The brilliant editor and critic Thomas B. Hess summed up “the news” in his 1973 yearend column for New York Magazine:
“News in the art world, by the way, usually concerns the collective efforts that engage noncreative people, such as collectors, curators, dealers, and journalists, plus what Bill Hayter calls “art botherers”. Furthermore, it is generated by very small numbers of people. In other words, art “news” is basically without conceptual interest, free of any profound significance, which makes it, by definition, intellectually trivial and sociologically fascinating.”
As we look around it is clear every art magazine, blog, and newspaper column is concerned almost exclusively with “news”—auctions records; the careers of curators and gallerists; pseudo-celebrity narratives etc. It is hard to find space to talk about the stuff most important to artists, what they are thinking and making.
Artists, always the first to know what is going on with art, are taking matters into their own hands. I continue to be inspired by the ever expanding networks of support—material, intellectual, emotional—that younger artists are forming. For instance the recent artist created NEXT TIME symposium. I gave a talk there about these tribal “art families”—extended networks of The House of Ladosha,CAGE, Chez Deep, 1:1… We are the children living in the canyon in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” and we are taking care of ourselves: we don’t need another hero.This is the way culture always happens: grown out of conversations within communities themselves, contrary to the wet dreams of curatorial studies students and contemporary art historians, art is never fabricated top-down from someone else’s ideas.
Now a plug: the Bruce High Quality Foundation has started an experimental art school in the east village—classes are free and anyone who is interested can enroll. This clearly emerges from the post-apocalyptic landscape I’m talking about and I’ve agreed to teach a class there in the coming semester. OBJECT LESSONS will be a weekly seminar with a visiting artist about a text or work of their choosing. I’m hoping to explore this tribal sense of artistic commitment there. If you would like to be a part of it, enroll: http://bhqfu.org/class/object-lessons
2014 is our year if we want it, if we take it. The most important step is to forget the “news” written by the non-creative art botherers. If you want to be a part of this world you need to bring something fun, powerful, and new to the table, otherwise shut the fuck up. Institutions, critics, historians, galleries need artists to exist—artists don’t need them, so don’t forget that true power dynamic. The support we have with our friends IS WHAT VALIDATES OUR ART, so lets focus on that, cultivate that, in this new year. ONWARD!