What I had to say (long)
August 17, 2010
My reply on Powhida’s blog
I wrote a way too long comment to William Powhida‘s rant about Work of Art: America’s Next Great Artist today. And I got an error message that it’s too long, even though it’s under google’s comment limit (I know, I’m verbose.) So I am inserting it here, for maybe a week, then I will take it off my website again. I got tired of having a blog. I don’t have time to write & edit that much, I have priorities. But I had to post this, because it means so much to me. Here you go:
for William Powhida…
I like what you came to at the end of your article. About what maybe actually is disappointing you- it informs your opinions & perspectives. I come from a wholly different place. I am this person outside of the circle of the art world; in fact I am *outside* of the outside circle of the art world. Anyway, I live in dualities in a lot of ways (I am a stay-at-home-mom artist in a suburb on the other coast, surrounded by “middle-america” thinkers who I love and yes I am a thinking artist.) I really don’t have any artist friends, still I know contemporary art well enough; I know what I like when I see it. My life finally allows me to make art again sort of, entertaining my children while I am working (who can work in these conditions!) : ), I take them with me into my studio as my studio assistants– they are the unknown variable that informs my work (what choice do I have?) : ). I’m not exactly young anymore, but my portfolio is immature since I took the scenic route in my career. I get to have that indignity. I don’t care about commercial contexts of WoA or any art for that matter. It doesn’t make me angry. I just don’t care. I don’t care if WoA upends West Chelsea art. Because probably there’s good in mixing it up. I don’t care about how we as audience are delivered to the advertisers. The joke is on them- I take what I want & need from this show or any art. No one makes me like or buy anything.
I define myself here, bec. I must say- I liked WoA, really I did. Maybe it helped that I watched it all at once the weekend before last (but waited for finale like everyone else)- ALL these episodes in one weekend because I had kids with the flu so we were trapped at home. I didn’t get into personality dramas and who wore what. I saw it as one whole experience. I know enough to see past the BFA constructs in the assignments. I know it was soundbites. But- I read between the lines, the crits pointed me back to ones I’ve heard before, I could fill in the blanks. *You* didn’t need this WoA show, and this show frustrated you. (And you seem to care deeply about the show’s role in the shaping of culture- I’m not addressing that right now.) But *I* needed this show. It’s not because it offers up art exposure to me. (There were pieces I did like tho.) I can visit galleries & museums, I get to see a lot of end-product art. WoA for me was just a window into other artist’s processes (who cares if they weren’t stars!), seeing their funky haphazard 24hr failures & their joy when something worked… At art school there was so much pretension… well– in life there is so much pretension. Everyone acts like they know what they are doing, they want to be the expert. Who really is the expert? This show gave me a chance to see artists, experts, buyers… opine, sound stupid sometimes, roll their eyes, sigh, critique, make mistakes, AND get it right on, too. Loved that. Post-episode articles gave me even more back-story. Seeing people interact about art, talk about art… happy happy. You are in the middle of it, you get that in real life. You love your life. ?. I love mine. You hang with other artists & drink until the wee hours. I don’t. I get woken up twice a night by a 4 year old for various reasons. Lucky you for being in the middle of this art world thing, having the luxury to not need something like this, lucky you for having your work loved or not loved by people, for having time & energy to make work, time to stare at walls, lucky you for having an audience of any kind. You didn’t need this show. But I did. It opened up a world to me that I am not in, made it accessible. I don’t expect it to give me all the answers, and probably I will need Season 2 for the illusion of being surrounded by practicing artists again. It makes me work more. And I loved people watching in this reality TV art “false construct.” However false it was, it was built out of pieces of real.
And if that’s all I’ve got, I’ll take it. Happily!