The Creator Hates You and the Artist Loves You

Originally Published in Comfort Magazine Issue 02
the value of Art is held in its ability to communicate. the Artist must imbue the piece with “recognition” not strictly “understanding”, and it is this “recognition” that the Viewer relates to, even if neither the Artist nor the Viewer can define a concrete meaning.

an Artist is a person who distills an unknowable (perhaps even to themselves) mixture of feelings and thoughts into a piece of Art. as long as someone somewhere can recognize the initial experience within themselves, the work is Art and has value. this can be a painting or a song, a film, a chair, a movement or even a way of saying hello. the medium is inconsequential to the value.

this value is what evokes powerful “recognition” from viewers. like the sharing of written or vocal ideas, these artworks have the potential to evolve culture, human relationships and our understanding of ourselves. an effective application of “recognition” elevates the piece to a symbol which communicates this higher level concept more efficiently. this effect differs from human to human and depends on the time and place that it is experienced. timeless art, as much as anything can, touches on the “recognition” of universal human experiences and thus holds the potential to communicate with the most people over the most time.

because the art market is tied to, and increasingly morphing directly into capital, art has become indifferent to the human experience. as money has no meaning except in its implication of violence (defined by David Graeber as the issuing country’s ability to vaporize you anywhere, anytime) and in its use for trade, art too starts to share these traits. often a painting can be sold for hundreds of millions of dollars and amount to nothing more than successful tax evasion. in turn, the art market has responded by gladly obscuring the actual value of art and instead focusing on “process” or useless background context.

many of the highest selling artists today utilize assembly lines of underpaid Artists manufacturing their work and rarely even conceptualize or touch their pieces (yet claim total recognition). this reflects the capitalist ideal where one uses their excess capital (normally acquired via nepotism or in rarer cases, meaningful early work) to apply as little effort and money to create as much profit as possible. this process is alienating and when you see this work you feel the implicit violence. the opposite of recognition: that you are not cared for at all, the creator hates you. they certainly don’t care about you enough to acknowledge your humanity.

this has eroded the public’s conception of art. its very definition existing in popular culture as doublespeak, meant to distract from the fact that the art market is completely unable to create value under the capitalist system. culturally this has led many to claim to “not understand” art when in reality they understand perfectly - there is no grand “meaning”. the only thing to understand is the same thing one might derive from a dollar bill. that the structure of our world is totally corrupt and all of its systems are in service of the violent domination of the many by the few. when you hear a song made for attention and not for “recognition” you feel this. when you see a “future relic” you feel this. in many ways it surrounds us.

just as we cannot save our governments by improving the quality of politicians in power, we cannot change the art world by changing the gatekeepers. the only path to an art criticism and market reattached to Value is through the creation of our own institutions and movements built in support of it. those that champion the Artists who create pieces that communicate “recognition” and which help provide cultural education to those who view it. we must learn to talk about art without doublespeak. we must acknowledge the need to provide oneself with money under the capitalist system and we must provide for each other in our efforts to survive long enough to exceed our goals.