Archive for July, 2013

errrrr … Thinking proves pointless.

July 21, 2013


Three years ago I decided to regularly post images and articles on this art blog. I promptly proceeded to do … sweet f*** all.

Yes, I am a procrastinator.
Yes, I have concerns that take precedence over unpaid labor.
And, yes, there are plenty of moments when typing blog entries about art provides a unique experience of the absurd.
Many find it quite obviously pointless. I had to think about it for three years to come to the same conclusion – but on a much more spiritual level.

In a way the whole process of blogging – which, incidentally, in 2013 feels incredibly 2000s – is somewhat reminiscent of that question in philosophy about whether a tree that falls in the middle of a forest makes a sound or not when it hits the ground. (In other words, if there’s no cognizant being consciously perceiving through hearing is there sound or are there merely soundwaves carrying the potential for sound?)
Blog-writing is a bit like that: if there’s no one there to read your words, do you have a voice?

Well, the tree in the middle of the forest doesn’t care.
Why should I?

However, I do readily admit that after three years of abstinence from writing it would be so cool to come back with a blog entry marked by profound insight, biting wit, incredible poetry, or why not something substantial like an image bank of 3000 fabulous artworks that rock this world.
Well, there’s none of that.

Were I to scratch my head a few minutes, how would I summarize the main insights that I’ve gained? Let’s see. Hm. Would I really go ahead and hit “publish” on the following?

1. Taking time (to think or do whatever it is you need at a given moment) is the most painfully worthwhile occupation.

2. Art isn’t everyone’s thing. That’s a good thing. But it does happen to be my thing. And that’s a good thing too.

3. The market is about the market. Prices are determined by supply and demand (by people with the financial means to buy) for a given work in a given sale context at a given moment in time. Neither supply nor demand are driven by absolute measures of value or merit. Market value is not a numerical expression of artistic worth. Markets are spaces of commercial exchange.
It doesn’t matter. Eat it.
Then vomit if you need to and get over and on with it.
As Frank Stella said, “The air is polluted, but you still have to breathe.”

4. Art is about art, and that can be about many things.

5. What art is and isn’t is a whole list in itself. It would have to be added to every day with every new artist that begins to create, with every new piece that is shared with the world, with every new set of eyes (or ears or whatever) that discovers and experiences a new or historical artwork ….

6. What art does and doesn’t do is an equally long list. It can be your emotional sparkplug, your spiritual springboard, your aesthetic relief, your intellectual plaything, your preferred source of sensations, it can be your political megaphone, or just something to stick on your walls because that’s what people in our society do ….
It can be all of that, more – or nothing at all. All options are perfectly acceptable. If they aren’t, we’re not discussing art, but something else.

7. The most interesting struggles, the most difficult combats, the most challenging experiences, the greatest moments, the most intense sensations, the deepest sorrow, the most sincere joys – all take place in our heads/hearts. Artists are capable of materially accessing all this. For that they are, they have always been and will always be the magicians of the human soul and, as such, deserve celebration.

8. There’s a lot of good art out there.

9. There are a lot of good artists out there.

10. Thinking is pointless – if it doesn’t result in action.


None of the above is news. But I suppose the insights are new to me.

That’s why there are new artworks, new books, new plays, new movies – my god, that’s why there’s a freakin’ new day every twenty-four hours. None of these are ever fundamentally new.

And that is totally ok.

An acquaintance recently confided in me that his elite school told him to always quote great thinkers for rhetorical emphasis. So, let me sign off today with a tribute to and a quote by an important figure of the 20th century:

“I’m not wise, but the beginning of wisdom is there; it’s like relaxing into—and an acceptance of—things.
– Tina Turner


Kutlug Ataman, 99 Names, 2002, Thomas Dane Galler, London, Sperone Westwater, New York, Galeri Manâ, Istanbul. Shown in the Unlimited section of Art Basel in June 2013

Kutlug Ataman, 99 Names, 2002, Thomas Dane Galler, London, Sperone Westwater, New York, Galeri Manâ, Istanbul. Shown in the Unlimited section of Art Basel in June 2013