Saturday, July 5, 2008

Art Blog: Say What???? (Pt. 1)

I watch art videos daily. I read art blog/webpages just as much. Rarely do I tire of exploring the art world via my computer. However just like computers, I CRASH sometimes. This week I did just that. The reason I needed to step back and do other things is because I kept running into so much artist statement BULL-oney. In fact, the reason I had to get away from the computer is because I needed to run and get my hip boots!

You have all read or heard artist’s statements that were grandiose and ambiguous. After experiencing one of these yadda yadda yaddas, all I can do is ask “Say What?”
I have never been a fan of artist’s statements. However, I totally understand the necessity for them. It is important for the artist to explain their art (sometimes). It helps the viewer grasp the artist’s point of view, reasoning, or techniques. However to pepper your statement with so much pretentious Artspeak or pseudo-intellectualism, it renders them confusing and uninformative. Artist statements are a form of rhetoric. You want to persuade the viewer or listener to understand you and your art. If your audience finds your words nebulous or without meaning, your statement is a failure.
I am not going to make a handy dandy list titled “How to write an artist’s statement”. There are plenty of those online already. However, I do suggest artists remember a few things when writing or talking about art:

• Mean what you say
• Keep it simple
• Be descriptive
• Briefly explain your artistic point of view
• Speak to your AUDIENCE
• If you want ordinary people to understand you limit ARTSPEAK
• Trash the B.S.
• Keep it concise, to the point, and don’t ramble
• Then SHUT UP!


Andy would understand what I am talking about. Here, he very deliberately answers questions in a vague, monosyllabic manner. This form of less than informative artist statement was one of his trademarks. I am not suggesting artists become this evasive, but Andy’s intentional restraint made people even more curious. The tongue-in-cheek nature of the interview is obvious. Watch him smirk at Ivan Karp mid-interview. We get it Andy. LOL Precious!

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