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 allowed 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?