photographsonthebrain
There are a handful of young artists I know who turn a skeptical eye to the golden promises the professionalization of the arts hold out. I am always happy when I have conversations with these holdouts because it is distressing to see how many really talented people give in to the demands of the market place.Yet we live at a time where the infiltration of the marketplace is almost impossible to avoid, for anyone including older artists like me. It is a constant struggle to not give in the forces that demand dumbing down and homogenization.It takes takes enormous vigilance to not succumb to it’s tyranny, to honor your own trajectory, no matter how modest it may seem in the eyes of the world.There is simply no substitute for the developmental arc, no matter what you engage in, making art or being a shoemaker. Once you develop your vocabulary and your personal style it is very easy to make your art into product but in focusing on making product, you lose out on learning how to make art.
photographsonthebrain
So much of our culture is about striving toward an impossible standard of self-improvement. So much of our living demands that we chase down closure, elide or attempt to erase the parts of ourselves that feel and fear the presence of the void. The best art is a panacea against the interminable anxiety this myth of easy self-betterment engenders: it gives us permission to be vulnerable and fucked up and afraid and imperfect, to empathize and push past ourselves. What Catfish does — accidentally, on purpose, or both — is offer us a wonderful, imperfect description of contemporary loneliness, a new angle from which to see ourselves and our mistakes. What we can learn from this show, it turns out, is that while we’ll always find strange, new ways to be lonely, we’re never really alone.