imprimatur: the unutterable joy and security of the brand

it’s interesting the variety of people who come by the Studio to see what we’ve got going on. It’s a great mix of people: lively, opinionated, dynamic. Artists and non-artists alike.

What seems to me to be a bit odd though, is that there are quite  a few people I’ve known for a long time and with whom I have had many, many conversations about the “state of art” and how “change is important” and all that. Together we’ve criticized many things we don’t like and ranted about how to change it.

Well, now that my friends and I have decided to put our money where our mouths are, and set up our own thing and try to do things a bit differently (or die trying) – where are these putative supporters cheering us on – or pointing out where me might be going wrong? Invisible. Oh wait, no they’re not. They are just down the road, busy swanning around at the self same institutions they had been criticizing only recently.

Should I be angry or upset? Or just resigned? Let’s face it, we live in a branded culture, where the imprimatur of a big known brand just does count for more than the “no name” version. If a well known brand wants to sponsor an art event, then it is just going to get more people there than some obscure collection of artists. I know that. I don’t even mind. Just don’t preach the radical no-logo art revolutionist claptrap that you don’t actually believe in, cos it’s fashionable.

It’s like the way that so many art bookshops sell these super glossy expensive editions of Situationist texts, or Marxist programmes or even anarchist texts, in lushly bound coffee table editions. Or handsome volumes of radical theory. Relying on the fact that nobody who might ever put any of this stuff into practice will ever buy these glossy editions. Art institutions are not, and will never be, places of radicalism in any form. Do the math.

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