A urinal in a restroom is just a urinal.
Put it in a gallery.. and it becomes art.
Strange times we live in. It’s going to be getting a whole lot stranger too, so it’s best to be prepared.
Art is my healthiest obsession, so I cultivate it. What I’ve seen in my contemplation of art and the systems that have grown up around it is both a terrible indictment and a glorious new chance.
The contemporary art world is still infected with replicating viruses caught from Duchamp’s urinal. For a century now we’ve been hearing the same joke, with variations on the same old punchline. To encounter Duchamp and his myriad offspring is to leave the world of art, and to enter into philosophy, semantics, theory. What we have been presented with for too long is an intellectual approximation of art, a commentary, not the thing itself. Art is not a discursive process, a debate, an explanation. It’s an encounter with something that can not be spoken, that exists beyond reason.
The way the art world is run encourages this mistaken view of art. Yesterday’s counter culture is today’s establishment, and the trendy radical ideas of a few generations ago are dogma today. Contemporary art all too often brandishes hostility, obscenity, or obscurity at its audience. Most people, when confronted with this type of contemporary art get the point-this is not made for people like you. Its inaccessibility lends it a spurious sense of superiority.
But this is not good enough anymore. With the tough times we have ahead as a culture, art can’t remain as a plaything of a decadent elite. The artists need to return to the true function of art-as an exploration of human potentials, universal experience, an evocation of a state of consciousness that there are no words for.
We need this now. The artists need to show us our strength. To keep playing referential games and sneering at the values of others would be to fail in our duties at a perilous moment. Too much of what is being presented as art is inadequate for these times. It’s getting to the point that this is worse than a mistake, it is actively destructive.
The good news is this era of error is ending. What takes its place is up to us.