My mate, who is not in the art world, gets a belly laugh by its language. He referred me to a repartee about some local work online and asked me: Just what the hell are they saying?
It’s not the first time he’s asked me about artspeak and generally I just can’t answer. So much of it requires a position I don’t care to defend. Still love art and images very much, still look for meaning. Just can’t always go down the path of the enlightened.
Of course I had to go down it in art jobs. I received some packages of really interesting images, things which made me curious. But the “statements” were almost offensive, as if I could not find my own way. Then again, is this about art or about words? If it’s about words, you lost me.
This is one thing I have treasured in my recent investigation on how to write. Books on how to write remind you time and time again that you must communicate. This was reassuring after years in mindfuck art wordage.
I heard about a critique panel in which one of the participants nearly brought the artist to tears. And no, not about the art. About the thesis, the writing of it, the language. When I heard this story, it made me want to wrap my arms around that faceless artist. No wonder there’s so much nonsensical hand wringing in artspeak. From what I understand, there was no loss of art works to discuss. The student had done their work. But now the work was all about the word and that’s not really the area of expertise for an art student. Or is it?
When my mate heard an artist tell me “This work is so new I don’t have the language for it,” he said: “Right, they haven’t figured out the line of BS yet.”