Monday, May 11, 2009

On being and doing

So this question keeps rattling around in my head - maybe it has since 10 years ago or so...

Why would you want to go to a school where everyone is forced into an identity? Why would you want to be a part of that? Isn't art-school supposed to be totally individualistic and aren't you giving up pretty much all of your identity by being a part of it?
Answering this one isn't getting any easier. People still think somehow art school is supposed to have been this liberating free-for-all where you really can't possibly learn anything - and yet somehow by mastering it - mastering the bullshit that art school is supposed to be - then somehow you survive with some sort of intact "being."

It's a shame I guess. I never was asked to be anything. In some shitty American schools I guess there was a lot of pressure to be something. Be liberal - be strong - be independent minded - all of that nonsense which no one ever was anyway. Be pretentious.

But I mean really. When I think about it - I was never asked to be anything - but I was asked to do a lot of things. That seems to be the difference between a school where you come out with an identity "intact" and one where you come out angry and ready to leap into the machine. Based on all the things I did - and what I learned from doing them - seems to me to have left me believing in my being - and identifying rather strongly with a particular group of artists whom - I gather - think much the same way.

On the other hand then - are the artists who got the degrees from the schools that give degrees - and who got no coaching in being or doing anything. Here and there are some interesting exceptions, but by and large they seem a pretty un-happy bunch, embittered by the system and angry at how thing are or are not going. Unlike me, who is largely indifferent, though I assume I probably sound somewhat embittered here - particularly since I only tend to write here when I am annoyed.

But that's probably beside the point. I still think we are looking at a very serious crisis. 30 years of Reagan-thinking has not left the USA whole, it's not left the world in good shape and it's devastated what passes for thinking about art.

Yeah - I am not embittered because I never made it in New York. I am embittered cause New York never made it in the world. Sure you can buy whatever art you want there, but you can't possibly buy the thinking. Quite simply - cause there isn't much left - there's really only buying now.

So when I get asked if my "being" is compromised by "being" part of a cultish group of artists who all think the same - well I have to assume that the person asking hasn't looked at the alternative. The individual is, perhaps, more truly lost and more repulsively destructive than ever before in the past. That's not saying a lot for "being" free, for "being" creative, for "being" successful.

If anything, being a free agent, being completely uncompromised by philosophical camaradery has left the whole arts community adrift in a sea of its own making, relishing its own irrelevance.

These picture were not taken in New York City. Hand me my robe and some candles.

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