Sunday, December 30, 2007

To Practice or not to Practice

Furthermore the buzz continues dialoging the use of the word practice as we try to define and market what we do as artists.

From Regina Hackett ( Posted by document.writeln(showE2("reginahackett","","Regina Hackett"))
Regina Hackett at December 26, 2007 8:01 p.m.)

Smith discusses the lamentable art-talk trend of turning useful nouns into
social-climbing verbs. She's on target with her examples, too, which are
"reference" and "privilege," more frequently encountered in the art world as
"referencing" (referencing late capitalism) and "privileging" (privileging the
male gaze).

I like the use of the word social climbing. And also appealing words from Andrew Beradini

Populists retort that its all elitest claptrap, creating a special club with a
special language that only fellow club members can understand.

I read these and think about art talk, or more importantly art marketing and how
we (artists) explore the use of so many angles. I myself have never used the
word practice. I was in between the use of the word, on one hand to use practice
felt for me like all the fine art work I was producing was JUST practice. Sadly
yes it is, but who can sell a body of practice pieces of art, until after we are
buried. To use practice like a lawyer felt odd, out of place. Especially for me,
who holds not even a masters. One of those regrets that I am not doing anything
about at this juncture. That aside although it is New Years Day and spikes
thoughts of resolutions, it interested me to read Regina's words here as I do
use the term artwork everyday.

Smith is also upset about the word "practice" when used to describe what artists
do, as in, Duchamp's practice. She's down on the word "production" as well, as
in, an artist's production. Here she lost me. Art is a practice, and the end result is a production. She finds both words pretentious, narrow and distorting. Let's keep our eye on the prize, Roberta, and that is verbs misconceived from nouns. Referencing and privileging. Why wander off to beat up words that fail the high-tone test but are useful anyway, in a blunt and business-like way? In the '80s, people still objected to artists' calling what they made their work, a usage that began with the Abstract
Expressionists. Today, who doesn't call their art their work? Art is play and art is work. What it isn't is a miracle. Humans make it. "Practice" and "production" link artists with the rest of us, and why not?

Andrew Berardini writes ( Andrew Berardini)

A practice is something we do every day. When a pianists practices, we
don't calle her a lawyer. I think the use of the word practice is relevant and
radical shift in how we talk about art, well worthy of examination.

Rather than just a person who made things, luxury items for a a well-heeled
clientèle, a practice didn't have to make any thing. It could, but it didn't
have to. A practice was about doing, a focus on process. The work of an artists
was not necessarily to make things, but to do things. When I started hearing
artists (not critics, professors, or philosophers, but artists) say practice,
the word was electrifying.

Andrew's use of the word well heeled immediately turned the marketing light on in my head. Starting my thoughts in the direction of positive use of the word in marketing. Then I am once again with Joe Reihsen who commented on Andrew's blog

positing the verb form of 'practice' against the noun form; I find
real merit in resisting the demand for the methodologies of artists to
resemble those of other professions. In terms of the word practice, it's ok
that artists practice making art, and its ok that they practice what they

That hits the nail on the head for me. I believe what we, I, do as an artist is the most sacred of gifts, not a practice. I could call it a practice in business however creation is a completely different realm. Artists are already elevated in the fact that we create. Creation comes first, continues in the midst, and is finite throughout time. Forgive my inability to use words as I speak best visually.

This is "Mysterious Without Explanation" a large pastel I created.

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