Art is not what you Like

Art is not what you like.  Art is not what you are.  

 

Very often a viewer makes assumptions about who an artist is by looking at their work.  ‘Oh, so and so must be depressed, it’s so dark!’.  ‘So and so must really like birds.’ Etc.

 

I have been labeled a butcher, a patriarch, a fascist, a sexist.  Because of my art.  Those viewers actually have no idea who I am.

 

I submit art is an arena of discourse.  

 

If I use particular imagery is it because I like that imagery?  Or is it because I am using that image as a symbol, narrative, allegory, or issue, to create discourse and hopefully engage thought and curiosity in a viewer.  A better question is; what is this artist trying to get at with their work? What are the questions that may arise from this work?  If I am having a reaction as a viewer, how is that about me as a viewer, rather than how is it about that artist.

 

The greatest art in all of history explores large ideas.  The greatest work in all of history had an agenda and narrative above and beyond any individual.  The greatest work in all of history exposes systems of power, ideology and controversy.  The greatest art in history was not made by the meek, or made for the meek.  When confronted with Manet’s Olympia, Paris was outraged.  When confronted with Demoiselles De’ Avignon Matisse was outraged.  When confronted with Elsworth Kelly the average citizen is outraged.  When confronted with Robert Mapplethorpe the political establishment was outraged, and artists and art viewers are still paying the price.

 

Put down your roses and put away your barns and decorative portraits.  What do you have to say?

 

Say it.  See who you can outrage.

© 2013 by JS Bird/YELLOW DEER STUDIOS