& the struggle it creates within.
The gift; here I sit quietly in my studio, contemplating this; the gift. It was the gift I felt pulsating my body’s great Nile. The gift that fueled the gears of my thoughts, of my dreams. It was the gift that respired life into my soulless cage and drowned me in oil. Not the blackened blood of Mother mind you, but the colored waves of pigment that have long since become an extension of my being, expressed onto surface for others to gaze into; the gift.
Yet here I sit, quietly in my studio, lost, trying to fathom an institution that has no tolerance for a man such as I. Here and now, I am a berserker discarded by his own community after the assimilation of Christianity among Scandinavian tribes. Son of a Brooklyn Bastard, child of heathen war hungry brutes, with no minds, or at least that’s how the children of three piecers tend to imagine our class. The nonconformist, or those who form to the appearance of the current nonconformist, gather in hip bars and cafes and ridicule my sort, judging and undermining us as ruff-necks, rednecks, and boorish imbeciles. Perhaps they are correct in their assumption, or perhaps we were merely less fortunate than those granted to be born and refined with a cultural and intellectual acumen. Perhaps our minds tire from the sweat, the calluses, the damp, the scars, the cold, the pain, the frustration, the hunger, the weight. Our shoulders starting to fall forward, our will stamped with the notion “If it ain’t one thing its another” and our psyche embedded with the conclusion “we always get the shit-end of the stick”. Does this make us simple-minded? Grant any being an opportunity to develop a notion of the abstract, of the exquisite and you will find men and women of all economic stature equal to one another.
Despite my gray boot upbringing, I am entrusted a gift, one suffocating in the casket of “fine art”. The current aspect of the fine art network is that of a famished centipede devouring its own body, a vast perpetual hole. It would be unjust to accuse the artist for implementing this hole. As it would be unjust to accuse the gallery, or the collector, or the advisor, or the critic, for they all have their hands clamped tightly upon the shovel and take part in the digging equally. The gallery is the window to the artist and their work. The collector is the bloodline of the gallery’s endurance. The Advisor is the whisper of the collector’s understanding. The critic is the palate of the advisor. However the critic may only relinquish an impression of the artist who is seen through the window of the gallery. They are all cemented into an echo-chamber, or what we dim-witted street type simply refer to as a circle jerk.
To make matters worse they raise the opinion of themselves within themselves, convincing one another that the art before them is of greater insight and they are of superior intellect to interpret such symbolism, while discrediting everyone and anyone as deplorable and irrelevant who does not concur with this assessment and who may think nonsense of this art. As a result of these matters, a multitude of today’s painting only embodies a branch off the tree of interior design. The notable art critic Jerry Saltz wrote, ”This work is decorator-friendly, especially in a contemporary apartment or house. It feel’s “cerebral” and looks hip in ways that flatter collectors even as it offers no insight into anything at all.”
When the prowess succumbs, and the subjective have sealed their doors, the remaining evaporate into desperation. Humble is the present-day artist’s alias, for if a lone artist alters the name to confident, his own peers will disfigure him arrogant. Humble also births new carnivores ripe for feasting. First; the juried show, in which galleries institute submission fees upon the humble. If galleries were sincerely in pursuit of the finest and the innovated, would compensation per submission be necessary? (Which arouses the question why no gallery of any merit employ talent scouts like sports teams to hunt and seek out unique individuals to represent their gallery? They merely prefer being immensely concerned amidst representing the humble. It would appear art is more business than artistry in this age.) Second of these beast of prey; the one nighter scene. A show that divulges a stimulating and entertaining night of numerous visual artists, music, and liquor. However this venue will charge the humble per each painting, compact art on walls like canned sardines, charge the guest on entry and again on libation, and with dawn’s new warmth have acted as no more than a placebo for the humbled.
The humble artist is expected to hand over a subsidy, as if the calling nature of progress blankets only the gallery, the venue from risk. Gratuity is common practice among bands, comedians and other sorts of entertainment, but therein lies the key word-entertainment. This very word is diabolical to an ar-teest, and is considered blasphemous. However the very pride which neglects the unholiest of words, gives rise to the very play in which the humble is subjected to self-inflicted slavery. If art occupies the rationalization of a being for a period of seconds to minutes, is that not a quality of entertainment?
And so here I sit quietly in my studio, perplexed. I am confronted by a barricade of myopia and blank stares as I advocate my reasons for producing my own shows, for pursuing direction over my own creativity and for discontinuing the prostituting of my paintings…the gift. The gift I do not hope for only the eyes of private collectors and their exclusive fraternity of acquaintances to adore. The gift I hope to bestow upon all the world to appreciate. It is the gift I hope to share with you.