Simon Theory: The Artist’s Exemption

I’ve often wondered how in God’s name so many “artists” get by for so long doing work that, at best, can be described as uninspired works of mediocrity and, at worst, be described as pompous, nonsensical bullshit. Now I’m not talking about the Jerry Bruckheimer sellout filmmakers or pay-per-word writers like Stephanie Meyer or J.K. Rowling taking a three-hundred page story and drawing it out to 6-7-8-9 hundred pages. No, no, no. We know what motivates the so-called” artists who make a living writing songs for boy-bands and pop-princesses or relies on “divine inspiration” to come up with the clever Geico caveman commercials. No, I’m talking about the Andy Warhols and Woody Allens of the baby boomer generations. The Marilyn Mansons and the “Jasper Johns’ Flag” that soaks themselves in the waters of “art” yet never really (or hardly ever) produce anything worth commemorating. How do they get away with this?

I think we can agree that what has always fascinated the masses with what one would call “works of art” is its unidentifiable quality that cannot be define or reasoned. The term “open to interpretation” is what makes art, as a whole, both singular and communal at the same time. It is in this irregularity that makes every artist struggle with the necessity to be personal, and the hope of mass appeal born of open interpretation. I believe art cannot be for everyone otherwise the work is merely entertainment cloaked in vanity and strives for nothing more than “passive intrigue (the death of art). However, no matter how unique and, at times difficult, art can be, it is the responsibility of the artist to be able to explain both context and subtext of any work of art regardless of the notoriety or lack thereof.

However, just as in all things, there is the flipside to that coin. A new threat to the values and spirit of progressive art has taken shape from the avant-garde days of the sixties, to the commercialized digital-age works of the twenty-first century. In my opinion, “The Artist’s Exemption” is the modern artist’s subtle, defiant manner of “selling out” without coming off as an entirely commercial enterprise.

The short-hand of “The Artist’s Exemption” is quite simple (and, for most art-lovers of the world, probably quite familiar): “If you don’t like it, then you don’t “get” it.” What nearly every failed artist hides behind these days is the accusation that it is the fault of the viewer/reader/critic who doesn’t understand the work or doesn’t keep enough of an open mind to embrace the work. In this defense, lies the explanation of why Woody Allen has been allowed to make around forty feature films in just over forty years. Or why Andy Warhol’s chicken soup nonsense is so highly regarded (and valued).

I have often claimed that, should I ever have the inclination to make a big splash in the art community regardless of any hope for merit and originality (and one would hope some skill), all I would have to do is frame a world map, splatter it with shit, and call it “art”. And whenever some good soul would dare call it what it is, which is nothing more than a world map splattered with shit, I can always rely on my trusty ol’ “Artist’s Exemption” and chastise this clueless, close-minded, simpleton as too much of a frightened dullard to comprehend the volumes of wisdom and complexity born from my shit-plastering work entitled “Prognostication”.

Worse than the dollar-driven, soulless, Michael Bay films or literary minds used to pen the always-clever Hallmark cards and fortune cookies, individuals hiding behind the Artist’s Exemption, commits what many believe to be the worst crime in art, and that is “Fraud”. Somehow, there’s an understanding that most sellouts who do it all for the money are acutely aware of there inability to create beyond the “tip of the iceberg”, and come to some kind of self-chastising peace with it. However, artists who commit fraud essentially lie to both themselves and the audience and create works, then create justifications instead of allowing the justifications to inspire the art.

I’m sorry. I should stop. This originated as my way of telling you that this blog ill probably tear apart any and everything you love about pop culture, and this is an awfully long-winded approach to start a boycott of Vincent Gallo films. Well, fuck it. If you don’t agree with this blog, then you’re just too simple-minded to understand it and it’s not my job as the artist to explain it to you.

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About This Week's Obsession

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One Response to Simon Theory: The Artist’s Exemption

  1. Pingback: Simon Theory: The “Archives” | Simon Theory

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