Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Art Thoughts 3. Importance of Cultivating Friends in Media


Cultivate friends in media and if you are an artist it is a pre-requisite. Do not wait for the art historians and critics whose nose are up in the air, to come and take a cursory glance before they go back to their dens to pick up their pens or log into their laptops and jab in the words and ideas about you and your works, stuff you have not even thought about or dreamt of and come up with a critique of the art work that you have taken a few months or a few years to create, and demolish it in one go or praise to the heavens where your work in fact do not have any space as you yourself are sure about but have already found its place in the hell of discourse down there on there on the earth itself. So cultivate friends in media who talk about you and your works the way the bees do when they come to the flowers. Don’t you know the bees do not do anything to the flowers nor do the change the fragrance of the pollens; they just carry and disseminate elsewhere.


Do you think I am cynical when I say this? No, I am not cynical but am trying to be as sincere as possible, as vehement as a critic who could muster up courage to tell the truth. A critic or a historian is not going to help you immediately, here and now. Their job is there in the future and they are like the carriers of a certain gene along the streams of thoughts and bloods, striving to make them relevant at some point in time. Think of it. Maximum that could become revelations gained as you pour into the toms in real time or scroll up or down in the virtual time. Minimum is that they could become the provenance in some auction where works literally go under the hammer of economics and get encased in super strong cases that would in turn go into the vaults or walls till they are called up again to do the service to economics. But people from media are not like that. Aha, they talk about you and your works, exactly the way you want and the way you desire.


Oh dear media men and women who come to the places where works of art displayed, take your seat at the reception or art the café out there, go through the press material that you hold dear as your life line, and much over the goodies that you have just been given and hark upon the words that the artists have in reserve. You may hear an odd word that sounds so high and mighty among the simple talks that the artists usually have. You run to the urinal first to ease yourself once you are back in the office, then to the online thesaurus so that you could discern what is said and what is unsaid in the press release. You have a tendency to copy to repeat the press release so it is always good for the readers, no matter the daily that they subscribe most of the have the same material on art. And I do not make this condescending comment on the journos. Some of them are so good that they kick the press release into the place where it belongs, a dust bin and take out their smartphones and play the record in which they have registered your seemingly intelligent rambling.


See artists, unlike the critics, these journalists are gifted with readable vocabulary and they know how to employ them in the right contexts and eke out the right responses from people. And remember, they are so good at cooking up things when it comes to making up a feature that explains the life, times and works of an artist. Any artist invariably starts off from a remote village where his father was a communist and mother, an illiterate. Then he goes to the big town to study art because he was inspired by a local school teacher. He gave him some books and some names and he is hooked. Good they were not crude pedophiles. After the education you to the city to struggle and you make it and you come back to the village. All what you want to do with your life is to uplift your state into the heavens of international art. If you were born in a rich family and had the luck to study abroad, the story is always like how you have spent all your time in the museums and galleries and got a head start with good art. Stories are made for you neatly by the media friends and you need them. If you don’t have friends in media you are as good as dead.



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