And just like that, it was over! This Tuesday is the LAST EVER punk rock Tuesday at the Risque Café, as I’m moving on to greater things. Come out and feast on the four buck burger, gorge on the cheap tallboys of PBR and Old Style and suffer through shot after shot of four dollar Malort! It’s a bon voyage for the ages folks. I’m gonna miss my peeps up in the Risque Café and all the blurry times there, but we’ve got one last chance to do it up. Are you man enough? Or do you have tits? Either way, come on down. Shit starts at 9 and ends at the end of all things, bro. Ya heard?
Anyway, as promised here’s what I hate: art. Art is so fucking stupid and pretentious and irritating and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of artists and their dumb notions about the importance of whatever they’re shitting out of their minds and onto a page, canvas, stage, piece of tape or sculpture pedestal. It’s indulgent and dumb and there’s nothing inherently worthwhile about art.
Oh, hey now! Wait a minute! Don’t misunderstand me. Art can provide people with very specific and important feelings and notions about the world and themselves, but that’s the product of the people doing the feeling, not the art and DEFINITELY not the artist. Here’s what I mean: I’m a painter. I see an ugly incident in the subway and I go home and I paint this picture of a solid gold bird shitting onto an earth made out of candycanes floating in what looks like a toilet bowl, but upon further examination actually ends up being the top of former UK prime Minister Tony Blair’s head. He’s having tea at Wimbledon with a walrus who’s wearing panties. It’s inspired by the ugly incident I saw on the subway and it’s heralded as a success and it’s shown at in-the-know parties all around the world. People think I’m brilliant. Why?
Okay, let’s assume that people REALLY do think I’m brilliant and it’s not one of those the-emperor-wears-no-clothes scenarios where everyone just thinks something’s SUPPOSED to be brilliant so they fawn over it when really it’s not doing anything viscerally to them at all. Why do they think I’m brilliant? Because when they look at my painting (entitled Galactic Nebluoid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you) it stirs something inside them which comes from that primary emotional palette that makes you kind of have a soul orgasm and really FEEL ALIVE for a second. You look at it and your gut just says “that’s awesome” and beyond that, there’s something more, right? You feel connected to it, like you understand it and it understands you and you don’t feel so alone in the shitty world and even if the sentiment is ugly there’s strength in mutual understanding and peace in not being completely marginalized, even in the margins…Something like that, right?
I mean that’s why we all listen to music, innit? Same thing. The best songs SOUND great, but there’s more to it than just that. It’s the empathy and the connection that’s un-articulatable that makes someone think it IS great. Even in the case of instrumental music this is true. There’s a profound understanding of what we, the listener (consumer) would like to hear (and often more to the point, what we didn’t even know we wanted to hear) and that fosters a deep bond that flows from us to the piece and by extension the artist.
But that’s all complete bullshit. Let’s go back to Galactic Nebuloid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you for a moment, shall we? Sure. I saw an ugly incident in the subway and painted a picture that touched hundreds of thousands of people’s souls, but not for the reasons that I was attempting to articulate. The ugly incident was MY inspiration, whie the painting is THEIR inspiration and the only real currency here in any sort of meaningful sense is that feeling engendered inside individuals when they’re inspired and feel that sense of loving something. The artist is no more a genius than the board that Galactic Nebuloid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you is painted on, or the guy that pushed his grandma onto the train tracks that inspired the whole thing. That shit is just the inspiration for where the real work takes place, which is inside the people viewing it who can somehow, against all odds and evidence to the contrary, make themselves truly believe if just for a moment that they’re not alone, or that shit will be fine or that there’s a universal understanding at work. So what does this mean? That we’ve got it backwards. The artist isn’t the one creating miracles, the consumer is. THAT’S the fucking truth. Don’t believe me?
Go to a rock show and look around. Who’s having the best time? The artist? No. It’s the crowd. Why? Because they’re the ones making something great happen there, not the other way around. That’s the great fallacy of art. People in the crowd say they admire and respect the artist, when really it’s the songs and really, truly, it’s not even the songs. It’s the feeling inside each person that the songs nurture and stoke up. That’s why there’s no universal truth with art. It’s all what we as consumers carry with us that make something good or bad. That’s why your mom thinks “Gimme Shelter” is the sexiest song of all time and you prefer “Nibble on my Dick (Like A Rat Does Cheese).” Is one of you wrong ? No. YOU’RE the ones infusing those worthless pieces of music with the cultural cache that they require in order for you to love them. Not the artist. And the fact that the artist takes credit for that is kind of absurd.
Art is boring. It all sucks. And there’s no more clear example of this than at an art college. Look around. Everyone’s the same unique individual, taking pictures of the homeless guy’s grizzled wrinkles or the migrant worker’s sad eyes and calloused hands. Here’s someone boldly juxtaposing nature and urban landscapes! Oh look! Someone’s using fecal matter to portray something sacred again right over there next to where the egomaniac is highlighting all her own body flaws through photographic essays and paintings and poetry about her beefy labia and sagging gut and hairy belly button. Wow.
Guess what, assholes? They’ve been doing this shit for thousands of years. There’s nothing new. Here’s a rule of thumb: Do you think you’re doing something new, or even remotely interesting? Then you’ve just not looked around long enough. Things have been so fucking done to death that we’ve even killed the ironic doing-things-to-death-on-purpose movement. I’m not interesting and neither is my art. Say it with me folks, because it’s as true for you as it is for me.
Now, that’s not to say that shit’s not enjoyable. I love tons of songs and paintings and books and I even love a lot of work that’s done by pretentious dicks who think they’re doing god’s work, BUT it seems to me that the best stuff is kind of forged in madness. The best stuff is made by people who say things like “I dunno…I just sort of thought it looked cool/sounded good/felt neat etc.” when asked about their motivations. That is, the people who realize that making art isn’t at all about them and their intention, but rather the work that the consumer does in order to appreciate it. Those folks who seem to be the BEST at art seem to create out of compulsion and simple pragmatic necessity and a need for visceral gratification, rather than those who want to wig out the squares or take things to a bold new place. Coincidentally, those people don’t tend to think of themselves as artists. They’re just guys and gals who do stuff because they want to and they like it (or hate it). And that’s why all artists suck and all art is dumb.
Because the best art isn’t called art and it’s not made by artists. It’s just cool shit that that weird fat chick made in her garage.
And with that, I’m off to paint all the parking meters in my neighborhood like various three stooges characters.
See you fucks later.