Friday, November 11, 2011
About (some) Women as Artists and Their Stories
I have so many girlfriends. The emphasis on girlfriends because they are ‘girls/women’, in the sense, as one of the T-shirt logos say ‘I am a Virgin’ – It is an old T-shirt, by gender. Don’t get me wrong. There is no sexism in this comment. These women are my friends and most of them are artists too.
An art critic’s job involves a lot of listening. You have to do a lot of couch sessions. Again, please don’t get me wrong here too. I am talking in a very Freudian sense not in Shakti Kapoor-ian sense. To become a good art critic and a curator you need to develop a strong sense of listening. A sense of seeing is a different issue. “CD bhej deejiye….or send me a mail with low resolution images of your works,’ is the common refrain that most of the art critics do; this lot includes me too.
So basically, an art critic listens a lot and he/she is expected to absorb a lot from these sessions. While speaking about listening and talking, Osho says, the Westerners have made listening into a profession. And they call it psychoanalysis. They make a lot of money out of listening because none listens to none there. One day, a friend of Freud asked him, “You listen to people a lot. Don’t you get bored?” To that Freud answered, “Who listens? I just pretend to listen. If you listen to all those you will go mad.”
In that sense, an art critic cannot be a Freudian. He/she has to listen; listen absolutely. Men artist folks do not talk too much. Even if they talk they talk about so many worldly things. If Malayalis meet another Malayali they start with Marxism and ends up in old romantic Malayalam songs. If Bengalis meet Bengalis they only talk Bengali and it starts with and ends in Robindro Shongeet. I am not being parochial.
Women artists speak and they speak a lot. Most of them are beautiful and beautifully existential and existentially spiritual, spiritually materialistic, materialistically troubled, troublesomely materialistic and spiritual, confused on ideas, confused with ideas and confused by the very notion of ideas, they are feministic to the core and conventional to their teeth, outgoing in many ways and ritualistic for protecting their family peace. Some are deeply vague and many are vaguely deep. Many are beautifully shallow and therefore too vehement on what they do.
The degree of this confusion increases as per their belief in auto-diktat-ism grows. The same observations could be made on male artists too. But they carefully cover it in their indulgence in property price and the properties of the new car that they have ecently purchased.
Also, please don’t mistake that a silent male artist is quite a deep person. In fact he does not have much to say. Even if he has he has said it in his works, which is sadly mute, dumb and in all possible ways handicapped.
In couch sessions I hear a lot about their supporting husbands. That is just a beginning. Now I am sure, by the third session the husbands will have grown into devils.
Often these women artists speak that they need to earn from their art and the more they emphasis on that you become sure that they are nearing their thirties or mid forties. This lot is hated both by the young women gallerists and women curators. But the solace is not even there in the old women gallerists. They too hate these women artists.
Then for whom do they work for and for what they still do their work? They say it satisfies them spiritually. But they want material success. And their age is not conducive for them to move around with a CD in their hands and say, “look I am an artist, please see my works.”
Often, the moment they enter in a gallery, all the lights come into life. The errand boy would come with a glass of water and then ask for chai or coffee. The gallery director would come out and give them a conducted tour in the ongoing show. They have been taken for a ‘buyer’ because of the chauffer driven car, designer clothes, Gucci bag, Swarovski diamonds and all.
Then they literally ‘burn’ the CD inside their bag. Some women artists bury it in their vanity bags. Whether you burn or bury, you are gone.
Many like to make page 3 appearance.
They will be in group shows, which will have minimum thirty artists. And they curse themselves to be a part of that show. Yet they participate. And each woman artist in the show hates the other woman artist in the show. See the group photos in FB. You could see hatred largely written on their painted face.
There are yet another group of women artists. They are like Andy Warhol’s girls. They are famous because they are famous. They are famous so they get entry everywhere. They are seen with the right people but participate always in the wrong shows. When they are the daughters of the rich and powerful there works could be even framed upside down. They will coolly justify the blunder with some vague Picasso quotation.
And if they wear a skirt-pant, a mutant dress, god alone knows some anti-woman activist might have designed it, their intellectual quotient will go a bit high till it is removed for good or bad reasons.
Many prefer to be seen with anybody foreign. One speaking in Spanish and the other speaking in English would not make much difference. After all free food and drink don’t need any language.
So I welcome my dear ladies….if you have anything to tell me, please do. You give me a lot of stories. And let me tell you, you may not be a star in the art scene. You might not have achieved the kind of success you want to have. But you are wonderful people. Your confusions and tribulations and happiness have contributed a lot in my life; it helps me to grow everyday into a new person.
I am a listener. I can listen to your stories without judging you.