The garden gnome is blind
The artist observes the world he lives in and, in the name of art, sacrifices himself and confronts his time. His creative spirit shows a heightened intensity that absorbs all possible knowledge of life. The artist stands in a field of tension between living and surviving, and moves with insistence towards a cultural continuity.
Important artists created art within a new reality that did not exist in the past. Art stands at the beginning of an end and will also justify itself as a new culture. Only a few find the path that brings them in contact with art. For the artist they form the new centrifugal power of kindred spirits that swear by the need to consider art as a vital condition. The artist and his few kindred spirits always stand at the new beginning. Major artists have always expressed themselves with trenchant insight, and their knowledge and literary greatness form the ingredients of a new culture. The writings of the genius always demonstrate common sense, clear insight, strong character and a sublime way of thinking. His word is pure, but it usually journeys for a long time. Not all his words reach their target. Art flirts with words and the population swears against them. Wise words are like semen. Only those who open themselves to it completely let themselves be penetrated until the screams of desire embrace the deed at the new beginning.
The artist chooses his own authoritarian universe in which the necessary freedom determines his own laws and rules. His life is full of desire and he asks for no one’s approval. An artist does not want a tradition which, like a tinned product long past its best-by date, wants to outlive its time. He demands to have his say, an influence on society, and with his art he demands space and provocation. The crowd protests but, together with its social curse, will also define the new thought of the art. No one excludes real life, not yesterday’s, nor today’s. The true artist does not offer society the opportunity to limit his power and leads the avant-garde of the new beginning.
A million-man-army of art practitioners is guilty of an unlimited artisanal enjoyment and their creations are being professionalized into an industry that characterizes art as a whore. The boundlessly consuming masses thus choose their impulse to beauty. The sales system reigns as the implacable ruler and art critics are silenced. Populism dehumanizes artistic perception and society develops a sky-high dunghill of taste. ‘Art and communication’ no longer catch the attention and the intellect has lost the power of speech.
Over the past decades we have chased away our accumulated knowledge and the art world is losing its universality. We are losing our vision on art and are making a serious mistake. We appreciate many things exclusively on the basis of their financial value. Our environment contains a mass of information but we do not seem able to process it. This also holds for the evaluation of art. The art world includes today a network of many people that exchange commercial representations. High figures influence us and as a result we barely explain what we are doing. We must be aware of our limitations and remain critical in accordance with our actions. We must once again train ourselves to look at art so as not to leave any chance to an epidemic dissemination that restricts the artistic evolution of our culture.
The new passion for sales is gaining the upper hand in a disastrous fashion. Each valuable dialogue is disappearing. The gallerist appears superfluous and the patron sees how his artist is going off the rails. Auction houses are mushrooming and are not taking a single risk of their own. Merciless professionalism discourages the art world and we see art as merchandise for the masses. The selling new protagonist himself inflates his overrated retail prices and the masses calculate his variation in taste. The mill of contemporary art generates a massive offer with as high a sales figure as possible as the ultimate motive. The continuity of genuine timeless art is stagnating and as a result the crown of our culture is leading to a tragedy. There is an urgent need of distance with regard to all appearances. Art is being treated badly and the intellectual interpretation of the new reality is losing ground. The obstinate business acts and deals like a murderous fascist of the early days. There is need for more insight at the new beginning of the twenty-first century.
The ‘winner takes all’ is the new phenomenon with a strongly social character. It plays on the global possibility of imposing on us a culture of bottomless foolishness via the Internet. The contemporary individual assents to the winner phenomenon and what he could decide on his own initiative he considers a risk. Through his busy existence the individual brainlessly follows the masses around him. He does what others do and the ‘winner takes all’ triumphs yet again. Auction houses thus thank the social media and in general the Internet. They manipulate their public between the low and high estimates. Under the tone of ‘well found’ and embraced by an estimate, the buyer thinks he is making a safe buy. Millions of Internet users see high numbers and as a result the work is considered interesting. The masses admire what is being sanctified from within the dominant art temple. The art statement represents a disproportionate hit. The garden gnome is blind.
The identity of art is gradually being disarmed and demands more self-manifestation. There is a need for an opportunistic principle that tunes the strings and acts as an indicator. Contemporary art is not just an object that gets attached like a paper clip to a file of a single power. Art is a subject that must be heard like a necessary shout in the midst of society. Major art is the result of a creation that emerged from an undisturbed freedom. The old and mouldered rules about how themes had to be represented, about how compositions had to be constructed were buried. The sieve of art history washed away a lot of creative people at the time. There was a growing awareness that assessing and condemning on the basis of previously known standards is wrong. A major artist has always had lots of courage and persistence. He is the paragon of the incorruptible. His personality satisfies the artistic conscience. Whoever did not have an eye for this new awareness showed signs of mental corruption and could never enjoy contemporary art again. Taste is not an artificial value! Whoever believes that the financial value of art can be calculated by a database of previous taste sales does not realize that art cannot be equated with a science. This type of trade with loss of intellect betrays itself. Art never brands itself as a finished, conformable object and is therefore alien to science. The garden gnome is blind!
