“Panic in the galleries of Berlin, New York, London, Tokyo. I wonder to myself.” – Sigmund Freud

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Unfortunately, I can’t claim to have the charisma of Bill Murray, but out of the four Ghostbusters, I am Peter Venkman (Doctor Venkman, that is), the eternal skeptic with a lust for life. And coincidentally, also a lust for Sigourney Weaver.

However, I can still imagine myself in his shoes, negotiating the trick questions and ethical jungle that is being on the weak end of a desired sexual relationship with someone possessed by an unknowable entity from a parallel dimension.

That is what it is like to attempt to succeed in the “Art World”.

I have been listening to the Reith Lectures given by Grayson Perry. and so should you. I think I’m developing a it of a man-crush on him. He covers pretty much all of my hobby horses, and I could go over it all myself but Perry expresses it all a lot better than I ever could, so please tune in here:

What’s more he has a unique ability to rip the piss out of the very elite that are sitting in the audience, cheering and applauding him. So how does Perry get away with it?

He’s special, that’s how. Like Bill Murray, he’s an exceptional individual. It’s as simple as that. Grayson Perry is the exception that proves the rule. His work is thought-provoking, humorous and decorative, and he is charismatic, engaging and entertaining. I highly recommend his series of lectures.

Regular readers will know how much I hate the bullshit of the art world. I saw the following blog post recently and posted it on Facebook quoting this extract at the top of the post:

“Sometimes I wish I possessed the requisite attention span to absorb endless amounts of totally pointless bullshit.”

A friend who is very much on-message with Contemporary Fine Art posted a comment saying “I know how you feel, I don’t get astro-physics, wish they’d sort it out!”.

It’s a specious argument in that it implies that art can only be “got” by highly trained and specialised experts and reinforces the alienation felt by, well, almost everyone. But art and the physical sciences cannot be directly compared, and this is just an apology for an unsupportable and elitist idea that Contemporary Fine Art has progressed into a superior form, and that that form requires a trained expert to produce it and appreciate it.

Just more bullshit.

So why does everyone get so angry about art? Well it’s partly because there are no rules. There are no formulae that can be proved, there are no experiments that can be performed (except those that lead to further conjecture), there are no conclusions to be reached and there are no solutions that can be applied.

Consequently, everyone is on a kind of adreneline-fuelled, enhanced state of high-alert the whole time. Rather like the ancient King of the Woods, wedded to the Golden Bough, continuously on guard, only to be slain by his successor and pass on that crooked crown to the next stressed-out incumbent.

But what can you do? The gatekeepers are the curators. Perry characterises curators as being “the most powerful giver-outers of Brownie points in the art world”. And there’s the rub.

If you’re not prepared to get on-message then you are not granted entry. If you want the gatekeeper to open the door, you need to be prepared to put in your key and give it a whirl. I studied art briefly and stood on that particular gatekeeper’s threshold, but I decided Thorazine was a more responsible move that Rohypnol, and left Dana to take a little nap.

You also have a choice. Either get on-message or get the hell out of Sumer. If you decide to leave then you are on your own, and that is my world.

It’s a beautiful, but terrifying wilderness.

More on this topic soon…