[The Seven by Nine Squares home page] [YAWN 22] [Art Strike 1990-1993]


To the Editor:

There is no cause to speak, as Tom Gogola does, of the Albany Art Strike Action Committee "enforcing" the Art Strike. In a city boasting a combination art gallery and real estate office, the mask has already slipped. Even before our Empire State Plaza action, voluntary compliance with the strike was almost universal. Our ideas are in everyone's heads.

Nor do we care to protect art against intruding "right-wing values." Right-wing, left-wing or art-for-art's-sake, all art is a source of social separation and serves a control function. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.

If (unhappy day) the art returns to the plaza, swept by cameras and laced with censors, the class war will have returned on the electronic battlefield. The curator will be dismissed-he doesn't know his stuff anyway if he hasn't heard of the Art Strike - and replaced by an electronics technician with a military background from the upper ranks of the Capital Police who have already paid us a visit. Henceforth we will visit museums to be looked at by the art.

Our challenge to Gov. Cuomo stands. Get rid of the art. Without such fantasies and distractions, the concourse architecture will quickly become unbearable. The empty walls will be so irritating as to require their immediate removal as well. After the art is gone, after the walls themselves have been removed, comes the concrete construction of momentary ambiences of life and their transformation into a superior passional quality. This is our entire program, which is essentially transitory. Our situations will be ephemeral, without a future: passageways. The permanence of art or anything else does not enter into our considerations, which are serious.

Bob Black
Neal Keating

Tom Gogola replies:

I don't know how Keating and Black can claim that "voluntary compliance with the Strike was almost universal," when Keating himself told me in an interview that "the Art Strike has pretty much been a failure." When I said "enforcing" it was meant as irony, to illuminate the failure of Art Strike to achieve its aim of an artless world.

METROLAND, Oct. 4-10, 1990, p. 4

YAWN adds:

Mr. Gogola obviously has little comprehension of what little Art Strike material he has apparently read. The Art Strike's aim is not "an artless world," which is a patent absurdity. The Art Strike aims to build a better world by dismantling the power-reinforcing element of art and returning creativity of all kinds - not just that validated by art "experts" - to a position of worth in culture.

In addition, it is certainly the case that compliance with the Art Strike is nearly universal: most people do not make and have never made art. It is only when the true poverty of content of daily life in our culture is widely recognized that a humane world will be realized. Art creates the illusion of humanity where only horrors abound.

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