Monday, June 18, 2007


“I’m tired of all the anonymous comments. You’re all snarky and you say these nasty things - who are you?”

…This post was going to be about why I like a name behind a comment or post. But certain pressing realities came into play as I tried to follow what is happening over at Zeke’s Gallery.

He is having legal problems. I don’t know all the details - some posts were deleted. From what I can glean, someone did not like what he wrote - or what he allowed in the comments. Now he’ll be in court this week. His blog might be shut down – maybe his gallery too.

And I was just about to hail all those who speak their minds with a name behind it. But it can be tricky to be you. Unless of course you only have nice things to say!

On the anonymous angle, some sites could never exist without it. The beloved Anonymous Female Artist is on top of the list.

On the other hand, there is a difficult-to-measure veracity of any anonymous online statement. Context matters. Who are they/ what do they do/ what else are they liking/ not liking, as they hand down the verdict? And so I would like to say that I admire those with a name behind the text (like Nancy Baker, quoted above).

Whatever they write is measured against what they have contributed otherwise (like their art, their collaborations, how they help others). If every art show and every piece of art has context and is measured against it, then text and opinion has context too. Talk but no walk is easy to dismiss, yet aggravating too.

When I first got on the Internet, I, like so many, was someone else besides myself. This got boring. We earn our life and enough of that already gets dismissed. I don’t need to do it too! - This of course has a shitload of downsides. You can get sick of your life - what others so impolitely call baggage.

(That word actually came into the conversation when I was trying to advise an artist I was showing. It was about price and when I gave him some of my experiences, he told me to not bring my baggage into it. Fun!)

Sometime during my stint at Artstar, I did a show called “Be an Anonymous Art Critic.” I gave people a chance to bark. And they did. The inception of the show was basically a reaction, on my part, to so many politically correct responses on the air. The off-air conversations were often much more lively. But if I were to do it all over again, well, I don’t think I would. Maybe it’s just the view from 2007. It’s easier and easier to pass judgments while not having to be forthcoming about yourself.


Anonymous said...

You mock me soooo.

Anonymous said...

How dare you. I'll get you Artery Fartests. Judas Priest!

C said...

But it can be tricky to be you. Boy that's a good line for a post modern art show.

I am an anonymous artist. I have been making anon art + commentary for about 20+ years. I use pseudonyms and blankness for a variety of reasons. I insist on being at least two people during my life, I have no financial reason to "sell" my artwork, and no psychological reason to impress anyone.

Within this realm I try to remain a good human, and 50+ years on this globe I have never intentionally harmed anyone. That's a good record.

My experience has been many artists are quite conservative in their orientation to others, yet believe they are generous and open-minded. It's not surprising when given a masked freedom they start with hostilities.

I watched the Kangas / Graves business in SLOG dip rather quickly into insults hidden behind anon tags and hit Godwin's Law within 100 posts. Sad.

Jim said...

"..You CANNOT blink in this profession. You cannot show weakness, insecurity or failure. Every experience must be spun into something that makes your little ole ass look brilliant....But that is the game in a world where everyone is applying for a new job every day..."

Perhaps someone might want to remain anonymous so that they can contribute opinions/observations/experiences in a way that they don't have to deal with the bullshit in the above quote. That way they may contribute something and not have to worry about seeming weak, insecure or a failure in the eyes of the art world.