Apropos because the list of 2008 Creative Capital visual arts grantees arrived in my mailbox this morning. The title of the announcement was, "41 ideas whose time has come.'
1. Taste is the ability to detect visual quality. People with taste are relatively rare. People with inclinations towards art and the mental capacity to wonder about it are quite a bit more common.2. The art market grew to its present size thanks to the latter group, not the former. It has done so by flattering the latter group into thinking that it has progressive taste, not a lack of taste.
Note that ideas. Not 'visions,' not 'artists.'
Creative Capital grants are the biggest grants available for artists working today, as far as I know. They not only provide grantees a whopping influx of cash, around $50,000, but they provided mentorship, promotion and visibility. A Creative Capital grant can and does make an artist's career.
And Creative Capital makes its first cut of visual arts grant applications without looking at any visuals.
This is disgusting. It is sheer, unmitigated, blithering arrogance, ignorance and stupidity. It is pseudo-elitism at its most banal and bourgeois. It is flattering the tasteless at the expense of people who became visual artists because they communicate, and express themselves, visually.
Thus, Creative Capital is guilty of extreme bigotry and prejudice against the very people they purport to be supporting.
Visual art is a language of its own. It does not translate into English, particularly not the kind of postmodern bullshit that appears on press releases, artist's statements, museum catalogs and Creative Capital applications. It can transcend culture, religion, language and politics; it can heal the world, if given a chance.
I am really, really tired of arts organizations which are more interested in appearing important and progressive than they are in actually making that kind of a difference in the world--the kind of difference that would genuinely heal, genuinely communicate in a manner that transcends chatter, politics, social class and culture clash. I am disgusted and I am furious and I don't feel like being polite about it anymore.
Look, people. Ideas are easy to come by. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Ideas are good, bad and in between, but they don't mean jack without thorough follow-through and execution in the physical world. You don't fund ideas to get results; you fund people who are actually out there doing something, with or without your funding. You will not shut us up. You will remain banal and irrelevant, regardless of the press or the plaudits you receive, and those of us with actual taste will always know the difference.