There is a new event coming up after the successful #Class held earlier in the year, for Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida when Winkleman Gallery joins Seven at Miami Art Fair this December for a three day event entitled #Rank:
In Jennifer’s words;
“William Powhida and I have received the green light to host #Rank
Miami, taking place during the Miami art fairs this December 1-4.
Building on the ideas and energy of the #Class events last winter (if
you don’t know what we’re talking about see
http://www.hashtagclass.com/class/class-statement/), we will host three
days of non-gala events, non-curated performances and non-hierarchical
discussions on the topic of the class structures of the art world, with
a super-special focus on the art fair experience. Events will be held at
Ed Winkleman’s space at SEVEN, in the Wynwood district of Miami (more
info at seven-miami.blogspot.com). #Rank Miami will be just three short
days, but we’re going to cram as much art fair antimatter in there as
This, and a few other things like the huge public funding cuts to the Arts in the UK which are about to happen, got me thinking about rank and stereotypical assumptions which sort the pecking order of society’s relevant needs.
Oxford Definition of Rank:
Arrange in rank; Classify, give certain grade to, take precedence of, have rank or place, have senior position among members of hierarchy. Place in scale; position in hierarchy, grade of advancement; distinct social class, grade of dignity. High social position, members of nobility or gentry; to pull rank, to make unfair use of one’s seniority. Rank and Fashion; high society.
(a necessary definition cliché here, not a filler!)
And Stereotypes as addressed in my last post I Paid My Taxes For That?! ;
Art has its myths and lies that are perpetuated as facts.
Public perception of three broad categories of say, Science, Money (the art of dealing with it; Socially through Public Spending, through Banking, Accounting, to Hedge Funds) and The Arts. Are seen through a simplified public lens and ranked accordingly.
Science has made itself universally tangible. It is needed and the majority of people get that. Even if it isn’t clear what science does exactly. The *mad professor* image still exists but we know he does exciting things and we get to use them. Stuff doesn’t get made without it – even rockets.
Money is universally tangible as either a necessity or a necessary evil, a thing that we need in order to do stuff. We are hooked, if not totally sold. The banker until recently was stereotypically envisaged as a suited, trustworthy methodical man (if not nickel and dime, penny pinching with it). Now they are propped up by the taxpayer their image is slightly different.
Art is seemingly still dispensable, except by those who *get it*. Art is not wholly accepted as a necessity whether evil or not. The typical image of an artist is probably paint spattered, disorganised, otherwise-occupied, even with an air of self indulgent narcissism and getting paid extortionate amounts for putting cows in tanks (is always a good one). Never mind the extortionate amounts coming from tax-payers money.
I have been trying to fathom ranking in general with regard to how we as society rank certain things in order of importance and again within those categories.
Philosophically without having an order of things I suppose we have freefall or can make no sense of our surroundings, no benchmarks. But also in tandem with it is a mechanism for segregation, and places for elitism to flourish as an overriding factor.
Rank is there in the personal everyday from what takes pride of place to what goes into the recycling bin.
Rank or Order is there in the expanded universe ; stuff gets bigger, stuff explodes, stuff gets smaller. Even if it’s randomly happening.
How do we engage a sense of order or priority of importance without that tipping point of exclusivity?
Is the meaning of equal epitomised in a word only? Is it destined for the psychobabble-loony-bin of happy bunny idealism?
We all have a want of things, to aspire to things :
………Ever renewing desires ; not an entitlement to have or to own. Deserving of yes, but not getting pissed off if you don’t get that desire…….. A semi-quote from the film Before Sunset – which was chock full of aspirational ethical type equality lines, which made a brilliant feel good film; and really everything about it was brilliantly written and acted. But looking at it from the angle of rank and class, and with the backdrop of near the perfect lifestyle choices of middle class arty-boho stereotypes, was a tad removed from reality – but then it was a film and one a lot would aspire to the notion of !.
Aspirational is also an expression of taking pleasure in something.
Non-aspirational can be a sign of indifference to, or lack of pleasure from something.
Also to have once aspired and then to lose that through being denied can be frustrating.
Mainly, a sense of worth becomes the benchmark of rank – so however that is apportioned – through money value or through societies general acknowledgment seems to become the order of acceptance.
Can one thing become more acceptable than another just with demand?.
Without going too deep, the XFactor format gives a clue; society is given a democratic notion helped along by a few simple pointers which in turn = votes.
Which can then be turned into stuff of practical worth = trade and making money as the general rule of thumb.
