I have been to a few art shows in Toronto, not many…but I must say that beside Rebecca Belmore’s at AGO and Edward Burtynky’s I have seen nothing but milk-toast. It seems that artists here feel guilty if their painting actually has some quality of a good painting in terms of succulent paint, great colours something to communicate. They take special pains to show the viewer that he/she was not really trying to paint. It is a kind of jaded approach to art. The Gladstone show had a title for it, „Why the F*ck Do I Paint“…and honestly after seeing maybe a couple of reasonably painted works I honestly can answer that I don’t know why they bother..
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Make a new New Cultural Policy for the Arts that is called “Creative Canada”.
According to “The Walrus”, Jan. 30 2018, “Creative Canada promises nothing short of an epochal “transformation in how we view culture and creativity.” The stakes are indeed enormous: the resulting policy will influence how Canadians get our information, determine the fate of the nation’s most important cultural institutions, and shape the contours of the Canadian imagination for decades to come. What Minister Joly has delivered, however, is a paean to Silicon Valley, a gift to American technology firms, and a vision of Canadian culture as governed by web analytics and productivity tools. Creative Canada is all media and no message, a cultural policy that reflects little of Canada and none of our culture.”
In other words Creative Canada is turning artists into into tech entrepreneurs is a triumph of Silicon Valley values, with all media and no substance!
Political correctness on steroids is the antithesis of greatness. If we are focused on grammar while reading poetry we will miss the essence and soul of the words. Political correctness not only kills the joy of life but it is a devise that tries to silence criticism. It is an invention of the uncreative mind to rein in and keep in check the creative ones. It is politically incorrect to be different, original, not tow the line or be yourself in favour of making the group look good. Political correctness is a form of making sure that no one stands out.
That is death in the art world for an artist. To feel that somehow by being different from the status quo you are undermining the very fabric of your culture. Political correctness is in fact a form of disguised discrimination of the minority by the majority. It is a way to control others without actually contributing anything intelligent or creative yourself.
Political correctness shuts down creative debates on any subjects, and it doesn’t allow you to vote differently on art juries from your peers that are watching who raises their hand for which artist. If you cast the wrong vote, you are out of the politically and artistically correct crowd.
Yes, in Canada even the art world has embraced political correctness and it is stifling truly creative artists. If you veer a bit too much from the fad of the times, you are immediately shunned as an outsider artist, often synonymous with being uneducated or unschooled, even if you have a masters, and guarantees that you will never receive an art grant or be shown in a commercial gallery. And let’s face it only a few artists are wealthy enough to pay to have regular shows in for-rent galleries. And those artists are often actually unschooled.
Political correctness in Canada has seeped into the very fiber and area of life and culture and the thought police are re-writing history, removing art from museums and banning, knocking down inappropriate sculptures of historically inappropriate people while burning books. Instead of actually having a healthy, tension ridden, juicy, feisty dialogue between equals that might possibly lead to real change of mind, to a creative resolution.
Political correctness is the way of the child that throws temper tantrums and breaks their offending toys and screams when you try to engage it in dialogue. Political correctness masks the truth. Behind those phoney smiles hides an attitude of total disregard and callousness.
Instead of being politically correct and re-writing history we need to engage in differences of opinion and ideologies discussed respectfully, critically and reflectively. We need to start appreciating our differences and uniqueness and make Canada stand out in the world for its greatness and not for its politeness and political correctness.
It is time we allowed people who are great to be themselves, to support our inventors and creatives and to appreciate that people are intelligent enough to handle a painting of a nude young girl in a museum or looking at a sculpture of a Founding Father that was politically incorrect and realize what actually happened.To leave literature alone and keep teaching from brilliant books in school and not just the politically correct ones.
In art terms we need to stop funding and supporting arts administrators who are the loudest about political and creative correctness, who only create lifeless bureaucracies, and start supporting the artists who are great and recognized to be great by the international art community.