Reaction to the Report: Artist Laray Polk

Maybe the report is a vehicle, an annoying obstacle that makes people reflect in new ways. (Or, in the least, reflect in the unorchestrated company of one another.) Maybe our art community—The Community—is a fissile isotope that has been poked into activation by an outside force. Hopefully, a productive chain reaction will occur. And I think the potential exists if we are willing to open up. (It’s existence was there even before the report.)

There is a certain predictability of the criticisms and compliments of the report thus far: institutional v. individual momentum, people with means v. struggling artists, galleries v. the museum/classroom without walls, and local artists v. international artists. As a practicing artist, these are all too familiar crevasses of mind that we fall into over time (and it’s not unique to Dallas-Fort Worth). And we have the antidote with us at all times, but we forget. We imagine outside forces are controlling opportunities, and withheld opportunities are making our lives hell (which is, by the way, partially true). The reality is that creative imagination waits for no one; it is an activity that does not depend on a phone call, commission or favorable critique in the MSM to make experimentation and innovation happen (though it is certainly true those things can help pay for electricity or a dental bill which makes a studio space and one’s mouth a little less sufferable). The bottom line is that when many economies become intertwined in the business of making art, art making becomes a business of selling art (“art expertise,” catalogues, Tutty Bears and any number of ancillary items).

If the report points out anything we think we didn’t already know, it is that we live in a geography of vastness combined with very peculiar proxemics.That is what outsiders can bring to the equation that we can’t see even though it is right in front of us. We are socially challenged because of the peculiar proxemics (or vice versa). It is not for one individual, nor an outside collective, to say what all that involves. It would, though, make for an interesting discussion out in the open without declared moderators or institutional guidance or even an agenda of any kind. It is worth contemplating why the report angers us or makes us think that the ideas contained within it are going to change things for the better.