My State on the Art

Thinking Out Loud

Hi, Art! How do I define what you are to me? Here’s the list in short: Attractive Avant-Garde Craze Allrounder Name-Addict Fomo Individualistic Expressive Highbrow Antithetic … Now listen, for I have quite a few things to say, precisely: 11. And some questions will come up too. I hope you are ready for this.

Date23. May 2018 /


You attract masses, you always did and you still do, more than ever. Everybody wants a photo with you on it – are you okay with that? Are you really that narcissistic? Are you actually responsible for those 250,000,000 photos linked to you, #art? Do those people really know you because they tug you onto their uncountable selfies? And how can someone so old still be so attractive, even to the youngest generations (some actually call you sexy, you 40,000+ years old thing ;-)? Maybe that is because you never stopped inventing yourself. I would say this is one of your biggest strengths and I genuinely admire you for that: You encourage new expressions.


You’re mysterious, seemingly known best to only a few people whose main life task is getting to know you for at least a glimpse better. These people travel from Paris to Hong Kong to Miami to New York in two weeks, just to be close to you, to your latest ideas and somehow you manage to keep them fascinated for a lifetime. How do you do that? Seems like a very exhausting job to do, keeping people interested, entertained and moved 24/7. Still, I haven’t seen anyone retire from studying you, from trying to understand you better. Are you really that complex and eclectic? And how can you be everywhere at the same time? #fomo spreads around, I tell you. Because Instagram makes you look like you only dwell in your latest location, and people follow you in order to stay updated. More on that further down.


Kings in the 15th century are drawn to you as much as unremarkable proletarians in the 19th century. Nowadays, Kids love you as much as elderly people do. You have become part of everyday life and yet, you still manage to be somewhat outstanding. Of course, there’s specifically those humans who even call themselves one of yours: „art-ist“. Do you sell licenses with your name or why is it something so achievable to call themselves adherents of yours? You dance, you are quiet, you paint, you do music, you draw and you inspire fashion, technology and politics. Somebody, please tell me what you can’t do. But who taught you?


When left untamed, you are well known for critical thinking and a pioneering spirit all throughout history. You are ten steps ahead from what the general public thinks. You are a box-hater (but white-cube enabler) and a reckless status-quo wrecker. Are you friends with those newcomers called „A.I.“ (Artificial Intelligence) and are you both planning on projects together in the future? I bet you do – because your main drive is to be different and explore new things and approaches. So now that you got to know humans quite well during the last years, are machines and algorithms your new best friends?


Names, names, names – connected to certain institutions in very characteristic places. These seem to be the currency which has made you wealthy, very wealthy. And I better learn my vocabulary fast, so that I can speak with people advocating you in the world today. You seem to care for quality, but sometimes I ask myself if maybe you’ve been very much influenced by commercial branding techniques. I mean, money is a nice thing, let’s be honest, and I am sure you like some of it too. But is a „name“ automatically a synonym for quality? What factors do add up to quality, is it the network a name has or the actual artwork and the thoughts behind? Do you really want to encourage a culture full of self-promotion?


You are known for tons of different characteristics. You are given different name affixes like „conceptual“ or „contemporary“ or even distinct terms like „abstract expressionism“ are being allocated towards you as a source. You seem to reflect zeitgeist so precisely, so not-moralizingly, thus so elegantly. You are not a teacher, but you teach so much. You are a celebrity, but you never show on the red carpet in person. Instead, you send representatives – your trusted ones – mostly „curators“. They gain laurels for rearranging the perception for what people think you are and do, focussing upon a specific topic in every exhibition. Is that what you want to be – an ever-changing, incalculable puzzle?


I admit that you are a smart being. There are quite a few people doing Ph.D.’s in subjects assigned to your obligation, trying to understand and analyze your history – where you came from, whom you inspired, what kind of thoughts you provoked. You’re scientific and academic. You can be. But what I don’t get is why some people think they know you better because they have a degree. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely respect the effort and the perseverance they took in writing these papers and I do believe that I can learn a lot by reading them. But does knowledge equal really knowing something/someone? It’s the same old question, I know. What kind of education or previous knowledge do you require in order for someone to really KNOW you? Do you like to connect via science or emotions? Do you actually really want to connect or sometimes simply prefer to be left admired, not understood or analyzed – just because? Since I know you’re an aesthete too. A really smart one.


You are a platform for all kinds of people: You volunteer for humans with numerous paradigms to be a tool for them. You make their memories, their emotions and their visions tangible – without evaluating them. Are you just the instrument of every single one of them or do you have an own opinion? What is your nature like? You combine fight with peace, you endure soft melodies next to traumatizing performances, you oppose political realities to idealistic utopias. Do you feel used sometimes? You were once a sacred, conservative & exclusive thing and now you are part of everyday life, a mise-en-scène for sex and violence and a catalyst for everyone’s expressions. Are you really such an open-minded, non-judging and appealing being?


You’re a mirror of the human mind and the current state of the world – sometimes you do not even allow looking right into you, but only from a certain distance. You are not tamable. Otherwise, you become a severe manipulation tool for the masses. You are unpredictable because you embody human’s ability to express. In movies, you would be the hero, the good character – challenging, maybe disturbing and surely not always comme il faut, but – at your best you, you are authentic. Human’s extension for emotions. You can be rough, wild and free, and facing you can thus have a rough, wild and freeing effect. It is those moments when it clicks: When I look at a tiny part of you („artwork“) and find that the impact of it matches my current state. You are present and you can only be fully experienced in the present. Not on a screen, not in a digital state, but live and with all senses engaged. My own holistic, unpostponable and highly personal experience.


At the same time, you mirror zeitgeist. Regarding those techy millennial people: They think they’re best friends with you because some of them (including me) regularly feature you on their Instagram feeds and lovingly dedicate their handcrafted 5-sec stories to you. They think they know you. And what do you do, dear art? You let people spark a little FOMO (fear of missing out) everywhere they upload a photo and leave a jealous, art-thirsty crowd, wishing they could be everywhere where you apparently are and find the Holy Art Grail. They are 21st-century pilgrims of the conformity-infused digital nomad lifestyle with a sweet cultural topping. They live an artsy jet-set life, always ready for the next perfect Instagram pose. And somehow they want to attend, be a part of what you are building. Concerning buildings: You live in artist studios, galleries, art fairs, Biennales, Documenta’s, museums and collectors’ top-notch furnished houses. You even offer residencies for artists, what about a tight residency for you, restless wayfarer? It seems like you want it all and you can have it all – because you somehow established a faithful tribe, realizing your pretensions all over the globe, like hardworking bees in a humming hive. Did you personally invite these persons into your agenda?


What kind of thing are you to me, art, or what kind of relationship do we currently lead? Can I call you a friend, given that I define a friend as someone whom I share life, dreams and experiences with? I’d say yes to those parts, but regarding personality, actually, I’d rather call you a peculiar, very individualistic being. Somehow you are always visible, but not always approachable. As for now. I mean, I am one of the thousands of people trying to connect with you. Are you okay with that? Will you open up for what you really are – no high brows, not distant, but evocative to the core? Let me tell you, I am committed to our relationship, I am all in. And I can vividly imagine your excitement because there is one thing you certainly do not contain: boredom!

I sigh and smile.
Let’s see where we both will be one year from now.

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3 Kommentare

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Miriam Vlaming
Oktober 29, 2017
great side!
September 19, 2017
Great post! Have nice day ! :) s8k0o
Juni 25, 2017
"You're a box-hater (a white cube-enabler) and a reckless status quo wrecker." Well done! Also love the fotos in this post, especially the gallerists moment ones:)

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