"Ignorance," gut reactions, and credentials

Or, who gets to say what sucks.

This past spring, local mom Emily posted to her family blog about her experience at the Milwaukee Art Museum (by the way, why is there no "Yes, MAM" campaign? It's right there!). Lots of people linked to her blog, lots of people in the art world mourned her ignorance, pitied her, patronized her, she became the subject of some debate - stop me if you've heard this one.

Anyway, same song, different tune just happened at the Walker in Minneapolis (thanks to Lisa for passing this on).

Things I thought were interesting:
It's just one guy's opinion.
People still go after his credentials.
The tone of the debate-conversation is a lot more civil than what I remember happening here.

Here's the link to the site as I first saw it.


  1. NO CREDENTIALS! Anyone should be able to review, love, hate, support, oppose any art they want. If they do so ignorantly, it should be seen as an opportunity to engage with and edify them (and let them edify you in the process). Vigorous debate about art! Always! Yes!

    ART DOES NOT EXIST FOR ARTISTS. ART IS ABOUT COMMUNICATION. Reaction, ANY REACTION to art is part of that communication. Artists who can't handle these criticisms or who harbor inane romantic notions about the "inherent value" of art aren't artists, they're morticians. Artists who beleive they should be entitled to unassailable self-expression aren't artists, they're patients taking art therepy.

    The place where this gets ugly and stupid is when artists with these notions get appeased with massive funding from big arts organizations. Thus earning the indignation of the general public. Especially when that general public's tax money is going into it.

  2. Also, the public outcry about the woman in milwaukee was a disgusting display of the art scene here's immaturity. The art museum failed in their mission to introduce the general public to art in this specific case. Rather than focusing on what this big art institution could do better to help people like her appreciate and engage with art, the local artists here attacked her, cruelly. It was a sad example of attacking the small thing you know you can kill because you hate the big thing that's fucking you over, but hope that sometime that big thing will change it's mind about you. Bad news for Milwaukee.

    The discourse in Minneapolis is better because the scene in Minneapolis is healthier, more mature.

  3. More thoughts about reviews, this time in relation to music: http://www.iamspencer.com/2009/07/15/getting-good-music-without-reading-reviews/