Types of Artists
This list applies to all creative people but is especially geared to visual artists. I wish critics and art historians paid more heed to these distinctions.
1. Only one good piece in them. This type stumbles onto a work of genius despite general artistic inactivity. Provides valid material for shows such as Jim Shaw's "Thrift Store Paintings," as well as Google Images.
2. Comes charging out of school and then disappears. Probably the majority of artists are in this category.
3. Works privately entire life. For example, Henry Darger, a posthumous sensation.
4. Works publicly entire life--badly. Probably the second largest category. It includes: art professors who need a show every year to maintain credibility or academic standing, artists from category 2 who are canonized before they would otherwise disappear, human steamrollers whose egos will not let them be anything less than financially successful, or some combination of the above.
5. Works publicly entire life--well. Probably the smallest category, the self motivated artist who keeps it fresh through good times and bad, gallery and no gallery, and also engages other artists as well as the surrounding culture.
Most artists who read this will say they are in Category 5. This list is aimed not at you so much as the professional trainspotters who never seem to take these differences into account, resulting in bad survey shows and meaningless constructions of art history.
"I'm the oldest child prodigy alive!"
sign me up for the first part of 2, the "shows every year" part of 4, the serenity of 3 and as I'm on my deathbed a big chunk of 1 (so I won't live to regret it).
I'm going with category 6 so that I can continue to make shit up.
hear, hear, (here, here?) duly noted. but what about "okay" art? Art that is modest and good but not genius? I see a lot of that too -- 4.5ers perhaps.
two categories: radical and co-opted.
I thought that was one category. Or mabye I've been reading too much Stallabrass.
ok, i just placed an order for a used copy on amazon on your suggestion. in the mean time (and at the risk of me looking like a complete ijit) pls explain how radicalism and co-option are not mutually exclusive when a critical component of radicality is the rejection of totalization.
I was being devil's advocate. I'm not completely sold on the paradigm, but Stallabrass argues that so-called radical art feeds into the capitalist agenda. The book provides a very nicely articulated (and contemporary) Marxist analysis, and I do highly recomend it, but its a bit too pat for me. On the other hand, I don't live in England, where the whole "wowee, we're radical" shock art thing has certainly become quite tedious.
joester's "you 5s" meets John Carpenter's The Thing:
"I know I'm human. And if you were all these 5s, then you'd just attack me right now, so some of you are still human. This 5 doesn't want to show itself, it wants to hide inside an imitation. It'll fight if it has to, but it's vulnerable out in the open. If it takes us over, then it has no more enemies, nobody left to kill it. And then it's won.There might be some Stallabrassian metaphor in there, too.
The kind of stupid categorizations that that bloggers in category 4 specialize in.
that was intelligent.