[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 5] [Art Strike 1990-1993]

One Woman's Reaction to "A Response to the Proposal for Forced Art Participation 1990-2001"

Oh godless, how could such error evolve (assuming evolution, not creativity). Did I not eat that day? Did I read Hints from Heloïse? Run out of unused stamps? No matter. In the realm of infinite possibilities something could have gone. One woman (yes!) is wearing her wooly mammoth shirt. She doesn't, however, believe it makes a difference. When the premise is wrong, the end is inevitable. It's not art that's illusory, it's the criticism.

YAWN responds:

Because "art" is nothing but a schooled set of attitudes, both practice and criticism are equally suspect from a motivational standpoint. The artist, together with all of the ancillary functionaries that her/his activity supports (curators, academics, critics, gallery owners, their secretaries, janitors, spouses and offspring) have a vested interest in keeping the practice and criticism of art mystified. This is done so that everyone else perceives art as a "special" (i.e., elite) sphere of activity. This perception is heightened by the myth that art is an exclusive source of certain types of knowledge. Defending "art" and simultaneously attacking "art criticism" fails to recognize that both are manifestations of essentially the same attitude.

The sense that art and art criticism are somehow at odds is engendered by the practitioners of each of those fields. This makes their respective "achievements" seem objectively "valid" because of the constructed "challenge" each poses the other; but in fact this false challenge is what supports the entire construct of art and the attitudes around it. Each creates the impression of strength by knocking down straw men.

Furthermore, it was never YAWN's contention that art is illusory. YAWN recognizes that power is always a reality in capitalist society. Art serves as an effective buttress to the power of capital by fostering the illusion that the world as it is is a bearable place to live.