There seems to be this misconception that one must, in some way or the other, be “qualified” to write about art. But we don’t expect the same of book and film reviewers. There’s too much of an aura that surrounds the art world, in India and abroad. The impulse to create art was perhaps the first creative human impulse. Somewhere along the road our reaction to art has gotten mired in the trappings of academic discourse.
The language modern-day most art critics use to articulate their responses to a work of art or a body of work by an artist reeks of polysyllabic jargon. In the last decade, the space for any immediate critique of art shows has shrunk. Newspapers relegate a column or two, and only if the show in question is important enough, or if the artist is an established figure in the world of art. The few reviews that do get published feature pussyfooted writing that refuses to take a stand on the veracity of the art work, and rarely ever questions whether the object indeed merits definition as art. There are art magazines, but the writers, more often than not, are young curators with vested interests that colour their opinion of the art on display.
Despite the economic slow-down, art continues to be produced in India and across the world. The market for art continues to exist, and contrary to the gradual dissolution of spaces for art critique, every day, new spaces are emerging to facilitate the creation and the display of art.
The art world continues to be exclusive and evasive. There are few platforms which mediate between the artist and society, or that allow the lay person to relate and respond to art.
There’s too much mystique surrounding the art world and not enough critique.
Antigafapasta is an attempt to separate the grain from the chaff, to expose the truth behind all that masquerades as art.
For five years I’ve watched from the sidelines, I frequented galleries, gatecrashed my way to openings, worked on art books and even reviewed art for the rare magazine or two that surprisingly dared to accept my pitches.
I’m no longer in it for the free red wine. I’m eager to begin a dialogue with fellow art lovers who share my apprehensions about the state of art and the quality of art writing.
If you’re interested in my opinion of an artist, or if you’re keen to share your opinion, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m no art critic or art historian. Just a humble art enthusiast. Someone who salivates in the company of good art and who cringes when exposed to bad art that’s served on a platter, disguised as the real thing.
There’s no space for jargon here. No room for the esoteric and the pretentious or the highfalutin. Only clear, articulate and honest responses to art that moves me and art that doesn’t.
Because art writing doesn’t have to be incomprehensible.