Why I Don't Go to Art Shows

I get them all the time, twenty a week perhaps, maybe more. I get them through facebook, by email, by text and even, once in a great while, on a printed bit of card stock. I get invitations to indie-scale cultural events. It's not always art shows, as I mentioned above. It's just art shows more often than anything else. It's also local bands, photography openings in coffee shops, scene studies and short film screenings. Usually by people I know and actively like.

And I almost never go.

First of all, and I hate to say this lest it come back to haunt but nobody reads this blog so I'm not over-worried, most of the work I see is just plain bad. I might be reaching by claiming to be an objective arbiter of culture but, at the very least, I see very little that I find meaningfully evocative. Most of it is self indulgent wanking making the pretenses of art. The truth is that most of the would-be musicians, directors, painters and the like that I know don't really want to make art. They want to be someone who is lauded for making art.

No one is asking me to these events because I'm important; I'm not. No one is asking me to these events because I'm someone's friend or because someone legitimately wants me to be interested their work, even if I am and they do. Someone is asking me because they're hocking wares and need warm bodies to create a false sense of popularity and urgency to prop up a sales pitch to would-be patrons, so that they can play the celebrity.

Screaming from the rooftops, or it's modern equivalent, papering the world with fliers and pestering people on facebook, is not the way to get your work noticed. Spending the bulk of your time and energy planning your showing rather than perfecting your art is not the way go get your work noticed. Playing the salon ├ęclat is not the way to get your work noticed.

Producing immaculately well crafted, emotionally daring, intellectually innovative art, that is the way to get your work noticed. Excellence is very hard to ignore. If you don't have that, there's not much I can do to help you acquire it. If you do have that, then you don't need my sorry ass showing up at your viewing to pimp your pieces.

Moreover, I have my own half-assed hack work to pursue.


John Myste said...

Wow, that was really harsh.

Thank God, I have no talent to market. I am not included in your indictment.

Poor bastards!

Michael Taylor said...

The truth is often harsh. As the cliche says, "90% of everything is crap," and that percentage is a lot higher when it comes to modern art and music. Over time, cream has a way of floating to the top -- and let's face it, there just aren't that many young artistic geniuses around. The good ones will persist and prevail, while the rest of the wannabes get real jobs and fade away.

The desire to write, paint, shoot photographs or make music should always be honored -- but do it first and foremost for yourself. If you're truly good, it will be noticed. If not, don't expect other people to pay anything more than polite lip service to your efforts.