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ART Entertainment


Art Entertainment

Ono, Koons, Hirst, Ermin et al

Exploration (sociologically) and analysis (philosophically) and clarification (artistically) of the almost sacred notions of ‘art’ and ‘artists’, and the institutions (museums, galleries, media, colleges, journalists,etc) employing them in an uncritical manner.
Research Interests:


As observed by Wittgenstein when someone crosses the boundaries (in other words the tradition, principles, purpose, norms, values, attitudes, etc) of a certain discourse or socio-cultural practice without entering those of another discourse, s/he arrives in a a kind of socio-cultural no man’s land and no longer is meaningful or rather his/her propositions produced in that ‘area’ are meaningless. Attempts to manufacture such so called inter-disciplinary discourses by conflating traditions from different socio-cultural practices and domains have multiplied during the last few decades. One example of this is the no man’s land being created by the conflation of the disciplines of sociology and philosophy (as well as literature, fiction, creative writing, etc). One finds this in Germany and France and numerous academic institutions in other countries following authors and their ideas from those to countries.

During the last century we have increasingly being presented with this kind of discourse (tradition, domain, universe) conflation in ‘the arts’. Examples of this conflation of discourses and socio-cultural practices in ‘the arts’ are ‘new media’, performance ‘art’, installations, land ‘art’, digital art, ready-mades, aspects of conceptual art, etc.

I will deal with two factors concerning this ‘art conflation’, a social practice that I label as ‘artertainment’ – art + entertainment. I coin this neologism as it sums up and points to the conflation of aspects from many, diverse ‘art’ discourse or domains (for example, sculpture, painting and other visual arts, theatre, films, videos, fashion, design, photography, graphics, crafts, artisans, music, dance, pop music ‘gigs’ and shows, etc).an50 an22a an23 an31 an32a an37 an44

The first factor concerns the conflation of the aims, principles, traditions, norms, practices, techniques, frames of reference, etc of these and other discourses. The second factor concerns the usage and function of the word ‘artist’ to refer to those involved in these disciplines.

So as to provide socio-cultural validity for, bestow legitimacy on and give meaning and value to artertainment practices and products they are labelled, treated as and dealt with as ‘art’, and, they (those involved in such practices and their ‘products’) are given space, publicity and treatment by and in individuals (critics, curators, gallerists, collectors, financiers, institutions of teaching and learning such as schools, colleges, universities…, etc), public spaces and media (galleries, museums, Biennales, fairs, films, internet, videos, television programmes, newspapers, books and other publications, etc) AS IF the phenomena being dealt with are ‘art’ and produced or handled by ‘artists’. What occurs here is that the traditions, aims, purposes, principles, values, norms, and other aspects of the traditions of different art discourses, domains and disciplines are projected on these phenomena.

This projection and the conflation of the ‘aesthetic values’ of different art discourses and traditions do not only give the (misleading?) appearance that what is being dealt with is ‘art’ (and that the phenomena involved much be treated as such), but that the phenomena has the same value (frequently expressed in monetary terms) as those of some and/or all of these domains. Those involved in this misleading treatment of such phenomena select at will and vary the discourses they employ in their projections and conflations and the aesthetic values (standards, aims, purposes) they wish to employ when dealing with the phenomena involved.

Of course the phenomena being dealt with IS and much be perceived and viewed as someone or something sacred, untouchable, for the cultural elite, the initiated clique and superior intelligence only as they represent ‘ART’ (be it someone’s bed, underwear, shark, expressions, presence etc, such as those of Hirst, Koons, Abramovic, Ono’s dawn, dusk, midnight in a bed, doors, half a room, carton boxes covered in gold leaves, etc). Place it, do it, show it in a gallery, museum, Biennale, fair etc, then of course it unquestionably IS ‘art’. If you fail to accept or see this then you reveal yourself as a cultural Philistine with lower intelligence.

The second, of many socio-cultural factors that is loaded with lots of unquestioned cultural baggage (and in this manner introduce and involve numerous, uncritically accepted, implicit assumptions and pre-suppositions) is the notion of ‘artist’. When someone is referred to (by himself and/or others) by this term al most anything s/he does or does not, thinks, wears, eats, touches, excretes, digests, etc instantly might be perceived as ‘art’. Only superior beings, special individuals, the highly sophisticated cultural elite is able to grasp and act on this divine truth. When one of the above or other ‘artists’ fart, walk, sit, is nude, etc they do not merely fart, but s/he farts art, s/he is not merely nude but reveals ‘art’, when they remove or have their vestments removed, that act is ‘art’, the vestments and everything touched, thought, collected, thrown away, etc by those who assume the role of artist, becomes art, is valuable, can be exhibited, viewed, collected, auctioned and can be given a monetary value.

These are merely two of many factors involved when the words art and artist are employed. They are treated as special almost sacred words. They cannot be analysed or questioned, they are covered in many layers of mystique, they may only be handled by the self-appointed aesthetical elite, the culturally s/elected and ordained, high priests and priestesses of culture in the inner sanctum of the holiest of holies.

Ulrich de Balbian 12 June, 2015