Monday, September 18, 2006

I Blame The Artist

The situation is not working.

We have thousands and thousands of people making art. They rarely have exhibitions, they rarely sell a painting. They have storage spaces, basements, closets filled with art work.

The artist has been to art school. They have a narrative and series of stories to tell. They have the materials...paper, canvas, paint, metal, salvage, recycling, photography studios.

They have no relationship with a public. No one buys their art. No one lives with their story in their house.

They have a scant formal dialoques and relationships with galleries. They take their children or families to large-scale museum sanctioned art spectacles. ( King Tut exhibit, Warhol, Impressionists tours, folk art)

Once and a while they organize or participate in artist organized group shows. Occasionally they have a solo show in some off-Broadway-like forum.

The artists grow old, die and their art work might be distributed throughout their families, eventually possibly ending up in a Salvation Army retail outlet.

A few artists have massive media attention, have museum and gallery representation, and can live off of their art sales and reputation. Often they teach students art and how to work the small existing system. The formula is...write an academic essay on why your art is important. Ensure your artwork has a one-two punch that a few academically enshrined folk will laugh or get the gist. Emulate the language of art magazine criticism, and intellectual trends when you speak about art, especially your own art. Produce products that poke fun at the art world or satirize the activity of art making...while following these safe career tangos. Thereby cementing the stale notion of historically correct art movements. Go to university for as long as you can and get a Masters or Doctorate and teach young people the formula.

Even if you never become an art star, make sure you talk like an academic intellectual about the art work you keep stored in your attic. Worship the galleries and museums that reject your proposals. Desire to be represented by an art dealer. Desire the elitism of the last five hundred years of art history in agricultural societies. Read the art magazines that perpetuate the current totalitarian stature of art making.

If you're lucky, your art might get sold in a garage sale long after you're dead.

We are going about this in the wrong way. Artists real secret is their infinite imagination and capacity for generosity of energy. Artists should be the last people to be stingy with their art or ideas or exposure. Contrary to popular opinion, we don't need the money! We depend on intangible unlimited desire in our hearts to make art. We have been poisoned by corporate mindsets...drugging us through the education system that we need to make money to be viable. Artists believe they need to hoard work to be investment worthy.

WRONG! Art has a natural dialogue among people when people experience abundance. We are living in a hungry stingy world...where food is free but we lock it up and sell it back to the slaves who fit into the system.

As long as artists serve the economy of greed and pattern their desires within the current food distribution of agriculture-mirrored in the elitism of the art scene...we will continue to starve in our potential dialogue with the public.

Some other opinions:
Avant-Pop Manifesto
What Happened To Art Criticism?
Art Criticism Lessons
Totem Art
Native Art of the Pacific Northwest Coast only started to receive wide recognition and appreciation in the late 1960's. Founded on the cultural background of their ancestors there is a slim but unbroken chain of Artists and cultural practitioners. The Native people of the Northwest Coast are usually considered six distinct peoples. The Tlingit, the Haida, the Tsimshian, the Kwakiutl, the Nuu-chah-nulth, and the Coast Salish. Each retains rich cultural and Artistic traditions. The specific geographical area that the people of the Northwest Coast inhabit is the long narrow strip of shoreline that stretches from Puget Sound up to the Alaska panhandle. The dark green conifers of the temperate rainforest heavily forest this area. The closeness these people share with the land is a major part of their cultural identity and how they view themselves. The resource-rich environment of the Northwest Coast, with its abundance of food and wood made it possible for the peoples, in the past, to devote time to their elaborate social and ceremonial life during the winter months.


Anonymous said...

My girlfriend is an artist and she works her butt off getting into shows and galleries.

I wish we honored creativity and encouraged it more. No matter what your creativity is, do it. You are nothing without it. It opens your heart and encourages amazing thinking!

BTW you make me think! Are you a scorpio?

Candy Minx said...

Hi Nancy...nope, I'm not a Scorpio...and I look at Astrology as a long lost form of science and memorizing celetial activity rather than a personality order to be literally applied to people. It is a complex memory chamber that hunter and gatherers usedto record hunting and foraging seasons. They had completely memorized the constellations with these incredible structures of "personalites" and star patterns.

But I am flattered, the mythology of Scorpio is a intriqing and daunting intelligence and I am flattered to be associated with such a charismatic icon.

And I am thrilled you get some inspiration form my crazy blog ramblings...thank you thank you...I am having lots of fun and it is not very often someone associats my self with thinking, what a compliment!

mister anchovy said...

We have created an environment where most artists are not valued and many are mistrusted. The system works in a similar way to the music business, although that system is rapidly disintigrating as technology forces us to rethink ideas of propriety. Interestingly enough, though, while I find it difficult to even give away my paintings, I can pick up some decent coin busking for a couple hours at the market. Even though the music business has done everything possible to destroy connections to music in our community, it still persists, and that is beautiful. Making paintings is my folly. I do it for, what Phil Ochs called, "A Small Circle of Friends". I suppose I don't play the art game properly. Hell, I don't even apply for grants. Sometimes it makes me really sad.

Candy Minx said...

Well, some people do want art in their homes...and at huge super stores for furniture people do buy the art that is sold there. Often the paintings sold at these super stores are lithographed or printed mass...then painted a bit here and there. Sometimes they are actually factory various trendy colours or styles. And people do buy them.

So, what is this vacuum? Between the intellectually-academically museum/gallery sanctioned art...and the often factory pianted art at superstores for furniture?

It's kind of funny actually...from an anthropological visitor from mars kind of way, if you think about it...

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written. Yes, the situation is certainly way out of wack.

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