I kept hearing David’s plaintive cry, “I just wish something would break soon.” relates former manager, Kenneth Pitt in Marc Spitz’s excellent new book- Bowie biography.Reading those lines, its the Bowie I connect with the most. I think of him there, mired in pre-fame anonymity…’down on my knees in suburbia, down on myself in every way…’ he would sing later on the ‘Buddha of Suburbia’ title song.
For nine years he schlepped himself around every dead beat, dead end repository, starving for his gravy, but still an indomitable talent never the less. Pre Ziggy, he couldn’t even get arrested let alone a break. What spurred that self belief? Certainly he wasn’t delusional, but in the face of such endless disappointment, I imagine he must have believed that he would die in the obscurity of his Beckenham roots-demons dance you to the precipice of defeat so many times as an artist.
There go I without the rest.
Robert Williams-the godfather of pop surrealism, makes some rather wonderful observations about the artists lot in this months anniversary edition of Juxtapoz too. A soundbyte every two sentences, I could pour over his eminently quotable delivery for hours, or at least every time I take my leave to the bog, which is where I do a lot of my ruminating in all honesty.
To paraphrase: ‘In the last 30 years, the most gifted have had to make do with occupations as commercial artists. The fine art establishment has purged itself of beautifully executed imagery, and Art has become what Marcel Duchamp hoped for-whatever the artist points as Art.’
Though his consternation is largely pointed at the continuing adoption by the elite for abstraction, its a valid point that holds more than a cistern of water, particularly when you consider the most recent excreble contribution by post modernists figurehead, Damien Hirst, and the inevitable legion of platinum gold card collectors, that will be fawning over his shabby,Francis Bacon knock offs.
Capital “A” Art is a con, and I suspect the true artisans are those practitioners such as the Hirsts, Emmins, and that guy who glued elephant shit to a canvas whose name escapes me now. Those artists that parlay any true draftsmanship for the shock value of the emperors new clothes, and good for them-art history is littered with as many poseurs as it is Van Gogh’s, auteur’s rather than artists-why not give a kick to the establishment, take the money or even the Monet and run as it where. There is no honor in the artists garret, believe me.
For myself, I imagine that means I’ve taken the lesser road then, part of the marginalized that Williams advocates, but still no less hungry for that break as Bowie was in his suburban ennui.