CHANGE: Make It So...

We're Still Primitives After All
by Yours Truly
Published 12.10.19
LinkedIn Platform

I wrote this article in response to something I believe is completely idiotic. I am not telling other artists how to think, feel or react – simply stating my personal opinion, for better or worse. I've put a lot of time, thought and consideration into this article, so hopefully you will understand my perspective. It is a subject I am very passionate about. Kindest blessings to you all...

Nothing personal against Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, but this is where the "art industry" has failed. Perhaps this is considered expression in some form of interpretation, but for the cost of $120,000, I remain incredulous and stupid. Why? Because I've spent my entire adult life trying to understand the greater parts of my soul through valid expression. Evidently all I needed was a banana, some duct tape, and a few wealthy connections in Miami to set up a ridiculous gimmick. All this and I'd be rolling in with an extra $120K in my pocket.

Instead I chose the hard road… drawing, painting, writing and all that other poetic nonsense that doesn't seem to matter in the universe. What lies within is my own bloody interpretation of how far we have digressed as pop-culture morons. I may as well start watching the Kardashians on television for a few grains of common sense.

While I hope the proceeds from this charade are applied to some noteworthy charity, I'm not holding my breath. This pathetic display of ego truly insults my conscience. The core of my senses grow numb over such blatant disregard for traditional creative values. The enlightenment of hard work and creative discovery has been completely undermined. The passion and process beyond which our careful brushstrokes are measured is now worthless. This is not what I stand for as an artist. A banana does represent my love affair with canvas and quill. Period.

Believe me, I have an open and eclectic mind. I know countless artists who spend a lifetime killing themselves just to create something inspiring, to earn a few measly dollars for their painting, their sculpture, their lovely poem. Yet here we have a thoughtless sideshow, a crude publicity stunt which breaks the internet. What a slap in the face...

Yes, arrogance has always been prevalent in the art industry, but this selfish example really takes the cake. Instead of inspiring artists, heartbreaking stunts like this only serve to diminish the importance of what we deal with as true creative beings. This makes me want to QUIT. Seriously. Is this truly what expression has come to? Is this the new standard for stupidity? If I had that kind of money to piss away, I'd rather buy a charcoal sketch from some homeless person on the street, someone who could use a hot shower and a meal.

I really don't blame Cattelan for his craft – his work is typically thought-provoking and unusual. It's all about perspective, but I am not dimwitted enough to ignore the other side of the coin. This was nothing more than a dog-and-pony show, and the man scored a big payday for his part. Good for him. Can't blame anyone for cashing a check. However, I do blame the art industry directly for pushing this absurd standard, for running this story into the dirt and igniting an unnecessary fire of controversy. Mission accomplished. The smoke is still billowing from this burning circus, a spectacle of mindless observers who have never seen a banana taped to a wall. Yay...

It's detestable to think we use our intellectual capacity in such a trite, frivolous manner. It's trivial at best. Expression is not exclusive to elitist hipsters in Miami or New York. Nor do the snobbish arts journalists determine what is credible or relevant in the world at large. They do not determine my passion, my values or my creative integrity as an artistic being. I do... They can suck down all the shrimp cocktails they want, I am simply not impressed.

To stick a banana against a wall with duct tape does not stimulate my intellectual curiosity. It does not fascinate me or improve the human condition. No. In fact, it makes me feel like a primitive, an angry monkey with broken crayons. I did not spend the greater parts of my existence trying to discover my heart in a muddy toilet, yet here it is taped to some wall in a Miami museum.

Frankly speaking, I just don't care. If this is taken as serious art in 2020, than we really need to reconsider what we are doing as artists. Perhaps all of this knowledge and wisdom we have accumulated; all the blood, sweat and tears we pour into our canvas; perhaps this is nothing more than drivel for the privileged snots who give professional artists a bad reputation. I could go on and on, but I think this clearly illustrates my point.

Indeed, I paint this picture with truth. It is for your eyes only. Introspection aside, I hear the title of Cattelan's work is called Comedian. Well I guess the joke was on me, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I am not laughing. Not today. Not tomorrow. Never. Not one little bit. I just hope Billy and Beatrice Cox enjoy that rotten piece of fruit they have purchased. What a colossal waste of time, resources and brain cells...