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Yet another art writer calls for the destruction of my livelihood

Post #1355 • May 27, 2009, 11:53 AM

John Perreault, in a post that evinces understanding of art, economics, English composition, and HTML in equally paltry measures, has received an unattributed call for an art strike:

To bring down the art system it is necessary to call for years without art, a period of three years...when artists will not produce work, sell work, permit work to go on exhibitions, and refuse collaboration with any part of the publicity machinery of the art world.

He thinks it's a fine idea, not because of the adolescent demands set forth by the strikers, but because it would "cripple galleries and museums," and bore the museum-going public. In his mind, one question that urgently needs an answer is, "Will bitterness and commercialization dissolve?" (In response to a three-year moratorium on art-making? Probably not.)

Maybe most people know to disregard this twaddle and it would be better not to mention it. But this is the third missive I've noted recently (the other two are here) talking up the silver lining of a commercial disaster in the art world. Holland Cotter and Blake Gopnik have put their disdain for painting on the record, and back in February, Perreault, in a post about artists' doody, said that a Piero Manzoni exhibition at Gagosian at the time "should have been in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is currently wasting its resources, its space, and our time on Bonnard—late Bonnard, no less." And again, the critic is calling upon the artist to take action and suffer the consequences. (At least Perreault is not presuming, as Cotter and Gopnik do, that the economic downturn shares their distaste for a particular medium.) (And I'm not even going to get into the critic who suggested that we try death. You first, Regina.)

For the record, you can make a reasonable living off of your art without compromising the sound, admirable principles that inform it. You can sell without selling out, and a post on the difference between the two is forthcoming, because I'm tired of art critics conflating them. In the meantime, I'd like to call upon these critics to stop writing. Artists ceasing production would likely not result in any beneficial outcome. Ceasing to hear from some self-important, purblind, crypto-Marxist scolds certainly would.

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