Blurred Lines: inside the art world. Netflix 2017
I found this simultaneously shocking and depressingly predictable. As in so many other areas, creatives become patronised by powerful others whose money opens the doors of galleries, museums, and collectors’ basements or vaults. After watching this, I felt grubby and no longer knew what ‘good’ art is because somehow it seems to be bound up in a rigmarole of taste and power that may have nothing to do with quality.
There’s also the inevitable male gaze – whether directed to the subject of the art or the artist him or herself – because men still hold the majority of the purse strings. Is this why women artists have a harder time being taken seriously? Why older women are reputed to have even more difficulty? Why contemporary equates with youth? If so, art isn’t alone, literature reeks of the same issues and writers battle an assault course of submissions to agents, to journals, to online magazines, and to publishers, each requiring its own style of faintly obsequious introduction and the underlying hope that the recipient likes them. In both instances, powerful others who don’t create, gate-keep for others who might or might not create, in order to let in only what someone somewhere thinks is ‘good’.
I started a blog post titled, ‘We Need To Talk About Bob Ross’ because Bob shows people how to paint the sorts of things people think are good paintings and he’s lovely. He obviously knows about technique, and he can produce in short order a very convincing sunset or mountain or other scene. But is it art? And if it isn’t, why isn’t it? I’m in part impressed by him and at the same time repelled – I’d love to be able to do that with such ease but then I don’t really want to do it at all, at least not if that’s all I could do. I bet it sells though. Bob died in 1995.