Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Lives of Artists (sic)

I imagine curators, as a breed, as a type, no as a profession, like the art world. They must have a predilection for the schmoozing and the appreciation, and they must, at least to some extent because otherwise it would be like just running a shop, believe somehow in the therapeutic qualities of art, in 'communities' and so on. Artists of course might not believe in any of that at all, Lucien Freud wouldn't even turn up at his own shows, and I had to do an artists talk yesterday afternoon in Luton, and didn't know quite what to make of it. Even in a die hard professional treader of the boards like me can have his doubts.
The opening went well though, if you are broad enough minded as to be pleased that nobody got horribly drunk, fell down the stairs, or threw a punch, and everybody seemed to be having quite a jolly time whether they gave a damn about the art or not, even if it did seem suspiciously populated more by friends and family than local art fiends.
And it was funny to find oneself hiding in the closet waiting for the mayor to leave and having ones work shut away until he did, because Luton's administration is sensitive to a whole load of issues long dumped by your mature artist, and it was also hilarious to contemplate a future of sorts doing the same thing in Grimsby or Cleethorpes, Barrow or Dundee, since they all need art too, or so they say.
So I pondered my take home messages on the train while trying to shove to the back of my mind images of some filthy inquisition, even violence. Of course I needn't have worried, the significant cultural event of Luton's day turned out to be 'Wow Factor' (where hopefuls got advice on their applications to X Factor from a previously unsuccessful contestant) going on in the shopping centre. The rest were probably waiting for the late afternoon kick-off. So our artists talk went out to a small but perfectly formed audience of four. I don't care, I once was part of a six enjoying the eminent Franz Schulze lecture on Mies van de Rohe, and he'd crossed the Atlantic to do it. So Julie and I consoled each other it was all good practice.
One suddenly appreciated those ageing rockers still knocking it out because they love it so, but a future in Cleethorpes? That's not exactly Las Vegas is it (and I've already done Las Vegas). The road to Cleethorpes was suddenly as good as tragic, but is that where enthusiasm gets you in the end?

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