I attended an art opening over the weekend and you can always spot the people who have never been to an art opening before. They stand by the door or by the bar the majority of the night, they are inappropriately dressed (usually dressed for the club. Side note: You can be an art lover and be dressed for the club, but the folks I saw over the weekend were dressed for the club AND awkward because they too realized they were the only folks dressed for ladies night at the Boomboom room), they make only make conversation with whoever accompanied them to the shindig, and most of all they don’t look at the art!They don’t look at the art! OR they look at the work and utter, arguably one of the most disrespectful phrases, “I coulda did that!” Yea, you coulda but you didn’t.
My problem with the “I coulda did that” phrase is not only is it inconsiderate of art history, the artists’ concept, and the piece but it establishes a value system. A stupid phrase does all of that and it is uttered by artists and non-artists alike. Now, there is no doubt that we all have those “What the hell is this?!” kind of moment but at the same time there are more things to consider instead of whether or not you missed your chance to create a Joan Mitchell-esqu painting just because you think you can when in reality you can’t nor did you.
Its interesting to me that people only want to be amazed (Ron Mueck) or plain ol’ pleased (Bartolome Perez). They don’t want to think too much about the work (Felix Gonzalez Torres), nor do they want to be confused (Janine Antoni). Viewers want to feel good. They want to view nice, aesthetically pleasing paintings from Europe because obviously that is the only real art left in the world. Duh!
So today I got to thinking to myself. I said to myself, SELF- There are two ways to look at art: You can look at a piece without really looking of course and say “I coulda did that”. In doing so, not only have you failed to form a critical opinion, but you have discredited the artist’s labor, knowledge of art history and concept with 4 words (one of which that really doesn’t exist.. so more like 3 1/2 words).
– OR –
You can look at the work, say “I coulda did that… but I didn’t. So why did he/ why did she create this?” You can read the damned didactic placard (that gives you someone else’s opinion about the work) as a base of understanding why there are green candies on the floor. The placard also has a title that sometimes gives a little insight to a piece, a date and the name of the artist. As Talib Kweli says “Information is the new religion”. So instead of writing someone off as an idiot who got lucky, google ’em!