Dutch art weblog Suds and Soda tells us about an interview the Dutch publication Vrij Nederland recently conducted with British artist Tracey Emin. The interview is not available online, but the author of Suds and Soda gives us one quote:
Last week I went back to my therapist (Tracey says). I told him how happy I was. Yet, at the same time I was afraid of what that happiness might do to my art. Do you know what he said? “Woman, just go home and be happy!”
I found this profoundly intriguing, especially after I had read On the couch with Tracey Emin, an analysis of Emin’s psyche by psychologist Geoffrey Beattie, published in The Guardian.
Now, Tracey Emin is/was one disturbed woman, and for good reason apparently, but should artists bother other people with their own misery? Or is their misery so universal that others can find solace in it? Are artists interesting only because they are suffering, presuming, of course, that all artists suffer? You do not have to take Emin as an example, lots of Romantic writers and plenty of other artists fit the bill perfectly well too. Are we, when we are honouring our precious famous artists, simply elevating mental disorders to the lofty status of art? If so, what does this say about us? If all of us were sane, would there still be non-decorative art? From the last Guardian link:
From Lord Byron to Dylan Thomas and beyond, the famous philanderers of the art world may have had a touch of mental illness to thank for their behaviour, psychologists report today.
Some questions to ponder while all of us here at AFOE are busy weathering the silly season. I know these questions are as old as humanity itself, so try to be creative in your answers 🙂 And, obviously, I am not talking about analytical art and other more intellectual endeavours in the huge field of the arts. As a one-time experiment and bonus, I’ll give you something concrete to analyse for yourselves. Is this art or therapy:
Bonus number two. Weblog Dutch Diary provides the ideal fodder for another perennial discussion, the one that pits art against craft. To summarize that discussion: if you cannot paint, you are not a real artist. Well, in her post After Nike shoes, it’s Van Goghs writer Sue points us to this article from the English-language version of Der Spiegel. One quote:
In just a few years, Dafen (China, ed) has become the leading production center for cheap oil paintings. An estimated 60 percent of the world’s cheap oil paintings are produced within Dafen’s four square kilometers (1.5 square miles). Last year, the local art factories exported paintings worth â‚¬28 million ($36 million). Foreign art dealers travel to the factory in the south of the communist country from as far away as Europe and the United States, ordering copies of famous paintings by the container. (…) Some five million oil paintings are produced in Dafen every year. Between 8,000 and 10,000 painters toil in the workshops.
Fire away, art lovers and art bashers alike.