[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 11] [Art Strike 1990-1993]

Quitting Time

Relatively speaking, the Art Strike (1990-1993) can only affect those people who choose to be affected by it. The Art Strike is, in this sense, as impotent as any other action of art. For those who ignore it, it might just as well have gone away.

The Art Strike is a Moment of Art; the logical terminus of a trajectory begun when artists began alienating themselves from the culture of which they were, in fact, a part. Perhaps they did this in an effort to gain a special and unfair credibility for themselves. This attempt was made in part by raising the level of discussion about the arts to an art in and of itself, a private code to which only the initiated could enjoy access. It matters not when you pinpoint the beginning of this trajectory. It matters only that it has, to a large degree, succeeded in not only alienating the bulk of the population from the arts, but also in alienating the arts from culture generally. The more art has rejected its culture, the less it has found it can live with itself. The final auto-destructive act of art is the Art Strike.

Analysis of the Art Strike goes on and on. We cannot live in a world with an Art Strike without speaking about it. It behooves us to comment at length in a futile attempt to justify our position with regard to the Art Strike, and usually this amounts to an attempt at justifying our continued "creativity". What remains obscure in all this is that we require no justification; being is enough. The ache to express oneself is the most dire act of insecurity. Through it, one seeks to connect to others in ways that one otherwise has become unable (for any number of reasons). It is this craving for connection that drives art. But how much real connection between artist and audience, or between people, can art foster when the alienation between it and its culture is so complete?

We all want to be liked. But art is useless in this quest. YAWN demands that the Art Strike be made permanent.