By NOAH BECKER August, 2019
What we have been waiting for is a truly just art world – will it ever happen? There are those out there in the wilderness making art in spite of ageism, racism, sexism and whatever other devilish functions exist.
Actual artists are forced to address concerns in discussions online, or opt out of social media at the risk of disappearing. Where it’s a given that the plot fashioned out of the so-called art world is authentic – many have sampled the Kool Aid. Many of you think it’s best that you prop up or endorse those who have built this art system. Charlatans that would tell you it’s something that it is not occupy the system itself and are responsible for the construction called the “art world.”
We are saying no, we are saying hell no, and announcing that there is not future for an obsession towards money and an obsession towards fashion and an obsession towards ageism, racism or sexism in art. But wait, isn’t that central to the art world? Yes it is but let’s say it isn’t for half a second – ok that was fun...
I’m saying that the best artists are being under appreciated, mislead and muted. We are fighting for these individuals and their right to not fall victim to a plethora of biases forced upon them by those who craft their marketplace with the promise that money, fame and accolades will be given to everyone.
Those who fit into the situation, which has been created, are part of a facade, they recede into the bushes like Homer Simpson. You are the dummies who keep feeding into this situation by thinking there’s an art world. Stop feeding this lie - identify your allies and rise up with your art – THAT is the art world. At this point you may feel weary, like you're be preached at by someone with an agenda?
My agenda is not as dogmatic as you might expect. I’m an artist-publisher who plays the saxophone. Aside from writing and publishing about art with this magazine and writing music, I also make art at a professional level.
It saddens me when I read endless shallow conjecture, poorly formed ideas and nonsensical opinions by supposedly noted leaders in the field of contemporary art writing. These are the people who are supposed to be SUPPORTING THE ARTISTS! Many of the so-called art publishers in the now online-heavy art magazine world are self-appointed populist critics. I should know because I started my own art magazine. I say online-heavy but in actual fact you can count on your hand art magazines that are still functional - you know who you are.
As a middle-aged, Jewish, Democratic voting artist/writer/musician I’m doing ok but kind of melancholy about the lack of realism in the art writing world. As a painter I’m charging much more for my work and almost exclusively showing at good galleries and good museums. I'm adhering less to realism in painting and more to imagination.
My saxophone playing is also going great and I’m playing at the best Jazz clubs in New York. Lack of education about Noah Becker continues but I’m willing to let people form their own conclusions about me without taking things personally - forcing things is a way of destroying things.
But generally speaking (and I try not to generalize) artists have honed their writing skills as a kind of virtual art magazine. It’s a kind of pseudo-writing, which works in an argument on Facebook or Twitter. If Google is used to fill gaps in basic knowledge you have more or less just keep Googling things as your argument progresses. Many people do more writing on social media than critics do each week, much of it is total nonsense - especially about art.
Artists themselves struggle to find their voice and the many unknown, marginalized culture workers have even been forced to talk about the the unjust current US government as a way of finding a voice or getting attention. It is as if many artists are more associated with politics and activism than with their own work which may or may not find it’s power in standing up to this deeply cruel and unjust government. Famous artists with big prices are also protesting the current White House - at least until the check clears.
This is a cultural and social holocaust we are living through.
The problem with artists on social media now, is that for the serious artist it’s a dead platform and has been killed by a most unlikely assailant - the liberal anti-Trump artists themselves. This is not to say DON'T PROTEST but it's important to understand how politics plays a role in art. The sad part about this situation is that liberal artists through too many political rants have killed the algorithm, which was feeding them posts about arts related things.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have fed this marketplace because from their fucked up angle it’s good business - you obviously understand my premise on social media by this point. This and too many showdowns in social media posts, leaves the distribution and dissemination of things like basic posts about painting at a complete loss for any intelligent discourse. Discussions about serious art devolve into Trump related arguments or worse...
To compensate for this loss of a platform to express basic ideas, we see that artists are now attacking each other and the so-called art media is supporting this argument by publishing offending Tweets or Facebook screenshots. Or art journalists are attempting to break through the Trump news bubble with things pertaining to art by adding to the Trump bubble.
Most of these publishers think that following in on the popular argument is the “news” of the day? There is no such thing as news in the art world. The idea of something being news in the art world is a ridiculous idea. Art is meant for historical dissemination and there is no way of knowing which aspects of contemporary art will last for all time.
But I’m not finished with my concern for the publishing world. It’s a situation that is detrimental to the well being of the arts to run art magazines and blogs as if the argument on social media is what should be focused upon by the entire art world. It feels like magazine are so desperate for content that they need to troll people to get a story.
It’s what I see in Banksy’s work – a pre-written idea that has to look good in a press release or online argument. The problem is that humanity is conditioned to look for the entertainment value in everything. It’s understandable that the genuine artist has been broken-down, beaten- down, misunderstood, misrepresented and mistreated by the public at large; they are encouraging this situation of entertainment over art, illustration over painting, politics over art.
The Ivy League venture capital people who assume that you can pretend to be as vacant as Andy Warhol and have enough sophistication to be part of the art scene, yes it works. It works because people are stupid – but it doesn’t work for long. It works because you’ve accepted the insider/outsider idea of the art world which I abhor and detest. There is no insider and outsider in the art world, we make our own reality at every stage of this and what we create is what we become. We are the established artists; we are the ones who have worked out fingers to the bone for years on end battling through life without any solid art future. WM
Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023.
view all articles from this author