I happened upon Paul Critchley's painting The Art Worm quite by chance, but precisely at the time I was thinking about artist statements. How perfect is this? Again, it is the type of statement that speaks for itself, such an honest/tongue-in-cheek commentary on the art world. However, how can I resist Paul's take on it? Do peruse the lengthy list of book titles after the jump - definitely worth the exploration.
"Despite my modest ability to wax lyrical I am an abject failure in Art Speak Prose. Art Speak is a language on a par with Latin or ancient Greek and if you don't part the tongue jolly well, then tough. As much as I admire the gifted gabbers, I admit to have given up all efforts to even bother getting past the present tense.
The titles of the books in The Art Worm are all observations made over numerous years and are all about to collapse and spill the beans should the wine in the glass over fill the mark."
1. The first title, at the top, is 'Untitled Nº1', how exciting is that as a book or painting title?
2. Then comes 'If everyone is an artist then why have art schools?' Medical students go to college and learn how to be come doctors, art students go to college and announce they are artists, if they already are then why did they bother turning up?
3. Had to signed the painting somewhere so I signed it on the smallest book.
4. Then there's 'The Naked Critic', a reference to Quentin Crisp's autobiography The Naked Civil Servant with a nod towards the Emperor's absence in satire.
5. 'Painters & Arters', those who paint pictures and those who paint art.
6. 'Art Ownership is Exclusive', yes it is because I can't afford to buy a Picasso, can you?
7. 'Art Appreciation is Inclusive', no further comment.
8. 'Art is a Vocation, not a Career', plenty or room for comment there!
9. 'Art is Visual Poetry'. That should sell a T-shirt.
10. 'Typography 4 Beginners' - I need it! In fact where would we be without computers?
11. 'Art & Artists, Paint & Paintists'. There is a verb to paint; I paint, you paint, we paint etc but there is no verb to art, I art, you art we art etc. I paint but my admiration is to become an artist, I do not art in the vague hope of becoming a painter.
12 'The Shock of The Old' I have reached the grumpy old age of 52 and have come to the conclusion that teenagers are irritating. The older I have become the more subtlety in the world I discover, the Shock of The New is a passé nod to novelty, which of course has its value, but don't ignore the past.
13. 'Another Bloody Art Book' ....
14. 'Art is Expensive Wallpaper' .... hurrah for something!
15. 'The Art Worm'. Our favourite grub.
16. 'I came, I saw, I painted' (Pretty boring really)
17. 'iART therefore iAM' I had to put that in before Apple coined the iART and ruined the future for the rest of the world (we've got a Mac).
18. 'This is My Autobiography - R. Magritte' No it's not.
19. 'The Shape of Art To Come'. Got to plug my corner.
20. 'Old Contemporaries' I was once a Young Contemporary but since leaving college I seemed to have disappeared, along with all my fellow students.
21. 'Artists Never Die They Simply Fade Away' so do all yesterday's Young Contemporaries.
22. 'ART is ARTificial REALITY' ... hmmm?
23. 'PAINting', Never understood why something pleasurable was filled with Pain.
24. 'Art Speak For Dummies' ;-)
25. 'How To Paint Abstracts - Beginners' Abstraction is not a style but the summation of a period of work. I find it amusing that students are told how to paint in an abstract manner as though painting life painting.
26. 'If You Need A Second Opinion Open Your Other Eye' I like that one!
27. 'Hancock. How 2b a Rebel'. Tony Hancock was a famous British comedian who made a film called The Rebel in the 1950's. It's a classic but is now rarely seen, a great pity as he is working in and office with dreams of becoming an artist which he does by going to Paris and virtually inventing Art Speak.
28. 'Painting By Numbers - Beginners'.
29. 'Dictionary of Art Speak A/B' The biggest book in the pile only covers the words beginning with A.
30. 'Painting By Numbers - Advance'. So there is there an advanced level!
31. 'The Best Excuse: I Like The Wrongness Of It'. See the second book title: 'If everyone is an artist then why have art schools?' But of course there is a lot to be said for learning from mistakes.
32. 'Art Speak for Beginners - Vol.1'
33. 'Art is Visual Perfume'. Interesting.
34. 'Be Different: Dress like All Other Artists'. But they do!
35. 'How To Dress Like An Artist'. Tony Hancock summed this up very well in his film were all the French artists dressed in Jean Paul Sartre existentialist black.