According to Rob Møhlmann, reporting on the abuse of power in the cultural and media world unjustly puts artists in a bad light.
The DVHN comment of June 24 states: “We do not yet know half of what is happening in the culture and media world in terms of abuse of power, bullying and intimidation”. This is in response to a report from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Of course, we’ve all heard of bad practices in culture and media land before. That is also the area in which to score, where media attention, advertising sales and merchandising count. Where really only one thing counts: money! And money is power and power can – it happens often – also be abused.
That is why it saddens me that two paragraphs later, the aforementioned scurrilous practices are suddenly associated with ‘art’. And suddenly, in this pandemonium, the “artist” is a jerk and bully. The author mentions an example of such an ‘artist’ with a high bully content: Mai Spijkers. Excuse me, I think then, isn’t that a publisher? Maybe also a bully, but in any case not an artist.
Art on the one hand and culture and media on the other
I see it more often: the merging of art on the one hand and culture and media on the other. Culture and media control a very large area of entertainment that in fact is not much special. That plane consists of many, and very diverse, areas of interest of the Great Mean around a core of potential sensation, all of which are followed and nurtured by different Great Groups.
This great interest, as a consumer good in the atmosphere of relaxation, party, discharge and group feeling, is often worth money and therefore attention. It’s the ‘bread and games’ of today and nothing wrong with that in itself.
Art, on the other hand, is the Special Gifted One that is – usually – made by an individual. There isn’t even room for bully business there, unless the artist starts to talk himself out of it. However, that is not normal and the artist is certainly not crazy, despite the romantic view of artists. And attention? Art hardly gets any attention anyway.
Frequently on television, being a celebrity, beautiful body
And another thing: you are an artist and you cannot become. Frequently appearing on television, being celebrities, good mouth, or beautiful body; none of this makes you an artist. For almost every artist, being an artist means working in relative solitude on an oeuvre that nobody wants, but which you hope people will see, feel, discover.
Usually that means blowing a whistle, falling a lot and getting back up again and again, while the artist is not infrequently humiliated, bullyed, scorned, or accused of left-wing hobby practices.
In the art-culture confusion in the commentary, I also sense the short-sighted leveling of art from the 1960s and 1970s, when the slogan ‘everyone is an artist’ was rampant. Silly, of course, because creativity, of which everyone always has a certain dose, was childishly confused with art. We all know how to put a plaster on a wound, or to trim a torn nail, but strangely enough, that has not led to the slogan: ‘everyone a surgeon’. In 1965 the Ministry of Education, Arts and Science disappeared and it became a Ministry of Culture, Recreation and Social Work.
None of them is a jerk or bully
I am a painter, writer if necessary, and I also started a museum somewhere along the way. Not to earn money (as if that is possible), but to serve the arts. And so I came into contact with more than 200 renowned artists from all over the country. Artists who are serious about their calling and profession. Of these, a small part appears to be much too humble about their own qualities; three quarters simply modest; a little over a quarter slightly more self-confident; and a few perhaps a bit eccentric or slightly narcissistic, but…none of them is a jerk or a bully, as the commentary presents us with today’s artist.
Rob Møhlmann lives in Appingedam and is an artist-museum owner