The manager within

It’s undignified for a work to be a slave to an artist’s intentions. Under current labor conditions that must seem a radical thought. Crudely, there are two positions, the manager or owner and the poor devil who does the work; the master and slave as one distinguished philosopher would have it. Instead of negating this opposition, most artists just internalize the two positions and take them up in turn. One comes up with an idea, presumably after market research, and then proceeds to carry it out like any flunky. To give orders to oneself and then diligently carry them out—I don’t know whether such behavior is more painful or ridiculous. But it allows one to be an artist on autopilot, without first being alive.

labor-artist-manager

Andean "sillitero" carrying a European across the mountains on his back. If not for the rain, the passenger would probably be reading a book. One shrug and down he goes into the abyss.

Of course the better artists, in every genre, know how to let the work grow away from its origins and take unforeseen shapes. That’s probably the definition of a better artist. But I don’t want to ameliorate the problem, and I don’t want to avoid it by paying someone else to do the work. The ready-made is not an option. I want a more radical return to the shop floor. All power to the soviets and worker’s councils!

This entry was posted in Abstraction and Society, Conceptualism and Painting, Ethics of Abstraction, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *