Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Where did the Philanthropists go?

Been a funny ol' evening.

Went along to Earl Solomon's opening in the Foyer, was speaking to him for a bit at my opening and he invited me along, had a phonecall from Andy saying he was in town and going along so it would be good to meet up. Went along with Martin, had a quick chat with Jim Ewan before someone tapped a glass and some guy launched into a speech.

It was a little odd, but I expected it because Earl had been saying that he was asked to do a speech, and that's what the Foyer were doing from now on. But the speeches seemed to go on for ages, and then some woman had won something or other and she was congratulated. The whole thing was so fucking corporate. I'd just like to take this time to say that the work was really good, really interesting drawings, and any criticisms I am going to give were of the opening, and not the work. So anyway there were all these guys in suits and women in dresses about, I recognised a few faces from work and some artist and art folk about, and the Lord Provost pushed past with his chains and that, all very fancy. When the speeches passed we went for a wee look at the work before some guy in a suit practically pushed us out of the way (When I say practically, i mean he walked right into my confort zone when I was looking at a piece) The rest of the attempt was being pushed in this steady flow of people, around groups of folk talking like being in some sort of horrible fast flowing river smashing into some rapids or something.

That coupled with the disapproving looks from men in suits forced me to make a sharp exit. I'd like to have stayed to speak to Earl or Andy or someone but I just couldn't face staying. I had spent most of the day cleaning the living room and hadn't had a shower and did in fact look like shit, but that's never been a problem before. Anyway I wasn't a fan of the pomp or the ceremony or the clientelle so I made tracks. I didn't get any time to take in the work either which was a shame.

It struck me as such an odd thing. People don't make speeches at exhibition openings, just to appease the sponser, I dont think they should have to. Its similar to my opinions on statements in exhibitions. On top of it all, I wonder what the sponser intends to get out of it, and what the price of corporate sponsorship is.

Art is art, it justifies itself, its interpretation changes from person to person. I just don't see why a sponsor should need the artist to talk about their work, or advertise their business. It just seems like an advert, distastefully plastered onto the back of the work. I don't accept advertising in Cake, because i feel it compromises the space which is made available for work, and that it simply gets in the way and compromises the work. As the title of this blog asks, where did the philanthropists go? What happened to those rich guys who just donated to the arts, set up trusts, art schools, commissioned work simply because they liked it?

These days it just seems to be corporate agendas, logos plastered over events, fliers, publications. Its all very well, as artists there needs to be funding to make the work and attempt to make a living, but why does it need to be so in your face? It was a side of the art world that I don't like and don't particularly want to be involved in, but that seems to be the case in Aberdeen, there are more openings like this than otherwise. Perhaps its time to set sale for a different shore, just get out.

Tomorrow I'm going to Glasgow!

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