Last Sunday, the New York Times‘ renowned red bobbed art critic Roberta Smith compiled a list entitled “We Can Always Hope,” which consisted of “a list of events, not exhibitions, that I am looking forward to–but that in all likelihood will not be happening.”
Smith’s list ranged from calling out the overabundance of tired and tiresome art selfies (Bravo, Roberta!) to requesting that MoMA extends its free hours to joyously hoping to see art-ligarch Eli Broad leave LACMA.
Reading Smith’s fascinating, cathartic and just the right amount of bitter list made us at Filthy Dreams consider what we would like to see happen in both the art and queer scenes. All three of the Filthy Dreams writers, Emily, Marion and Osman, put our heads together and cobbled together a list of our dreams that will likely never happen. Please feel free to comment and add your own.
1. Queer theorists stop referring to Finding Nemo, Dude, Where’s My Car and Chicken Run as queer. Forcing ideas onto these mainstream Hollywood films doesn’t make you cutting edge or revolutionary.
2. HIV/AIDS becomes a topic discussed more widely by the art scene not just in combination with more famous artists from the 1980s and 1990s like Felix Gonzalez-Torres and David Wojnarowicz. AIDS is not over and neither is the ongoing discussion in the art world.
3. Academics realize there is a world outside of academia. Having knowledge about sexuality, gender, race and class may make you well-informed but it doesn’t necessarily make you a better person or more interesting than someone who is ignorant of all of the above.
4. All the gallery interns–Come together! Let’s all not go to “work” tomorrow. Let’s see if anyone will notice until the coffee machine is empty again. Stop unpaid “practical training.” It has a different name: Free labor!
5. We see the end of group shows that make no sense. A “group show” is simply another name for bringing together a work by every represented artists at a gallery these days.
6. The Internet realizes that cats do not make you queer and neither does kale for that matter.
7. Bashing Chelsea is passé. Seeing an artist bashing Chelsea evokes the same feeling as when a waiter/aspiring actor talks shit about Broadway as he brings your spaghetti to your table.
8. The art world bands together and puts a cap on the amount of art fairs, which have turned art exhibitions into a trade show. We hate them, you hate them, artists hate them, galleries hate them…make it stop!
9. The one major wish Smith got right was the lack of representation of women in galleries. We hope that not only do art galleries include more women in their group shows but they include more people of color and queers.
10. Art openings actually become fun. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you had fun at an opening? Some places don’t even serve wine anymore. Quelle horreur!
11. Summertime art sadness comes to an end. It’s summertime and nothing ever happens in galleries or museums. Does Zeus suddenly send Muse on vacation in the summer? Does she stop visiting Bushwick? Why are there almost no exhibitions during the summertime (except group shows but we already went there).
12. We quit the obsession with authenticity. Brooklyn artists are not more authentic than Manhattan artists, starving artists are not more authentic than famous successful artists, queer hipsters are not more authentic than Chelsea queens, etc.
13. Academics, queer theorists, writers, etc. start checking their own privilege.
14. Middle Eastern artists stop painting women in burqas from different angles in each work. Where you come from is not the only thing that defines you as an artist. It is amazing to be political but not as bad as being predictable.
15. Finally, the entire art and queer scenes just give up the charade and be ridiculous. Let Richard Simmons be your guide:
Academics realize that knowledge about sexuality, gender, race and class has little to do with the amount of time you’ve spent in a classroom. On the contrary. This is about what happens in the streets. And until a classroom is safer than a street for minoritized groups (are they really, really?), they shut the fuck up. Do better yourself or shut up. That would silence a TON of chatter and empty critique.