Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dude, I'm soooo actualized right now

One of the things that seems left out of the Winkleman piece on his sentimental favorite museum is that institutions like the National Gallery in London, the art marketing industry and the media are dependent on "art brats" to provide fodder for the publicity machine able to keep their prices inflated and the product moving.

In some ways it goes back to my rant about justifying art. Perhaps I should have ranted instead about justifying artists which seems just as likely to be happening anytime particularly crappy art is being traded. Some people want the good artist with the vacation home and the stock portfolio while others prefer work by the junkies and (...remember Nan Goldin fell in that swimming pool? ha ha ha). This is to say that the industry does not go to any length to understand the latest thinking about how art works, how it develops and how artists are working to realize it. Like any marketers, art marketers fear the intellectual capacity of their clientele. They fear sensual enjoyment and insist on infantilizing the transaction process, keep it business-like and "professional."

Part of what I tried to describe yesterday had to do with trauma, and using it, accepting it as part of the work. This is a relatively recently understood phenomena which explains alot of the teenage style "art" that caused marketing scandals a few years ago in Chelsea, but I think it has been well understood by artists for centuries. Emotion is part (maybe a big part) of the intelligence necessary to making connections, to allowing parts of the intellect to open, and in particular, to allowing insight to come up and through the various atomic particles of our thinking and language. Healthy emotional intelligence is shut not only by ideology but certainly also by trauma.

I am not saying you were gang-raped when you were seven and never drew another picture. I am saying that some relatively natural part of growing up shut down your capacity to draw anything and everything and variously successful attempts have been made over centuries by artists to recover from that small trauma. Somethings work and some don't. Probably the most successful has been accepting the trauma, re-living some of it, working with it. That is what people are doing when we see them acting out the "artistic temperment." Though obnoxious, it has made the celebrity marketers' job a bit easier. Celebrity is a much cleaner product and sells well in a society that exists primarily on spreadsheets, but society, that's for another day.

1 comment:

  1. eeouch! Right on target in many ways.
    Makes me think of Inka Essenhigh's complaint when Deitch wanted her in his stable of horses. I paraphrase: he seemed more interested in showing someone who could make a scene. Go to parties and cause controversy. Someone who could make a headline or set a trend. I wasn't that artist - or person for that matter.

    Let's call it "shitty-tude". The wreckless debutant breaking everything in sight while whining that no one understands their pain and vision. What a horrible myth- right up there with alcoholism = good writing.