Art Fag City at The L Magazine: Bad Times for Good Art

by Art Fag City on March 17, 2010 · 19 comments The L Magazine

POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
450_BadART.jpg

Here goes nothing: One of the more nerve inducing articles I’ve had published to date is now up at The L Magazine. This week I talk about The State of Contemporary Art. Conclusion? It’s not good.

Until taking this assignment, I had the luxury of avoiding the question everyone loves to ask and nobody wants to answer: What is the state of contemporary art? Or as I like to put it, “Is new art any good?” For the most part, the answer is no, and those inside the profession know it. Formulaic production plagues the field, work is masqueraded as more meaningful than it is, and the money invested in bad art is significant enough that undeserving artists receive accolades. It sucks.

If art is in decline—or at least at a very low point—are there signs to prove this point and is there anything to be done about it? Undoubtedly the largest and most consistent problem contributing to the impoverished state of contemporary art lies in the enormous imbalance between the rich and the poor. Most artists simply don’t make enough money off their art to live comfortably, and contrary to popular myths linking suffering and great art, this isn’t good for anyone. “I’m doing a lot of meditating so I can eat less,” artist Graeme Gaerad told me last year. It didn’t strike me as particularly healthy. Sure, strife forces change, but if a bus hits an uninsured artist, bankruptcy won’t make their art any better. Last I heard, the artist I knew walking around with a broken foot because he couldn’t afford to get it fixed wasn’t working a hell of lot.
To read the full piece click here.
  • malamapono

    yes, i have met rubes who were scared by their reflection and they thought i was joking about low-rent…thinking that i was commenting on low culture and high culture — no, just stating the obvious about low rent and high maintenance whereas culture follows a continuum and garbage just sucking the teat of madison avenue doesn’t count. just as, an intrinsic amusement at lower values or lower chakras becomes the norm in some circles for a selling point — bravo to the orca at seaworld; something many artists don’t do, as there is a society that would rather stifle their artists (love gilberto gil — separate concept, artist, and society) by remaining attached at the hip — not recognizing that a rabid chihuahua dry-humping your leg while your simply trying to walk down the street is not amusing nor productive. yes, as artists can get injured — treating that as entertainment rather than treating it …. welcome to the demise of the lemming — inert in an ipod bubble that won’t act as a dirigible when heading over the cliff. art as precious, piss-elegant commodity with limited voice — not enjoyable nor solution beyond remedial.

  • malamapono

    yes, i have met rubes who were scared by their reflection and they thought i was joking about low-rent…thinking that i was commenting on low culture and high culture — no, just stating the obvious about low rent and high maintenance whereas culture follows a continuum and garbage just sucking the teat of madison avenue doesn’t count. just as, an intrinsic amusement at lower values or lower chakras becomes the norm in some circles for a selling point — bravo to the orca at seaworld; something many artists don’t do, as there is a society that would rather stifle their artists (love gilberto gil — separate concept, artist, and society) by remaining attached at the hip — not recognizing that a rabid chihuahua dry-humping your leg while your simply trying to walk down the street is not amusing nor productive. yes, as artists can get injured — treating that as entertainment rather than treating it …. welcome to the demise of the lemming — inert in an ipod bubble that won’t act as a dirigible when heading over the cliff. art as precious, piss-elegant commodity with limited voice — not enjoyable nor solution beyond remedial.

  • malamapono

    yes, i have met rubes who were scared by their reflection and they thought i was joking about low-rent…thinking that i was commenting on low culture and high culture — no, just stating the obvious about low rent and high maintenance whereas culture follows a continuum and garbage just sucking the teat of madison avenue doesn’t count. just as, an intrinsic amusement at lower values or lower chakras becomes the norm in some circles for a selling point — bravo to the orca at seaworld; something many artists don’t do, as there is a society that would rather stifle their artists (love gilberto gil — separate concept, artist, and society) by remaining attached at the hip — not recognizing that a rabid chihuahua dry-humping your leg while your simply trying to walk down the street is not amusing nor productive. yes, as artists can get injured — treating that as entertainment rather than treating it …. welcome to the demise of the lemming — inert in an ipod bubble that won’t act as a dirigible when heading over the cliff. art as precious, piss-elegant commodity with limited voice — not enjoyable nor solution beyond remedial.

