The Square. (4 Art trends) 2005

Looking back at the arts and lifestyle of the last ten years, I can see four distinct trends:

1. “Beige” created by Olivier Zahm and Elein Fleiss, the founders of Purple Institute in Paris.
2. “Relational Aesthetics” created by the writer and curator Nicolas Bourriaud.
3. “Telic”.
4. “Neen”.

Beige starts with Araki and ends at Vanessa Beecroft. It includes people such as the photographers Terry Richardson and Wolfgang Tillmans, the directors Sophia Coppola and Guys Van Saint, the rock group Sonic Youth, writer J.T Leroy and his friend Asia Argento, certain fashion icons such as Kate Moss, fashion brands such as Comme Des Garcons, Cosmic Wonder, Bless and Undercover as well as many young Japanese photographers and fashion editors. Beige is about these feelings that are properly “human,” such as love, despair and vanity. These feelings were with us even before computers but the fact that the computers of the 80s and 90s were mostly beige, is significant. Beige, a color that is neither black nor white, is about young people, their love and loneliness, the way we crash sometimes into the wall of the everyday. Beige, is the aesthetic of the snapshots we take while we are crashing on that wall.

Relational Aesthetics starts with Guy Debord and ends at Maurizio Cattelan. It’s about a type of art that has been cultivated in Art Schools and developed-with the assistance of the art curators- into an international language. A “Relational Aestetist,” such as artists Philippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, Liam Gillick or Rirkrit Tiravanija, is usually highly professional and serious, even when he makes jokes. “Today’s artist appears as an operator of signs, modeling production structures so as to provide significant doubles. An entrepreneur/politician/director” writes Bourriaud. In the fashion world, only Martin Margiela has the conceptual vigor of a Relational Aestetist, just consider that in all his shows he always has his assistants dressed in white tunics as if they were medical workers.

Telic covers pretty much everything that has to do with technology. You find much of it in the Wired Magazine but it's not only about computers, Telic is everywhere.
The term Telic comes from the Greek world Telos (the end) and means something with a specific destination. Under Telic we find all kinds of cool and not so cool design, such as the Apple Computer but also IBM and Microsoft, fashion houses such as Prada and Calvin Klein, designers such as Bruce Mau and of course a lot of art made with computers. Telic is busy and productive. Magazines are usually Telic unless they become manifestos.
Telic artists exhibit their works at the Ars Electonica festival in Austria and they are often boring to watch types, dressed unremarkable, but very genius people once you come to know them.

Neen is something that a very few people or objects have in common, but still it is so clear and recognizable that even someone who had never heard this word before can easily pin point.
Neen is a frame of mind, it talks about a new type of feelings that we have through videogames and computers. But even if Neen grown mostly online, is not “net art”. In old Greek, Neen means “exactly now”: this moment and not a second later so now Neen comes mostly in form of peculiar websites such as but tomorrow it maybe found in certain characteristics of our genetically engineered bodies.
Neen fashion doesn’t really exist yet apart of some clothes that Nicolas Ghesquiere designs for Balenciaga.

Now, think of most of these 4 art trends as the formation of a square with a trend on each corner. If we exclude the Nouveaux Pop (Jeff Koons, Young British Artists etc), most of the Art and style that started in the late 90's can be found in that square. Takashi Murakami for example, is a combination of Relational Aesthetics and OtakuNeen. The young female artists he promotes are a new flavor of MangaBeige. Matthew Barney is a Telic-Futurista, while his girlfriend Bjork is Beige-meet-Neen-meet-Television. Martin Margiela is Telic but sometimes he is also Beige-for-the Pope and Bernhard Willhelm is Neen Naive while Alexandre Herscovitch and Gaspard Yourgevitch have their Neen edge. Nike is Telic-goes-to-the analyst, Adidas is classy Telic, Doug Aitken is Video Relational and Mariko Mori is dreamy Telic. Finally, Dazed and Confused is a Relational Pizza, Italian Vogue is a Telic Fashion Miracle and Butt, the Gay magazine is Gay in such a Beige way that it becomes actually Neen.

Miltos Manetas, 2005 interview at Tokion Magazine