Muriel Belcher, owner of the bohemian Colony Room Club, a favourite haunt of: Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Dylan Thomas, Christopher Isherwood, Henri Cartier-Bresson and many other creative luminaries, would only allow membership to certain people.
All races, sexes, sexual orientations, ages and classes were welcome, but there was one crucial criterion for membership. In Muriel’s words, the only criterion was “Just don’t be fucking dull and boring – that’s the golden rule.”
If we can apply Muriel’s criterion to human beings, we can also do so to works of art.
Why not? After all, artists produce work that embodies their own values, experiences and personalities. You are your art and your art is you.
So, if you think of works of art, not as inanimate objects, but as human beings, how many would you consider interesting, or boring? Would you bother with most of them?
Unlike the Stuckists, we don’t care what medium you use, be it painting, sculpture, video, sound, pottery, performance, installation, or whatever “ism” you’re into. OK, so, on this basis, what is our manifesto?
Don’t create work that is: characterless, colourless, commonplace, drab, derivative, flat, grey, humdrum, ho-hum, insipid, interminable, insipid, irksome, lifeless, monotonous, mundane, obvious, ordinary, plagiarist, platitudinous, pointless, prosaic, puerile, repetitive, routine, stereotypical, stale, stodgy, stuffy, stupid, superficial, tedious, tiresome, trite, trivial, unchallenging, unexciting, uninteresting, uninspiring, unoriginal, unvaried, and vapid.
Yep, that’s it. Keep it simple. It's not too prescriptive, or too vague.
|" While I agree with the general sentiment expressed, it strikes me as more like an off-hand remark than a manifesto. In contemporary art in general, the driving imperative is novelty, rather than beauty. But that doesn't necessarily make the resulting work interesting, at least to most people. Most artists seeking novelty try to find a niche that nobody else already inhabits, but so many predecessors have made their stands in fields like sculpting in butter, painting with menstrual blood, mutilating Barbie dolls or blowing things up for creative effect that they are forced to stake out their territories in more obscure domains more distant from the mainstream of art, making pieces which are ever more difficult to appreciate. So while they may achieve novelty, it becomes harder and harder for anybody to work up much enthusiasm for their efforts. I don't see how this "manifesto" addresses this issue, although it does give old Roget a workout... Andrew Werby Juxtamorph.com " - 13-09-2014|
|" Andrew, you're right, the driving imperative is novelty, not beauty. Beauty was ditched a long time ago. The problem is two-fold: first, in our over-populated and communicated world,, many artists believe that above all, they have to do something outrageous, or "remarkable" as Seth Godin described it, to stand out from the crowd. He cited the example of Koons's Flower Dog as an example. The second problem is that this is exacebated by national galleries and museums around the world, all of whom are in search of the next great "ism." They're run by curators, who studied art history and conequently promote and buy work primarily on the basis that it is different, or novel, irrespective of whether it has any aesthetic merit whatsoever. Most of their acquisitions, such as Ofilli's elephant dung work, will eventually be consigned to storerooms, never to be seen again. The manifesto, may, at first seem offhand, particularly if you think that the primary antonym of "boring" as being "novel." However, the word "boring" has many subtle connotations, most of which are listed. Something can be novel, but also: pretentious, puerile, stupid, superficial, tedious, tiresome, trite and trivial. In coming up with a manifesto, I didn't want to stifle new movements. I certainly wouldn't state, as the Stuckists did, that painting and figurative painting at that, is the only valid art form. Conversely, I don't believe that anything goes. Looking at the the examples you cited, if those works were people, they would fail the test and would be regarded as: pretentious, puerile, stupid etc and therefore BORING. " - 15-09-2014|