Today contemporary art runs the risk of never being supported again from the very first moment, from its creation, in its innovative reality. Our society denies art the right to dialogue to still fulfil its historical place in the precise context. Attention for high figures alone leads to a barbaric culture. A bid at auction does not contain the cultural value in itself to confirm or negate the historical value of an artwork. The actual value of an artwork is not to be determined within its universal world from a single economic perspective. In any case, the universal value of art lies in its timeless aspect. The choice for art dictated by taste is generational; moreover, the beauty dictated by taste will soon wither. That is why whoever could live off his art successfully during his lifetime was rarely kept by the new generation of art lovers on the artistic stage – his work was erased. Art is not taste and for this reason, major artists were rarely discovered during their lifetime.
The intellectual and innovative oeuvre demands research, time and protection. That is why patrons are important. They defend the artistic message with a well thought-out vision and re-enforce it. Strange auction results make the contemporary buyer doubt the art that appears in its new time. High sales figures are stimulated in many ways and uninspired hacks fill their newspapers with them all too gladly. Low and high estimates disrupt the hunger for the meeting with genuine art. The new culture forces the dealer to look with the eyes and the critic falls into an unnatural silence. The few with an understanding for the new beginning are ousted by the blind new buyer. He calculates his art purchase and the art world loses its leadership. The art world develops a strange new identity.
From the earliest avant-garde to today, it is absolutely necessary to protect the free spirit within the art world. We continuously need a critical attitude towards art. Choosing pseudo-art means not being aware of quality and means acting as an unfree being that condemns the creation of whoever is free. Whoever creates art for a generation that is yet to be born is simultaneously creating the necessary tolerance for any form of progress. The artist thereby becomes free and places himself above the imperturbable reservoir of the self-limiting beauty of his society. By contrast, whoever limits him in his action destroys a culture. We form our minds through the environment we grow up in and that is precisely why we must think even more combatively. The society in which art is made asks to share more criticism with one another.
That is why whoever only focuses on preceding figures is unable to determine an absolute value. The auction houses estimate the value of an artwork on the basis of their intended turnover. The low and high estimate is a deliberately subjective evaluation by self-proclaimed experts. Art is incalculable and we must manifest ourselves within this crushing reality. Auction-house determinism undermines art and whoever aims his price at previously comparable sales strays. We stand today before a new reality at the foot of a new beginning.
Art = Kapital, wrote Joseph Beuys.
Art is the reflection of the evoked ‘hammer price’.
‘Fuck Yourself Art’ illustrates this manifesto. These are artworks that analyse the remaining function of art in our contemporary social reality. In an avant-garde way, ‘Fuck Yourself Art’ offers a critique of our reformed zeitgeist. These paintings are a protest against the imposed new order according to which the buyer only positions himself in a trade of the numbers that present themselves. ‘Fuck Yourself Art’ anticipates on the statement of the buyer of the twenty-first century.
For how much longer will the twenty-first century continue to cherish the predetermined art market for its figures? Is the love of art still progressing, or does this nihilism indicate the end of our art history? What does contemporary art mean without a patron? Can the true artist with a critical view of his society still be heard? Is contemporary art only a coupling between a smart market and the brainwashed masses? Is the artist now standing beside the true podium and is the art world then not losing the historical form of its well-known pyramid?
The auction market dissolves the art principle and rejects with its database the interpretation of art history. This new identity of art silences the artist and hereby misleads a worldwide perspective on art. It remains necessary to consider art that lies across all borders as relevant. Whoever only chooses among the earth-shattering fissures for the familiar fabric is complicit in the threat to contemporary art history. What intellect will still spontaneously stand up to the giants of the art capital to shed light on the shadow of all contemporary misinterpretation? Must the artist of the twenty-first century believe then that whoever was seduced by figures apparently is more able to understand art than whoever was not or hardly manipulated by such a socio-economic system? Is there not then an urgent need for a protective measure to avoid the end of art history?
Power has the tendency to deprave and absolute power can lead to absolute ruin. Where is the means of control that must prevent the downward spiral of capriciousness that results in degradation and destruction? Art has a function and must distinguish itself from society. The overrated mass taste harms the value of genuine art and all its possibilities. Art is screaming out as never before for its identity and demands a life with no shortage of freedom.
The artist, the dealer, the art critic, the auctioneer and the art lover … they are all at risk, under pressure from a blind ride!
‘Fuck Yourself Art’ reflects the new reality.
Founder John DOE