Tuesday, December 18, 2007


A few years ago, notorious art critic Dave Hickey was a guest lecturer at California State University, San Bernardino. This is an excerpt from a review of the talk:

In his lecture, “Art and Democracy”, Dave Hickey observed that democracy is run for average people and those "special" people (artists) are a big pain in the ass. Even when accepted by the establishment, any artist worth his/her salt can't mollify normative ideas, for to do so makes art invisible. Only art that challenges established ideas has a life, which makes it harder for artists to fit in, and that's as it should be. Unlike Europe where artists are "protected" from society, here it is society that needs protection. Good artists, in Hickey's view, are basically pissing in society's punch bowl and he chastised us to come to terms with this, stop trying to be normal, and start acting like great artists.

Hickey emphasized that our obsessive mobility is a great thing. Artists leave home to find places where they fit in and places that embrace chaos and change, because art cannot survive in an environment where change and excitement are not privileged. Our country is clearly divided between those places that resist and hate change and those places that embrace it: the red states versus the blue states. This makes art an almost exclusively cosmopolitan practice and separates it from provincial art, which confirms the assumptions of mainstream culture. – Afterimage, Thomas McGovern, Nov-Dec 2003

Click here to read the entire article. - DN

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