Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Regional Declaration of Evangelical Criticality:

(or: A Proposed Set of Vows for Provincial Cultural Producers, With Only a Hint of Overstatement and Sardonicism)


- I will create responsibly. Art is not an inherently good thing; more of it is not an inherently good thing.

- I will not point to Clement Greenberg’s brief presence as evidence that Saskatchewan is artistically innovative.

- I will not point to Aldous Huxley’s brief presence as evidence that Saskatchewan is politically progressive.

- I will not point to John Cage’s brief presence as evidence that Saskatchewan is intellectually open.

- I will not go to Emma Lake as an artist. I might go to Emma Lake as an arsonist.

- I will never create a portrait of myself as Vincent Van Gogh, in the style of Vincent Van Gogh, or titled “Vincent.”

- I will never buy the “Saskatchewan Encyclopedia.” It is bullshit.

- I will ask more of everyone. I will demand more of myself.

- I will employ my intellect even if I am NOT an academic, and I will employ my intellect even if I AM an academic.

- I will not say “photography” when I mean “pictures”; I will not say “pictures” when I mean images.

- I will be ferociously interesting.

- I will not advocate that art should be fun.

- I will include the sound of the letter “t” when I say “painting.”

- I will not agree with Carfac, Saskatchewan Craft Council, Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, Saskatchewan Arts Board or Canada Council policies simply because I am expected to; I will agree zealously with them on occasions where they make sense.

- Upon encountering the work of any of the following, I will scream and run at full speed in the opposite direction:
Joe Fafard
Vic Cicansky
David Gilhooly
Marilyn Levine
Jack Sures
David Thauberger
Wilf Perrault
William Perehudoff
Eli Bornstein
Ron Bloore
Doug Morton
Ted Godwin
Art McKay
Ken Lochhead
John Nugent
Joni Mitchell
Lindner (Ernest, not Degen)

- I will not move to Alberta "because of the money," just as I did not move here "because of the people."

- I will not confuse form with content. I will not evade discussion of content by instead discussing colour, line, technique, style, or arbitrary assessments of the shininess of an object.

- I will not assume a thing is good simply because it is here. I will not assume a thing is bad simply because it is here.

- I will not make pictures or sculptures or performances about or consisting primarily of:
grain elevators
wheat fields
the "prairie sky"
skulls
phalluses
breasts
tractors
prom dresses
stripes
my own blood

- I will not make shitty art drawing.

- I will not shirk my role as a public intellectual.

- I will praise rigour and assault laziness.

- I will be conservative in my use of the term “site-specific.”

- I will be conservative in my use of the term “installation.”

- I will be conservative in my use of the term “multi-disciplinary.”

- I will operate with the understanding that white people now have less in common with white people 200 years ago than they do with aboriginal people now.

- I will operate with the understanding that aboriginal people now have less in common with aboriginal people 200 years ago than they do with white people now.

- I will operate with the understanding that aboriginal people and white people have more in common with each other than they do with rich people.

- I will not sacrifice exclusivity and a %50 commission to any dealer, local or otherwise, who does not ram my work down collectors’ throats--you are sitting on your collective asses and you should be ashamed.

- I will assume that any gallery that relegates local work to its "project space" is being deliberately patronizing and insulting.

- I will not say “art” when I mean “craft”. I will not say “craft” when I mean “arts and crafts.”

- I will not classify as art that which is more readily one or more of the following traditions or spheres of human activity:
cinema
theatre
dance
literature
socialization
entertainment
design
decoration
philanthropy
pedagogy
hobby

- When I hear the words “great opportunity,” I will reach for my gun.

- When I hear the words "demystify," I will reach for my gun.

- When I hear the words "inner city," I will reach for my gun.

- When I hear the words "downtown core," I will reach for my gun.

- When I hear the words “I love Regina,” I will reach for my gun.

- I will not say “beautiful” when I mean “pretty.” I will not say “aesthetic” when I mean “beautiful.”

- I will not use the term “mediums,” unless I am referring to people who speak with the dead.

- I will spend my energy justifying the art I need to make, rather than in making art that is easily justified.

- I will dispute openly the validity of claims made in curatorial statements.

- I will not call myself an artist if I do not primarily occupy myself with the creation of art works.

- I will not call myself a curator without practicing the professionalism expected of curators.

- I will not curate my own work or that of my spouse into an exhibition. It is bullshit.

- I will refute the idea that Regina has ever preceded or one-upped New York. I will equally refute the idea that Saskatoon is similar to Paris, France, in any way.

- I will recognize art as the occupation of people who have no choice but art.

- I will not use benevolence as an excuse for mediocrity.

- I will not use regional identity as an excuse for intellectual laziness.

2 Comments:

At 8:54 PM, Blogger JG Hampton said...

Is the delegation to the project room an insult to the local art community, or is it the result of our own humility thinking that our proposals only warrant the request of the project room?

I also refuse to back down on my stance that Regina has on rare occasion "one-upped" New York, but only when it is in direct correlation with it's feeble health.

But kudos on your wonderful manifesto.

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Nayr said...

you may need to work "I will hang out at local coffee shops and talk with the locals" somewhere in that list.

 

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