Dressing Up

Since Rrose Sélavy we have seen a lot of masquerade in the art world, from Cindy Sherman’s great film stills, to the comic “American Uncle” of Stanislaw Witkiewicz, to Luigi Ontani’s epicene Hindu gods—only to mention the influential past masters. Role playing has become a conventional manner in contemporary art, but it’s pointless to make a critical issue out of it because every kid likes to dress up. It’s just normal everyday behaviour. Also difficult is that many non-artists do it well. I think these two examples from Ricky Gervais are as good as any I’ve seen, and might as well be in a museum.

ricky2 2011-07-25-ricky1The problem is that without a specialized practice, or métier, evaluation is always situational. One of the gifts of visual art to the world was empowerment of the amateur, but then that was taken by punk. Today all artists without a definable skill are professional amateurs, and as such vulnerable to comparison, and competition from whoever might do the same thing better. Their only protection is the art world.

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