Saturday, June 30, 2007

Minus the bomb scares, is The Splasher proof that art can still matter?

The Splasher analysis continues with yet another extensive piece in the Arts section of today's New York Times: Splashing the Art World With Anger and Questions.

Some highlights:
The current agitators, although they’ve got some of the revolutionary patter down, seem to lack clearly defined targets or priorities. Is the problem gentrification or the art market or artists or late capitalism? What’s troubling them — the street art they’re defacing or the fact that some of the street artists might also show in galleries?

And, by the way, what’s wrong with artists, even street artists, making a buck? The spectacle, as Debord might have said, of the present art world in thrall to Mammon is incredibly depressing. But selling art isn’t selling out, necessarily, and making art for people on the street doesn’t preclude showing (a different sort of) art in galleries. Physical endangerment in the form of bombs, stinky or otherwise, then crosses the line from mischief to mayhem.

New York neighborhoods are indeed changing, not all for the better, as the city becomes more affluent and homogeneous, and art shouldn’t exist in it simply as a symbol of wealth and privilege. It should seize public spaces where it can, to make itself more part of daily life, more relevant in the world, and to become a source of serendipity, pleasure, trouble, controversy and interest to people outside the art world, not just inside it.

With this much attention, The Splasher will no doubt be showing soon in a Chelsea gallery near you.

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