And the Artomatic firestorm gathers more words!
James W. Bailey responds to Jamie Wimberly's posting:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves," (Matthew 7:15).
It is unlikely that most will ever meet an artist who will say, "I am a false prophet, follow me."
A "spiritual" artist will present themselves as a true prophet; and they will indeed appear to be true. But when confronted by a false prophet artist, one must search deeper and examine the artistic, social, psychological and legal implications of their words and ideas. False prophet artists will speak their prophecies and teachings with a golden tongue that will seem true and desirable. The best method of discerning the truth of a false prophet artist is by subjecting their prophecies and teachings to a critical examination of the implications of their artistic vision. The truth will stand the strongest test; error will be exposed.
Mr. Wimberly would have us believe the art world has devolved and is corrupt; he is right. He would also have us believe that standards need to be implemented to salvage the concept of real art from the masses; he is wrong.
Mr. Wimberly laments the fact that too many non-real artists are polluting the universe with their un-real art through events such as Artomatic. If, in his world, we only had an Inter-Galactic Art Commission of learned art professionals who would design, develop and implement a legal code of professional art standards, enforced by a Federation Art Police, of course, then we could all safely enjoy the privilege of viewing, absorbing, contemplating, being inspired by and buying real art made by real artists.
No doubt, under Mr. Wimberly’s scheme for the rehabilitation and salvation of the art world, such an Inter-Galactic Art Commission would be legally empowered to issue Professional Art Licenses to real artists so that these licensed real artists would be legally permitted to ply their craft to a more culturally sensitive audience who would be protected by the knowledge that the artists who they are likely to buy from are safe, certified and state approved by an art regulatory agency that operates in everyone’s best interest.
No doubt Mr. Wimberly, because of his profound insight concerning the corruption of the definition, meaning and purpose of contemporary fine art, would also expect to be asked to serve in the capacity of Board Director of the Inter-Galatic Art Commission so that he could more effectively advocate for his art philosophy to be enshrined into a Felony Criminal Art Code that would be enforced against those unlicensed un-real artists who would dare to try to operate under the radar in the back alleys of the illegal art gallery districts around the world, including Artomatic.
Allow me to offer some down-home Mississippi no B.S. wisdom from the perspective of an artist who recognizes a false prophet when he sees one. What Mr. Wimberly is really concerned about is this: He and a bunch of "real" artists he knows ain’t makin’ enough money out there in the REAL world tryin’ to sell stuff they "create" that other people think is junk and just plain don’t wanna buy!
Do I believe the modern art world is corrupt? Let me put it this way: I basically believe that the modern art world has absolutely turned its back on the general population. It has for some time now been taken over and hijacked by an elitist element of art snobs and ethereal professionals who have done everything in their power to remove the context, purpose and vibrancy of art from the realm of the people and have placed it in the ivory tower cages of the museum and gallery structure.
The present art world system allows these self-anointed art gods, the Artfanistas as I call them, to build successful and well paid careers as museum directors, curators, art dealers, gallery owners, and yes, a handful of internationally celebrated artists such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, who Mr. Wimberly properly despises.
The modern art system is one with a historic parallel: Being from Mississippi, I know all about the share-cropping system. What exists today in the art world, especially in this country, is an art version of the post-Civil War Mississippi Delta plantation. The plantation owners are the so-called leading art museums. The plantation foremen are the museum curators. The sharecroppers are the emerging artists who strive to be "real" artists under the definition of what is “real” that is defined by god knows who. What you have to do as an artist sharecropper, and as a human being, to elevate your self through the plantation system to artistic independence, to that coveted position of celebrated international artist superstar, is almost unspeakable. Selling out doesn't even begin to describe it.
The results for the artistic health of this country are horrible. The average American is absolutely alienated from contemporary art. They are alienated because they have been treated with contempt by the modern art establishment. The thinking that prevails in New York is that the average American is a cultural idiot who is too unsophisticated to understand the secret language of modern art.
"Therefore, considering how stupid most art ignorant Americans are, especially those idiots down South in the Red States, it would be an incredible waste of our valuable time and resources to share our wealth of secret knowledge with them to help them understand what they don't know and will never appreciate," New York Artfanista.
The fact of the matter is that the average American is damned smart and can smell bullshit from a thousand miles away, all the way up to the top floor of The Whitney Museum of Art in New York and right down the road to their local frustrated suburban upper-middle class white talent-challenged semi-depressed I-want-to-suffer-the-life-of-the-real-urban-poor-people-so-I-can-sensitively-present-the-painful-imagery-of-their-miserable-lives artist who sits in his or her rented inner-city crack-house basement “studio” whining and crying about how the world sucks because the concept of real art has been lost and nobody will support them as an artist and buy their crap!
The Gospel According to St. James the Photographer of Experiments:
Littoral Art: The Art of the Gift - I believe that an ethical artist who lives a life of integrity has a responsibility to share their art in a way that intersects with and becomes part of the life of their community, society and nation. I believe in the principles of moral art as articulated by Bruce Barber in his work, “Sentences on Littoral Art”. This is a radical position for art because it has nothing to do with art objects within the modern art milieu where it's all about getting your 15 minutes and $15 million for a “created” object.
The present modern art super-structure works against the principles of Littoral Art. The current system is set up to further the careers, artistic and professional, of those on the inside who are obsessed with art objects. The rewards for success are fame and money. At the end of the day, what does the art created do to make the world a better, safer more peaceful place? Nothing...because that is not even the goal under this system.
I strongly believe that artists have the power to change the world. Not just interpret it or represent it or create art objects about it. What I mean by that is that artists can use an expanded definition of art to advocate, instruct, share and involve people in demanding reforms of corrupt systems of power, whether political, social or cultural.
I believe that Artomatic, whatever its failings may be, is a step in the right direction to an expanded definition of art.
Mr. Wimberly’s views reflect the endless obsessions of far too many artists who have been left behind on planet Earth who pine for the day when high quality hand-crafted artistic art objects were the definition of art and were sought after and fought over by sophisticated art collectors; indeed, a beautiful era when a handful of expert artisans were elevated to near god-like status and enjoyed the wealth bestowed upon them by the spiritually enlightened with access to unlimited funds in Swiss bank accounts.
Some of us less nostalgic and less ambitious artists took advantage of mid-20th century space flight opportunities and traveled to distant stars and galaxies and have seen the power of art removed from the object. We have for some time now been sending encoded messages about radical art practices we have discovered on other planets back home to Earth. Some of these messages have been received and decoded by artists you may know. Be warned: Some of the artists who have decoded these messages and shared them with others may in fact be false prophet artists; indeed, some may in fact be false artists profiting as real artists.
The WORD has been given: There is no excuse to not recognize such false prophet artists now... indeed, I may be one myself, but at least I’m willing to admit to the possibility that I am.
James W. Bailey