In the past couple of months I have had repeated conversations with various artists about how they feel art historians, scholars, and museum professionals (particularly curators) interpret their artistic process.
A few issues keep cropping up:
- Many times, they feel bullied into writing wall texts or artist statements. Most of the artists I've spoken to do not write for artistic purposes; writing for them is a difficult task and feel they better express their emotions, thoughts, and feelings through their creations. My friend and artist, Andrew Le, introduced me to this "artist statement generator" webpage that just proves how much B.S the art world can be filled with.
- When curators, docents, and other "experts" talk about artists' work, they explain it as if there was always one intention from the beginning and the final result was always the planned outcome. The process of creating art is much more organic than anyone who is not an artist thinks.
- Navigating the socially poisonous art environment can be emotionally taxing. Many art organizations and galleries claim to be democratic while always catering to an elite that the artists are forced to interact with.
An added resolution to this 2015 will be:
As an art historian, I refuse to do the artists that I work with and collect from these type of disfavors. Even though I have always tried to be careful with my interpretations, now I am much more aware of the damage I can do when assuming that my credentials license me to elucidate freely just because my interpretations "come from a place of knowledge". Arrogance can be an academic's Achilles Heel.