[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 7] [Art Strike 1990-1993]

Remarks to Bob Black

Bob Black, in his essay "On the Art Strike" (Artpaper, Vol. 9 No. 4, p. 9-10) raises some strong arguments supporting the idea that the Art Strike is, against its overt intentions, an elitist (in)action which "...only certifies artists as the expert interpreters of what nobody but artists do." He does so by likening the Art Strike to "imperialism" and suggests that it is "Ostentatious renunciation [which] is greed in its warped and most insidious form". He also says that art-strikers engage in this (in)action because they are "...some of the less commercially successful [among] contemporary artists..." True, few of us are "successful" in these cynical terms-and to measure our value as contributors to culture based on how much money we make is just one of the ridiculous attitudes the Art Strike seeks to combat. A Julian Schnabel could not participate in an Art Strike. He has far too much to lose to be completely honest about milieu in which he prospers. Other points: If "...only artists can refuse art...", then art is irrelevant to begin with, and must be renounced, perhaps even ostentatiously. (Although the Art Strike maintains that consumers must refuse art, too.) If "...art... becomes everything..." then the word has no meaning at all. (Art is not everything, but a class- and gender-specific activity which serves to justify an objectionable ideology.) In short, Bob Black does culture a disservice by taking the Art Strike too seriously - and this, of course, is rather like not taking it half seriously enough.