Meanwhile, universities (yes, you can go to university, rack up student debt, and ‘learn’ to be a writer) tell some people – depending on skin tone, sex, orientation, or something else – as a matter of routine they have an important and luminous story to tell because of what they are.
This is a myth. I didn't see it 20 years ago and I don't see it now. Universities generally tell students to work hard and practice.
The author is angry about something other than what she claims to be angry about - she's angry that she's subjected to "mediocre" artists (as far as her opinion is concerned). Fundamentally, however, professionals rarely get to judge what the public likes. I mean, Robert Wyland (excuse me, "Wyland") is the fundamental definition of mediocre. He's still got 15 galleries in Florida, Hawaii, Vegas and California. Wanna see the most popular work of art ever sold in the United States?
It's pretty. So are Wyland's dolphins. All of them added together don't add up to a brushstroke of Guernica but if you hang Guernica on your wall you're sending a different message than "I like dolphins." And that's okay.
I just got done with art class. The message given was "You should listen to me because once upon a time I sold some shit and you never will." I'm still doing jewelry class - the message is "remember that at the end of the day if you want to sell this stuff you need to not waste so much time on it that nobody can afford to buy it."
What she seems to be bent about is the fact that there's art she doesn't like in a gallery. Well yeah. That's because art is a game where everyone plays tastemaker and it's the easiest thing in the world to point at something five hundred years old and go "yep, art."
In 1917 Marcel Duchamp put a urinal in a room and signed it. Then Alfred Steiglitz photographed it. And for a hundred years it's been in a goddamn museum. And ever since, art teachers have had a choice between saying museums don't have art or saying art is whatever artists make. And if that's the discussion, then "mediocre" is a value judgement that pretty much belongs to the individual.
Helen Dale won the Miles Franklin Award for her first novel, The Hand that Signed the Paper, read law at Oxford, and was previously Senator David Leyonhjelm’s Senior Adviser. Book II of her second novel, Kingdom of the Wicked – set in a Roman Empire that has undergone an industrial revolution – was launched in June this year. Book I was published in October last year. For her sins, she sometimes consults in public relations and advertising.
For those keeping track at home, that's three Amazon links in one bio with 15 reviews between them.