Bruce, are you an Ass?

February 14th, 2007 § 0 comments

This is what I thought as he left my studio yesterday after my 10 minute visit with the middle aged gallery director, actually, to be honest, I thought Bruce Hoffman, you are an ass! It was strange to be able to look at the abstract concept of the masculine hierarchy dictating what is good and bad, what is interesting and what is not, and point at it in human form. His visit came at a very nice time for this blog, because the issue of who rules the world of fine art, who makes the boundaries, who draws the lines (?), has come up again and again. Of course he is not the evil God of art, but he is a carrier of this ideology.

He walked in and rambled off the usual questions, first or second year, emphasis, where I went to undergrad, and here the WGAS never fails me, it always gets the appropriate oh, I paid enough for that oh, and it is most satisfying to get ones money worth. He (of course) liked the weavings better than the paper photos, they were telling too much, the implied narrative is not necessary, but he said they could be in a book. It was a true visit of him projecting his aesthetic on my work, nothing he said was remotely relevant for what I am working on but very relevant in making my work look like the type of thing he would show. I did a lot of nodding and counting of minutes.

Then his lecture later than night changed my opinion slightly. It certainly did not reduce his pompousness, hearing the word “remarkable” repeated about 300 times in two hours perhaps increased it. Apparently for him good art has a “visceral” quality and you must be able to see “the HAND” of the artist (as minimalists cry out loud). He showed works from the artists he represents in the gallery, he does have nice taste at times, and he was an artist to begin with which lends something to his tastes. I enjoyed his honestly. He made no pretense as to being fair, just, or unbiased, he spoke in absolute truths that were blunt, unflattering, and sometimes outrageous. Still, I like this better than the layers of meaning and intent behind most of the people who are representing an agenda or working for the university. He can afford this luxury, as he said he is so well established that he can say whatever he wants. It seems if you look behind what people are, you can see the people they were, and this can explain why they are the way they are now. Susan is a hardass because she was young once and got fucked by VCU. He was once an idealistic painter who, right out of grad school, applied for a job at this gallery and got it. The great things about people are often the remains of them that survive the corruption of their chosen professions. For all his arrogance, he tries to do a lot of good things for artists.

A side note, there was little to no representational work among the artists he showed, and if it was it was political, which leaves me to wonder if there is also an embargo against the representational.

Apparently he liked my work, Sonya seemed disturbed she had not seen it when he told her about it, and I am not sure if I am flattered that he called out my work and our conversation about five times during the lecture, I might be if he had remembered my name and not “where is that fiber girl I met with today. . .?”

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