Monday, March 8, 2010

the king and the fool

the following was posted to a rhizome thread.

the brush up between theory and immediacy, stasis and speed, a place in the mainstream and mining the periphery is interesting as an informational cache. but theories are proving inadequate to the political/social/aesthetic moment--most clearly seen in world politics NOW.

theory is always interesting to me because it makes very conscious statements about what WAS going on a little while ago; like a museum, art theory is reified, an effort to nail down into a static template the surging aliveness of artworks flying out of nothingness faster than the speed of light. creative theory - in its bid to be part of the elite ridgeline that matters - trims, crops, and sets artworks into gated community lawns, far from the messy sites of their extraction. at best, theory is its own art form, an offering in intellectual terms taken to an auction called art history.

theorists used to hope to influence artists, and they may still in a peripheral way, but postmodernism has, i think, dissolved into a new time of looking inductively for emergent energies beneath the theoretical floor. attempts by theorists of every stripe are met by refusal from potential backers.

the theorist wants to be a ruler king, artists of interest are closer to the fool who dances sideways to evade the ruler. artistfools know that timing (not importance) is the master; spontaneity, ephemerality, giving up control to see what might arise regardless of "an artist's place in history," seems to be the only fertile ground. all the theories about art, including its economic structures, feel like history. instead of history, we want ?

some friends say that everything now is about climate change, the feeling verges on desperate, action is what counts, no more theorizing. what is "art"?


  1. i the sand painters and the spirit lovers and the women who offer their caress and the artful kiss goodbye and the welcoming embrace of hello--this is where the art is--as poets, it seems, have always known--it is in the slant of the light, the delicate cast of the shadow, the remember, be here now of ram dass reverberating throughout the no time to the always now--and those that strive for books and wallspace and mention in the sanctioned columns of history books and new york times--they get their obituaries just like the rest--but it is, it seems, in climate change, as you say--the reflection of the here and now and what we can do about it no matter the weather or whethers--the art is in and of the moment--in the seduction of the reclining model, just as it always was--in the hours spent capturing the thick swirl of twilight's sky--in the inbetween spaces made possible by just the right intersections of colors and moods and boxes...

    it is always in the intersection of here and now.

    history is over.
    fifteen minutes have morphed to internet seconds.
    youtube longings for posterity are still all about the kareoke of self--finding and celebrating the one, wooly, undiscovered thing of this moment on this side of life.

    or so it seems to me...

    thanks for the spark, dear and accomplished mary webster.
    it was great to see you at your reception the other night...

  2. So if a place in art history is not the reason why you are an "artist," why are you doing this?