How interested are artists in art? I would venture that a lot of them are not all that interested at all. After all, if you are constantly dragging round the galleries you won’t have time for your own work, and what about all those dangerous ideas you are accidentally nicking. Is emersion in art good or bad for originality.
I suppose this question came to me whilst I was wandering around the Artists Favourite exhibition at the ICA. Its an interesting trawl but what doe sit tell us about the current art scene? The catalogue trumps up some spurious difference between best and favourite (some of the artists take this to task) and that the exhibition is a chance for artists to play at curator, as gatekeeper. Most of the artists stumble, not because they pick lousy art, but the context of it being their favourite is not enough to structure the exhibition. At least Martic Creed is honest with his pick of an Andy Warhol – what he really wanted was a Robert Rauschenberg Black painting but they couldn’t get one. How true is this for the rest of the exhibition. Second favourites, ones which were obtainable or would fit in the area (I’ll have Anish Kapoor’s giant ear trumpet please).
With very few exceptions the choices make little reference to the choosers own art, and has little intersection. Who is going to claim to have as a favourite an artist you ripped off. Only janet Cardiff’s choice of La Jetee seems to fit perfectly with her own work (even if her film stuff is generally her weakest). The exhibition means the ICa has a number of important and well know artists on display, but the exhibition itself is a let down. Certainly break free from the curatorial hegemony, but I did not get any new perspectives fitting artists into that box instead. Why should artists like art?