I’ve been writing now about the historical context and importance (or lack there of) of contemporary art in current American life for more than four years now. This blog is an effort to put my “money where my mouth is” in terms of my thoughts on the current state of art in America today. Effective change only comes from conversation and I’m hoping this blog will contribute to a larger more meaningful conversation that can live outside the hype, politics and money of the art scene. My aim is to bring awareness to current cultural or popular trends and place them up against what is happening or what has happened in the contemporary art .
I have a soft spot for the late cultural and art critic Robert Hughes, who despite his blowhard and at times conservative tendencies, is one of those rare birds in today’s public landscape: he calls it like he see’s it;
“Aesthetic discrimination must not be tarred with the same brush as sexual or racial discrimination. I don’t think democracy is any guide to taste at all, I think democracy exists to allow elitism — elitism based on excellence.”
I like his sensitivity to the idea that there is simply good and bad art. There are things that do not contribute to our enrichment, visually or otherwise and they should be recognized and pointed out as such. At times I will engage in just that. As the philosopher Slavoj Zizek says,
“I believe in clear-cut positions. I think that the most arrogant position is this apparent, multidisciplinary modesty of “what I am saying now is not unconditional, it is just a hypothesis,” and so on. It really is a most arrogant position. I think that the only way to be honest and expose yourself to criticism is to state clearly and dogmatically where you are. You must take the risk and have a position.”
And so do I.
About Erik Odin Cathcart
Mr. Cathcart is a life long artist whose primary medium is painting. He is also a photographer, sculpture, writer and curator. He has taught art both informally and formally (on the college level) and has worked in most aspects of the art industry from art installation to preparatory to curation. He is finishing his first book, The Artful Life, that shares artistic strategies on how to live a more fulfilling life. His next project will be a book about Francis Bacon & Postmodernism. He currently serves as the Director, Marketing & Strategy for Earth Advantage, a Portland, Oregon nonprofit that advocates for green building by providing knowledge to building professionals.