#684

91.4 x 86.3cm Acrylic and strings on canvas. I see an ‘M” center bottom. Thinking, I should paint a BIG M. at an angle, left center. A big black letter M. Yes! I think I’ll do that! See below!
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For photos on this blog:CLICK HERE, and scroll down.

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Artists, Class, Revolution

Walking thoughts… ideas come to mind, walking here and there and back: to the el, the wine store, to the Fresh Grocer. Sometimes they kick off something that comes back to me. A couple days ago, I was thinking about artists—not ART, artists. About making a living (or at least, paying for art materials), in a capitalist system, when one is a confirmed, convicted, solidarity-convinced anti-capitalist. And it occurred to me, that one could look at the problems through the lens of class—that the structures and machinery of class reproduce themselves on particular strata, and this seemed particularly helpful to me in understanding what artists deal with.

The connecting point in these thoughts, was meritocracy—how, because class is not like castes, frozen across generations for all time, but somewhat permeable, it’s easy to ignore how class, in itself, is as unchanging as an South Asian caste system. That individuals are able to climb the ladder, does nothing to overthrow the range of beliefs that justify class inequalities for those who benefit from them, or to offer serious challenge to the ideologies that use those beliefs.

What beliefs? The ‘natural’ superiority of men… (white men), is way up there at the top: patriarchy and Euro-Anglo-American racism–used to excuse, what otherwise would make what capitalism, colonialism, slavery, have done, and continue to do, to the mass humanity, intolerable. What does that have to do with, meritocracy? With art? With the capitalist class system?

Everything.

Capitalism creates, maintains, and perpetuates inequality. All the way back to the Adam Smith, this has been acknowledged, and because it so flies in the face of the most minimally developed sense of justice, is addressed in all the ideological variants that would defend and promote capitalism. For Adam Smith—it was the Invisible Hand, which, (grossly misused since) would correct the worst abuses, and prevent capitalism from becoming what it has, in face, become. But nothing has been more useful, or done greater violence, the social Darwinism and eugenics. Here was the perfect foil, the perfect answer, to justify belief in the inferiority of the masses, and if an individual here and there, rose up and proved themselves superior to their birth—the genetic mythology perfectly accounted for it, and supported those who would protect the superior races and individuals, while justifying their suppression, and attempts to control, or better, if they proved less than useful and docile–eradicate the untermenchen.

How perfectly the Art World recapitulates this! With its gallery to investor pipeline, a gatekeeper system, meant to identify the Elite, and (hopefully) erase from memory, if not from life itself all the outsiders! Women! Blacks! Colonials! A Patriarchal system (where are the women from how many generations past?) Where are non-Euro artists and their work, but as appropriated by the (even if late-acknowledged) Masters? There is such thing, as ART, let alone, an “Art WORLD!” … if it is not as varied and multiple as there are worlds and peoples! If it doesn’t crash through and DESTROY the gatekeepers and their system!

Those were my walking thoughts… how, I asked myself. .how is it possible, for anyone who calls THEMSELVES an artist—to accept this system? To define their idea of ‘success’ by it’s terms? To not throw themselves into the struggle to create—to IMAGINE… as artists do.. a new and better world?

#669 (New Image)

56 x 71cm. Canvas, textured from paint-over of older painting. Gesso ground. Ink and watercolor wash: brush, pen. The texture defeated what I’d intended to do with the pen and ink–so I went with the flow. Still want to try a larger piece pen & ink. Different surface. This much improved image, from my Canon G10 (Thank you, George Kuetemeyer!)

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View portfolio here ART BY WILLARD
For photos on this blog:CLICK HERE, and scroll down.

Reading and Repetition

Larval Subjects .

A central claim of Deleuze’sDifference and Repetition is that we only ever create something new through repetition. Here, then, we might encounter a fundamental difference between Badiou and Deleuze (or is it a proximity between the two?). For Badiou the new is created as a result of a truth-procedure that is evoked through fidelity to an event. Wedon’t, in fact, have toawait events as people sometimes suggest of Badiou; for there are plenty of events that have already occurred throughout history. It is not the event that produces newness in Badiou’s universe, but rather fidelity to that event and the transformation of a situation or world in terms of what is uncounted by the encyclopedia of that situation. One can continue to pay fidelity to the Paris Commune or May of 68 (if the latter was an event) today, unfolding its consequences in the present.

In…

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Two Dreams about making art

#668

Dreams last night. I was walking with another artist in Paris (I’ve never been out of the U.S.A., let alone Paris)–but it was quite vivid, the architecture with its sculptural adornments. I was explaining to my companion, or he was explaining to me (it wasn’t clear) how when you lived in a place where you passed and saw the work of artists going back over time to the middle ages and older–that for a working artist, it would all be contemporary–all working it’s influence, all there to draw on–and it’s very diversity meant that it would be impossible to be merely derivative, or for your own work to be other than wholly new.

This seemed to fold into examining a book of illustrations, like urban street sketches of row houses. There was a small, vague figure in the lower left corner, that I realized when I saw it (as though this were being explained to me), that stood for the person who had committed suicide in each of those houses, or been murdered there… the explanations seemed to increase in the violence revealed, page by page.

These felt like they were the same dream. The same dream message.

#680

30.5 x 22.9 cm. Pen & ink, watercolor on Bristol paper. I chose the Bristol because I wanted the smooth surface for pen work. Had intended only a minimal touch of color, but Merlin Magic Cat knocked my elbow while I was holding the brush… most of the color was added after to compensate from the unintended blurb. I think I need to use Arches or Fabriano hot press water color paper for this kind of work.
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View portfolio here ART BY WILLARD
For photos on this blog:CLICK HERE, and scroll down.