When I created a writing workshop called “Learn to Love Your Artist Statement,” I knew I was in for some trouble. Then I read Iris Jaffe’s “The Anti-Artist Statement” on Hyperallergic.com, and I felt the need to write a reponse in defense of this most-maligned document. Why?
The primary reasons: For as long as an artist statement is a professional requirement, provide one when asked, and provide the best one you can. If you have trouble writing an artist statement of sufficient quality to meet your own standards (or bio, or statement of purpose), hire someone (me, for instance!) to help, rather than let your name appear next to someone else’s thoughts and ideas. Discuss your philosophical objections within your circle of friends, but don’t be unprofessional when presented with an opportunity; the field is too competitive. And creatively, writing an artist statement can increase your self-awareness and deepen your understanding of what you do–sometimes because writing is an unfamiliar new tool for interacting with your unconscious.
Check out the essay on Hyperallergic and the great discussion it has generated. Feel free to let me know what you think.