WHAT ANNOYS ME

to my comrades, my mentors, my reason, my fancy:

i invite you all to my manifesto.
the general subject is art (ART, “art”, art, art etc…), although the focus is my annoyances.
while not required, it is recommended that all participants carry with them their own, personal, understandings of “art” (these need not be fixed/concrete/tangible; in fact, i treat mine as if it were the lovechild of a light bulb and a faucet… fluid, insubstantial, elusive, and spectral). feel free to do what you like with your understandings; keep them safe in your pocket, crumple them into a ball, throw them on the floor, or tear them in half and leave a bit behind.
RSVP is not necessary; come and go as you please.

WHAT ANNOYS ME…
1. the ART that is loud and impenetrable. it sustains itself with overworked complexities: the jargon that is rendered virtually meaningless by the limited volume of not only its referents, but also its authors and audience; the nuances that can only be expressed in convolutions; the “schools” of thought that really aren’t schools as their goal is not to disseminate knowledge but rather to critique and deconstruct it. an example!

a. Warheitsgehalt: (English translation: truth-content)→ an aesthetic theory proposed by theodor Adorno, champion of dialectics. Adorno’s considerations position ART in relation to society, arguing that its import surpasses that of the functions of beauty and subliminity. as such, Adorno indicates that ART exists outside of itself, pointing to its use as a tool in protest/social movements. this is a relatively tangible/accessible point (not yet obscured by the restless pens of academia). HOWEVER, he then proceeds to undermine the importance of politicized art, claiming that Warheitsgehalt, an incredibly abstract concept that locates the “meaning”/”function”/”truth-content” (etc. i still don’t think i really understand) within a multiplicity of dialectical interactions not only between the piece of ART and society, but also within the work of ART itself, as ART’s greatest critical strength. while a brilliant interpretation of the interactions between ART’s functions and imports, Adorno’s articulation is kept from the general public as a result of its form. complex. dense. tethered to a nearly impenetrable historical web of ideas (eg Kant, Hegel).

b. i do have to say, however, that while I find the presentation of theories like the one offered by Adorno annoying and exclusionary, accessible only to an “intellectual elite” (what use are his words in any context outside of academia? does Warheitsgehalt carry any import within those who engage with installations that deal with recent experiences of violence, such as those created by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo? can ART really be conceptualized through words, and must these words be kept from those outside the world of ART theory?)… i also find them exciting and new. there is something thrilling in sifting through a complex theory. i just wish Adorno presented his theory in a more accessible way (eg through emotions/collective memories as Salcedo does)

2. the art that relies completely on its innovativeness or shock-value annoys me. although i may react strongly to a work, the strength of that reaction isn’t necessarily correlated to my level of appreciation. art that implements the grotesque without elevating it to something beyond itself is annoying. an example!

a. the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living – damien Hirst. i actually saw this piece when i was younger (during its visit to the MoMA in NYC), and i loved it. i thought it was breathtaking. i look back on the experience, however, and understand that i’ll never conjure the same reaction to the piece (it was a one-time thing, a thrill that can’t be relived). whereas i still get shivers when i think of el Greco’s vista de Toledo, or isidre Nonell’s portraits of gypsies, Hirst’s piece lost its value as art once the shock was gone.

i hope you have understood my grievances, and reacted in some way to them. i thank you for taking the time to read my manifesto, and wish you the best of luck on all your endeavors.

-sam

PS i rejected the constraints of grammar because grammar is yet another thing that annoys me.

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