(*Too long, did not understand.)
Either I just succumbed to some kind of reading disorder, or the reliably daft e-artnow list has delivered another payload of grade-A twaddle. I’ll make some allowances for Bildfrost (“Frozenness”) being an exhibition at a German gallery, but on the other hand although I’m pretty confident that I speak German I’d still want to run my German press release past somebody who was a native speaker to make sure I wasn’t making ein Arsch of myself.
I’ll just pull out the silliest phrases and paragraphs at random from what is quite a lengthy screed, but trust me: it all makes about as much sense out of context as it does in context, i.e. virtually none. There’s also a lot of telling us what we’d be able to see with our eyes if we could see the art, which is redundant, patronising and controlling if we intend to see the art and usually baffling if we can’t see the art and probably never will.
“Initially, the picture seals itself off from the interpretation of any impression. An oscillating flurry emits from the center that steers the anticipation of a disappearing space into darkness. At the same time, it becomes clear that the fabric of colors is the result of picturesque grid structures. Has large pixilated photography been translated into painting or is the painting imitating a print? The understanding of the romantic image remains a wanting. The work resists any outsider’s demand to understand and requires an active positioning of the viewer. A motive between figurative speech and reflections on media.”
“I’m sure many readers already have in mind certain art texts that may be made up of technically correct English words and sentences, but ultimately can’t be processed by the reader into anything resembling a rational argument. You may immediately recall particular writers about art who seem to be going for the high score in a game of Scrabble instead of communicating ideas.”
I wrote this for Interpretation Matters, my colleague Dany Louise’s new research and learning project on the good, the bad and the ugly of writing about art. Regular readers of this blog will already know it’s a subject close to my black heart.
Read some examples of the bad and the ugly here on this blog, under headings like
“My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina. Yes, they don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say, whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his ‘Johnson’.” Maude Lebowski
You don’t need me to tell you that the Coen Brothers’ film The Big Lebowski is a classic; just ask the internet. It’s also remarkable for having two painfully accurate satires of contemporary artists in it. The art talk and Julianne Moore’s mid-Atlantic Sylvia Plath drawl, geometric hair and snotty attitude are all perfectly observed, and hilarious. In fact there’s three painfully accurate satires of contemporary artists if you count The Dude’s landlord Marty and his almost entirely unattended vanity premiere of a self-devised interpretative dance/performance art piece to Mussorgsky in a “nude” bodystocking and plastic vines. I’m sure many of us art lovers have been to those shows and regretted it.
Ten international galleries want you, like a vampire bat wants sleeping cattle. Premio Ora (“Premium Hours”) says that the “basic registration fee required as partial coverage for organizational expenses” is €60 to enter three art works for consideration. Poor things, only covering their organisational expenses partially. Each additional image after the first three is only €5 and luckily for
them you, it’s possible to enter an unlimited number of works.
Yes, it’s another sketchy “opportunity” for artists to enter a competition where they pay for the remote opportunity of possibly getting an unpaid gallery show, i.e. something that an artist should usually be paid for, or at the very least should not have to pay for in order to be considered. I’m providing links here for the purpose of verification; I wouldn’t suggest visiting any of them unless you want to know which international galleries are involved in this farrago and I would therefore recommend in the strongest possible terms that you don’t ever have any dealings with whatsoever.
A bona fide artist who is having an exhibition at an art gallery is not a “winner” and does not pay all the costs of transporting and exhibiting their work. Any artist who does so is a customer, and they should have their service– i.e. in this case their work shown in the gallery for two weeks– provided to them without quibbles and without all this pretence of meritocratic selection or curatorial oversight. Continue reading
OR: THE TURING TEST FOR ARTISTS
The pioneering cyberneticist Alan Turing proposed a test for machine intelligence: if a person can’t tell the difference between the text output from a machine (or its software) and a real human, then arguably that machine could at the very least be considered a fair simulation of intelligence even if not intelligent as such. This concept may also be familiar in the form of the famous scenes of the (fictional) Voigt-Kampff test that’s administered to distinguish humans from replicants in Blade Runner.
We may be close to the Voigt-Kampff threshold for artist statements, which are notoriously full of shit. Jasper Rigoles has programmed a fairly convincing generator that takes input from a form and outputs an artist statement in international artbollocks English. About the only things missing are a few key, trite bullshit phrases that are almost always in bad artist statements, e.g. “… works between [major art hub] and [major art hub]“.