What are the rules for art?

2017/02/14 § Leave a comment

 

When I walk into a gallery, and I look at an artwork, I wonder, how was it made?

This is always my first question.

Sometimes this is too obvious particularly in the case of flat art like oil painting and we drift immediately into curatorial and collectimaniacal discussions, perhaps of style, technique and brushstroke.

Other times the types of process is more technological than the personality in practice, technique and presentation —and I get caught up in lost wax, sprues and welding.

Interesting. I pace hither and thither, lost in thought and admiration. And so more questions, all sorts of questions.

I may venture into what the maker intended, but in any case, the last question I ask is —how was it marketed?

It is the last thing I ask not because of its import but because as soon as it floats into the periphery of notice — I walk away from the art and into the light.

Any other questions that might arise (subject matter, historical significance, the artist’s early death, the skill, the late success, the naive approach) all of them are subsumed by marketing, by the market, by the marketeers, the curators, the auctioneers, the gallerists and #bignames curating their own careers.

And my first question, in context of the marketplace, means nothing at all.

So I walk away.

Marketing stops my curiosity, marketing is a mind killer. It is the magic that must hide its power even as it consumes everything.

I try to walk away.

My first question makes me lonesome, and perhaps proud. The other questions make me a member of the market, an atom of nothing in a sea of commodities, a see of POVs of likes and dislikes, of subjective demographics. And I cannot walk away even when I think I have.

And the last question reminds me the rules for art are the rules of the marketplace. There is no alternative.

I crawl in circles.

No Longer Writes for Humans

2012/05/02 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I said “writers may create new styles when they break with tradition, but it is readers who maintain the formats writers are allowed to use. True experimentation occurs when readers notice and try something new.

Today I read Poetry on the Brink Reinventing the Lyric, which opens with comments on the dull well-crafted poem’s dominance, where there are gazillions of poets reading and writing but in doing so create an extraordinary uniformity.

These two points are a similar notice. The review then goes on to tear at the editorial decisions of two poetry anthologies on American poetry Rita Dove’s Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry (2011) and American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (2009) editors, Cole Swensen and David St. John. Editing an anthology is a special type of reading, it is a form of curating a collection. The review interrogates the decisions those editors made.

So perhaps yesterday’s computer analysis on style provides an answer to those queries.

Don’t write for posterity, don’t write because you’re a creative, don’t write for yourself, above all don’t write for readers.

Computer analysis is the only reader to write for now, the field is too large for any human, or team of human editors.

This is why I have used the by-line, the catch-phrase, “No Longer Writes for Humans” for some years now.

Of course while sculpting recently I’ve (re-)discovered Conceptual Art and found the same Mannerist uniformity there despite the multitudes of media and form and gazillions of artists. ( I am an old failed Language Poet era newbie, at least my stuff was seen to have stuff in common with some American group I had never heard off when I was 20 or so—– so the over-weaning affinities between Conceptual Art and Language Poetry are obvious.)

Yeah.

One Hundred Live and Die, Neon and glass tubing, 1984 by Bruce Nauman

The inference is that I must be making art and sculpture for computers too. Only they will have the capacity to view it all and not be uniformed by it, they are the ultimate collectors, the perfect hoarder is digital, and it is the collectors, the readers who define the market.

Curating, the consumer as editor of a magazine safely devoted to themselves #pinterest

2012/03/23 § Leave a comment

Blogging boosted the home computer user a decade ago into creating their own content online. The blog post was a diary style entry of the form [link]+[opinion]=[commentary]. Some felt it was parasitic on main stream media for the initial [link] and therefore unimportant. But diddums to that.

With the arrival of facebook and soon thereafter twitter this form was greatly concatenated while the social media technology underlying it (which in facebook’s case captured and placed within a walled garden what had been free roaming across various servers, and yes, livejournal predates ‘blogging’ and was a bit of a walled garden too though mostly by it’s habitues’ mindset).

Both facebook and twitter pushed this interactivity deep into the stream, threads of noticed, drawing into awareness and fading with sunset. Twenty minutes is a long time on twitter. With a blog you only needed to post an entry every 1-2 days.

Recently this same behaviour has been recast as a curatorial effort, links and images shared as if one was curating a show, an exhibition of the noticeboard, boards of inspiraton, clippings of magazines tacked to the pinboard, the wall, scapbooking as a collective effort.

Yes, it’s even more shallow. Apparently the marketeers have already taken over pinterest.com even before I had heard of it (only last week).

That’s the spark for this blog post (it’s a traditional blog post).

The images shared (which used to be hot-linked to on various old-school online forums) in my experience are basically very dull, if well chosen and originally well photoshopped, what they offer is security, safety, well-being in the form of niceness, pleasantness, neatness, homeliness. To be famous now is to be as bland as possible, it is to have no skill except the ability to hide in the crowd of magazine quality photos.

The opportunity to curate interesting challenging themes seems to pass most people by.

Reminds me of the most incredibly boring blog I saw recently. Dull, but it had umpteen comments. All saying nothing, but the people felt safe there and so felt safe to comment there.

It was all about safety, about building a walled garden and keeping the wilderness of the unfamiliar away, even while travelling overseas one must keep oneself nice.

I’ve run quite a few blogs in the past, and never got this sort of comment traction, like most blogs, occasionally I’d annoy people with the sin of self-promotion, (but I was on the dole at the time). This is why I like to talk about my failure on this blog.

Indulging the comfort zone is possibly the surest way to build a following online. Don’t lead people into dangerously interesting times.

No man is an island, but today, the self-curating magazine as the human experience is a digital castle, secure against all interesting attacks and picturesque to the max.

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