What I’ve been trying to open up in these FB posts is a deeper consideration, understanding and conversation about what Art is and has become in the face of our Economic Modernist Art World. What does it mean to be an artist at this time in the face of this new reality? Why has there NOT been a backlash of art, aesthetics, theoretics, providing a different viewpoint, a different reality of what our art world should be? Why have we settled for the Neo-Liberal model of unregulated markets, unfettered investments and oligarch manipulations of the very things that should have meaning to US, to artists? We can not go back to an imagined reality of an avant-garde, but we can ask questions of ourselves, about how we fit into this time, about what kind of work we make, what kind of visions we create, and who, ultimately, those visions are for.
I’ve done these posts on FB purposely, because it is their database, and I was hoping to make a sly point. My database for Henri floats free on the net. I have my own url. It is part of the larger “lost” web and to whatever degree possible it makes Henri individuated. Facebook, however, is a genius business idea. It was created as a web within the web, a club so to speak, and somehow they’ve managed to convinced us that their surveillance and collection of our data, our thoughts, images and ideas, is to our benefit. FB is a fill-in-the-blank, click your preferences, and upload your data kind of place. Their programs control and shape your creativity, and in some cases if you cross a line that they deem uncrossable, they’ll throw you off for a period of time. As I write this FB stock price is $112.26, its market cap is almost $320 billion – all because we participate in this “beneficent” umbrella – we create its value. And in that Facebook has become like a new kind of Vatican, a place where believers, users, obtain their moral code and provide “value” to the cause in the form of personal information – what they like, how they shop, what they think, etc. The strange thing is we can do these very same things on our own web pages. We can communicate, share photos, stories, whatever you like, and we can do it for ourselves. We can do it without FB’s Electronic Vatican pocketing our information. Why are we so willing to believe that it’s in our benefit to give over our lives over for someone else’s profit and someone else’s control?
I make this point, ask these questions, because we’ve adopted these same policies of contrition to the market in the art world, and it’s changed how we make art, how we live our lives in the studio and how we consider ourselves in the Economic Modernist Art World. As Dave Hickey has said when speaking of money’s effect on artists and the art world, “care is control.”
“If art can’t tell us about the world we live in, then I don’t believe there’s much point in having it. And that is something we’re going to have to face more and more as the years go on. That nasty question which never used to be asked because the assumption was always that it was answered long ago – What good is art? What use is art? What does it do? Is what it does actually worth doing? and an art that is completely monetarized in the way that it is these days is going to have to answer these questions or it’s going to die.” Robert Hughes – The Mona Lisa Curse