I am no longer an artist. I renounce being called an artist. From this day on I will create paintings, not art. I am a painter, not an artist.
If the bollocks that is being shown in art galleries is art, then I do not want to be associated with it. I no longer have the time of day, nor night, for that.
And so the life of the painter has begun.
My next solo exhibition will be entitled “Putting the Art back into Art” – whenever that may be.
What has sparked this outrage?
Well – its been a long time in the making. After taking the Art History paper that focuses on Contemporary New Zealand Art practice (which was very good and very challenging) I realised that the term ‘art’ has been somewhat bastardised into meaning, in a sense, anything ‘of the arts’.
In our last lecture, there was a panel of three ‘art world experts’; a curator of a leading public gallery, a director of an artist run space in Wellington and a leading contemporary New Zealand photographer and lecturer. They addressed certain issues raised with Contemporary art and practice. The director of Enjoy tried to enlighten us to some of the ‘projects’ which occurred at Enjoy in 2006 – of which an artist in residence… well – who knows what she did!? She gathered up views and ideas as to a project relating to a topic, placing a lounge set in the gallery space for people to come and discuss ideas. I fail to see how that can be art in ANY sense of the word!
Whats more, my question which I hoped to raise was of the responsibility of the artist to produce art for the wider viewing public that they can understand. The practitioner artist addressed it briefly saying that artists ‘don’t really care‘ about the public. My second question was prepared for that answer in that it was who is art for then?
I firmly believe art has to be for the viewing public. While art holds an important personal connection with its creator, the real test is whether the public ‘get’ it (either they enjoy it, understand its meaning, appreciate its aesthetic quality, etc…) and this is what art is really for. If art is only for those in the art world – artists, curators, gallery owners – then it is void of logical reasoning as to its existence. It becomes circular in purpose – creating art for other artists who can create art.
No – the public is who it is for. And if the public can’t understand the art of today even on a very surface level, then it is not doing its job. The artist then HAS to care about their responsibility to the public to create art.
What gets me irate is the fact that so much is done in the name of art which is so far from what art should be. Not only this, but that art galleries and curators accept this, accepts these things as art and display them for the public – cementing its place in the art scene – a location it should be dreadfully foreign in!
I can see Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Raphael, da Vinci all turning in their graves as we speak. All of them would be disgusted at the state that art has been led to by its very own. It is these so called artists (or as I would prefer them to be called – exhibitionists) who only seek attention, who are bringing about the downfall of the very thing they think they are creating! It leaves us; the skillful, the trained, the ‘traditional’ (in a loose sense of the term) without a foot to stand on. Art is being left behind for what would be better promoted as ‘projects’ – and a category outside of art is where they belong.
But what can one do to change the views of this art world hurtling towards its own demise. Without staging a worldwide revolution of art, one can only but sit back and watch the ship sink. I for one am getting off this boat before that occurs, quite happy to take my buoyancy aid and float in my own art world. I will be true to the real art. The art that exists for the public. I will be a painter. Paint pictures will be what I will do. And I hope that many will join me. Painters, Sculptors (none of the installation rubbish tho); the true talent that was what art was. It was this talent, this skill, this ability to express the world to the public which spawned art. Not this separate bollocks which graces our shores which we find hard to describe, hard to analyse, hard to define; hard to even consider as anything – nothing tangible – not even really an idea; an idea of ideas??? ITS NOT ART! The sooner we realise that (as I have) – the sooner they realise that – the sooner we might get this boat back to shore and mend its broken hull.
‘Till next time…