“I honestly had no idea there were so many unattractive people in the art world. How nice and unpretentious.” ”—overheard at Grunert/Gasser post-opening dinner (via OH in the Art World)
It’s why I stopped running around in the art circles in my town. It’s why art magazines and books piss me the fuck off. It’s why even though I love fashion photography, it drives me out of my mind at times, what with the horrible racialized message behind it, of softeness, androgyny, delicateness, and beauty being equal to thin whiteness.
Art is a bunch of nose-in-the-air bourgeois white folk or self-important pretentious hipster kids just patting themselves on the back for the alleged superiority of their culture and taste. Savoring the fruits of their supremacist labors! Discussing among themselves the (White, European, Racist) history and roots of real art while spitting on all forms of POC art, calling it trash, savage, primitive, vandalism.
The most appreciation we get is through pop art (sometimes, and pop art gets a lot of hate and derision from the art world at large) or through the appropriation of our culture to be twisted, misrepresented, regurgitated by white folk to benefit themselves. We’re conveniently extracted from the history and the culture. We do it, we’re savage, they do it, they’re “bohemian”. How many times have you seen people screech out that sex work (a field where the popular narrative of the sex worker is dominated by WOC) is wrong and evil, but burlesque and other forms of “tasteful” (read:white) striptease are considered empowered, intelligent, sexy-art?
It posits that art is defined by white/European people & values, that art supersedes and is unaffected by racism and prejudice. Our definitions, our values, our right to our culture and to not have our identity spat upon or misrepresented mean nothing.
It creates this false, sick, twisted dichotomy between the “enlightened, intelligent, learned” white folk who “get art” and the “feeble-minded, ignorant, uneducated monkeys” that don’t.
So even apart from the obvious racism in the video, the “this is art” derailing argument is hella loaded, too.
“To anyone in the art world who wants to get out I am inclined to say: perhaps you’re in the wrong place. On a more fundamental level, however, the problem with public declarations of one’s longing for ‘leaving art’ – the title, incidentally, of a collection of essays by Suzanne Lacy published in 2010 – is that they necessarily presuppose an antinomy between art and what is invariably referred to as the ‘real world’ (or worse, ‘real life’), and that one is better than the other because it has us believe that it is more real. Anyone who believes that art is not part of the real world – that one can only enter the latter on condition of leaving the former – should be forgiven for wanting to leave art behind, because he or she is clearly wedded to the wrong notion of art, one that is pathologically disconnected from the real world. If, that is, we agree with their presupposition: that this world supposedly ‘out there’, free of all things art, is indeed the real one.”—
Dieter Roelstraete with another of his pithy and polemical short essays.