Art curator bashing
Now I am being accused of curator bashing. Exactly what I expected and what I intended. The art-world suffers from the pressure of renewing itself all the time, because stagnation is downtime. And that is exactly the problem. The development in the arts did not continue in a new and fascinating direction since Appel, De Kooning and before those paint-canons a genius like Vincent van Gogh. This led to all kinds of aberrations, which were nevertheless accepted with lack of a better alternative.
And it is not just the attitude of curators I am attacking, because they can only thrive on the oeuvre of artists. It is the choice they make. Artists can do what they like. It does not matter at all what they create, ranging van excellent and awesome to despicable and weird.
Excellent often has conventional tendencies and weird is regarded as ground-breaking and progressive. It is the selection the curators make, being so very much afraid that they are labeled as conservative. So they opt for the strangest creations and wreathe their motivation with obscure lingo, which is most of the time as incomprehensible as the work itself.
Conclusion: Curators would not make such silly choices if there was no silly work to choose from.
In fact it is all about bluffing
I know, because I have experienced it myself. The first exhibition I organized was titled ‘Koe en Kunst’ (Cows and Art). I rented the prestigious venue De Beurs van Berlage in the centre of Amsterdam for twelve days. Posters all over the city, a huge banner with the logo at the front and a long list of guests for the opening, the day after Christmas. Because of the high rent I decided to take one day to build up the exhibition.
A beginners mistake. The managing-director of the venue came into the exhibition-hall and saw that virtually nothing had happened. It was two o clock.
“We will close in one hour, due to Christmas,” he said. I panicked. “But we did not even put up and paint the panels,” I uttered. He was inexorably. “One hour, not a minute more.”
“What am I going to do with the art? I cannot hang it anywhere…!”
“Put it on the floor,” he answered. I thought the man was crazy, but indeed, I had no choice.
We laid down the artworks and I was convinced that my first exhibition was going to be a flop. The media would have a field-day and I would be the laughing-stock of the guests.
The day after Christmas the guest arrived and raised an eyebrow when watching the art on the floor. I had to bluff my way through this ordeal. “Ladies and gentlemen,” I welcomed the guests, “you are invited to a world-premiere. You are witnessing the first art cattle market in the world…!”
People applauded. This was unique
How original! Nobody complained or asked questions. It was l’art pour l’art. Who were they to discuss this magnificent idea in a glamorous location with famous artists (…on the floor). It proved to me that if you claim status and establish an image, the art-world will swallow it like hotcakes.
The eating of the pudding was the proof. I was the curator of my own exhibition and could manipulate the fine fleur of the Amsterdam art-scene the way I wanted.
The Amsterdam newspaper published a series of photos of the fifty most impressing events in De Beurs van Berlage in it history of 150 years. A picture of my art-show was included.
Need I say more? I think this tells it all.