Friday, January 12, 2007

Ruh Roh, I pissed off some Stuckists... I better watch-out or they'll put me on their ongoing list of who they dislike

I seem to have drawn quite a few strong opinions with my last rather short post. Leslie stated the opinion that most artists do not set-out to establish an art movement; rather serendipity and history drops them into one (I’m summarizing). Although I do recognize examples of such an action, I also remember moments in “art history” such as the Pre-Raphaelites that specifically set-out to form an art movement as a revolt against the tide of acceptable art. Granted, though, that this group was a rare example an organized “revolt” art group that survived the filter of history. I guess my search for a new art movement is less concerned with rebellion and more interested in finding a common ground that will allow it to survive beyond the typical brief life-span of most art movements. JNix mentioned in his comment that it could be cultural rather than just an art movement and I definitely agree with this approach. Only by interjecting awareness across the social and cultural spectrum can anything survive with a semblance of relevance, particularly in this information age.

Now onto Stuckism…

I'm hard-pressed to disagree with just about any freedom-of-speech/ideas that you can throw at me - unless your idea includes the repression of other's ideas. I had to actually reread what I wrote, because my comment was so brief:

“or in the case of the Stuckism art movement, a rejection of specific stylistic ideals.”

One anonymous posted comment stated “I don't think you have a clear idea of what Stuckism is, if that's your opinion....”

This is what the “Stuckism” website says:

“Radical international art movement for new figurative painting with ideas. Anti the pretensions of conceptual art. Anti-anti-art. The first Remodernist art group.”

and

“The Stuckists are, therefore, opposed to the current pretensions of so-called Brit Art, Performance Art, Installation Art, Video Art, Conceptual Art, Minimal Art, Body Art, Digital Art and anything claiming to be art which incorporates dead animals or beds - mainly because they are unremarkable and boring.”

How are the above two statements not a rejection of stylistic ideals? Furthermore, I wasn’t saying a rejection of stylistic ideals is all-together a poor stance. I simply was giving an example of paths taken by other art movements. For example, I personally find the majority of Pop Art to be boring and pretentious… however, my opinion doesn’t make it any less of an art movement.

The argument for the “importance” of Stuckism is ironically summed-up by Leslie’s previously mentioned comments. History will ultimately decide if their work or movement is of any real importance. The main page of their website boasts "stuckism is the No. 1 international art movement of 30million on google" ... what the hell does that even mean? I visited their website, does that suddenly make me a believer? I find it particularly interesting that everytime I mention, "Stuckism" the stuckist police immediately send emails to my inbox and posts to my blog. Hey stuckists are you really that insecure that you continuously troll the internet for what you view as derogatory comments about your precious movement?

While on the surface, I must admit that Stuckism projects many of the ideals of thought-provoking painting that I personally adhere to as an artist; I heartily disagree with it’s blanket rejection approach to any form of art that does not fit within their standards of figurative thoughtfulness. Where does their movement allow for the acceptance of works like: The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago or pretty much anything by Andy Goldsworthy? (I consider Goldsworthy one of the great true artistic innovators of all time).

When I think of Stuckists – I immediately think: neo-fundamentalists of the art world. - DN

8 comments:

Charles Thomson said...

Here is another insecure post... though I don't troll the internet. Google alerts does that for me. I don't think I have any idea of what Stuckism is either, despite founding it, as I also thought it rejected stylistic ideals, in favour of such niceties as ideas, emotional engagement, content, meaning, communication and appropriate form and symbology etc, but then I guess one can't get it right all the time.

However, most art movements are highly intentional. Artists know exactly what they are doing - promoting their work and their ideas collectively. They even issue manifestos to ram the point home.

The movement certainly allows for the acceptance of the works you mentioned. I also allows for the acceptance of people's thoughts about them. My thought is they're pretentious garbage, but I may be missing something.

You're spot on with the neo-fundamentalist tag.

danielnorth.com said...

Thanks for the comment, Charles. As you may have gathered from the continuous general tone of this blog, I mostly agree with your statement about the intentionality of art movements. However, while I understand the necessity to allow an art movement to grow by allowing anyone with a mantra to "take-on" the name, I wonder if your movement has been hijacked by opportunistic non-talents that are looking for acceptance in a club boasting a sub-standard admittance policy. I've looked over a number of your members' portfolio sites over the last two years, and have only occasionally viewed an artist of high technical merit.

Also, how does the statement of "new figurative painting" allow acceptance of work such as my socially-inspired landscapes? The majority of the time I paint the presence of the figure, without actually showing the figure.

elaine k bond said...

Hi again Daniel!
Btw, I'm not living in Europe, I'm living in Fraaance hé hé! (can't wait to live in Montana Daniel!!)
I use to read english news papers and first saw Stella violano's(not sure of the name) at The Saatchi's gallery...then, when I saw the stuckist's paintings , I thought: "oh, they're painting like S.V."!
Didn't know that she was married to Mr Thomson and was inspired by the "Stuckist's School".
To answer to your questions, I've never heard of this art movement until you mentionned it (about a year ago?) but I'm such an anonymous mortal creature lost in the middle of a deep old french forest ,that I'm more informed by the deers's movement in my back garden than any new art's one!But after informing myself about "Them",
I agree with you : Stuckists=neo-fundamentalists of the art world! And I think that they're now a part of the "so-called Brit-art" (lucky them), and I'm not "opposed" to their "current pretensions", cause as we say in french: "plus on est de fous plus on rit!"
Something like: (look on the Monty Python's bright side of life!)
Thanks for reading me.

elaine k bond said...

I was talking about "Stella Vine", apologize to her and Stella Violano!

Charles Thomson said...

Lots of people in the 19th century and after became "Impressionist painters" (e.g. the American Impressionists). That doesn't mean they hijacked the initial Impressionist group. Stuckism isn't a club; it's an art movement. I have seen a lot of very good work (and sincerity) from people who identify themselves as Stuckists, though there is bound to be a variable standard. Artists have to be opportunistic in promoting their work.

Regarding "high technical merit", I would like to point you to an excellent quote from Jerry Saltz (with whom I once exchanged an email or two) in the Village Voice:

"All great contemporary artists, schooled or not, are essentially self-taught and are de-skilling like crazy. I don't look for skill in art; I look for originality, surprise, obsession, energy, experimentation, something visionary, and a willingness to embarrass oneself in public. Skill has nothing to do with technical proficiency; it has to do with being flexible and creative."

It sounds rather like the Stuckist manifesto. (I don't suppose you know the date of this quote?)

Actually from the Stuckists Remodernism manifesto:

"technique is dictated by, and only necessary to the extent to which it is commensurate with, the vision of the artist."

If you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figurative_painting you will see figurative does not mean the human figure but some degree of representation of the outer world (i.e. not non-representational and not abstract). Landscapes are therefore figurative, as are still lifes.

danielnorth.com said...

Art is very personal. It's right up there with politics and religion with regards to guaranteed arguments. I believe it has to do with the absolute importance of art when faced with the occasional indifference of society. As you no doubt noticed from my portfolio website, I take great artistic comfort in the Jerry Saltz quote. It gives me further justification for my forever evolving approach to painting. However, Charles, I believe you overlooked the most important word in the quote - "deskilling". To deskill one must have at one time held the skill. The artists I choose to respect are the ones that can prove accomplishment as both realists and abstract artists. - DN

Charles Thomson said...

We will have to agree to disagree then - I think "visionary" is far more important word.

Indifferent and different said...

What a world full of contradiction we live in.