Salt Dragon


I think that explains a lot about the views most people have about contemporary art practice […]

What an infuriating piece. Certainly artists and the people who present their work have no obligation to entertain a general public, but to shift the responsibility of engaging with art and learning to speak the visual language of the contemporary Art World entirely onto that public is ridiculous. If people have been taught to speak one language, i.e. that of entertainment and viewer-centric experience, it is beholden on artists and curators to at least speak in a dialect inflected with that language if they desire to engage that audience. This is not to say speak to the lowest common denominator, but avoid esotericism. When you blame people for not speaking the same visual language as you, or more nebulously a society which acculturates individuals to expect attention and entertainment directed at them – without criticizing the Art World’s modern tendency towards hermeticism – you are engaging in an incredibly exasperating elitism that works to maintain a separation between the Art World and the wider world. The final line “[t]hey do not understand the dynamics of looking into art that is a mirror, [] especially if they are not front and centre in the reflection” is particularly irritating. This dynamic is apparent to anyone who speaks the visual language of the Art World, but to someone from outside, how can one expect the work of contemporary art to function as a mirror, or as any number of other functions it might assume, for that matter? It’s like expecting the lay person to read the Epic of Gilgamesh from the original cuneiform tablets. If you want people to learn your language, don’t expect them to take the initiative. Reach out, speak their language. Maybe you can teach them your language as well. The process requires effort from both sides.