Saturday, January 9, 2010
Can a cynic (artist) be ((really)) serious?
Here's a quote of Ruba Katrib, a young curator from MoCA, Miami, on the seriousness of artists:
Attitudes of cleverness and cynicism in art are too easy. We can nod and wink and feel a sense of inclusion (or, more likely, exclusion). But what about artists who actually are seriously considering what it means to be an artist today, what it means to create images and narratives, and what it means to create "art?" Irony features in the exhibition, but it's deployed as a tool to reveal rather than to create distance.
It made me think about the distance between "seriousness" and "cynicism" as global terms, not in their general full exactness, but as "flavors" that would invite special cases and relations. I couldn't help but ask: (mind my use of scare quotes as a form of distancing)
Can a cynic "artist" be serious? Can a serious artist play the cynic "seriously?" Can an artist "seriously" be really "cynically" serious? Can one do art without "thinking" what it means to create "art"?
Then, I stumbled on this paragraph by an artist -and friend- who wrote about the subject a decade ago (and who prefers to remain anonymous):
The only place for seriousness is in Hegelian dialectics. Thesis: Deceive as you convince. Anti-thesis: Do what you do not want, affirm what you loathe. Synthesis: Use art as the nearly-exact, be it image, word, object, intention. The individuality of the artist may often be better expressed as aloof, detached, non-committal. In art, rehashing always means anew.
Illustration: Diogenes, by Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse.