Grace Linderholm on the Year of Shitty Art
Reason you moved to New York: Unfortunate ambivalence towards where I went to college.
Historic trajectory with art?
It’s always paint. I wish it wasn’t, because I think paint is dying, but I was taught to make art with paint. I learned to love it. Complacency is a big part of making art for me. That being said, I’m currently trying to diversify into sculpture.
In the past you’ve mentioned to me that you’re often unhappy with your work, which inhibits your ability to create. I can’t help but wonder if this is because you evaluate your artwork (and all artwork) with a certain depth that most other viewers lack. I assume that, for you, “Good Art” has to meet some kind of criteria, or have some degree of significance or importance?
Good art as a concept isn’t universal to everyone; “Good Art” will always only matter to a group of people with certain tastes, but. But. Where’s the space for immediacy? How do you make something revelational that isn’t jerking itself off? No one cares about people’s tastes if there isn’t money to back them. In case it hasn’t become clear, I haven’t really decided my audience, but I don’t think my ideas have developed far enough to communicate what I want. I want my art to be incisive. I want to find realist art that feels necessary.
It doesn’t, really. I let most art wash over me; ethics are present in all art, it’s all a part of looking.
Should all of us be paying more attention to the question of ethics in artistic output?
You do, kids, whether you realize it or not. What the fuck is an unethical piece of art? Like, lets go through five million examples. If you evaluate for the chain of money, for the institution of art itself as exclusionary and racist and sexist and fetishizing, just about the whole history of western art is unethical. If you look at a Robert Mapplethorpe picture and recoil at some dude’s giant dick, you should be asking yourself why. His pictures of bondage are a respectful exercise in trust. His pictures of black men are entirely fetishizing. So which is worse? Whistler or Mapplethorpe?
Everyone evaluates art with their personal moral priorities just the same as their aesthetic ones. I know I said that you have to pick your criteria, and my criteria for ethical art is that on some level- any level of reading- it prescribes you to be more compassionate to your fellow humans. Every work has a highest-order goal in mind. You have to find the goal. Most really good art, in my opinion, spends its time looking for justice. The Power Rangers could be really good art.
Restorative ethics are kind of having their moment right now– not that I think ethics should be a moment– but places like the Whitney and the Brooklyn Museum are doing great stuff. Everyone should practice caring about people different from themselves, which is to say, everyone.
On a lighter note, tell us about the Renegade pants you painted !
Now is the time to contradict myself a bunch. Every so often, I get incredibly tired of trying to make Good Art. My feeling of moral responsibility and like, intellectual impotence gets super old. So I’m trying to give myself space to make Bad Art. Like, really, truly, Bad Art. Not even like, Creed and Korn Bad Art, but art that looks juvenile. Art that doesn’t care about itself.Face painting is wonderful. Etsy-esque fruit painted on old jeans are soothing. I want to have no concern, just immediacy, with topics that are free from potential evil. So. Shitty, shitty art. That way, even if things turn out looking ok, I don’t have to care about it. Shit Art is failure-free. Not to get on my soap-box (again), but with the idea that art is held accountable all the time comes the pressure for young artists to always be fully-formed.
There’s no room for the garbage we’re all bound to produce in our twenties, or during our beginnings and our growing pains.
It’s the year of shitty art, tell your friends.
You can see more of Grace’s work here.
Gallery images taken from a collaborative painting between Grace Linderholm and Jose Altamirano.
Posted by Cassidy George
on March, 2016