Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Too Much Art?

"Art does not die because there is no more art, it dies because there is too much". Jean Baudrillard

interesting and probably increasingly important question - no, not because I just asked it but because I wonder about my place as an artist and where all this self-expression is leading me/us? I believe art is a power for good in a social context, life enhancing, embracing, worthwhile for society and should be valued as such. Without the 'arts' we lose the the best that we can achieve as a civilised society.

The article (link below for full text) by Matthew Nash is I think, as relevant to students and artists in the UK as anywhere else. The making of art may well be deeply satisfying but often a frustratingly lengthy process from concept to fruition and artists like everyone else need to survive, have bills to pay and student loans to think about and that is increasingly difficult in a saturated market.

James Elkins

Art department fliers... usually list the famous artists who studied in their department or school. It might be more honest and thought-provoking to go ahead and list famous graduates in the college brochure, but to preface the list with a disclaimer - something like this:

Although these artists did study at our school, we deny any responsibility for their success. We have no idea what they learned while they were here, what they thought was important and what wasn't, or whether they would have been better off in jail. We consider it luck that these artists were at our school.

In general we disclaim the ability to teach art at this level. We offer knowledge of the art community, the facilities to teach a variety of techniques, and faculty who can teach many ways of talking about art. But any relation between what we teach and truly interesting art is purely coincidental. Such a flier might add, in the interests of full disclosure:
We will not discuss this disclaimer on school time, because our courses are set up on the assumption that it is false.

James Elkins is a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

I dropped in to see the Waterhall Modern Art Gallery in Birmingham yesterday on the way back from Ikon. It all seemed a bit disconnected. Some of the work was very good and some not so good. The comments left by visitors echoed this impression. It all seemed a bit hit and miss in a major city gallery. The Art Market is a big puzzle to me!

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