No one could have greater regard for the value, and necessary autonomy of creative work, than me, but art doesn’t exist outside of political reality, and an artist, of whatever medium, who disregards how their work is employed, will be themselves complicit in the uses to which their work is put.
Yes, I’m thinking about the musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra–who go to Israel to bath in the blood of murdered Palestinian children.
This is so terribly troubling for me, because I hold the music they serve, and all of the arts, in such high regard.
Because they have refused to accept their own agency, and allowed the machinery of economic “necessity” to determine what they will, and will not do, they defile the art they are devoted to, and themselves with it.
Better there be no Great Philharmonic. Better they ply their trade busking on the street. Better shut down the monstrous Kimmel Center–temple of money and poisoner of art and artists. The more money it takes the make a work of art, or performance, the greater the pollution.
In this world, the best artists will perform for the people, make their art from trash on the street.
Capitalism defiles everything
Nothing can remain Sacred in this world, until we cleanse it of the disease of Capitalism.
Why is it so hard to find committed, radical/anarchist artists–committed, both to making art, AND to working together to find ways to make art outside the capitalist, gatekeeper, gallery to investor system? Cause no one can do this alone.
One of the factors in what makes me so discouraged, and depressed in my efforts to make art.
It can’t be just talk. It has to be action–discovering, creating through action. It has to begin with saying: we can’t do this anymore! We can’t work within the system anymore! Enough!
And then–looking at what we CAN do–and doing it!
Though the material and social problems involved are unique to each medium and form–this is something that should be addressed by artists of all kinds–dancers, theater people, poets, musicians –together, as a collectivist work.
11″x 15″ watercolor, pen & ink. On Fabriano 140lb coldpress. Yellow-orange, blue-violet, yellow-greet triad.
Art is a rupture in the established order; a work of art is a tear in the net we cast over the perceived world– while the ‘Art World,’ in the guise of celebrating the rupture, works tirelessly to stitch it back in place. The Art World uses a capitalist idea of success to train artists to heel, like dogs on tight leash.
Bend over, artists, bare your butts and smile to the sizzle of the Branding Iron!
This is everything that’s wrong with the “Art World.” This abominable piece… empty of irony or insight.
” To start, it is all about thinking differently. You are not just an artist. You are an artistic entrepreneur and your art is your big business. As CEO, it’s time to take a note or two from the owner’s playbook of art business and marketing on developing your brand identity.”
The other thing I object to in that ad/fomercial, is the message that if you follow those tips, you too, can become a ‘successful’ artist-CEO; that is precisely analogous to advising poor people, that if they work hard, follow the rules, and stop drinking coffee, they won’t be poor, when the reality is, that the system CREATES poverty, and prevents it’s elimination to insure a ready supply of low wage labor, just as the system PREVENTS all but a very few artists from becoming self-supporting, and then, at the cost of their creative freedom for most of those who do get that far. So the promise offered in that piece, is a lie–bait for those whose need to believe exceeds their desire to see through the sham.
“Thinking differently” is NewSpeak, for, Stop thinking, and submit to the Capitalist cult!
#778 follows the text. 22″ x 26″ Acrylic on stretched canvas.
Subjectivity in judging art. How does one judge one’s own work?
I see ‘the viewer,’ not as singular, but as a collective–a whole cultural constellation filtered through each individual, so while each sees as an individual, we also see through the eyes and mind lent to us by their culture, in a particular historical moment.
Subjectivity is complex and inclusive, which means it’s possible to develop our capacity to make judgements, which, while not being “objective,’ are much larger than what one usually means by “subjective.” Such judgements are not fixed verdicts–as they change (or rather, what they point to changes), as culture changes, but good critics–rare as they are–know this.
John Berger. Hubert Damisch.
My question speaks to this. In assessing the value of one’s work, doesn’t there cling to our judgement, a remnant of belief (trust, would be a better word)… that we are able to discern a value that is not so limited, that is not chopped and diced into disconnected individual ‘subjectivities,’ the way we are taught to see ourselves in late capitalism, value and meaning that is inclusive, an emergent vision of some part of what it means to be human in the world?
“In our times, an artist is defined as someone who has a vision: someone with visions and rhythms that form a separate inner world: someone who can manifest this world on the outside; someone who can create a new, an exemplary, their own world through imagination and creative force; someone whose ideas leave their inner being like Pallas Athena left Jupiter’s head; someone who then, like an Italian trader of plaster figures, packs the result in a basket and hawks it in the “the other world,” ordinary reality, where they sell the figures of their dreams and sacred desires to the goblins and caricatures of their artistic mind, all the while advertising, calculating, haggling, arguing, cheating. This is the contemporary artist’s mixture of detachment and participation.
