On Saturday June 13th I did a talk at The Hive titled ‘The Artist’s Task’ as part of the final day of the ‘Freedom!’ exhibition. I was asked to do the talk after a conversation with one of the curators – Shoshana Stern – about the role that art plays in society and my own dissatisfaction with the contemporary art scene.
In brief, I described the frustrations of art school, where I was told ‘art is anything’ in the same breath as ‘you’re doing it wrong’, that lead me to study philosophy and aesthetics in order to get to the heart of exactly what art ‘is’. I then explored the distinction between fine and applied art in the West and how this reflects and catalyses the spiritual and social predicaments of our time, the task of the artist in the face of this, and the importance of art as one of our most important tools in the fight for a better world.
Terrence McKenna sums up my views nicely: ‘The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. Because if the artists, who are self-selected for being able to journey into the Other, if the artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.’
It was a very enjoyable talk and the Q&A session after was particularly fun and engaging with such a high calibre crowd. The exhibition after party was also great fun.
If you would like me to give a talk on an art based topic please contact me.