Monday, July 5, 2010
People want simple answers and despise ambiguity, and artists are always making things less simple, pushing boundaries, expanding the dimensions of what is possible, undermining cliches, remixing disparate elements. You want absolute clarity--try religion or hard science--don't ask artists to make your world a smaller, simpler place. There are no absolutes. Artists show beauty in ugliness, light in darkness, sorrow in joy, and skip comfy cozy dichotomies--including those within art itself (high vs low art, for example--jettison that notion) and that is precisely what most people don't want. If one judges success in merely monetary terms, it's pretty simple to see what is successful, but success in artistic terms is harder to nail down. Sometimes a work that is successful to the artist doesn't sell, while something that she feels is derivative or hackwork sells. The world itself is complex and boundless and the artist tries to remind people of the fact with a gentle slap or a kiss or whatever--if people want to hear it or not.