The Rules of Art

Incomplete Thought     10.20.85.

It's interesting and ironic to me to see so much art being made these days, especially within the media movements, which "looks like art", as if there was a definition to follow. I've been trying to figure out why my work looks so different from the work of other artists who use glass, and of course its a matter of taste, background, influences, and intentions, mainly intentions. Much of what has long been made by artists is a reaction to the scene; the museum, gallery and magazine scene, where there are established and unspoken rules. That gallery look of clean space with tastefully placed important works that offer themselves to the intellectual scrutiny of art observers (but few others) is hallowed ground, isn't it? And along with that goes the quiet, cool, mysterious (because it isn't explained) and ambiguous style of abstraction that pervades most contemporary art. The look of contrived happenstance, ancient and primitive references. Don't hit anyone with the obvious, the world isn't black and white, make it obscure. Sketch, don't draw, loose, quick, unlabored works which allow your "skill" to show through. Don't be slick or tight because it is too obviously contrived, and you can achieve urbanity by alluding to the natural qualities of time and material wear. Make it vaguely in reference to the familiar but somehow your own. Establish a working technique and style that makes the work identifiably yours, so ’they can say: "That's a (artist's name)." These are some of the rules.

Some break out. Making satirical and irreverent use of the gallery space, or moving completely away from the gallery to the desert or the sky, or mutilate themselves and otherwise perform in the name of art, that vast umbrella term which is applied like so many other clichés to give credibility to acts of purpose understandable mostly to those performing the act.

—Dan Dailey