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SHIRLE GOTTLIEB


I looked up what I wrote for Artscene's "Special Tenth Anniversary Issue" [Yikes!--Ed.] and was saddened to discover that le plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose. Only worse.

In 1992 I said: "On the eve of the twenty-first century, the entire world is in unprecedented crisis and the arts reflect it. . . .Artists create out of the world in which they live." Ten years ago, however, no one could have imagined the cataclysmic nightmare of September 11th.

"As old systems break down," I continued, "new ones flounder in search of direction. Something will emerge out of all the confusion; but for now, the operative words are 'fermenting' and 'chaotic'". . . .and "things in the art world are likely to get worse before they get better." As I suggested ten years ago, "Artists create out of the world in which they live."

I regard an art writer's primary goal to be building a bridge between the artist and the public. In short, art writers must be educators! In our current unstablized, frenetic, kaleidoscopic world, how can viewers appreciate or connect with any contemporary work of art if they don't know its visual vocabulary? Without basic knowledge, they cannot "read," understand, respond to, or interpret what the artist is trying to convey.

Only when viewers are informed, can they truly decide for themselves whether a work of art speaks to them--and whether it succeeds or fails to fulfill the artist's intentions.