Saturday, January 9, 2010

Can a cynic (artist) be ((really)) serious?

Alfredo Triff

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.
IllustrationDiogenes, by Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse.


Anonymous said...

I am serious, therefore I laugh.

Anonymous said...

Art that is an expression of your mind will always be serious. Art expresses what we see in our mind, it gives the viewer insight to something we can other wise not show. Ina Dougherty

marta said...

Like most things art has many points, varieties and intentions. Often, I have noticed a trend to create objects which have no real artistic skill or aesthetics and pass them on as art. These meaningless
works justify their existence by associating themselves with the Dada movement.
As one commentary points out Duchamp's urinal. True, it is not an object of any craft or artistic skill or emotion It is lacking all expression but it is a utilitarian object.

The general consensus at the time in the art world and among intellectuals was that in fact Duchamp's urinal is a work of art. Here is the catch! This object was at the heart of a political statement.
Without saying a word or depicting an image it said everything and with no risk of persecution by the
political agenda. After all how can one persecute the irrational for saying nothing.
It was through this irrationality that the war of the time and its immorality was questioned. The sarcasm of our time only has one intention it is self aggrandizement, hey look at me I am so radical!
The Dada's intention was to eradicate war. Believe it or not.

The End

Marta Dunn

miamibourbaki said...

The Dada's intention was to eradicate war. Believe it or not.

Thanks, Marta.

marimar said...


Triff I just want to wish you a Happy New Year filled with love and joy!!!
take care,
Marlene Fajardo