Do you remember OutRage!, those queer-minded Brits who outed lots of individuals from their hypocritical closets of sexual orientation? OutRage! forced visibility upon those shying away from coming out because they were aware that despite all the cocky bullies, parents evicting their own children from home, the vicious morality of hating your neighbour, and despite the institutional complicity with homophobia –and transphobia, and misogyny, and transphobia–, visibility was the weapon they had to use, no doubt a double-edged sword but still the only way to social recognition and normalization of sexual difference.
I had to come out several times in my life: as a gay man among my family of blood; as a Jew among nearly anti-Semitic friends; as a secular, leftist Jew among religious Jews; as an artist. Hell, yes. Time and again, I have to come out as an artist. It’s not that it is shameful; it’s just that it is deemed worthless. Art as a practice is generally seen as a useless activity, with no valuable contribution to the economy. I could challenge the emphasis on economy –which is so overpriced by the way– but this time I will play the market game and tell you fellow artists why does art matter to the economy, and why you should come out meaning you should be putting a price tag on every single work you do, if you are not doing it already.
I am not doing it already. And that’s because of some of the most glamorous slave-makers these days: art curators. By art curators I mean anyone who is responsible for making decisions regarding who makes it to an art festival, a gallery, a museum, or any other venue or medium (think of the irrelevant Frieze). Most of them happen to be ignorant about art, but there’s something worse than being an art curator and being ignorant about art –although you wouldn’t expect any commercial not to know what is they’re selling. Besides, they basically want to make money. Forget about cost-efficiency, low budget, no budget at all, the crisis, and all the blablabla. For art curators, be them self-employed or paid slaves too, the only thing those people care about is pretending to have a cultural status and a level of literacy they usually do not have, good taste they cannot buy, and creative sophistication that is worth money. Lots of money. Otherwise, why would they be so interested in value for money? Nice cheap art. Is that what you do?