Indifference to Modern Art Rebuffed!!!

(above, Dan Flavin, untitled (to Barnett Newman to commemorate his simple problem, red, yellow and blue), red, yellow, and blue fluorescent light, 1970)


(First, a promise: more pictures of my work's progress, very soon.)

This week, I've been thinking about a statement; one of those statements that at first incenses any artist who works with abstract and/or other reductive methods and techniques...and then, after a while we finally don't pay much attention to it anymore.

I think you know which one I mean: "my kid could do that." Or the popular alternative, "I could do that." Which one they use, I suppose, depends on how derisive or dismissive they'd like themselves to sound.

Normally, I ignore this person, and their statement...only occasionally have I tried to reason with the person based on originality, or freshness, and the prevalent importance of context and authorship in modern and contemporary art, but often this tactic falls flat on its face...kneeling down at the rock-hard Altar of Indifference.

So, having encountered this sentiment once again, last week (towards a Klee drawing, no less), I've been contemplating a more salient, adroit answer; one that comes atcha with subtle fists a-flying...and throws off your quarry. Here's what I've come up with so far:

"You're absolutely right; your child CAN do that. And that's the point...art is no longer about the genius. It is, however, about a fresh tactic; a new voice...albeit one that is in tune (rather than specifically trained). It is the Everyperson making a decision to MAKE ART, and doing it. Your child could indeed do something like this [piece of art]...as long as you remember that it can never be a Klee; it can never be a Pollock; it can never be a Newman...it can only be the product of your child, from your child's particular context. And that in of itself takes it beyond Klee, Pollock, Newman [any other artist so often maligned in this way]...and makes it not a shadow of a master, but a new object by a new person, that casts its OWN shadow. GO...and help your child cast their own shadows...and let them deal with the other shadows they stand in, once they have begun."

Psshew... Hey, where'd you go?...


the fourth samba  – (Tuesday, 31 January, 2006)  

Ooohh! What's that?! APPLAUSE, APPALUSE... (then I turn to Tim) brother, you said it! ...more applause, the crowd goes beserk. All the skeptics are sitting around not knowing what hit'em... (looking at Tim straight in the eye), we pick him up and stroll around the city holding up posters of Pollock, Finster, Klee, Miro, little kids drawings ...and in front of us there is another group of people holding a big sign that reads:
"When I was a child I could draw like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to draw like a child"
- Picasso
Tim, word is bond!!!

Crystal  – (Wednesday, 01 February, 2006)  

Fantastic answer. I've always wondered what an abstract artist would say to that comment. Thanks.

Alicia  – (Thursday, 02 February, 2006)  

So that's what you were dying to say all of the times you heard this (admittedly lame) comment from people, including members of your immediate family... *whistles innocently*
My apologies. I suppose we don't always realize how annoying it can sound. And you're right, it isn't true anyway. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...

Dayton  – (Monday, 06 February, 2006)  

You should go to mcsweeneys.net and submit some variation of this to the "Open letters to [entities] who are unlikely to respond" section.

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails