Sometime its best to take a step back, take a deep breath, refocus, trust your instincts, and then jump back in.
At least that’s my advice to Charles Saatchi, a steady man and international art advocate who doesn’t need to hear my two cents. He’s been investing and reinvesting in art since long before I was old enough to become conscious and aware of his importance, and I must agree with some of his sentiments about the current state of the art community in his recent article, CHARLES SAATCHI: THE HIDEOUSNESS OF THE ART WORLD written for the Guardian.
I too have been wondering lately if it has all gotten too big, to outrageous, too out of control, too money oriented, too removed from itself, too complex of a maze to navigate or even be taken seriously. Looking around I start to ponder the relevance of it all. With entertainment TV shows like Work of Art on Bravo doing the best they can to expose the creative process to a broader audience I question if they are really doing more good than harm. Then I think to myself who’s steering this ship, and is anyone even paying attention?
I was wandering one of the contemporary rooms at the Milwaukee Art Museum the other night when to my shock I saw a group of visitors walk right over and across a tiled floor piece by Carl Andre, oblivious to the fact that it was art. I laughed to myself but it made me question at my core, to what extent are we as artists making simple decorations or important cultural artifacts. Will these sculptures, installations, paintings and photographs on the walls really mean anything years down the road when we are long and forgotten?
These ideas comes at an important time and juncture as locally here in Milwaukee we are seeing recent media attention given to the question of what and where is the current avant-garde; see Mary Louise Schumacher’s article for the Journal Sentinel. Personally from what I’ve seen in the past year the avant-garde is alive and kicking here, it’s vibrant, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Many do-it-yourself artist run galleries and alternative spaces are popping up all over the city indicating the yearning and drive of emerging artists of all ages to take back creative control and direction.
So my pledge is a simple one; to continue making work, to put my head down and push forward day after day, never ceasing nor slowing down, to lead by example while remaining hungry and humble, giving back anyway I can. I encourage you to do the same, to trust your intuition, believe in this community, have the courage to remain fixed on the Pursuit, and capitalize while we have the opportunity to let this city shine.
Continue to do what you do Best and keep that Fire lit.