Having watched the video a number of times, with the soundtrack & with it muted, I’m as convinced as ever that it’s a pretty gutsy decision to do it. The response to it has been interesting, to say the least. Most are impressed with how fully the 2D work connects to the video. I’ve sent it or shown it to quite a selection including some “normals,” a few artists, a couple of nonartists who are knowledgeable about the art world, or at least about artists who struggle with coping with characters who make up the art world, i. e., art dealers, collectors, curators, their careers, etc.
As an artist writing about artists, I think it’s interesting how often artists & nonartists get antagonistic or defensive about art that is critical about art. My sense of where we are now is that art is what an artist does, or says it is, or as David Ireland said, “You can’t make art by making art” though I would add ”anymore.”
At first, I let viewers know that I have known the male for some forty years, but I’m just getting to know the woman in the video. I mentioned that I would like them to look at a project a couple of artists I know have been working on. I asked them to leave biases & expectations behind to the extent that’s possible & tell me what their first thoughts were.
Example responses: This is all from memory & I have corrected the grammar which is usually atrocious. There is some paraphrasing here because none of the comments was recorded.
1. That’s the story of my life. The video needs the paintings but the paintings don’t need the video. The video needs to reveal the person doing it.
2. The video would be more honest if they were naked. (My question: More convincing?) No, it’s convincing. More honest & real in a raw sense.
3. I’ve been there, way more than I want to admit. It makes me ask myself for the umpteenth time why I can’t seem to have a healthy relationship with a man.
4. It’s a really good way to show what’s so great about being an artist: You get to make up your own rules.
5. Artists are almost NEVER any good at collaboration, especially when it requires men to work with women as equals. They’ve found a way to FORCE themselves to collaborate.
6. So, who’s the alpha & who’s the beta? I beta HE‘s the alpha! (My question, laughing: Because he’s a man?) No, because I am a woman!
7. My favorite one-liner to get a hot woman’s attention is, “Wanna wrassle?”
8. It’s really interesting that their faces & the painting are hard to see, but the video is easy to watch. When I think about it, it should be hard to watch. I think it’s the music. Hollywood understood this from the get-go.
9. I identify with her, struggling to find order while he clearly prefers aggressive disorder.
10. Why are artists so obsessive about violating boundaries? Which is it? A good thing or a bad thing? (My response: Without a doubt, for me, it’s not only a good thing, it’s inevitable & essential.)
11. This is about conflicted interdependence. (My response: Isn’t all art?) Well, if you can say that, then you can just as easily say everything is… which is meaningless, or maybe just useless. I don’t think they are wasting their time.
12. Ooooh! I like this! It’s about the erotic contradictions of power. Power fucks up everything which is why most artists are afraid of it. (My response: Afraid of it?) Well…the timid ones who stick to endless iterations of pretty pictures.
13. I hear murmurs of fetish bondage. I’ll take a woman who knows I can give her what she wants whether she wants it or not anytime.
14. These two are on the path to free use. I doubt that in the long run, they will be able to handle it. I couldn’t with my ex-husband because he abused it. My current partner said she feels completely liberated by it. Maybe when we hook up we should all stick to at least two hands firmly tied up. (My response: You could make a strong case that they’re heading in the opposite direction, especially with their interest in tying up assorted body parts.) I don’t think so. It’s about sex, but it’s about art which, for me, is about liberating your inner life which always involves sex
15. Oooh, I can’t tell you all the flashbacks this triggers. I grew up on the Arizona –Mexico border in a Mormon family. If my father had been able to convince everyone else, he would have imposed fundamentalism on all of us, including The Principle (Polygamy). His older brother lived in Mexico, not far from the border, & he was a militant fundamentalist & white male supremacist with seven wives, one was his first cousin, & they all were dedicated to Joseph Smith’s comments in the Book of Mormon: A woman cannot get into heaven unless she is attached to a man. Neither my mother nor my aunt would have made it to the end of that video!