28 October – 27 November 2005

The open submission for Spectator T: ART SHEFFIELD 05 has now closed. Artists submitting work were also invited to submit their responses to the context of Spectator T and Gavin Wade’s text. These responses follow:

 


We all have our Tony T’s. It goes with the territory of being an artist, making work and putting ‘it’ out there.
Maslen & Mehra

Artists run the risk of ‘offending’ before they’ve ever begun. It’s not, in the first instance, the products of their endeavours, but rather the fact that artists exist, having taken it upon themselves to put things/ideas into the world when ‘nobody asked’. Spectator t (tony) sees the existence of artists as a personal affront, though he’ll happily assimilate information from other cultural sources. He resents a perceived didacticism on the part of art (generically), made worse by its incursion into ‘his’ space. Though it’s right not to dismiss him, perhaps Tony (and any ‘t’) can grow out of this. The art that is ‘for him’ should be made despite him. Just as tony haunts the artist’s thoughts, so will the artist haunt Tony. In fact, the artist is in a stronger position to ‘haunt’, having trained at casting out ideas and provoking responses. Artists need not make art for everyone, and need not apologise. Tony destroys the art, but it’s affected him nevertheless. Perhaps one day tony will go to art college – he’s creative, is dogged by burning questions…artists are first spectators, and remain so – many young artists start out finding it easier to identify the art they don’t like, than that which they do.
For the range of spectator ‘types’ there may be corresponding artist ‘types’, both groups reciprocally evolving each others’ perspectives. So maybe there’s an artist ‘type’ that locks into Tony’s ‘spectator t’ – one that he’ll grudgingly respect despite himself. Possibly this ‘type’ agrees with tony’s core materialist values – that there are indeed ‘just things and us’, that art, in common with many other activities, is simply a way of ‘fuckin with the world’. But this isn’t a debased, dumbed down practice, nor is it exclusively tailored to ‘T’ types. There is much out there for ‘T’.
Daniel Mort


There’s no spectator constant. We run the gamut of spectator positions, A, B and all the way to Z, depending on our relationship with the art experience on offer. Like Tony T, we experince hate at times. I’m not convinced that hate is such a bad reaction to art. It’s responsive & engages, even if the response is aggressive, and , unlike spectator c, it’s not indifferent. Work with Tony T in mind probably needs to posture as much as he does, to stare back at him without feeling intmidated, to seduce and draw him in at the same time as repelling him.
JA Nicholls


Whilst I applaud Spectator T for having feelings about art, albeit frustrated and angry, and in his/her engagement with it, I won't mollify him/her. I might ask myself why T hates 'art' so much - is it because T does not understand it’s purpose or does not care or want to? Is it because T believes art is pretentious or a frivolous act that stems from fantasy and delusion, or is it because it evokes real emotions that T refuses to acknowledge and confront? Any which way, T does not ignore it, which could mean he/she is genuinely intrigued or even compelled to observe art, despite having such an aversion to it.
Hate is one of the strongest emotions there is - why then should it make Spectator T feel the way it does? I would like to expose that hatred and not to conceal it. It is my job as an artist to produce art that I believe to be true and thought provoking, despite the reality of not appeasing all spectators and in particular Spectator T.
To acknowledge Spectator T's concerns is an interesting concept and challenge as an artist, because to me relating and communicating on an emotional level to a spectator is key. Although I appreciate T's point of view, I would not take T’s side in any instance and would not want to produce work that does not provoke some emotion and at the very least, raise questions as to why Spectator T feels so strongly that his/her life is encroached on by art, or on what art has to say.
Rachel Wilberforce

‘Beech suggests that there may be a whole alphabet of spectators out there.’ What follows is a small selection.
Spectator I – claims that he/she or a small child they know could produce a better piece of artwork.
Spectator K – might not know much about art but knows what he/she likes.
Spectator O – fails to see the art in anything. As with Sacks’ man who mistook his wife for a hat ‘O’ mistakes a painting for daubs of coloured oil on a canvas. Spectator O has more in common with Magritte than he knows.
Spectator X – belongs to the generation that believes there are no new ideas and therefore has seen it all before.
Spectator Y – wonders what the point of looking at artwork is and wants to go out and do something less boring instead.
Vincent James


