Hey! Said my name is called disturbance.
I'll shout and scream, I'll kill the king, I'll rail at all his servants. – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Street Fighting ManLet me restate a basic policy for this blog. I am open to critical remarks about my work or me. I've published many here over the past three years and I will continue to do so. But if you're not willing to identify yourself, if you do it anonymously, I'll just trash what you have to say.I used to to publish everything, including anonymous insults and slander. I figured my readers would notice that the vilest comments come from three distinct groups:the first are mostly fellow artists or art dealers who are envious or resentful of the public 'me' or who just hate my art – interestingly, this angry, misogynistic group is made up almost entirely of middle-aged, white Australian males; the second are spiteful former acquaintances (or jilted lovers) who have an axe to grind; finally, there are those geekish, dull-witted trolls who get a kick out of spilling vitriol over anyone with any 'surface' in the blogosphere.It's easy enough to identify posters, even when they use different aliases. If they're really nasty or threatening, I run their IP address and keep a note of where they route to. Mostly, I know who they are from their own words. For example, there's the guy about whom I wrote recently here: he was pissed off that I addressed his sexism in public – after all, he is, as he kept reminding me, one of my 'collectors'. Before I wrote the blog, I emailed him privately and he didn't respond. He continues to make snarky, ill-informed, anonymous critiques of me on others' blogs.If someone says something stupid or insulting to me, they're not entitled to my silence. Ditto if they try to take advantage of me.A number of late middle-aged, white male art dealers are livid that I unwrap the exploitative and often (again) misogynistic business practices I've experienced with them. In their eyes, I am only an artist – and a female one at that. Unfortunately for them, I am also a successful woman who won't abide by the accepted, "be-seen-but-not-heard-and-be-bloody-grateful-you've-got-it" conventions of female success. The art world is traditionally dominated by men but I'm not grateful to them or eager-to-please. I'm not meek, modest, obsequiously deferent either. I don't give in or dumb myself down. I haven't slept with anyone to advance my career and I've never been supported by a man, other than my father. Instead, every day, I live and work in the open. I expose my art, my self, my work practice and the worst of me online, where everyone can see. And I don't give a toss whom it pisses off.
The over-emotional, often obsessive, confused and enraged responses of those who attack me anonymously acknowledges a radical shift in power. The privilege they once took for granted suddenly doesn't apply any more. Race, gender, social standing and age are of no relevance to the new, web-based world, which empowers and equalises in ways early feminists could never have imagined. At last, women – and everyone else who has been disadvantaged by patriarchal systems – can play on the same, level playing field.The anonymous posting of a spiteful, slanderous, vitriolic attack is just a desperate, ill-fated attempt to regain some of that lost power. The anonymous ranter can criticise (and slander) without exposing their motives to close examination or their ideas to detailed counter-argument or criticism. They also think they don't have to take responsibility for their own words, assuming (wrongly) that their legal identities and liabilities are obscured. Their's is a last, desperate attempt to influence, to exert a power they don't have anymore (if they ever had it), without responsibility.Enough is enough. From now on, I won't publish any more unpleasant crap from anonymous posters. I will continue to publish reasoned, critical comments by those who display their real identity. I'm not bothered by those who disagree with me or who find my art disasteful or even just plain bad. I relish conflicting ideas about art and everything else (well, almost everything else). As those who've followed this blog for a few years know, I don't run from a fight. Actually, I like to fight. But I've got too little time to indulge those impotent dullards and wankers who are too cowardly to 'own' their own words. They can just fuck off.