astute gatekeeper and business manager/genius – Andy Warhol would have not been the master he was in his day. There was no Andy Warhol without the dapper Fred Hughes who many consider ‘the brain’ to Warhol’s prolific ‘brawn’ of creative genius.
One thing is clear this current art world wunderkind has one of the sharpest most astute minds in the art world and he is quickly carving a niche as one of the leading art experts on Chinese contemporary art. And so sat for curious George here, more than eager to pick his brain as yours truly lays the foundation for his re-invention as “The next Andy Warhol.” Yes, laugh and scoff all you want but that is my intent!
GEORGE WAYNE: GW considers you the new modern eye for modern art. And what impresses me most is your astute take on China and the burgeoning art movement there.
GEORGES BERGES: When you think of it, China’s economy is transforming the global economy and everything is changing because of a rising China. But beyond that, what fascinates me is the cultural impact that China is having on the world. How is China affecting the global art community? And that is why I am flying to China again, because I want to further my embrace of the rising China and its undisputable growing influence of contemporary art and that is why my focus these days is mostly on China. Money may come and go. Power may come and go, but when you make a cultural impact on society, that lasts forever. Cultural power is real power. That is the reason America continues to be the capital of the world, because of its influence on culture for generations and on an unrivaled global level. And I think more and more the Chinese are beginning to understand that cultural innovation will power their future cultural influence across continents. And what will drive that cultural empowerment?
Art – art will drive that cultural empowerment of China and that is why, as I have said, that I have made the commitment to establish the Georges Berges Gallery foothold in China. My plan is to be the lead guy in China; the lead collector and art dealer discovering and nurturing talent from that region. I plan to find and discover and bring to the rest of the world those I consider China’s next generation of modern artists.
GW: I am assuming from your flourish here that you must have discovered the next Chinese art superstar.
GB: Today artists do not necessarily believe that they have to be in New York City to be discovered and gain relevance. There are very few art dealers who actually travel the world searching for new talent. For most art gallery folk, for them taking the L train to Bushwick is their idea of discovering new art talent. I want to find the artist who is authentic and genuine and working in his or her own cultural context. And so if I have to go to China or if I have to go to India or Mexico to find that, then I will do so.
I am not interested in the Chinese guy who moves to Brooklyn and paints like he thinks he is Basquiat. I would rather go to China and find the artist there who doesn’t want to leave, who is happy living in China and producing art that is revolutionary within the culture and society that he is in. And so yes, to the original question, I have signed to the Georges Berges Gallery the one artist I believe is the future superstar modern artist who just happens to live in China, Shuishi Liu. What I like about this artist is that he is challenging the perception of what Chinese art is in today’s world. Unlike Ai Weiwei who takes on the government and tries to challenge authority, Shuishi is challenging the artistic authorities and the perception that Chinese art has to look a certain way. Shuishi is producing very Avant Garde modern art that is completely atypical for a Chinese artist. His work is fresh, modern and original.
GW: Tell me a bit about your background?
GB: I have been in the art world for about 10 years. My focus is on art and philanthropy. For me both are the two transformative mediums that I choose to devote my life to. So besides discovering future art stars I also raise money for non-profits such as UNITAR, which is the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. I grew up in San Diego, California of French and Mexican extract. I studied Clinical Psychology and then I went to Seton Hall for Graduate School and studied Art Administration and from there moved to New York.
GW: George & Georges – love the way that rolls the tongue and harks well for our future collaboration. I cannot wait for the debut of my millennial art project – POPERATURE – at the Georges Berges Gallery in September to of course coincide with the debut of my book, Uncensored Vanities – being published by the iconic Harper Collins in August of 2015. Pop Art and Pop Literature from the mind of George Wayne. It is all going to be beyond genius – “Queenious” darlings! And I will be in touch.