Art = Love
It is very poignant. I sit in my studio and apply for a group show in fucking Ithaca. I try to understand Benjamin H. D. Buchloh and what he means by “the stridency of design with a delinquent mimesis and a hebephrenic semblance of disintegration and destitution.” I think about metaphysics, morphologies, and all other useless shit. I clean my brushes. I update my CV. I stare at the white wall of my studio. I think about how I can challenge the art world. I contemplate what others think about my art and post a polished picture of my new work on Instagram. I am an artist of today. What else can I do? But all this happens while rockets are in the sky of Gaza, Israel, Ukraine, and who knows where else. When people die, does this “art thing” really matter?
What should I do as an artist? Should I join the U.S. Army? Should I empty my bank accounts for a reputable humanitarian organization? Should I volunteer at a shelter helping refugees somewhere in Poland or Egypt? Or should I become a politician so the horrible events that happen won’t ever happen again? Looking outside my window at the gloomy landscape of Michigan, I think the only thing I can do is continue doing my work in this complicated period.
The most important thing I learned and continue to learn from my art professors is that artists share their love with the world. Art includes, it never excludes. Art uniquely spreads love for humanity. Then, being in the studio and showing your work to others is more important than ever. Art can protect so many people during our terrible moments. In our world full of bigotry and hatred, you, as an artist, carry on the message of love.
But, “Who the hell needs your love?” you would ask me. “It’s so pathetic,” perhaps a General of the Army might add. Of course, the military-industrial complex does not need my love or yours. They need to keep making weapons. But then, I started thinking about a six-year-old boy, Wadea Al-Fayoume, who was brutally stabbed twenty-six times in Chicago. I am not angry, and I do not hate. I am empty and sad. It is beyond my comprehension to understand that awful things like this one can happen in this world. Wadea needs my love like the other people who are still alive need my love, too.
As in one of his exhibitions, Thomas Hirschhorn proposed, “Art = Shelter.” Art can be a shelter for so many people where the desire for revenge does not exist. In this shelter, there is only love. And all I know is that hate never wins. Making art is a gift. And you have to share this gift with ordinary people in order to have a better tomorrow. Thus, the “art thing” really matters.