Monday, October 25, 2010

When a tree falls

(De Chirico, The Uncertainty of the Poet, 1913)

I’ve never questioned my assumption that the exhibition is the final step of the creative process. Showing, I’ve always thought, is just what comes after making. And this presentation is what makes the work evolve. After a show, when you get back to the studio, you’re somewhere else. Somewhere more advanced (ie: better). This is what they say.

Sometimes the attention causes an artist to steer the work in a direction that will please the most people. When this happens, you have to wonder who the artist is drawing for. But I’m not sure you can ever really just draw for yourself.

The high-minded idea is that by putting your work out into the world, you’re contributing to culture. Some say that art makes a difference. It does make me feel alive. Except for when I’m so mad about the crap.

Psychologically, putting your work out into the world satisfies a need to be seen. I think you can be motivated high-mindedly and psychologically at the same time. Then there’s the motivation of making the pile of paper in your studio a bit smaller. You could always just throw it out. Or cremate it, like Baldessari.

Then of course, you just can’t stop. Can you? It’s an urge. And also, what else would you do? And what about your identity?

When you sell a work, you feel good. Unless the person puts the work in their basement, where it gets moldy. This is what people are talking about when they say they want to “place” the work. Sometimes you just have to pay the rent. But that’s why you have the day job.


Max Stevens said...

Nice post. Do we ever just create for ourselves? i'd like to think that I do, in my own way, but it's a much better ego boost when other people react and respond to your work...

Molly Stevens said...

It's about ego boost then?