Let’s talk about harassment in art. Yes let’s there are an awful lot of shades to harassment, has been since art school. It is a whisper and common knowledge it is there. Not the easiest of topics to bring up anywhere but definitely not easy there where it is seen almost an organic part of doing and part of interaction somehow. I have felt it is like working in a bar, all is possible and will happen without consequences for men and it is reality that has to be seen as a fact and always be prepared for it. It is not much talked about, done much about and anyone who brings the topic on the table is a whining weakling who cannot handle the toughness of the business. The amount of pure harassment and ill can be so devastating it is time someone brought it up since art is good, right, it is doing good in the world, right? How nice should one be then?
Sexual tension is seen a part of making art. We draw and paint nudes from the beginning. Being an artist as such and as an idea is expected to have an open relationship to sexuality, inhibitions, taboos, act of sex, shame and artists are thought to live more sexually liberated lives than most. It goes with the territory to learn to handle and laugh about it. This somehow makes it right to harass female artists and students, especially those who tackle the touchy topic bringing it up and do not tolerate treatment given. It is expected to face harassment at some point, sex and art go hand in hand self-evidently. It is expected the kind of openness to sex, understanding and tolerance to all kinds of forms of sex (this is an illusion). A historical narrative of artists is they have got a deep contact to sexuality especially men and they are aloud to behave accordingly. When woman does the same she is punished as she is not in the game when game is conducted by men. How deep does this perspective and look into human sexuality and hierarchy actually go is a good question as art institutions do have strict views on showing sexually explicit material, or is toying with sex and consent just a shallow fun for boys in the game which game is more a rule as it is for them and goes with the territory that women are used, a game only for men who play it hard. One can ask as art is male dominated where rumors move fast and the famous narrative of heroic artist is kept alive since it brings in customers does this relic ever make progress and grow up? What this in deep view reveals other than sexism, ignorance, abuse, hedonism, repetitious behavioral codes, conventions and practices which can be given harsh critique, sweeping under carpet unable to face reality is not changing anything. Sex is and has been topic to be horrified over in art, although sexual harassment and moving on up via sexual relationship is nothing new, wide and well existent. Loose morals and misconduct belong to rebellious, dim, fun-loving, careless and hazy portrait of an artist which image has been admired as this artist is free and creative force of nature, a true man who makes and conquers.
When woman does the same story is different as is normal. Misbehaving woman is a scandal in a place where to look good is all for businesses sake and the children. In business where ill happens behind curtains something out of control that is made visible is shocking. Still woman is there to offer sexual favors as she wants to succeed, she poses, is looked at and touched, poked, made fun of and minimized. What a fool. She has to work hard to get anywhere on her own, so suggestions on how about it may sound tempting. It is also women’s benefit as industry’s benefit to call and decline such terms of making, make harassment visible, to make an end to such culture of abuse is necessary. It is no surprise sexism is rampant in art. Those who desperately wish to make it use sex as a way. Issue cannot be dealt with because those who use power are not dealing with sexism or think it as a problem. There are no laws by which to live in art, breaking rules is part of making art. There are other problems like finance and how to be heard and seen. As long as sexists and chauvinists are protected and admired as great artists who cannot be accused of any ill nothing changes. When there is no accountability, transparency or professional ways to deal with difficult clearly criminal issues nothing changes. When morals is lacking how can there be any trustworthy voice within art and of art which talks about those important social issues for the rest of us?
Do you speak art? Do you understand art? Do you get and like art talk? Why should art even be a spoken tongue? But it talks, has a voice, tone, presence, ideas and message. To those who are interested message is there to be caught, to resonate with and think about. Then on what kinds of things does it depend how we understand what we see and what we want to see? Do we analyse art via our bias and preconceptions? We have to care about what we see to actually see what it is we see. We have to be alert and open to cultural references, meanings, links, traditions, to philosophical and cultural grounds art and makers spring out. Where is it, who sees it, who is speaking, who speaks about it if anyone, who is given a voice? It is complicated when you start to think about what art is about, why we do art, present it in the ways we do, one particular piece of art is worth lengthy analysis, not to speak of the whole of contemporary visual art. How much of it is about taste, objectification and luxury, about cultural intellectual shifts we experience today, politics, our progress as humans and about continuation to Art History, to institution and conventions of fine art and the tradition of Modern Art.
