Friday, October 21, 2011

Art: Commercial, Accepted or Just Plain Ugly

So I'm watching this show the other day, "Next Best Artist" and I'm sitting thinking to myself, "I could be on this shit." They show a few really interesting, beautiful pieces and then some worthless trash you couldn't even find scouring a freeway flea market in the middle of Kansas. I must admit though, that distaste right there, is why some things artists make achieve the distinction of being effective. I on the other hand just don't like to think I'm being duped by some guy who pretends his clay-mation wizard the size of a Mr. Peanuts can, is a work of art worthy of national attention.

Let me divert for a second here because points will be made my friends. My disgruntled behavior towards work that's less deserving of praise than a soiled square of Puffs softest toilet tissue stapled to a canvas, all began when I first went to the Art Institute of Chicago. I walked up to my mother staring at a 60"x60" canvas of Cy Twombly's that had pencil scribblings dancing about, and then a stray crayon smudge or two, and I asked "is this a fucking joke?" I assumed he must have some disability and for him to have created this piece, it must have been a labor of love and a feat beyond my own comprehension. Instead of my mother telling me to keep it to myself or to accept that differences in opinion exist, she says "do they think I'm stupid or something?"

Of course I looked up Cy Twombly the next day with hatred for the fact that he'd been displayed so prominently in a national museum, only to truly appreciate his work and value those pieces he's made (not the one in particular though at the museum...still, no love). Funny how the tables turn even in your own perception just by reading a bio. That may actually be the reason why I am writing this. Your perception is what makes or breaks your love for the work; 95% of which is based on your respect for the artist.

Somewhere in the non-existent yet truly impenetrable laws of good art and bad art is the acceptance of the existence of subjectivity. Screw all of you that just said there is no such thing as bad art...get over your hippie self. Art is writing, composing, performing, speaking, creating, photographing....and within each of those lie bad versions. "Wow, that guy is a bad actor...." - well wouldn't that be subjective? When watching that show the other day, one of the judges said that this little clay-mation-looking wizard thing "spoke to her", whereas the other judges asked "well what does it say"? They too were upset that the work was a third grader's homework assignment they'd create with their eyes closed during a heated match of Cranium. Did the man get eliminated? Nope, and the reason being....someone sorta liked what he had done. The guy that did go was an artist whose work I would hang on my wall. He was sent home when the judges deemed him far too similar to another artist, and ultimately "commercial." Sooo...keep the clay-mation Gandolf puppeteer but not the artist that would resonate with the masses? Not having to assume anything, we the audience already know why this is. Clay-groping donkey douche who calls himself "The Sucklord," more like Suckload, had already earned the respect of the main host of the show. We were made aware of his successful art sales during the 1st episode of the show by our judge Mr. Simon De Pury. To believe that the respect he had already earned did not somehow play a role in the judge's belief that the piece "spoke to her", I find hard to swallow. Of course it's possible, but when the critique comes right down to "hey buddy, your art looks like something made to go on my's too looks similar to a dead artist we have also come to respect (Keith Haring)...we've gotta let you go." I would say the likes of Willy Nelson's wife who said the lifeless sorcerer spoke to her should have kept her mouth shut just like she did throughout her cameos in Paranormal Activity's 1, 2, 21 and 87.

Yes, it's TV....they need good ratings, they need Suckload, I shouldn't take it so seriously.....well, I wouldn't I suppose if I too weren't trying to carve my own path into the art world. Something like this makes me shudder a bit because art has gone so far off in one direction that it's circling back around to the raw talent of Fine Art painters. That's at least what I believe because we're going to get so sick of trying to pretend some things are beautiful when they really might take zero talent whatsoever, and it's a good thing. It's tough to find traditional talent in art like it's impossible to see the beautiful difficulty of making a movie in the 1940's with a cast of 1000 extras and set designs beyond a decorator's wildest orgasm. You just don't see that type of effort and dedication anymore. We want results much quicker. At one point last year I read that the new art is digital art, and that if you're not using technology, you're going to be left behind. I nearly vomited at the thought. There's me hanging up a piece of art purely done through software and an inkjet printer, and I hurl down my velvet wallpaper. Why don't we start making clothes with materials like brown paper bags? Mmmmm, that wouldn't be cheap or effortless....I could just feel the soft paper cuts along my ankles.

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