  • malamapono

    yes, i have met rubes who were scared by their reflection and they thought i was joking about low-rent…thinking that i was commenting on low culture and high culture — no, just stating the obvious about low rent and high maintenance whereas culture follows a continuum and garbage just sucking the teat of madison avenue doesn’t count. just as, an intrinsic amusement at lower values or lower chakras becomes the norm in some circles for a selling point — bravo to the orca at seaworld; something many artists don’t do, as there is a society that would rather stifle their artists (love gilberto gil — separate concept, artist, and society) by remaining attached at the hip — not recognizing that a rabid chihuahua dry-humping your leg while your simply trying to walk down the street is not amusing nor productive. yes, as artists can get injured — treating that as entertainment rather than treating it …. welcome to the demise of the lemming — inert in an ipod bubble that won’t act as a dirigible when heading over the cliff. art as precious, piss-elegant commodity with limited voice — not enjoyable nor solution beyond remedial.

  • http://www.patrickcollier.com Patrick

    Good article. I’d add my two cents if I had one more penny. And I’m saving the one I do have because, you see, it’s my lucky penny.

  • http://www.patrickcollier.com Patrick

    Good article. I’d add my two cents if I had one more penny. And I’m saving the one I do have because, you see, it’s my lucky penny.

  • http://www.patrickcollier.com Patrick

    Good article. I’d add my two cents if I had one more penny. And I’m saving the one I do have because, you see, it’s my lucky penny.

  • http://putinglory.blogspot.com/ ak

    Validation: whether money or (the right) attention; this is best if it is the icing on the cake. The cake should be something stable, like Sally Lunn Bread.

  • http://putinglory.blogspot.com/ ak

    Validation: whether money or (the right) attention; this is best if it is the icing on the cake. The cake should be something stable, like Sally Lunn Bread.

  • http://putinglory.blogspot.com/ ak

    Validation: whether money or (the right) attention; this is best if it is the icing on the cake. The cake should be something stable, like Sally Lunn Bread.

  • http://putinglory.blogspot.com/ ak

    Validation: whether money or (the right) attention; this is best if it is the icing on the cake. The cake should be something stable, like Sally Lunn Bread.

  • Howard Halle

    Right on. Unfortunately, I don’t see anything changing in the immediate future. Ironically, the same taxpayer-funded bailout that saved Wall Street likely saved the art world’s ass, which means the system as it exists will continue. But that’s true of society as a whole.

  • Howard Halle

    Right on. Unfortunately, I don’t see anything changing in the immediate future. Ironically, the same taxpayer-funded bailout that saved Wall Street likely saved the art world’s ass, which means the system as it exists will continue. But that’s true of society as a whole.

  • bryan

    Great article.

  • bryan

    Great article.

  • victor immature

    Oh! I like it that team splootch ventures a try!

  • victor immature

    Oh! I like it that team splootch ventures a try!

  • http://JDSiazon.NeoImages.net JD Siazon

    As an aspiring artist myself I think that what makes a lot of work suck these days is the idea of competition and wanting to be famous. By this I mean that a lot of artists are driven by very puerile desires rather than being completely focused on making good art. Everything is so aggressive these days like a giant advertisement party or something like that. As an MFA Fine Arts student at Parsons I feel almost overwhelmed with the circus-nature of my program. A lot of the artwork is good but it seems to come at you from an angle like a subtle pitch with some goofy-ass punch line.
    My point is that artists have their logic all fucked up. The desire to be famous causes people to think that they have to do some gigantic and shocking and/or outlandish thing to get noticed but unfortunately this results in people churning out abomination after abomination which is very sad in my opinion. People taking their clothes off or cutting themselves or doing “fecal art” or what have you. It all adds up to cries for attention rather than artists focusing on their artwork and just putting it out there in hopes that people’ll like it and hopefully in due time fame’ll come their way.
    Great article by the way. It’s nice to hear writers shit on the art world because God knows that more often than not you’ll be seeing a wack art show wherever you go in this city.

  • http://JDSiazon.NeoImages.net JD Siazon

    As an aspiring artist myself I think that what makes a lot of work suck these days is the idea of competition and wanting to be famous. By this I mean that a lot of artists are driven by very puerile desires rather than being completely focused on making good art. Everything is so aggressive these days like a giant advertisement party or something like that. As an MFA Fine Arts student at Parsons I feel almost overwhelmed with the circus-nature of my program. A lot of the artwork is good but it seems to come at you from an angle like a subtle pitch with some goofy-ass punch line.
    My point is that artists have their logic all fucked up. The desire to be famous causes people to think that they have to do some gigantic and shocking and/or outlandish thing to get noticed but unfortunately this results in people churning out abomination after abomination which is very sad in my opinion. People taking their clothes off or cutting themselves or doing “fecal art” or what have you. It all adds up to cries for attention rather than artists focusing on their artwork and just putting it out there in hopes that people’ll like it and hopefully in due time fame’ll come their way.
    Great article by the way. It’s nice to hear writers shit on the art world because God knows that more often than not you’ll be seeing a wack art show wherever you go in this city.

Previous post:

Next post: