Friday, December 24, 2010

"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture."--Thelonious Monk

If I could come up with something as perfect as that Monk quote, I would have used it for a title here. And that's just to the point--visual vs. verbal.

After a long long hiatus, during which all two of you that ever read this probably noticed, I thought it might not be bad to post another thought here, related to the original idea behind this blog.

Simply put, if I read even a few sentences that I find interesting, thought-provoking, or perceptive, in most of the big national and international art magazines, it feels like a memorable event. This could be for a variety of reasons, including my own taste in art, and my taste for writing (i prefer something that is accessible, easily read, and about something interesting). Now, I know there is good, intelligent, accesible art writing out there, but again, ususally I find myself asking "who the ****!!! READS this stuff??"

This is a good segue into my reasons for coming up with this blog in the first place: why is it that more artists are not writing about art? Or why is it that they are not more prominent in the discussion? (Before anyone gets started, I know that there ARE plenty, but somehow it seems a critic, a curator, an academic, a dealer or gallerist's opinion is always given more credence). Now, before someone pleads that artists are too involved to see the forest for the trees, i would like to point out that none of the parties mentioned above are disinterested observers. Every one of them has a self-interested agenda to promote, (fields of study and critical perspectives to promote, trends to attach oneself to, and validate, by including them in museum shows, or in magazines, reinforcing reputations, etc etc.), and worse still, it all comes down to money. Not to get down on money, but i have to say,i think it is one of the least interesting things about art.

It doesn't say much for a lot of contemporary art that often, the most interesting thing about it, and what gets written about, is what price it sold for, what 'important' person bought it, and what elaborate verbal justification was made for the fact that it IS art in the first place.

I asked myself this question, and came to the conclusion, that if artists, who undeniably know something about art, and often in ways that those who have never made art could ever appreciate--were willing to write about art more, there might be more discussion going on that I would be interested in. Which lead me straight to the root of the problem: I'd rather be painting than writing about painting.

So to keep this discussion productive, I'd like to pose a question: Where do YOU go for interesting writing on art? Please name names and share sources as much as possible--from specific writers to specific publications--books, blogs, newspapers, etc. Even particular articles. Please let me know what you think! And feel free to comment on the above, you two.

Thanks, and Merry Christmas!