ART

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For a long time we have known we like to make art but have not been sure what to say about it. Politics in a state of emergency produces ANXIETY about the figurative, tendencies toward the literal (see PRAGMATISM, tyranny of). Meanwhile art demands abstraction, formalism, ambiguity, the avoidance of the too-easy or too-obvious "message." Sometimes, it demands success. Is this because of critics--of which we are sometimes our own [harshest]?

  • ART, BAD. Someone we know once defined Bad Art as a forking path: there is
    • ART, BAD, BAD. Bad bad art is made unintentionally.

Then there is

    • ART, BAD, GOOD. Good bad art is made intentionally: marshaling the resources of self-conscious awkwardness, naivet√©, failure, poverty of method and materials, to one's advantage.

Believe us, we're not sure about these distinctions. Is all this talk of good and bad the legacy of a dead notion of a public function for art that carried with it the imperative of judgment, discernment, the urgent need to squash the bad and reward the good for the sake of, well, WHATEVER: the homeland, or democracy? Bad art then so often became good art later.

Some of us, sometimes, have been tempted by the siren song of Bad Feminist performance Art [(BFPA]) of a type often seen in THE 1970S. We wrestled with insecurity, our FEAR of FAILURE, our ANXIETY about replaying a HISTORY of Art Comma Bad Comma Bad. We have some documentation, if you would like to see it.

If we flirt with the aesthetics of FAILURE, will it bite back? What if we RISK it, engage with it, think with it, turn failures into teaching moments? When is failure a magical, adrenaline-pumping risk and when is it merely a circular safety net--something we'll find a way to explain was all part of the act?

How does one respond to Art Comma Bad? Particularly if one is unsure whether it is a matter of Art Comma Bad Comma Good or Art Comma Bad Comma Bad? "Oh, my. That was INTERESTING."

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