… from someone I discovered today. Her name is Karen Archey and she’s an art critic and she’s awesome in this interview at The Brooklyn Rail:
Writing while impoverished indelibly changed my worldview—it taught me that even if your assets total less than zero, you can still produce something that may have an impact on the world.
Me too to all of this:
I can’t count the times I’ve been characterized as too serious, not friendly enough, or stern. Not in a genius-autistic way, but in a non-feminine way. In a way that doesn’t particularly massage a social apparatus of feminine charm and other crap associated with femininity that I’m expected to deal with on top of being an art critic.
Yesterday, in a private conversation with a friend, we had a “truthy” moment about my public-speaking capabilities. She said, “You’re a fine public speaker. But the last time I saw you speak you came off as really upset.” As if this was a bad, embarrassing thing. The next thing I know, I spent 15 minutes in this conversation trying to recount and explain why I may have come off as upset but I’m really a happy well-adjusted person thankyouverymuch, until I mentally collapsed under my emotional acrobatics. Here’s a secret: I am upset. You should be upset, too. We should all be upset. Have you looked outside or checked your bank account lately? I momentarily had forgotten that being emotional and a public intellectual at the same time is strictly verboten in this game. And for a moment, I had actually felt guilty about breaking the rules.
But isn’t our industry about breaking the rules, and figuring out when and how they should be broken and reimagined? How do we figure out when the rules don’t apply? When they don’t work anymore? When they don’t feel right? I am upset and sometimes I can’t keep up a professional emotional remove. And who wouldn’t be upset if they spent $140,000 on a college education, graduated into a financial crisis, and realized that their profession amounted to fluffing flotsam capital and smiling while wearing funereal asymmetrical clothing rather than contributing to an intellectual history? When I see my colleagues gleefully hang out with so-called 1%ers whose massive amounts of wealth drain resources from others—and to some extent are the reason why I’m so broke—I think: wow. Self-deception is a powerful tool. Self-deception is a tool buried deep inside us that blooms during adulthood. And it’s also something that seems to be a driving force in this industry. I ask so many friends why they made art a profession, and they almost always say that it’s because they feel fundamentally different. They hoped art would provide a space for that difference. So why do we reward ignoble behavior like conspicuous bubble-money grabs, meathead displays of power, and unchecked institutional misogyny?
I don’t know. Am I too much? Am I bitter? Am I crazy?
Questions I ask myself every day. I love a great rant. I think Karen and I could be best friends.
(via Jacob Wren)