Thursday, March 01, 2007

Opened today's Vancouver Sun to find a short article (not an editorial) on sculptor Ron Mueck. I'll just quote the last paragraph, as it pretty much summarizes the tone:

His celebrity is such that he simply cannot be ignored. Mueck is 'accessible,' which means people 'get' his art. Galleries are forced to extend their hours as visitors line up to see his silicone and fibreglass creations marking the stages of mankind from birth, to adolescence, to desolation and, finally, to death. Mueck's popularity, of course, represents an unforgivable sin to the segment of the art world believing great art must be unfathomable to the great unwashed. And, to these elites, Mueck's art is no more unfathomable than an unclothed department store mannequin."

So, again with the 'elites.'
I keep waiting to meet one of these 'elites.' Judging from the adjectives that are often used to describe them, I imagine them to be pale, humourless, vampire-like creatures who sit around in sterile, modernist highrises signing artist's death warrants. Boy, would I like to give them a piece of my mind.
Unfortunately, most of the people I know personally who are working in the field (artists, critics, curators) seem to be the exact opposite. Thats kind of weird, isn't it? Sort of like all those weapons of mass destruction that we knew were there but could never quite manage to locate.

Let's consider, for a moment, the fact that Ron Mueck is now showing his work in every city on the planet, that he's represented by a multitude of high end galleries, and that he is raking in truckloads of cash. We might infer from that that these controlling 'elites' we've been told so much about are maybe not quite as powerful as we've been led to believe. Or maybe that they aren't really 'elites' at all, in the true sense of the word. Maybe what the writer really means when he says 'elites' is 'critics.'
[note to younger readers: a critic is somebody who makes up their own mind about things!]

If that's the case, the problem isn't that a shadowy cabal of out-of-touch art snobs have conspired to keep Ron Mueck's sculptures from an appreciative general public, but rather, that a few serious minded art lovers (you know, those folks who live, shit and breathe art) have had the temerity, in the face of near overwhelming public disagreement, to say "Personally, I don't care for it. Here's why..."

If there is an "unforgivable sin" in today's market driven culture, it's that.