A Bit More Than a Happy Birthday: Suzi Gablik

Contemporary collage artist and theorist, Suzi Gablik was born on September 26th.

At first I was fascinated by Gablik's collage work but as I researched her I was blown away by the art theory and writings she's produced. She's written many books about the artistic experience, and arts influence and place in the world. I love her open mindedness about what art is. Just check out her quote below.

"I guess I’ve always been trying to deconstruct the cultural narrative which pins art to careerism, self-promotion, and the creation of “art stars,” and which is linked to the obvious gallery and museum nexus. I wanted to validate and expand the possibilities for art making, so that they could include many more options than that. This was not meant to negate the former, but rather to help those artists who found careerism a deadening path break out of the mold. I wanted to encourage them to feel validated if they work outside the familiar contexts." -Suzi Gablik

Her book, "Has Modernism Failed" is now on my reading list. It poses some interesting questions; What is our message with art and is it insulting to the viewer? How do we change the art market so artists aren't so reliant on serving museums and galleries OR simplifying our voices to please masses at art fairs and online shops?

Since reading Sketchnotes, read full post here, I'm starting to believe that a solution is for the visual arts to be treated the same as the literary arts (please note: SAME; literary arts are awesome too!). I know easier said than done, however the foundational concept behind Sketchnotes is that a visual rendering is more efficient than writing. Which in a lot of cases is true! He has a great illustration in the book of a simple line drawn tree then many lines of text that attempted to describe the same thing. The drawing is faster and communicates the same ideas without any language barriers. While the author repeatedly states that sketchnotes aren't art and...yeah his main objective was efficient note taking. It is true that over history visuals have a broad point of entry. Accessible beyond language barriers, and reading skills. So why is the visual arts considered a side luxury? Why does my kid only have art class once a week but has literary related subjects multiple times a day? Why are libraries publicly funded but the arts are always being cut? 

Currently the art world is dominated by art museums and galleries. Art museums and galleries are losing funding from government sources, and they compete for grants with organizations that don't have visual art a part of their core mission. So the funding cycle funnels to seeking support from board members or corporate donors which in turn influences what art is exhibited. People would be outraged if libraries had to jump through so many hoops to remain open.

I know I ranted there, ha ha ha, but I think the art world will always be dependent on pleasing those who will pay for art until visual art is respected as a key form of communication worthy of public dollars and treated as a core subject. 

“Aesthetic autonomy is a deeply rooted idea—autonomy implying moral and social separateness as the condition of art-making,” -Suzi Gablik