Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stuckism & Conceptual Art Rant

If you are not familiar with Stuckism check it out. In brief it is an art movement founded by Billy Childish and Charles Thompson to oppose conceptual art and promote figurative painting.

Wikipedia Stuckism

Stuckism Website

Although I may not agree with the manifesto in its entirety, as someone who’s primary artistic expression manifests itself in the form of painting pictures, I tend to lean towards a lot of their ideals.

I can appreciate conceptual arts place in art history and I have respect for people like Marcel Duchamp and the Dadaists who pioneered the movement and others who have made substantial innovations to it. But personally, I feel that in the last 90 plus years, conceptual art has oversaturated the high brow fine art world, grown stale and relegated master painters, people with talent like Todd Schorr and Robert Williams in to this fringe ‘low brow’ scene.

Education, social status and the ability to bullshit a proposal, now trumps any semblance of artistic skill. It seems that if you fit the bill you can get away with anything. You could pile dirty clothes in the middle of a gallery floor and call it a representation of the vanity of our culture or hang a blank canvass to question our assumptions about what art is. Sure, these are important philosophical topics and questions but, go write a paper on it. While I think concept is a very important part of the process, I still believe the output should stand for something. I feel that this is overcompensation in an attempt to make artists more accountable for why they do, what they do. To the point the why has become more important then the what. The art that I hold in high regard is a combination of both concept and product.

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