There are two types of people in the art world: artists and boring fuckers.
The boring fuckers have it in for us. They’re the ones who gleefully academicised art because they knew that real artists hate writing: essays, self-crits, artist’s statements, creative rationales, dissertations, speeches, press releases, blogs and begging letters.
In the UK, in the 70s, the perfectly serviceable Dip AD was dumped in favour of a Bachelor of Arts.
In 1972, it was discovered that those who had failed their Dip AD had the highest average in O level results, and those who obtained a third in their Dip AD had achieved the highest A level results when at school. In other words, academics didn’t fare well in the practical Dip AD framework.
Consequently, later on, the boring fuckers decided to make the entry requirements and curriculum even more academic when they introduced BA, MA, MFA and PhD degrees to art. Naturally, all the little history swots rubbed their hands at the prospect of getting higher grades than their more practical, or should we say, more talented artist contemporaries. The age of the art historian and curator was dawning.
The sad thing is how many truly talented artists were discarded along the way. In order to “address the problem”, the boring fuckers introduced measures to help those “afflicted” dyslexic artists with the loan of special computers and staff support. How very kind and how very condescending. They’re not made to feel valued, or special, as many dyslexics are, but inferior. The poor dears can’t write.
Who the fuck cares?!
They’re fucking artists, not academics, or writers!
Georgia O'Keeffe said, “I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn't say any other way — things I had no words for.”
Even the arch-intellectual, Jean Cocteau said, and he wasn’t being pejorative, “An artist cannot talk about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.”
And yet artists are expected to explain, or justify their work at every stage. Why should they? No professional psychiatrist would expect even their most intelligent and self-aware clients to analyse themselves. How many writes, poets or musicians do so?
Something else happened in the switch over to academe, suddenly there were two classes of staff at art schools, sorry, universities: those who dealt in theories – calling themselves professors, readers, course leaders, senior lecturers, lecturers in critical studies, curation and navel gazing – and the lesser mortals who got their hands dirty, the studio practitioners and technicians.
Many of the latter are practicing artists and their work is significantly better than their theoretical and supposedly superior counterparts.
The first PhD in Fine Art was awarded by the CNNA in 1978. Is there a correlation between the academicisation of art and what happened in the 80s?
They’ve even infiltrated our ranks with some seriously untalented bullshit merchants who talk a great game, but never get their hands dirty. They can’t draw, paint, or sculpt. Take Jeff Koons (please!), who claims to be a genius and even has the effrontery to call himself the new Michelangelo. He said recently “I'm basically the idea person. I'm not physically involved in the production. I don't have the necessary abilities, so I go to the top people.”
Hirst has the same problem. He admits that one of his assistants paints the spots off him with ease. Perhaps that’s why much of their work lacks authenticity. To justify themselves both cite the examples of the old masters, most of who had many assistants. True, however all of them, from Rembrandt to Velasquez, had the necessary abilities, if not the time to do everything to the highest standards.
It wouldn’t be quite so appalling if Koons, or Hirst’s ideas were amazing, but they’re vacuous, trite and bbbbboring. It’s not surprising really, because they’re not really artists at all.They are curators. They are boring fuckers.