Annoying artiste assholes
Henry's super-fab new blog entry, The Art Snob, has inspired me to finally write about something that has been stuck in my craw for a long time now.
In Publish or Perish, I wrote about the sometimes obnoxious ways of aspiring writers. Based on my admittedly more limited experience with painters et. al, I think that emerging artists can be ten times as bad. My theory is that those who are trying to break into a highly competitive creative field where the likelihood of obscurity is high and the chances for wildly lucrative fame and fortune are low are often plagued with ego-driven jealousy and spite toward fellow artists (both struggling and sometimes world-famous). In some cases, this may even develop into full-fledged raging psychosis, complete with megalomania and paranoia (remember that kooky little would-be artist by the name of Adolph Hitler?)
Henry wrote of one snobby photographer who used a commonly available technique in Photoshop to enhance her "signature" style. When H asked her about it, she said it was her little secret. Hah! Gotcha, smug little arty-bitch!! Good going, H.
In my comment to his post, I in turn described my experience with a relatively successful downtown artist who often exhibited in the funky little downtown gallery that BG had the misfortune to show at, as described in "Alternative" Gallery Hell. Despite our initial effort to explore possible collaborative efforts, our correspondence fizzled out due in part to a media blitz he is currently involved in.
One day, for a goof, I visited the New York Times Artists and Exhibitions forum to see what other artists were discussing. A two-minute glance revealed that the forum was essentially a vehicle for a few very bitter, vindictive artists to trash each other's work and engage in a lot of boastful one-upsmanship about their respective art knowledge and sophistication. How very strange, I thought.
Before I hightailed it outta there, I spotted one poster who left his calling card, viz:
"Want to get away from the indecipherable imbecilities and absurd pretensions of the modern art establishment? Check out my web page."
Intrigued, I did check it out, and it proved to a very fascinating site indeed. The artist, who was also hawking what I take to be either an e-book or a print on demand effort, regaled his readers with an elaborate and scathing view of the often dreadful contemporary work to be found in major museums, as well as trashing such demi-gods as Picasso, who he felt to be a hack!!! Mon Dieu! What cheek!
In a similar vein to Henry's art-snob friend, he had done a (evidently) Photoshopped little pomo take on the classics by "repainting" them in outrageously iconoclastic fashion; for instance, portraying Picasso's monumental Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon with one prostitute busily picking her nose. Jolly good fun!
His diatribes against Picasso's "schmears" and such were relentless. Overall, I found his site quite entertaining, and agreed with some of his views about modern art, much in the vein of Tom Wolfe's masterful decimation of the great midcentury art gods in his classic satire The Painted Word.
So I decided to e-mail the boy and tell him how much I enjoyed his site, as well as his art, which he provided a link to. It was quite professsionally executed, but very heavily indebted to the style of Salvador Dali. It was, in fact, a kind of Dali clone. Nonetheless, I was lavish in my enthusiasm about the site and his works.
He e-mailed me back, though his message was, I thought, very nasty indeed. In response to my assertion that I thought his art was brilliant, he wryly replied "Funny. I don't." How disingenuous! Generally, I thought he was whatever the male equivalent of raving bitch was, and wrote back a suitably scathing reply, in which I dared him to write me again.
He did, and thus ensued what one might charitably call a "spirited" exchange of e-mails, with plenty of mutual verbal abuse and heated debate about modern art. In response to my enthusiasm about postmodernism, which I felt virtually defined all 21st century endeavors, he at first avoided the subject altogether. When repeatedly pressed, he finally smugly stated that postmodernism was "avant-gone." Ah, don't get me started!
Finally, the exchanges descended into such relentless nastiness that I stopped e-mailing and never heard from him again--even after I sent him a note to check out my new blog, where he was welcome to leave a link to his site.
I encourage others to visit him, and if you're a fan of verbal fisticuffs, try a little e-mail exchange.
Meanwhile, for some really cool art by a really cool chick, visit Marachino Venom and drop Brink a line in the comment section if you've a mind to.