what makes an “artist”?
July 25, 2008 § 7 Comments
Today, Roberta Smith published a harsh review of the show up at the Bronx Museum entitled, ‘How Soon is Now?’ I won’t copy the review here, but I will post some of the harsh highlights (ouch!). Here is one work, by Jeanne Verdoux called “Living Room” that she did actually think was worthy of being called “art.” I haven’t seen the show in person so I can’t really give you my own take on it.
Anyhow, on with the harsh highlights:
apparently, to Smith, only painters know how to make art: “The only relief, initially, are a few paintings or painting-like objects . . . Some nonpainting efforts come into focus with time, but the first impression is a telling lesson in why painting doesn’t die; it is at the very least a good way for young artists to grasp the kind of density of expression that any art medium requires. (It helps to remember that most of the first generation Conceptualists were educated and began their careers as painters.)”
“It does gives me pause that 26 of the 36 artists have master’s degrees in fine arts from respected universities or art schools. I think most of them should ask for their money back. On the evidence here, at least, they have only a meager understanding of what being an artist entails.”
Ok, and one statement that I do agree with: “there is no point in spending time on “professional development” or learning how to advance one’s work in the marketplace if artistic development is not well under way. That requires lots of long, hard looking at all kinds of art, in all mediums, from all periods and cultures. Aspiring artists need to expose themselves to the sheer intensity and variety of art, to learn what they love, what they hate and if they are actually artists at all.”