But equally things evolve and become liked or accepted by general absorption and so they become of general worth = fashion or zeitgeist.
This can also be turned to stuff of practical worth = trade and making money.
No real insight there then, or perhaps when these things are aired there always seems a sense of ever decreasing circles.
But…. rank and order can be so easily turned into an exclusion mechanism, that while the stuff of inclusion has a perceived sense of worth, the stuff of exclusion is alienated or not good enough. And by the same token this can also be an aspirational trigger, provided that the opportunity is there.
The kind of stuff politicians will wax lyrical about for eons, but then completely miss the mark in policy.
So I set myself down a few clichéd assumptions that can possibly colour our sense of rank and order in an attempt to eliminate the myths and lies surrounding rank specifically in the art world. Which can give them added kudos by sometimes backing them up :
Convenient half-truths or clichéd *facts* that perpetuate a possible confused or false idea of arts worth through public image.
The Worth of Art as Ranked Through Stereotype Clichés
In your view how do you see these ideas as held true in the wider public imagination ; in order of Relevance, Quasi-Relevance and Obsolete.
In Clichés, Stereotypes, Assumption, and Images
Artists are seen as:
- Overpaid celebrity
- Famous/infamous attention seekers
- The tortured soul
- Suffering for art
- Artists as an amoral bunch
- Artists are lefty-liberal softies
- Artists are weird
- Art and artists have a psychological cause
- Artists are suffering some sort of trauma
- Black sheep
- Misogynist /fail at interpersonal relationships
- Attract *immoral* relationships
- Self aggrandising
- Talent level only starts with ability to paint/draw reality
- Artist ability to show a *truth* has been compromised by the art market
Art is seen as :
- Full of *creative* celebrities who cannot produce true art
- Full of Art magazines that are more like hot-topic-picks of Dazed or Vogue
- Not true when having an idea and delegating
- Not true when using technology
- Not true when using CAD
- Not true when manifested into another practice
- Modern Art is a folly
- Full of things a five year old could do
- Arty crafty art is not art
- Not a proper job
- A Private Club
- Full of art-speak-babble
- True art is only affordable by the wealthy
- True art is only appreciated by those in the know
- Beauty is lost in Contemporary Art
- Owning art is a statement of worth
- A Fashion accessory
- Owning art is a self indulgent pastime
- Art for art’s sake is a narcissistic luxury
- Not an educational subject of worth
- For the people
- Not for the people
- Art market rules are run by a clique few
- Art patronage = subjugated art
- Subjugated art is compliant with *the system*
- Costly public art is overrated
- Public art is underrated
- Art patronage is a manipulator of image and fact
- Festivals are touting/business sponsorship events and are not about art
- Art fairs as touting/business sponsorship events are not about art
Would be interesting to do a mini survey /cross section just to see which of these actually seem to define art and artists image today.
Would be even better if it could include other ideas of cliche and stereotype !
Perhaps with some feed back from this I will be able to post a more interactive survey later !
And Stop Press!
Soon to be arriving is The British Art Show at Nottingham Contemporary ! :
In the Days of the Comet
23 Oct 2010 – 09 Jan 2011
Charles Avery, Karla Black, Becky Beasley, Juliette Blightman, Duncan Campbell, Varda Caivano, Spartacus Chetwynd, Steven Claydon, Matthew Darbyshire, Milena Dragicevic, Luke Fowler, Michael Fullerton, Alasdair Gray, Brian Griffiths, Ian Kiaer, Anja Kirschner and David Panos, Sarah Lucas, Christian Marclay, Simon Martin Nathaniel Mellors, Haroon Mirza, David Noonan, Otolith Group, Mick Peter, Gail Pickering, Olivia Plender, Elizabeth Price, Cullinan Richards, Karin Ruggaber, Edgar Schmitz, Maaike Schoorel, George Shaw, Wolfgang Tillmans, Sue Tompkins, Phoebe Unwin, Tris Vonna-Michell, Emily Wardill, Keith Wilson
The British Art Show is held every five years, presenting new and recent works by contemporary artists based in Britain. This major exhibition is a unique opportunity for an overview of the concerns of art today. A Hayward Touring exhibition, it is opening for the first time in Nottingham and will be shown in three venues – Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange and Nottingham Castle.
British Art Show 7 pays particular attention to the ways that artists use history to illuminate the present. Thirty nine artists have been invited for their significant contribution to British (and often international) art since 2005. More than half of the selected artists are showing new works, including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, video, film and performance.