Monday, December 08, 2008
All's Fair In Love And Hate
The young(ish) male artist who once asked me for my advice – and when I refused to give it, decided to vent his resentful enmity in the comments of this blog – has written again, this time to take me to task for expressing no interest in Art Basel Miami Beach and mocking the middle-of-the-road media aspirations of Mark Leckey. He also accused me of 'hating on' a couple of artists he likes, a generational mangling of grammar that I don't mind accepting as a compliment.The last place any artist should occupy is the middle ground. Extremes (and complexities) of emotional response are pretty much our stock-in-trade. It might well be the ethos of the middle-brow suburban working stiff to parrot the old-media-spawned desirability of a 'balanced' perspective but the unbalanced, unpopular, subversive, perverse, creepy, critical, curious, unconventional and not-always-well-intentioned are just a few of the acceptable positions for genuinely creative and/or inquisitive minds – and if you disagree, go look again at the works of Hieronymus Bosch, Francisco Goya, or Henry Darger. Such minds should not be expected to agree with each other: "I accept your point of view but..." might work as a polite formulation to salve disputes in the corporate arena but artists (and art-lovers) should have no truck with it: the provocative, the incendiary and yes, even the spiteful should always be preferred to compromise or half-hearted consensus.The irony is my critic has had a lot of leeway in my comments to 'hate on' me all he likes (even as he tries to entice my readers to his blog). But enough's enough. I'm not publishing his comments anymore. And I am going to keep 'hating on' those aspects of art that give me the shits, along with the artists responsible for them.