Six weeks since the last blog in April and there has been too much happening for me to speak about everything. This blog will have two parts;
Part One – I choose to focus on this . . . many artists are uncomfortable with the mechanics and the machinations of the art world and choose to withdraw their labour because the art world takes away more than it gives . . .
Lee Lozano was active in the New York art scene during the sixties until she chose to step away from the art machine.
A series of supporting events have included discussion groups one of which I decided take part in – ‘Refusal’ facilitated by Ruth Bretherick.
Attendees had been sent two articles of preliminary reading material. ‘Tune in, Turn on, Drop out: The Rejection of Lee Lozano’ by Helen Molesworth and ‘This moment: a Dialogue on Participation, Refusal and History Making’ Angela Dimitrakaki and Lara Perry.
Both articles address the complex nature of being an artist and a woman in capitalist society. Please read them if you have time.
Both articles discuss Lee Lozano’s art practice and speculate on her decision to withdraw, to refuse, to turn away from being an artist.
And her more controversial decision to stopped interacting with other women.
Our discussion was time limited to one hour and meant people had to focus on what to say, ask, explain and disagree. Realistically if it had continued for a longer time the initial statement of position of each participant would have diffused into a sequence of monologues.
Points and questions touched on;
Given her refusal of the art world would she have wanted to be in this exhibition?
Lee Lozano’s privileged position within the art world begged the question of whether her conscious withdrawal would have commanded so much attention were she lesser known. Her refusal to interact with women was another indication of the ‘abnormal perceptual systems’ (sic) possessed by artists, (both these points were raised for discussion by the single male present)
The overt and the hidden patriarchal systems existing both in the art world and wider society
The use of language in art
The idealistic and intellectual difficulties entangled within the word feminism
The role of self-sabotage
How little has fundamentally changed for women artists since the sixties
The complexities contained within such a short space of time are analogous to those contained within a work of art, there is only so much time to make what matters. . .
One thing bothers me though. . . why didn’t she destroy her work?
Part Two – visuals
I haven’t spoken about how irritating I found Paul Morley’s Sunday Feature on Radio 3 ‘Too Many Artists?’ his discussion was elliptical and self-absorbed and I remembered how I didn’t like his music writing in the 70’s and 80’s when he displayed the same arrogant opinions masked as knowledge and intellectual debate.
I read Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and was dismayed again by our western society.
I was overcome with admiration for my daughter, Rebekah L Stackhouse, who ran the Edinburgh Marathon on 27th May to help raise funds for refugees after all the line between being secure and made homeless is a fragile one . . . and all the other runners who crossed their personal Rubicon. I cried . . .a lot.
Coming up. . .The Saturday Draw at Eastfield House has 2 dates in June, the 2nd and the 16th. We will be walking and drawing – Sign up
The next Art in Nature, Drawing and Well-being on 21st July, more on that in the next blog