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Your Art Week In Review

Alright, it’s been a little while since I’ve had time to sit down and crunch out a proper article reflecting on happening things in a timely manner. Been equally as long since I had time to sit and review some artist I’ve just discovered I like, although that has as much to do with not having time to go looking for them as it does with not having the time to review them. Bollocks.

So, before I head off here to help my good friend Jennifer with a photo shoot this dreary Sunday, here are some links and things from the art world this week, should you have missed them.

Let’s start with Why We Love Bad Photography, an idea from A Photo Editor expanding on a Salon article about why we love bad writing. Don’t forget to read the excellent follow-up from Joerg Colberg over at my favorite art blog (photography, in this case, but you’ll find a lot of insightful and broad philosophy about what art is woven in there), Conscientious.

For my own thoughts on the matter, the idea of good art vs bad art is one that’s been bandied about a lot by my friends and I over the years, especially in the context of Grimey Studios. With their help, I’ve settled into viewing things as divided roughly into two categories: pulp art and fine art. Pulp art is art done using very low-brow means, highly colloquial or based in pop culture, and designed for easy mass consumption. Fine art is art that sets out with ideas and purpose, and might require a background in several ideas or mediums before it gives up its depths to you. I have a deep love for both, and there’s a lot of work done in both styles that I find awful. Other people love that same work. Which eventually forces the idea that there’s no such thing as bad, however often we all will shorthand things we don’t care for as being “bad.” I’m as guilty of it as anyone else, it’s a quick, one-syllable way to convey the idea that “I’m either poorly equipped to understand and appreciate this, or it works using tropes or styles that I simply don’t care for, and that’s fine because there’s plenty enough in this world to accomodate for taste.” Bad is just plain shorter.

That said, don’t get lazy because you don’t have to ever consume anything you don’t like. Trying to figure out why other people like something you don’t and giving it an intent, critical assessment where you honestly try to like it is one of the more rewarding experiences in life. And, sometimes you still won’t like it, and that’s still fine. But see if you don’t walk away with a better appreciation for it regardless, I dare you.

The other thing of note this week is the most sensationally, offensively titled article I’ve seen in a while, Artist Kills Himself (No Big Surprise… Once You See His Paintings). I don’t even know where to start with that, from its crass implications about artist stability to its astounding insensitivity to the plight of the individual it’s about to the implication that you must be deeply messed up to do such off-kilter work. It’s the sort of article that makes me want to side with the old fogeys decrying web journalism because of its lack of standards.

That said, it did introduce me to the work of artist Tetsuya Ishida, who last week threw himself in front of a train, ending 32 years on this ball of molecules. For the introduction, I’m glad. For the death, I’m sad. Ishida used a very illustratorial style for his works, but the subject matter and presentation were all bizarrely surreal, equal parts post-Hiroshima Japan existentialism combined with that surrealist feel of Kafka. It was gorgeous, and while I’m saddened there won’t be any more, what there is will remain favorites of mine.

OK, I’m off to a shoot. Check out Tetsuya Ishida, ponder over the articles on why we love bad art. Get back to me in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter at @zedmartinez.