Friday, October 22, 2010

"Something about the Duality of Man - SIR!" part 1

 Before going on to an art review, or a critique, or something astounding to say about something, maybe I should say a little something about where my point of view, or "taste", or "eye" comes from..... 
 The hatred for, and possible removal of, Moscow's drippingly gaudy monument to Peter the Great ( Zurab Tsereteli, iconographer of some of the gooiest effigies this side of Stanislav Szukalski's  fascist splendor)  making the news this week, brought a smile to my face. Firstly, because it actually made news. Secondly, because I think I must be the only person with a formal art education from the last few years that actually likes it. I like it because it comes from a place that made me like to look and laugh before I had ever even heard of Marcel Duchamp. My original interest in "Art" comes from an early encouragement of drawing, an interest itself stemming from Marvel comics, magazine illustration, and a generally populist idea of western figurative art ( later stained by wilder underground and European comics and  a sophomoric understanding of abstract expressionism). Then I went to art school. 
 Art school is widely seen as one of the biggest "F you" to parents outside of a career in pornography. It is however a proper and real education, and I am proud of both my degrees. The real scary thing about this kind of schooling, if one does get a good opportunity, is the idea of the cult-like breaking down, and re-education of the attitude towards the creative process. That's what a contemporary education in the arts attempts to do. It is a cleansing of the habits and prejudices of what made you think you were an artist beforehand. 
 This isn't to say that art grads are emerging from Waco compounds muttering "year zero" mantras. Nor does it mean they are blank slates to be molded into boot camp graduates. In fact, more artists are addressing their previous lives and interests in a healthy confidence that uses their education towards a more personally edifying  practice. Without the "burden" of advancing art history, (a very timely situation) much work is being applied towards more honest, often more pleasurable, and individually particular results. (linear pursuits were just leading everyone to the same annual Armory show milestones anyway) I myself am guilty of a particular kind of guilty insistence.
 Already after undergrad (back when The California College of Art still had "Craft" at the end of it's initials, I still miss calling it "Cee Cack") I was happy to endorse art that appealed to less refined tastes. After recommending a series of traveling Fernado Boteros (neo-classical Romans and busts puffed to his typical cartoons) to a group in front of a Nice youth hostel, a hippie ( random childhood quote from my Mom - "You don't have to call them hippies anymore, you can just call them bums") stopped strumming his guitar, chuckled to himself, and said "You musn't know much about art". Well I did, and I chuckled to myself and let him stew in his ignorance. I had taken him as the sophomore, with the usual assumption that the boisterous and silly can't be advanced. And I still feel that way. I still have a deep seated adoration for, be it intentional or not, the robust, sensational, kitsch, and most wantonly, the meaningless.......

1 comment:

  1. "Year Zero! Year Zero!"

    Now that you explained yourself start judging everyone else.

    Because as you said its all "meaningless" anyway.