Slide Show - Images (mostly) from The Illustrated History of Painting


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ARTISTS, like children, SHOULD BE SEEN but NOT HEARD ?

Recently had some face-time with other AVCiiOV ( Arts Voice is it Our Voice) dissident-artists. We were discussing ways of demonstrating at AVC public forums (about the utter lack of artists on the Arts Voice Committee) without endangering future career and funding opportunities - particularly for young artists on the career-make. Artist's legitimate fears of career retribution - as pay-back for feather-ruffling activism - is far from paranoid fantasy.

Everyone knows (or should know) that arts administrators and other arts-professionals are endlessly recycled - moving up (and, less commonly, down) the artworld food-chain. Everyone also recognizes that artworld relationships can sometimes resemble the kind of grudge holding, resentment, favor-paying & re-paying, revenge taking, score-evening still found among the Hatfield & McCoy clans of Appalachia America . In fact the intimate (incestuous) nature of all relationships in Lifeboat-NZ brings that micro-cosmic-social-anthropological scenario to mind.

It occurred to the gathered group that there is a relatively recent phenomenon of artists disruptively demonstrating - making flamboyant noise to express dissatisfaction with artworld status-quo. The venerable Guerilla Girls. Starting in the mid 80s The GGs staged disruptive actions to highlight the paucity of women and artists of color in top gallery and institutional exhibitions. The GGs actions had demonstrably immediate results. Galleries and institutions (thereafter) went looking for the excluded classes of artists. Exhibition statistics are still not equitable....but they've never been as bad as the bad old days before the Guerilla Girls came along and shook things up for good.

Mindful of artworld dynamics (as outlined in paragraph to of this screed) and career risk in the uber-provincial New York City artworld the GGs were masked and anonymous.

Masked and anonymous (except, obviously, me....who being superannuated, has little to lose) is how artists in CCH can confront the unacceptable politics of exclusion - without risking future career prospects. Without risking being characterized (over a future administrative conference table) as 'difficult'.