Contemporary art can be avoided completely in everyday life. It is almost strictly isolated in institutions and galleries as a specific expertise field where hierarchy, finance and knowing people make the rules of this peculiar set where one idle person does not accidentally enter or feel comfortable being in. Reference to temples and palaces is quite accurate. How to learn to speak this language and is it necessary are very relevant questions especially when some of art is meant to be political, game changing, radical and new. How political art is inside a palace which has an entrance fee? Well one can wonder. What can be achieved by isolated snobbish fame hungry scene other than decay and a circle that does not achieve the things it dreams about in the art it likes to present.
Has quality of critique fallen or is it due to which kind of media one reads what comes up in front of you suddenly, accidentally or maybe never? How could quality have fallen when there are more possibilities to write and publish on your own and be heard out of self-interest, possibility and ability, we are being heard but are we listened to on the internet, we try to be heard as well as we can with the means we have paying attention to what are the things that get attention most.
Is it the perspective we lack because it is not lack of information available, understanding of what is important, important knowledge that does not interest enough the great mass of people, fact checking and dimensions we tend to ignore and be blind to. We get excited and love the surface of things which changes in rapid speed and want to be connected to it. Are there wrong things we pay attention to when critiquing anything and why is receiving criticism nowadays almost too much to take? Not noticing what there really is behind when we evaluate something or someone is a common flaw. Are we in such a rush we do not pay attention, understand because we do not see, too arrogant to go down on somebody else’s level and look behind. We are unable to focus, stay still, afraid of staying put and simply don’t know how.
In a galaxy far far away:
As is the whole of enormous marketing boost single movies can get distracting and annoying, the exposure and narratives offered to us can be dazzling sucking in the awe because of sheer magnitude of the phenomenon of movies, a flow of creating mega success is dazzling and bigger than big. Intensity of size and budget which all media make possible and is harnessed with social media looks like brainwash. Shouting attention in repetitious fashion so that we will not forget what is entertainment, how we want to be entertained, what we should all like and be part of. It is a carnival for surface, celebration of spectacular shell. What is the place for critique in all this seems a bit frivolous and unnecessary but is anything but. This, unbelievably forced drive for huge and massive shuttle-like machinery itself what it can produce and will produce is troubling. All which bring in money, what else, fame and then in contrast the lack of thorough analysis, it is there but it has to be found, or more so lack of need, disinterest as heavy words are too much. Place for critique is strikingly shrinking. Movie industry is as massive as it is penetrating all of contemporary culture, economy and any possible field there is to be exploited and used to sell merchandise. What is the poor quality then I think is that movie the form of art, as it should be, would be seen and treated as such, has shrunk into the grandiose experience must have and into the instant gratification suction which sucks out dimensions, denies and abandons complexity and experimental expression which may be too much to take for the mass of consumers. What this has to do with our everyday lives? I think quite much.
http://www.notbored.org/new-babylon.html“The culture of New Babylon does not result from isolated activities, from exceptional situations, but from the global activity of the whole world population, every human being being engaged in a dynamic relation with his surroundings.”
I know you expect a lot of me and it is clear I do not match those expectations of yours and I don’t know why I should because I expect a lot of myself which is more than what you expect of me because mostly you expect me to fail, meaning to ignore expectations of my own in life and what it could be. Failure is not to try and that is not what I am going to do. It is a common phrase and atmosphere that it is no use trying, you won’t make it anyway. No matter how tiny issue but to go the easiest path is not my thing. I have noticed it is something we are encouraged to do because why do it difficult when you can choose easy. To discourage and give dark prospects is a norm to which I don’t want to get accustomed and refuse to believe in. My expectations for me are to accomplish as much as is possible and more than I even could dare to imagine could be possible for someone from nowhere. So what I expect me to become differs quite a bit from what other people expect because I do a lot of things women don’t normally for some reason do, which I do not understand and for which reason I have felt unfitting oddball. I don’t understand the normal for women and men and why they are so different. People think it is custom and good to expect something, usually bad of someone and we do expect in advance always something to happen but it is unfair to expect me to do things I don’t want to do as it is strange to think you know what I think and want. What I am expected to do and be like has been very strange because I put a high standard for myself which I work to reach. To expect a lot for a woman has meant that she looks and behaves a certain way and if she does not she is no good. Standards placed for women move on a very superficial ground and model for ideal women is made of plastic. Ideal women don’t swear, do dirty work, lift heavy items, fix cars, do technical work which requires machinery etc. Ideal women obviously show how beautiful they are on the outside, how kind and loving inside. So you understand I often struggle with these expectations and it is not only men who expect women to be of certain way. I am not going to be kinder, forgiving, less critical, less vocal about how I see things should be and what kinds of things I see problematic and in need of change. That is how I envision part of a contemporary artist and a feminist going against the stream. Women are expected to be less in every way and I am not going to be. To expect me to be less than I can be is asked quite a lot.