Although it is a reality that I have the rest of my life to enact change, there is a great pressure to achieve greatness during the next year and a half while I attend grad school.
As I read articles and books aligned with and against my viewpoints, that pressure has become a wall. I continue to ask myself, “what is the best path to take to ensure that people in the future have better opportunities, access to education, and the knowledge of their physical and emotional environments to lead healthy lives”?
Researching for my graduate assistantship in Sustainability further complicates this question as I realize the amount of barriers in the way of taking care of the planet.
What has become concrete, through conversations with my peers, is that there is no single set path to achieve these goals.
Looking at the history of participatory art via Claire Bishop’s Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship has helped me realize why I chose this methodology during my first semester in grad school and also how those reasons are flawed and problematic.
I began to think that art had lost its magic; that art was too passive for society today. To bypass the hypocrisy of selling art to a supposed elite through the traditional gallery settings and rally against the failures of capitalism, participatory art/engaging an audience directly/creating a memorable experience may be an answer.
However, artwork that functions within the viewer/object relationship is still effective. So I continue to paint in this context as well to improve my visual vocabulary.
There is still a lot that I don’t know and can’t assume to know.
For more clarification, I want to keep learning, continue the conversation, and do my best not to get discouraged. Next semester, I will be auditing an Art in Community class with an instructor who has done incredible work in the Twin Cities. This opportunity fell into place with perfect timing as I question my role as an artist and the direction in which my work should go.