Clever Art, Timeless?

Hi everybody. I feel like I haven’t written in this blog about anything truly art-related in a long time. I don’t know why that is exactly. A mixture of depression/hibernation and fear, or perhaps indifference, laziness, forgetfulness and lack of passion. My passion has been redirected, rather. I used to bring my ideas out on my blog a lot. That’s what it was for. I’d keep track of my ideas and the art world in general. I had a lot of readers too. Now, not so much. I also had the feed piping through my Facebook page and it took me forever to figure out how to stop that. I found it just censored everything I really wanted to say, or I’d cringe after every blog entry, realizing it was feeding its way through Facebook. I don’t know why; it just made me throw up a little. Perhaps because I am too personal here and the mix of people of Facebook are just not exactly the right mix. I think if someone wants to read this blog, they should just come here and read it. They can read every word, or they can skim it. They can comment, disagree, laugh it off, shrug, roll their eyes, relate, kill time, or whatever they want and I don’t need to know who they are for the most part.

Anyway, today I was just checking in on the West Collection/Prize entrants, because I am one of them. They are going to post the 10 winners at the end of next week and I wanted to see what I was up against. There is a rating system where anyone can click on up to 5 stars for each artist. Most decent work has received 3 stars, and so I was digging deep to see who got the 4 and 5 ratings, trying to understand WHY. Not that the artists with these higher rating did not deserve higher ratings, but it got me thinking about a subject that I don’t usually seen brought up very often, but think about all the time: Aesthetics vs. Cleverness.

If I had the readers I used to have, I would love to open this up for a giant dialog, but alas, I have become a big nobody in the artblog world. My own fault really. I neglected it all for so long/shut down for a long spell a year or so ago, and lost most of  my visitors. I probably have 10 readers now, if that. Still, doesn’t mean I can’t kvetch.

I don’t just make art, I buy and collect art. I’d like to think I have a pretty great collection, well on my way to being a quite serious one. For me anyway, while I can appreciate the kitsch and the cleverness of contemporary art, I sure don’t want to collect it for the long term. So, I don’t understand why it gets so much more attention out there than something that is much more desirable to live with. I have nothing against it, and in fact I think it’s smart to incorporate it just a touch, but not enough to exceed beauty. Why has beauty in art become a tainted, cheesy word? Is art art anymore – that thing that moves your soul (as goofy as that sounds), or is art all about trumping art history and being the next sensationalist? What sort of artistic  item would you rather treasure in your life for the next generation?

Maybe it’s about knowing what is and isn’t timeless, like a good song that won’t ever go out of style. One that doesn’t sound like all the other “new” songs. There is something about traditionalism, but it needs a very good helping of originality, and maybe above all that, it must have honesty. Those are the things I am drawn to when I buy something to have in my home that I plan to keep for the rest of my life, whatever the medium.

So I guess this has just been on my mind a lot. The artists that get a lot more attention are ones that are doing something a little weird, a little crazy, quite clever and sensational, shocking, odd, so-simple-it’s-funny, ironic, kitsch, recycled vintage, anti-art, or just plan bad for the sake of it being bad on purpose. Not ALL of them, but a lot. It doesn’t make me angry or anything actually (if I sound mad about it, I’m not really). I think it’s curious and I only wonder if I am the weird one for still appreciating a beautiful painting.

4 thoughts on “Clever Art, Timeless?

  1. Kel in NC January 11, 2010 / 9:08 pm

    Thank you,Carol, for your blog .I love reading it.Keep doing it,please.Also I received my copy of Horsebucket today and it is fantastic.Can’t wait for your novel..hopefully this decade???….just kidding.

  2. Leora January 12, 2010 / 2:05 pm

    hey carol, i hope you get the $!!! best of luck and love, leora

  3. Mary Addison Hackett January 13, 2010 / 10:02 am

    Hey Carol,
    I came across Bruce Mau’s incomplete manifesto some years ago-
    #26. Don’t enter awards competitions.
    Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

    I know another entrant. They posted a request to about 600 of their FB friends to vote. Similar tactics from artists and the Saatchi and Artslant competitions- I’ve received emails from artists AND once, a gallerist, soliciting my vote. I guess this is normal, but it makes the voting system seem like a popularity contest of who has the biggest network rather than anything based on aesthetics.

    That’s my long-winded way of saying I wouldn’t think about it in terms of aesthetics. I still appreciate a beautiful painting, too. Even more so, lately.

  4. Hope Junkie January 14, 2010 / 3:10 pm

    What’s up, Carol. I was talking with a mutual friend, SB. I believe that stands for “shinny bitch.” She saved my life yesterday — again. Hey I like your dolls and want to get on for my kids — can you make look like Celia Cruz?

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