A Resource for Performing Artists, Scholars and Audiences.
I also have this posted at my art blog here:
So, I went to see some gallery shows this afternoon as I sometimes do. I wasn't in the greatest of moods but, I wasn't figuring on becoming intensely depressed and confused about art in general as well as my own art life. I went to this place which had a show by a performance artist. The show contained almost nothing. There were a couple extremely dull and non-changing videos showing, and a piece of paper with writing on it on the wall. There was also a small painting made with one color of paint and no content, on a wall painted with the exact same color. I went downstairs and there was a large empty room. There was a ceiling light on in the opposite corner showing a small piece of wood leaning against the wall. There was another piece of paper with writing on it by the door. I read the first paragraph which started "I wanted to create a piece about nothing". And that's when I got really worked up.
Not only is this sort of thing mediocre but, it's been done countless times. Now is not the time to make art about nothing. There's a lot happening in the world. The way we communicate has completely shifted in the past 10 years. We're in the midst of a revolution in technology. Humans are putting stresses on our natural world that will change the way we live in the very near future. Robotics, plastic surgery, DNA synthesis, video games, autism, so many things to think about. I could go on and on. This is really probably one of the most exciting times in the history of humanity. A lot of good and bad but, lots of stuff is going on.
After seeing this insult to the eyes I became very upset and depressed. I started to think about my own "life" as a performance artist and to question what I was really doing. What am I doing and why am I doing it? I don't even know! What IS a performance artist? What is my goal? I make so much effort to do something different and new. I spend loads of money, I organize people, I do large and small productions involving movement, technology, humor, strange visuals. Who am I doing this for and who am I trying to impress? Is it the gallery owners and directors? Am I trying to impress the same people who curated this show I just saw? Am I trying to impress those art intellectuals who can justify curating a show about absolutely nothing? If so, what I'm doing is futile because they will never understand me. My art is about something.
The only real answer I have is that I cannot stop doing art. An artist is what I am. I'm a creative thinker and idea man. THE IDEAS HAVE TO LIVE! I don't know why exactly, but, they just do. They are burning inside of me and they must come out.
The artist's roll is to inspire, is it not? Our role is to express ourselves and to make people feel or see something differently. We give meaning to other people's lives. We are important. It's mind-boggling how this artist failed so miserably in this instance to be inspirational. Having an idea is not enough. It needs to be developed. It's called "art". That means there's an ART to doing it. A lot of contemporary art these days is so very similar. So very empty, undeveloped, pointless and lost.