The Agrifashionista newsletter No1 hit the stand/honesty stall today and was removed within 3 hours due to the offensively honest content (honesty stall - get it - clearly not). My ‘let’s be plain speaking here’ kind of autistically honest style was not quite the tone required. Anyway apologies to anyone who would have been offended had they seen it. So issue No2 what to do?

But actually it is a bit tricky, I mean we don’t just want to make a lovely honesty stall with lovely things on it, just as we don’t want to make lovely artist projects. This idea about freedom for artists, that to censor an artist is a bad thing. I find artists on the whole censor themselves (apart from Colin Lowe) or rather make their work so oblique that no one gets the message.

I always get edited, altered and censored, maybe for being silly. I don’t think I ve ever written a text for an artist or gallery where the gallery/publisher hasn’t insisted on changing the content quite radically I still recall bitterly not being allowed to describe Wales as about as spiritual as a cats arse, or having a whole section on genital cupping removed because there is no such thing or not being allowed to use the word defucked, I was trying to make a point - it’s soooo unfair.

I was at the Turner Prize opening the other night in Liverpool. Brian Griffiths, Simparch, Catherine Sullivan and Mustapha Hulusi – easy win for Catherine Sullivan I would think. And there was also this really average show on at the Tate with Mark Wallinger and some other familar names - now there is a good example of artists self censoring.

Mark’s work is overtly political, you almost have to ‘get it’ but it’s still oblique enough for the contentious issues to be overlooked by curator and public alike. It makes you want people to say what they actually mean very clearly – like what Mark wants to say is - I am disillusioned by this socialist government that has corrupted the laws of free speech and manipulated the truth – of course the 'other' Tate piece does unmistakeably say that and you might say there is more that an art work can convey and multiple interpretations - but all that shouldn’t necessitate the core message getting lost – If you can miss the obvious message how likely are you to pick up the other agenda’s - still looks nice don't it.

I was talking to Simon from Yes – this is a sharp individual with a good grasp of visual language, and he’s wondering what the Mark Wallinger in a bear suit gallery surviellence thing is about.
‘So wa's it about then’ little bit sarky and I ‘m a bit Jesus do I need this? Do I have to justify myself for working in contemporary art, prove I’m not just a freeloading pretentious dickhead and is the only way I can do that is by showing that Wallinger is serious and making a real and valuable contribution, that he isn’t a dick, that he is actually a wonderous being - yes. Thing is I wasn’t really concentrating and did nt actually look at the video as I had seen a bit of it before, kinda knew what it was without really think much about it. I think I was vaguely pleased that Mark had done some thing in a bear suit. So I said,

‘Well Mark’s work is quite specifically political, very centred on UK political history and identity, He is ok, really he’s a good guy, his works quite funny’ and I am thinkin, this is shit what the fuck is that bear all about, serveilence, artist being watched, captive in a gallery, under surveillance, diguise, jesus what is this bear thing about, err shaky camera stuff, nothing happening, waiting for something, um Germany?
Simon’s unrelenting.

‘What’s a bear in a gallery got to do with being British’,

‘Well every artist that does work in Berlin has to make work with a bear in it, it’s just a rule’ trying to palm him off with some piss take saing froid, like back the fuck off Simon.

‘No but what is it about, what’s political about a bear wandering around in a gallery, is it meant to be the guard or something’?
“Yeh well err, look I don’t bloody know go and ask him, making he was having a breakdown, does all his work have to be exactly the same, the bear is a German symbol, he’s disguised as a German’

‘Yes but so what, a British artist pretending to be German in a pantomine sort of way’ so what’.

'Yes well maybe this is just a not very good thing, but some of his other stuff is good. Is that the time, jesus we’ve got to get moving’ turned out my watch was an hour ahead, lucky escape huh.

I felt pretty bad that I didn’t know and couldn’t work out - off the cuff what it was all about, what does that say about me or my chosen career. It might not be the area of work I am interested in but surley I should be able to articulate what one of Britains best known artists is on about. I mean I know the guy a bit as well, I ve talked to him at length, I ve heard him talk, I ve seen lots of his work. So anyway I checked up what this bear thing was actually about on the interweb and picked up a couple of choice quotes and confirmation that it was indeed a pointless thing about prentending to be German, being a sleeper/spy, which was the title, so kinda about Englishness i.e. Mark disguised as a bear/german was living in the heart of Berlin from where he could bust forth like Capt Mannering and run around slapping baldys to the Benny Hill theme tune (sadly not). But like Simon said so what.

Here’s a couple of quotes from the Telegraph quoting Tate curator Simon Groom (not from Yes) who seems to think all art is about the artist exploring the curators space – a popular notion indeed it seems.

‘Mr Groom said that Wallinger's fascination with how space could be used was in the tradition of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or Caravaggio throwing light into great churches’.

And on Nathan Coley’s raised door sil ‘The actual act of having to lift your leg slightly higher than usual announces that you are going into a different space’ - as does a door way although you don’t have to raise your foot unusually high although you could if you wanted to.

Mr Groom further stated, ‘A lot of people won't get it but art isn't there to have its meaning written all over it. It is there to provoke questions.’

Yeh but after the questions what happens, are these just any old questions, are the answers likely to be worth knowing, will we just find the answers just tell us how we can explore a space? Please stop asking questions like a bloody 2 year old, just give us the answers. What is this? has art returned to ask questions about what we already know, re examining the very basics – now you see this list of critisim of the fatuous quality of art has started to sounds like I am questioning everything and that is starting to sound like an endorsement of the purpose of art and artists, you cannot bloody win.

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