Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Meaning of Paint

A Profile in the recent New Yorker has stimulated a question.  It is a portrait of Hans Ulrich Obrist, a curator of a London gallery and a powerful figure in the world of “Art”.  He is skeptical of painting because he thinks it is difficult to do meaningful work in that medium.  One of his favorite artists is Marina Abromavic.  A recent exhibition of hers was an empty room which she occupied.  Participants were invited to join Ms. Abromavic to combine their psychic energy with hers.

The question then is, “What does the world do with the hundreds of artists who like to paint ?”  I say, even must paint.  The “Art” world  is consumed by the manufactured art of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst and so called c art, where whatever the physical expression, an explanation is necessary to give it its meaningfulnes.

 The nouveau riche seemed to follow the leadings of intellectuals and powers in the “Art” world such as Mr. Obrist and pay millions for this art that they may or may not like, as a statement that they are part of this cutting edge thrust of “the New.”

 Thus the “Art World” has become a stratospheric arena that has little to do with those who just paint.  An article in the NY Times told of artists who live in Miami, who are not benefitted by “Basel Miami”, where the Lear Jets of the wealthy fly in from around the world to be told what is hot this year, but do not go beyond the haloed booths of that exhibition to look at the art in the local galleries.  Is no-one interested in finding budding artists on their own?

I know I will be called a vender of sour grapes, but I am not yet senile, and I am not stupid.  I find the so called meaningful meanderings of the intellectual, conceptual explanations to be vapid mind games leading nowhere, and much of the art is cold with no craft or sensuality.

What then is the world to do with all of those who must paint?  Perhaps a new catagory can be created.  Let those who inhabit the world of “Art” continue to live and play their intellectual games for even more big money, and create another art world where artists are not competing in the commercialism of the “Art” world, a world where collectors are really looking to find an artist whose work they actually can’t resist.

I don’t know what to call this world.  It isn’t “Art”, and it isn’t just craft.  It‘s a world where painters are mostly ignored and paint because they love to and must.  Maybe we could call it “The Hidden World of Paint.”   

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