Good Questions


Battling with the last of the text and then (alas) taxes, but: Return To Studio is imminent! So is spring, and already the improving weather is bringing Chicago people (including me) out more: I have had and am having an upswing in visiting friends, catching up: another reason to be happy to be home. My computer had been seriously rebelling, making me a captive of the Mac spinning color wheel over and over again, so I also had to spend two days upgrading and clearing out old files. I found this from 2008:

“Interesting conversation last night here at Ragdale with authors from across the spectrum: novelists, poets, essayists.  It began with the writers’ incredulous reactions to artists’ statements, and was the most fertile conversation I’ve ever had about them.

Their observations: artists’ statements are written in interminable language, which seems deliberately obtuse and nonsensical. Artists’ statements all sound the same. Artists’ statements rarely offer even a shred of human insight into the work.  The most intriguing observation to me was: writing IS an art, a difficult and demanding art that takes years to hone.  Poets and writers are never expected to clarify their work for their audiences in visual form; they’re not required to become photographers, painters or sculptors in order to BE writers. Why is it that all visual artists are required to write?  Why isn’t a visual experience enough in and of itself, particularly when so much of the dismal writing actually detracts from the work?”

Good questions, to which I’ve never found answers beyond the homogenization of MFA programs, particularly as colleges and universities have become more and more corporate in outlook and structure (which was my answer then). These questions are still particularly poignant to me, especially after this recent period of struggle with words while longing to use my hands, heart, mind and body doing what I do best, and love.


2 thoughts on “Good Questions

  1. yes. i recently tried to write a little statement sort of thing about the art i’ll be teaching in a college workshop. a writer friend asked to read it. he had no idea what i was writing about. he couldn’t understand it at all. that was enlightening.

  2. ALL very good questions and i think it’s telling that we have about as many answers now as we ever did. love the new work! and wish i could be one of those visitors…

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