Sunday, June 18, 2006

Photoworthy- Master, tell us what is good...

Some folk, in advanced middle-age, have, by the sweat of their brow, gained a degree of success.

You go up the mountain to see such a person. Walking past the appurtenances of success, past reception, through heavy doors.

And then there are the rest of us.

If you have gone up the mountain to visit a Juris Doctor you wouldn't be so tacky as to talk about fees. You have discovered in advance the JD fee, $500/hour. But this Attorney, this Man with the eyebrows, this Woman with the suit, they are going to provide you value, a service for the fee. You recognize the value, you pay willingly.

Where does value come from?

French President Jacques Chirac is irritated with Google. 74% of French web searches are performed via Google, a corporation that judges "worthiness" via an algorithm of which Chirac is suspicious.

Jack don't like it.

Jack wants the state to establish a search-engine whose returns are based on the opinions of French Wise Men, not returns filtered through a corrupt American algorithm.


Which brings us to museums. Museums are owned and operated by people who know what is good?
What algorithm do museums use to process their selections?

Is something good because the Art History Philosophiae Doctor said so?

Is Art good when it deals in concept?

Is Art good when the rest of us scratch our heads and say "what the hell?"

Is it a numbers game? Is it sex? Is it celebrity?


Whatever it is, I haven't got it.

But YES SPORTSFANS! I had a picture in MoMA.

For a few days.

A curatorial decision was made, the doors were opened to lumpenproletariat photographers, to the hoi polloi.

As you can see, the images weren't displayed with the usual reverence.

No fancy lighting.

No text blocks etched on glass plates.

Regardless, I admire MoMA for temporarily admitting the unwashed.

Who possesses the Stamp marked Worthy?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen! Who decides what is good? I have such a hard time asking for money for what I do. I absolutely think my fee is warranted, but when I deal with people who think Sears take a good picture... Funny though how a dentist can ask for $600 to fix a chipped tooth and no one blinks...

Anonymous Michael said...

Or you could ask: who possesses the stamp marked 'UNWORTHY'. Probably more frequently used.

And thanks for the blog, and for your photo site, which I often visit and recommend to others.

Blogger Barrett said...

The "art scene" (from "it" galleries to museums) is so convoluted that I've largely ceased trying to make sense of it; I don't think there's much to make sense of, really. I simply go about doing the work I deem imortant enough to work on, and, at the moment, try and get it shown (there are actually a few local places that sound interested). Get a few things published in a few places (been there/done that already, and so have you). I'm not against having loftier ambitions (hardly!), because that, too, is part of the process that keeps one going; but it's important to remember that it's only part of it. The process involved in the work, the very act of going-out-and-doing-it; this is the stuff has always fed my creative mojo, and feeds it stronger now than ever before; at some points in my life it literally helped keep me sane when ut seemed everything else was falling apart. And, yes, it has helped pay the bills to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the decade. What a given art establishment might think of my output at a given period, I truly couldn't give a, fig. I've grown just arrogant enough to believe these guys and gals aren't worth doing headstands for. If they like it, I'm obviously pleased, but if they're just not into me, I'll live. Really. It's still a big world.

- Barrett


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