Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Artist’s Statement Generator

Next time your gallery dealer asks you for an Artist’s Statement, don’t despair. Instead of sweating over writing one yourself, just use this all-purpose Artist’s Statement Generator.

It’s easy! Choose a line from Column 1, a line from Column 2, and a line from Column 3, stick ‘em together, and you’ll mystify the best of them.

"My recent work is:

Column 1
An exploration of the irreducible act of mark-making...
An investigation of the mimetic process...
An excavation of the inheritance of the past...
A disquisition on our shared narratives...

Column 2
...which seeks to unravel the threads of visual discourse
...which delves into the connectedness of the real and the abstract
...which re-encodes ambiguity and authenticity
...which reveals the undercurrents of ritual

Column 3
...by creating a conversation between color and texture."
...by disjunctively animating it through a process of mimicry."
...by mediating clich├ęs through a retro-nostalgic lens."
...by alluding to tropes of the built environment."

43 comments:

Sara said...

Don't forget "It explores man's inhumanity to man"!

Connie said...

Love it! Ive always struggled with writing my statement...just never could get that intellectual mystique going. Now I'm set for life.

jeff jordan said...

But you forgot "pondering the ponderousness of ponderosity."

Mary Bullock said...

ROFL!!! Thanks Jim - now I can actually sound intelligent too.

The fearless threader said...

I've always preferred, "I like to make works that describe my encounters with the finite nature of our own search for and fear of the infinite."

Steve said...

Jeez, I just had to submit one of these a couple weeks ago. Still, this was a treat.

Great to see the word "trope" two days in a row!

The only other overworked word you might thrown in there is "interface." You know, "by exploring the interface between the subjective and the objective ontological didacticism."

In my AS, I did manage to extend my gratitude to Jon Gnagy for getting me started. But, without any art courses or degrees, I had to describe myself as "self-taught." I acknowledged this left me with not the greatest of teachers, but we get along well.

Emily Crowley said...

Reminds me of having to write essays for my critical theory class last year.

Erik Bongers said...

Wish you also had a generator for prefaces/introductions to artbooks.
Although it can't be that difficult - just generate a couple of dozens of these random combinations and you're fine.

But there are exceptions.
The introduction to an artbook by the eccentric Phil Hale was written by a close friend...or was he?

I've resented Phil Hale for eight years now[...]
Looking at Phil's work from the last decade, I have the strong sense that he is holding something back. I believe his best work is still to come. Phil Hale is not a great artist. Yet.


p.s. you won't belie this but my word verification is...aphil!

Mike Lawrence said...

HILARIOUS. Though I think you could have used "dichotomy", "juxtaposition", or "pedagogy" 7 or 8 times for good measure.

kev ferrara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kev ferrara said...

Hilarious post, Jim.

I have a pile of these ultra-pretentious and completely clueless "artist statements" somewhere in my studio.

I once went to an opening of pomo paintings by an acquaintance who had graduated from an Ivy League school. The art was abysmal and pre-schoolish, as you might imagine. But the Artist's Statement... that was really something.

As I was reading it I was shaking my head in disbelief. Then I looked up and saw from across the gallery that my pomo friend had been watching me read. She had this look on her face that was just devastating... I got the sense that she knew she was completely lost. And that, for all the incredible financial debt she had piled up to finance her education, she also knew that all she had been taught was to be a rank fraud.

Larry said...

Artists were the leaders, having invented Artist Speak long before consultants thought to devise their own language.
Very funny.

Rob Rey said...

If you do artist biographies as well, will there be a choice or will they all have to begin with "NAME has been drawing since the age of X(enter age between 5 years and -9 months)"?

Great post, too true.

Marcia Silva said...

I loved hahahaha!!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Brilliant, James ............Stape

Saskia said...

Where is my beloved "human condition"?

goat89 said...

HAHAHAH!!! Can't believe you support and wrote this! :D Brilliant, i tell you sir! Brilliant!!!

By Scott Flanders said...

hahaha!

Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Spooky!

Rafael said...

Don't forget the very useful art critique generator! http://www.pixmaven.com/phrase_generator.html

Claudio Saes said...

Great post, with very useful professional tips.
Help greatly appreciated!!
PS: LOL, I loved

Emmanuel Laverde said...

Jajaja very useful!

David B. Ellis said...

I read not long ago about a computer program that will generate english papers in dense postmodernese....Its indistinguishable from real postmodernist writing since both are just gibberish that means nothing while sounding erudite.

I suspect it could be easily adapted to writing artist's statements. When I get a couple of semesters of programming under my belt (I take my first one next semester) I may give it a try.

craigstephens said...

That's hilarious!
The best artist's statement I ever saw was by a local sculptor who's name I do not recall but who's artist's statement I could never forget. It said simply, "I like to make things".

Brenda Lyons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda Lyons said...

Oh whoops, I commented on the wrong journal entry! Sorry!

As for the artist statement generator, this hits the nail right on the head. I've read so many statements just like these...no real thought put into them, just fancy words.

gallymathias said...

Excellent! :)

Tim said...

Good stuff Jim.

For an absolutely hysterical time, make sure you get the audio guide to any large modern art museum. My absolute favorite is at the Moma. When they come to De Koonings Woman 1

http://www.art-interview.com/Issue_008/Issue_images/deKooning_001.jpg

and the pompous curator with a strong french accent starts doing somersaults with words, I cant take it any more and end up ripping the headphones from my ears with disgust. I think i only ever made it past 2 or three works in there before giving up on the guide.

A funny thought just occurred to me. All museum charge about 5 bucks for the guides, EXCEPT all the modern ones. I find that very interesting...

Same goes for trying to read the single spaced, 2 page long "explanation" as to why you just paid 15 bucks to see absolute rehashed bullshit at the entrance of any large retrospective show at the same place.

Johan Derycke said...

Why can't we get away with: "This piece speaks for itself"?

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Wonderful! This is so funny and soooooooooooo needed to be said out loud!

I've just highlighted this post on Twitter and in my resource about How to write an Artist's Statement with the suggestion that it's absolutely essential reading anytime an artist feels tempted to "obfuscate"!

Cole said...

Don't forget to tack 'thus resolving a succinct and coherent commentary of the post-modern human condition' on the end of your artist statements for extra pretentiousness.

Tracy Hall said...

Absolutely brilliant. Made my day!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hahahaha... thanks..... exactly!!!

Suz said...

Hilarious and so true!! Reminds me of the ludicrous requirement to pass an "oral" exam (weighted more than artwork itself) to graduate college as a Master of "visual" art! If you could impress the professors with outlandish explanations, you earned the right to be called a good artist...if not a used car salesman.

Eduardo Cordeiro said...

Works like a charm: http://www.flickr.com/photos/escordeiro/4157162541/

Julie Baroh said...

A very well known Japanese artist hates writing artist statements so much, she tends to suddenly "forget" how to speak or write English every time she has a show in the States, and requests the curator write for her. She then enjoys a good hearty laugh at the result. It's an inside joke that is made even funnier at the fact that no one in the museum/gallery industry is aware she finds the whole thing hysterically funny in it's pretentiousness.

Corrie Scott said...

Just loved this. I so often come across just this sort of verbiage from artists who take themselves far too seriously and whose use of the English language is limited to using a mass of words where simplicity often gets the point across.
I must use this as a cv at some point and so perhaps get taken more seriously :)

Shane Pierce said...

haha! that is great!

kaslkaos said...

I'm actually tempted to use this...now off to read more Joseph Campbell books in an effort to cobble together something in my own words.

Daniel Silberberg said...

Haha spectacular. I've got to find an opportunity to use this.

shuntheaddie said...

this is great!

prrrszalony said...

Thats interesting:D I hope i could use it someday.
It reminds me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6NU5K3k8Xo
art gallery in subway :D

John Tourot said...

Brilliant, thank you so much for this very useful thing.