Tuesday, December 14, 2010
ruminations of a young artist continued...
A young artist sits in front of the computer. The framerate flickers before his eyes. The first cup of coffee, one youtube video leads to another. Wikipedia. Learning many new things. This is a complex world. Information, Wikileaks. What is free? This is a fucked-up place.
Among the ruins, a small boy emerges. The villagers are in awe. A fantastical creature, half-cat half-dog, mister Sauerkraut. He whispers in the boy's ear: "use art the way you would use anything else." A sage's advice in a world that has already met its end.
The complications of having a post-studio practice in an object-selling world are many. What a sport to materialize ideas into appealing, transitive objects. Art schools are a site where this athletic imperative is in full gear. Given a studio by the same institution that produces legitimized value through academic credentials, how is one to imagine an adequate transition from this pedagogical conundrum to a professionalized adult life?
From the melancholic vacuousness of information's manic accessibility to the quirky hodge-podge of performative wikiselves, the labor of extracting historicity from the shallow tidepool of contemporary art's recent historical awareness becomes a key tool for constructing a career from other careers. Many emergent young players on art's Occidental map build these legitimizing techniques into careers marked by a fluidly object-based practice that relies wholly on the avoidance of redundancy. The need for an aesthetic that never repeats itself too much, concealing the repetitive pattern of labor through randomly assembled artistic novelties wrought material—art production to the tune of iShuffle. The economy's constant need for excitement and can-do imperatives re-territorialize the post-studio studio, transforming the site into a concept-engineering workshop that explores the art object's communicative appeal across the gamut of publicized taste. Within an open-source market, options abound.
Yet how many ideas can one fit in one show? Is more than one too much, falling as it could into tasteless excess? Should the multitude be crafted into a focus group, fanboys whose enthused will-to-consumption determines the very object-derived experiences that they seek? True, that the canalization of information's animistic spirit into discreet objects is a sorrowful affair. What constitutes the post-"studio" if not the begotten mind of the creative producer: a novel site where many moods and inspirations come and go at their own leisure. The stranglehold of the marketer's sardonic sentiments onto the art object is an inheritance best suited for nonentities; dupe artists keen on amassing slush funds for a political life possible outside of art.
Sitting with an artist. Punk rock pizza. Wearing bless pants. "The show will be remarkably clear: One idea, 13 oil paintings, 13 numbers. 1 to 13." Roman numerals? "Not this time. We could use them to number the slides though, what do you think?" The pizza is hot. It burns my tongue. "Are you okay?" I clench my sphincter.