Saturday, May 21, 2005

Good Ideas, Bad Art

Jeff Koons, Puppy (1998)

Good art is rare. But if I were to judge by the descriptions, it nearly always appears as great. Artists learned how to write about what they do. They learned how to express themselves in the PR world. The strange thing is, they learned this much quicker than they learned to create great art. So I'm surrounded by amazing artist's statements, brilliant introductions, intriguing self-analyses... and then comes the work. Recently, it happens to be mainly abstract forms and combinations of colors, materials, impulses. Very abstract, very... pure. And difficult to judge, to say the least. The artist's statement is like a key, or rather, evidence that this is serious, that the guy knows what he's doing. So I go back to the work, bedazzled, not really sure if I should accept whatever I am being told and start off from there. Or maybe I have the right to stick to my impressions and repeat that this simply doesn't appeal to me? Would it be silly stubbornness to refuse the artist's perspective? I mean, these people really do have interesting things to say, and their opinions about art more often than not make a lot of sense.
I look at the theater world, which I am most accustomed to. Its history is full of absolutely outstanding theories. You wouldn't believe how smart, how witty, how ingenuous the thinking of the stage can be. But in this case, there is no way I can be convinced: I don't like most theater. More than that: it bores the hell out of me. And no theory can bring my interest back. I know, I tried.
Theater is living (and dying...) proof that the world is full of great art theory - and crappy art.
Maybe that's why I find making art so incredibly challenging. Nobody really knows how it works.
But sometimes it does.

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