Monday, July 15, 2013

The state of art

                                          Screen Shot from

Greetings all! This post is about an article that ran in the Scotsman newspaper over the weekend. In it  acclaimed Scottish artist Ken Currie discussed the current state of artists, and his thoughts on the academicazation of the art world. This is a topic that I have given a lot of thought too, and have even posted about it here in the past (here and here.).

Currie is an artist who studied at the Glasgow School of Art and was a member of "The New Glasgow Boys" movement. He went on to win the Turner Prize for painting in 2005. He has remained an active artist and has a new exhibition planned to open soon. 

In this article Currie stated that he thought too many art students have neglected traditional art media for the likes of New Media, installation, and conceptual art. He added that this was happening because of the belief that this would put them on the fast track to being a recognized artist. He furthered by stating that this has adversely affected what was happening at the Glasgow School of Art. He said that the school was overcrowded and that students weren't really learning anything about art or art making, and were instead caught in a situation where New Media, installation, and conceptual art were churned out by professors increasingly focused on academic advancement over the development of future art and artists.  

He went on to describe a career path where he likened art school to kindergarten, and the following 20-30 years as developing a voice before achieving a level of success recognized universally . He said it takes many years of hard work to become an established and recognized artist, and said that many contemporary artists just don't have the drive or energy for the long haul.

I agree with Mr. Currie that art schools have been given over to academia, and I also agree that there is far too much New Media, installation, and conceptual art as a result. However, I'm not so sure I agree with his statements about developing artists. One thing that it is important to keep in mind is that we live in an entirely different world than the 1980's in which Mr. Currie was in art school. Ideas, art, and ways of communicating them develop at a much faster pace than they ever have in the history of human development. Access to technology and New Media is also more freely available. I think that these ideas combined with the drive to create and be the first to express a new concept are as much an impact on these new artists as the issues Currie spoke to. Art is communication, and we are living in a world filled with a cornucopia of communication methods. It is how we integrate the new with the old and move forward that is the more important issue.

That's my take. Please leave your thoughts in the comments, and perhaps we can have a discussion on this issue.  One final thing before I go: The 2013 Art Melt is this Friday.  I will be discussing this exhibition next week, but if you are in or around Baton Rouge you should plan on attending!   

McGinty, S. (2013) New Artists Neglect Hard Graft, Says Ken Currie. The Scotsman 7/14/13


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