Saturday, December 19, 2009


I've been working on this new HFA project for a good two months . Talking with individuals and getting their input to help guide the outline and structure of the NEW project happening in Philipstown next year. At the heart of it all is this key idea of working to change the Artist's usual ROLE in the community . Over many years the artist has allowed themself to become a peripheral entity , to a point of now seemingly surprised irrelevance ! OUCH ?

Too much ? I don't think so ,.... the bulk of people are NOT impacted by the once called FINE arts. Not to the extent that leads say the GATES project in NYC , by CHRISTO and JEAN CLAUDE ,to become a phenomena in that it attracted a large amount of people to the park during an unseasonal time to experience that ART work . Much of the work now being produced has become a pandering to an entitled few . The artist has allowed themselves to be engaged in widget making on any scale. The next , new idea soon becomes passe and the artist scurries back to the studio to try and invent the new enticing widget and win court favor !

Many artists enjoy this activity and have become defined by it . Damien Hirst having pronounced the Death Of Painting , now paints (badly) to the courtiers and art elect , but the majority of us remain " NOT AMUSED" . And to take this point further most artists subject matter for the most part is unfortunately so personal or bland that most people have little interest in comprehending what its' about . OR really care . WHY ? Because ART has lost, in the majority of cases an IMPACT, or relevance . Whilst the bulk of art occurs there is a sense of Nero fiddling whilst Rome burns ?

I think we are at the height of this state currently. The juxtaposition of the failure of the economy and the inability to effectively grasp that alternatives need to be found ( or we are on the road to the next economic crash ) with articles on whether a gallery will survive the economic drought, illustrate this predicament. When there is rising unemployment and we can't even get our Gov't to conceive of effective Health care ,.....who cares !?

As an artist are we trained to block this out and continue with Business as Usual ? Return to our studios and continue Fiddling ? OR can we become involved in the NEW Vision which it seems many now need to SEE ? Is this all too broad and inconceivable to most of us ? Including alot of artists ? OR is our current role such that we DON'T become involved as its not our business ? Return to the garret and work on the next collectible widget . The artist as the child is requested not to worry themselves with the REAL world . So what are we imagining ?

What if we , as artists RE imagined our role as playing a central role in our culture , our society so we were contributing to it by helping solve and realize some of the solutions to the community we live in rather than observing or making snide remarks ? We could be good at imagining a better world, of seeing potential, of realizing the abstract . What if we engaged in a larger canvas that took us out of our usual context and began engaging in ideas that need now to be helped and conceived ? Started to explore a new role for the artist and the creative practice which enlisted others in a series of new dialogues on many topics that need a new vision ?

There are the beginnings of grass roots groups of artists that are starting to engage in this way in various communities and redefining the assumed artist's role . The likes of the Harrisons are becoming or gaining relevance to our current predicament . Artists in Wisconsin taking the local CSA farmstands and turning them into works of art ....along the roadside. Seemingly a small step but relevant as it changes the context of art occurring only in sanctioned places !BUT this isn't new in any way .... DADA .... nearly a 100 years ago now was actively upsetting the established realm of art .

So ask yourself if you want to begin to be a part of rolling the ball forward or continue in the usual practice which is for most of us highly unsustainable and To Continue the current STATUS QUO ?Many artists claim to ask their audiences QUESTIONS in their work maybe now its time to ASK ourselves what are the types of questions we are asking !

As a friend recently said NO I don't have all the answers but I do want to be part of the change for the future because I believe it to be of value .

BUT is this the place of art , does it make for GOOD art ? I'd say by the current state of things we don't have a lot to lose , cos I sure as heck do not want the likes of Damien being my representative in the Senate of Culture ! Do you ?

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