But mine is another: I want to use reality to create; I want art to be the process of imaginative and communal social transformation, rather than the expression of individual yearning.”
Gustav Landauer, REVOLUTION and Other Writings: A Political Reader. Edited and translated by Gabriel Kuhn. PM Press.
I changed the masculine, personal pronouns.
I was probably 22 or 23 when I read the essay on Landauer, in Martin Buber’s Paths in Utopia; it would be hard to imagine how any, indirect meeting with any thinker, could have a more powerful, influence, than the ideas in that essay had for me—over the course of whole life. Three years later, I was living in a commune—where expenses were covered, each according our means. Though it would be 45 years before, my involvement with Occupy Philly, led to the next experiment in communal living, I never gave up my search for a means to realize my ideas on communal living, and this time—I’m sure there was something of Landaur’s ideas of art and revolution, what freed me, to return to what I had been doing when I read that essay: making art.
I only last week bought a copy of this book, and in reading it, began to discover how much—from such minimal acquaintance–the seeds Landauer had planted, have meant to me over the years. The perplexity I feel, and have expressed in posts on this blog and elsewhere, on how survive as an artist in this capitalist wilderness–and as a revolutionary–without losing one’s freedom to create, or submitting to slavery of the market–I didn’t learn from Landauer, but, as in the above quote, I find, this too, I share with him—if from another side, as an artist.
Revolution is an act of imagination
Revolution is action.
Revolution takes place in the present. Now, and now, and now, or never. There can be no waiting
for the “right conditions.”
Revolution is an ever present necessity.
Revolution is every act of the imagination, made real in every present moment.
Solidarity, Love, Imagination, RESISTANCE!
… and this, probly my last.
Reading posts in the forums on Artfinder, one mentioned a million dollars in sales, another, that there are 10,000 artists on Artfinder… ok, that comes to $10 an artist. Even if those figures were for a day–no one gonna live on ten dollars a day. And I think it was for a month, or a year.
AF is no better for artists, it seems, than any of the other rigged systems in capitalism.
There is no way to manipulate the capitalist machine to have it do other than what it’s built to do: make a very few people rich and powerful, and impoverishing and exploiting millions of others.
Artists need to get on board for revolution, and replace capitalism. It’s not just bad for artists, it’s going to destroy human life on this planet.
oops… should be $100 per artist. Which for a month or year, same point. oops…
Artfinder is a lot of work. I got up this morning at 6–was at work by 7, and uploaded my 20th photo around 8 PM. Pretty much working on setting up those 13 hours.
Have to stay off the forum… insufferable wanna be capitalists, who have no interest in understanding anything about ‘markets’ and ‘name-branding’, and the role those things play in shaping, and destroying any hope of a humanly habitable world–it’s all what they get out of it.
I got banned the first time I tried to use Artfinder... for “life” … I guess I rose from the dead, or they haven’t connected my new email address with my first intrusion.
I can put up what I make, with no pressure to conform to anyone’s taste, and can list a price with an “accept offers” button.
This is not a market geared to investors, and that’s a good thing. It’s more, home decoration oriented. I ain’t posting any photos of my art over an expensive sofa with carefully arranged cushions.
I wish I lived in the Ox now… I could post ‘context’ photos in the wastelands!
I’m getting lots of ‘likes’ for my art. And 4 got put in ‘carts.’ If I sell one or two a month, I’ll be happy. I’d like to post a few of my more outrageous political pieces–with outrageous prices. Just so peeps paging through the affordable stuff which I do want to sell, would see them.
Better than gathering dust in the basement…. though… they still are. Gathering dust. But not unseen.
The interface between making art, and making a living, is the most politically charged area in the life of any artist. This is where the artist engages most directly with the monster of capitalism and Empire, both as a maker of art, and as a citizen of the human community. I don’t understand why so many artists are so reluctant to seriously engage with the problems we face in this arena. This is something I’ve been thinking about — for years, and yet, the most typical response I get from working artists: on commodification of our work, on how to live by our art, of the corrupting influence of investor driven gallery gatekeepers–is a curt dismissal, as though I were an impertinent 12 year old. “I need to make a living–what am I supposed to do?” But of course, never asked as a serious question.
And of course, I have no answer. No one person does, because it’s not the kind of question that any individual can answer alone. —Artists have to figure out–together–how to control the outcome of our work–or we will be controlled and used to the ends which the Empire of Money and Death sees fit.
First–acknowledge the problem. Then, pledge to work together to applying ourselves to find cracks in the walls where we can expand and live. We cannot continue to be artists under capitalism. Because, under capitalism, we will only be permitted to do what supports capitalism–that is, no longer artists, but technicians of the machine, and entertainers, distracting the masses.