(Some) Artists are Dangerous Idiots
By Michelle Stirling-Anosh
[A rebuttal to the op-ed: “Artists are Dangerous” http://artsplan.ca/content/artists-are-dangerous and video of the same name: http://vimeo.com/67595316 ]
Don’t be deceived by the pompous self-confidence exuded as they accept yet another meaningless award from a circle of their government-funded peers.
Real artists don’t go by grants.
These dangerous artists who are idiots feign a sense of privilege and self-importance over questionable talents that, if anything, are granted by the gods, not man.
Make no mistake. Self-important artists pose a threat to life as we know it. Such as using their advanced communications skills to advocate for eco-causes, the science of which they know nothing about, they are killing industry and causing global warming through all their hot air.
That’s why artists sometimes terrify people – they are holier-than-thou, smarter-than-thou and noisier-than-thou – but certainly not more talented-than-thou.
Some artists believe themselves to be above the herd – as in the recent “Artists are Dangerous” blog and video. They state that they are leaders while you lowly sloth are nothing but followers and should be thankful art is out there like a bright light, shining the way.
They claim they work harder than you, that they don’t get casual Fridays, that they ‘punch in once’ and don’t punch out till you put them in a box.
But you’ll never find an artist out in the alley at dawn slinging his or her own filth into the great maw of the garbage crusher – the place where the vast majority of their work belongs.
Here in the dumpster, where the faithful garbage collector works at his job (much disdained by artists of course) should be the home of the ‘performance art’ chicken execution featured as lunchroom ‘art’ at the Alberta College of Art (that hard-working taxpayers support)….
Here in the dumpster should be the home of the meat dress – so clever while people die of hunger in the streets.
Here in the dumpster should be the Peace Bridge – in a city that has an arts plan they paid money to develop – supposedly to support local artists, they import an architect from Portugal and all of his heavy metal bridge-work from Spain thousands of miles, when local architects and regional millwrights had the talent and production line to do it for less and for our weather conditions.
This ‘artistic’ endeavor was intended to help Calgary reduce its ‘carbon-footprint’ – so heavy metal parts were shipped TWICE from far-away Spain. Yes, see, artists ARE dangerous, but not in the way they think they are.
Artists who think so highly of themselves that they are more valuable than doctors, engineers, shop clerks or yes…the lowly garbage collector…are dangerous to society. Our society is based on form …and function.
What good is art that falls down? We see this at Telus Spark where people walk across the APEGA bridge on the second level – a contribution by the engineers and geoscientists of Alberta. They don’t notice the inherently beautiful qualities of this non-descript bridge – that being – safe passage!
Yet in some form of absurd mockery, on display across from APEGA’s professional bridge are the ‘artistic’ efforts of visitors to Telus SPARK. They tried their hand at making bridges – bridges by non-engineers. The pathetic collection of bent straws are twisted, ugly, bent and impossible designs. Clever some of them? Perhaps. Will they hold a freight train or a handful of humans? Never.
And that’s the danger with artists who attempt to put themselves above the rest of us.
You see, all life is supported by an invisible network of ordinary people, like Jeff from accounting. You may not run off to Paris with Jeff, but if you do, you will at least be able to pay for your trip.
Unlike the ‘artist’ who will be found at the Canadian embassy in Paris, their hand out for more money to finance their presence at some international event… because heaven knows how important their artistic work is…and how much it represents Canada…they must have funding for the show, their travel and the press kit too!
Unlike true artists of the past who had day jobs and who appealed to independent philanthropists to underwrite their mad and beautiful visions, today’s artists are dangerous idiots who think it is helpful to homeless people to see a $24 million dollar bridge because it might lift up their spirits, when it is really only valuable to them as a place to sleep in, well-lit and somewhat protected by the elements.
Michelangelo, Tolstoy, Bach, Beethoven, Fred and Ginger, Baryshnikov…the endless list of great artists whose work will last throughout time is long – and few were underwritten by the public.
Those who claim “Artists are dangerous” are dangerous idiots. They don’t believe in a world where things don’t fall down – they think an artistic novelty should be applied to architecture, not science or engineering. Form over function rules – and fails, miserably.
Some dangerous artists say ‘they don’t need you’….really?
When the exacto blade slips and stabs the infallible artist in the artery, will the doctor not be called? As the rich, red, blood gushes from the artist, slowly melting into a pool of itself shall this beast of bravado cry out “I don’t NEED YOU Doctor Spacemen…I am an ARTIST and THIS is my FINEST HOUR”…sucking one last pretentious breathe.
And who’s going to clean up that mess? An artist?
NO! A cleaning lady no doubt – armed with rubber gloves and disinfectant, now at risk of HIV or Hepatis – she, or perhaps he – will have to scrub away the detritus of art simply because the artist did not NEED anyone.
No – the artist does not need the banker either, nor the accountant. No – disdain this financial curse called money. That’s what artists do because of course they are said to be ‘better with money than you’…or claim that they ‘work for less.’ I thought art was a calling, not just ‘work.’ If they work for less why didn’t the Peace Bridge cost a nickel?
And if they are so good with money, why do they need 1% of all municipal projects in Calgary to finance ‘public art’ – when we are now drowning in river silt and even more people are homeless.
Some artists are simply Mafia dressed up funny.
Let’s face it – these ‘dangerous’ artists have a way to publicly excoriate the herd who may not be gifted with such talents for seeing the world upside down and expressing that in an enticing way, but who do go to work each day, pay their bills and pay taxes…which support these leeches.
These self-acclaimed ‘artists’ wield this mysterious talent of theirs like a baseball bat – crushing the fingers of any bureaucrat who tries to impose cuts and giving out free concussions to common sense administrators whenever pompous performance art chicken heads flop to the floor in art schools.
Would that self-important performance person ever stoop to do a day’s work in a chicken processing plant? Of course not – she or he is above the lowly task of making sure there is a fresh and sanitary food supply chain from farm to fine dining plate.
These “artists are not heroes.” They are self-possessed and self-engrossed dreamers who occasionally have a brilliant idea that others connect with, but, not that often.
That’s what infuriates these ‘dangerous artists’ and makes them publicly rage about how heroic they are. Look at them – they work for nothing, they work at nothing, and almost nothing they produce stands the test of time….very little the test of function.
Much of the work of the artist who thinks he or she is dangerous is produced by someone who is obsessed with their own specialness – never dreaming that a farmer with a tractor might emboss beautiful crop circles on his or her own field… for fun. Or that a farmer could do something a thousand times more complex than the intricate mazes their own rats-for-brains of faulty self-important logic run around and around in their artsy heads.
Artists do manipulate your brain, some can tear your heart out – but most will be found behind you, trying to pick your pocket to finance their whacky notions.
“Let’s cover the world in pink cellophane.”
“Let’s float a giant rubber ducky in the port.”
“Let’s rub excrement on the walls as a statement against the tar sands.”
“Let’s vomit on the shoes of the Mayor in an expression of disgust that we don’t get to put a modern art museum in the old Centennial Planetarium…”
How many people want vomit on their shoes? So of course the artist will get to fake a MOMA at the Centennial Planetarium – and then they will want MORE of your money – more money from the people they DO NOT NEED – and if those dangerous artists don’t get it, watch out.
They’ll be at your kid’s school decapitating chickens until you give in.
That’s how artists take the higher moral ground. That’s how artists are self-identified warriors. That’s how artists believe they are ‘there before the first-responders’…ah yes we saw a large band of artists doing a big water color mural down in Elbow Park just before the Glenmore Reservoir Dam was breached. How inspiring!… Somehow it didn’t hold back the storm or help the victims.
But it was art. And therefore holy. At least in the eyes of those artists who are dangerous idiots. These dangerous idiot artists do lecture you, do criticize you, do place themselves above you, but in the end it turns out people want a safe home more than artwork. They want food on the table more than art. They want real first-responders who can save lives, not pretentious folk with a brush or mallet in hand asking if you’d like a canvas for your ride to the evacuation center.
You want to be a Champion of the Arts? Then pick an artist whose work you like and be prepared to wait an eternity for the result – because real art is about feeling and some mythical thing on the right hand side of the brain that sometimes just won’t come out on time or budget. Your commissioned work will be almost done – but won’t be released to you because the artist will say “there’s something missing.”
Real artists work from the heart and never bother to tell others how important they are.
Real artists are as grateful for the garbage man as they are for the doctor; they like their accountant who keeps Revenue Canada away and are in awe that non-artists like the Nickles and Harveys and thousands of other Calgarian oil men and women have consistently put up lots of money so the arts would have a home and a wall to hang on.
Those people didn’t favor the arts because they thought artists were dangerous. They did it because they liked art and recognized we all have a role in society. TRUE leaders align themselves with the people who make things work in society – teachers, laborers, engineers, business managers. Without a society that works, art is useless and meaningless.
Artists who think otherwise are very dangerous and should never be funded for their gangster style approach to your pocketbook.
Real artists are enlightening and insightful, not pompous petulants.
Despite statements to the contrary, I am sure many of these alleged artists will now begin to criticize me. Artists who try to smother free speech are dangerous idiots. You heard it here first.