Commodification doubles self and work, life and object, uniqueness and standardization and art and management. For the artist, the unicity, beauty, inspiration and creativity of art is doubled in the sale, marketing, display, distribution and mass production of “art works”. Making art is intimate, personal and individual; selling art requires public display, pleasing the all important customer(s) and dealing with many sorts of in-betweens. What commodification is on the artist/art work level is doubling on the I/me, self/persona, private/public and in-group/out-group level. This paper aims to examine the commodification and doubling in the case of the Gee’s Bend quilt makers. The quilts foreshadowed the modernist aesthetic and are of the highest aesthetic quality. But, they were made in a traditional rural society by very poor, uneducated black women. The quilts were not made to be sold but were dedicated to familial remembrance and to immediate aesthetic pleasure. But now that they are on display: is escape from commodification possible?
Reprint for special issue.
Doubling, in the original article below, was tendentious but artistically and politically to be overcome; doubling currently seems much more ominous, omnipresent and out of control. Signifyin(g) has become bomb throwing. Present day doubling apparently produces terror and not just commodification.
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This article is a republication made available for the anniversary issue of SBR. The original article was published in Society and Business Review, Vol. 4 No. 1 (2009), pp. 8-25 and can be found online at: www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/17465680910932432
Letiche, H. (2016), "Doubling: there’s no escape from terror/doubling: there’s an escape from commodification …?", Society and Business Review, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 174-192. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBR-04-2016-0028
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