CREATIVE TIME REPORTS: The artists voice their ideology

By Amanda García . October 31, 2012


I warn you, I will go from the general to the specific (do not despair) starting from a commonplace: it is good to know what artists do, assuming that such thing as good exists. Following the same logic, we then assume that to know what artists think is included in the same category. I know that, since we are being logical, it can be said that beliefs are included in the artistic work and that words are unnecessary. But I refute that idea –just as I refute that good exists, but this is no place for philosophical debates that I only suspect– with a very short anecdote.

After briefly studying the history of art one can comprehend that artists have worked for those who were able to pay them, but with whom they did not always share an ideology. Among the current collections on modern art, we see paintings of people with limited resources in the living rooms of people with too many resources. These portraits were painted to, somehow, make the bourgeoisie aware of the obscenity of their wealth. Of course this was only partially achieved, but the paradox of these living rooms of rich people who show off their possessions around does not cease to attract our attention. That said, I move towards another paradox, which is the promised anecdote: Avant-garde follows, in any case, a school of thought that offers new ways of thinking –that is, it is not conservative, which would be one of the main characteristics of right-wing principles–. In the city where I grew up, Guadalajara, in Mexico, artistic avant-garde took place in the nineties (right in the midst of Mexican art boom) within a group of artists who were distinctly elitists and openly conservative. Not so long ago, one of them told me they were thinking about writing some essays on their school of thought, but that they gave up when another member convinced the rest by saying “if we could write, we would be writers”.

And now, after all this un-journalistic background, I summarize. Since art broke free from the limitations of the seven Fine Arts and was able to include any technique without it being the most relevant part of the work, the limits of the different categories are more blurred. Another example: a profession does not define a person and this same person can have several professions, as the work of an artist could not define his or her thinking, like these Mexicans. The artist could also write and we would thank life for it.

It could seem like I have said nothing about what I wanted to write about, but the truth is I have said almost everything. The only thing missing is that we invite you to visit Creative Time Reports, a collection of articles and comments by some artists around the world about what they live and through which we can elucidate their thinking (sometimes better than through their artistic work). You'll see that the limits of the disciplines, like those of political ideologies, are a main concern. And, as CTR says: 'Artists’ voices are critical elements of public discourse'. They may see how something could be something else, since that is their occupation, under infinite media and ideologies.

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