Rich Enough For Vanity

6 Sep

It’s common knowledge that the Eskimo people have no less than fourteen different words for snow. Dude, fourteen ways of saying snow…
Now, I wonder if there was a language spoken only by artists, a sort of international artist lingua. Then, how many words would there be for vanity?

Oh yes, I can almost hear you taste it. Vanity, you say to yourself. You recall artists that made it their life to be special. You think about Marina Abramovic in her white dress, plastic boobs and embarrassing retrospective in MoMA. You contemplate Cecilia and François for a moment. You recall somebody else… “-OMG what a diva” – good that his/her career is not going that well. You think about Pina, but forgive her – rest in peace. You don’t think about Alain Platel – such a nice guy. And you don’t think about Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, but you should!

Vanity doesn’t resonate particularly well, doesn’t taste that good in your mouth. You don’t want to be known as the vain artist, nope. It’s romantic, echoes of bohemian lifestyles, illustrated delicacy and we don’t want that. We don’t want to devote our lives to how to best wear a shawl, how to work on our penetrative gaze or the color of our training pants. Don’t think so, the artist should be understood to be a grounded individual with control of the situation, a clear mind and the ability for hard work. Vanity is so not currency in 2010.

This is very bad. It’s a disaster. We aren’t artists anymore but crisis managers. We are like leftists who have lost all their visions and are just about maintaining a comfortable position. The love of the underdog. This is fucked up. Seriously fucked up!

Vanity is dead long live vanity. Shit, I miss Martha Graham.

We should work more on it, we should devote all out time to our vain attitudes. Be a diva, promise! Be vain, can you afford not to be? At least act as if you were rich beyond reason. We must not accept that there is only one word for our elevated manners. Fourteen is not enough. I want devotion. Unlimited admiration. We must reject premiere parties that don’t feature authentic champagne. We must refuse interviews in magazines without worldwide distribution. Reject theatres that don’t provide four-star hotels. Ravage about festivals that want to put you in the same program as Superamas. And of course cancel shows at the last moment, just because. Or for no other reason than to make the life of your assistant a living hell. By the way, you don’t have a producer or manager you only surround yourself with assistants. And a lot of them.
But why? Just because, but also because what has happened to the artist today is an incorporation into the world of management. The artist today is a negotiator, a person that would do a much better job than Obama on a visit to the Middle East. The artist of today is somebody who runs a declining business and desperately wants to get back onto the main stage. The choreographer is no longer a movement maker but has become a specialist in moving and choreographing co-productions, residency visits, occasional site specific projects, you name it.

Oh, it’s all good. Cool. We are doing fine. But the artists – you and me – have lost our privileged position. It is time to take it back, to insist on being special, to stop any kind of modest behavior. No way, we are not managers, producers of this or that. We are artists and we insist. We insist on special treatment. Be vain, be vain as fuck. The more vain you get the more fanatically you will have to defend your territory. The vain is ready to fall, to fall without any chance to recovery. The vain rejects everything that is not immediately favorable. Fucks strategic thinking in favor of being photographed from the right angle. The vain, the artistah, hits the critic in the face after a bad reviews. The vain, the artistah, is not having an after talk or some idiotic discussion. The vain, the artistah, has admirers, devoted fans and is absolutely categorical. The vain takes everything personal.

“-If you don’t like my show. I can have somebody show you the way out. Capish!

Let’s sign up with Eskimos (minorities together yeah…), although it might be cold and lonely out there we need at least fourteen words for vanity. Remember you are an artist. You don’t need to have any reasons, you don’t need to be clear (P.A.R.T.S.), you don’t need a fuckin’ concept, you don’t need to have good or decent ideas, you are not responsible for the audience. Not for their emancipation. Forget about transparency. You are an artist and you rock n fuckin’ roll.

ps. After the opening night of Xavier Le Roy’s Product of Other Circumstances at Tanz im August the other day, an assistant showed up with a bottle of cheap Prosecco and flutes still in the box from IKEA.
Xavier Le Roy, act up. You should have been a diva and cancelled the second show. Did you? And festival people show some fuckin dignity. A bottle of prosecco, are you insane?

5 Responses to “Rich Enough For Vanity”

  1. mattias September 6, 2010 at 14:12 #

    word up! This goes for many other areas as well. Overall, we the brilliant people (i’m sure yall can define this yourselves) need to at some point stop explaining ourselves to morons over and over again, begging them to leave their moronic ideas and attitudes behind and please give our humble brilliant point of view a try… Why not just once in a while say fuck you, it’s your loss if you don’t get it.

  2. schusch September 6, 2010 at 18:12 #

    Hi Marten. (Sorry, don’t know how to put that little dot above the “a” here)

    To be Punk, this manifesto has been way too long in the first place😉

    But I liked reading this.

    I don’t blame people finally arriving somewhere. They struggled hard enough to get there. But in art you either become meaningless after a while or you define the new meaning of art. At least in the arts I know, which are a bit more like Rocke’n’Roll. Okay, Motorhead are Motorhead, the Ramones were the Ramones, they could make a living with playing the same song over and over (song I like), but I guess you think about people never arriving somewhere. Maybe Bowie until the 9ties, maybe Miles, maybe?

    Okay, right on! Do it. It’s not “them” or “us”, you’re an artist and it’s you. You have the freedom, the right, the fucking duty to differ.

    I’ll be watching it.

  3. Dmitry September 7, 2010 at 00:12 #

    well.. the words already exist: vanity, conceit, arrogance, smugness, egotism, narcissism, hubris, self-admiration, pretension, pride, showing off…

    but to tell you the truth i think someone who shows this attitude at tanz im august would provoke a very nasty post on this blog. after all, it’s just a dance festival full of artists who try to make ends meet, meager audiences, and no real vision (as you’ve written before).

    michael jackson was famous. bruce lee was famous. beyonce is famous. mikhail baryshnikov is famous. they can drink champagne and be divas – they worked hard and they deserved it. the rest of us have very different ambitions, i think, so i suggest we just continue enjoying ourselves and all the beautiful people around…

  4. erwin van doorn September 7, 2010 at 07:55 #

    hell yeah fuck i should have bought that top hat in zurich

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