Spectator T is the adversary; he is the one faithful constant that allows the artist to define their practice. Do you entice T to relinquish his hate and grow to love what you do? Or does winning him over signify failure; does it mean you’ve compromised fatally never to recover? Or do you use T as the symbol of success? As long as you are hated and reviled by T you know you are winning. Or do you work with T, get him to participate, convert the enemy to your cause by lies, deceit and trickery. Is T the worst and best audience we have?
Michael Cousin


We liked the idea of an alphabet of spectators and Gavin Wade’s anecdote of meeting Spectator T. However we found his long text from Ts point of view unconvincing, and the task of positioning our work in relation to this fictional character seems pointless. If T is the creation of Gavin Wade then we are reacting to Wade, and not to any real spectator. We are therefore presenting our proposal with a whole alphabet of possible actual spectators in mind.
Ivan & Heather Morison


Spectator A as well as Spectator B is only to be found in an official art institution such as a gallery or museum. Spectator C is probably the most common person, however not a spectator of Art, as he or she is not likely to seek up the art institution, the ignoring act happens long before that. Spectator T is different as he hates, he has a relation to Art that spectator C lacks and therefore has a closer relation to A and B, when it comes to art. Spectator C could also be defined as no spectator, at least, not of art.
Twenty-five years after Art & Language invented Spectator A and B and pronounced their differences, that difference has become much smaller, if it exists at all, or rather if it still is interesting to make the distinction as the concept of art has come to include so many more activities since the early eighties and therefore also has involved a bigger audience. An alphabet of varying spectators, added with a number of sub categories, would be more useful. No wonder that some people get offended and maybe also as Spectator T; threatened, when art has moved out of a more easily recognisable structure as the Art institutions used to provide. Art has leaked out of the institutions and into areas of everyday life where art just didn’t exist before, more than maybe as decorations or monuments. If Spectators A and B where seeking up Art, for different reasons might one assume, in therefore meant sites they had little problems to understand that what they saw was Art. Today there’s a process within the Art community to adopt phenomena lying outside of the known concept of art and to spread its activity into other fields of society. In the days when A and B went to art galleries to find what they wanted Spectator C could stay ignorant and Spectator T would probably not be too disturbed. All alphabet spectators coming after Spectator C are now risking to encounter Art and will become spectators, whether they want it or not. Spectator T’s reaction is probably common and may also be fair; it is something about Art in public spaces that are sometimes not thought of and that is probably the Ts. Is that a reason for not making that kind of Art? I can’t give an answer to that as I see no rights or wrongs in any art activity, some art will become acknowledged and make an impact on the art world, some will vanish without a trace and some will make a local impact. The local impact is probably what I find most interesting when it comes to art in the public field. I am interested in the fact that a Spectator T will find art abusive and intrusive on the one hand and on the other will swallow advertising and other propaganda with out any reflection what so ever. That is however the world as the art has to work in and the artists who feel an urge to exercise their art in such surroundings will have to consider. The T-Spectators might talk back and probably in a very direct and distinct way.

Gustav Hellberg , Berlin 18.2.05

 

The top ten. A top ten of top tens. A list of lists. The top 100 ‘top 100’ TV shows. Now that’s what I call music 666. End of year reviews, geek websites and exit polls. Artforum and Letterman. The top-tastic top ten singles, download, upload and loads of other stuff put into order to be rearranged at a later date when you’re not making a list.
Is this meaningful historical insight or cultural camouflaging? Does this cataloguing reveal a personality or create more interesting pseudonyms for the authors? Can it (un)intentionally do both? It creates zeitgeist leaders and visionaries, liars and imposters, going hand in hand, undercover of the night into nostalgic and futuristic real fictions. These lists are extreme detox, stripping away our former selves, showing the enlightened path to another new Babylon. Like, right on brothers and sisters, kick out the jams.
Maybe Tony T (no.4 in a list of alphabetic names including Malcolm X, Fred Gee, Mike TV, Chuck D, Mel C and his main rival Mr T) should write his own list, or even better steal someone else’s. Maybe then I could be more like Tony T and he could be more like me, or you.
Gordon Dalton


I think spectator T lives in us all. I know that I have come to know this side of myself more and more. I’m an artist, I make art, I know artists, I like artists, I like art, but sometimes I find myself thinking “Who gives a fuck?’.
I’ve visited some of the finest galleries in the world and seen some of the greatest masterpieces of all time; jaw droppingly, achingly important statements of aesthetics, politics and social commentary, but if I hadn’t been an artist and chosen to take that turning off the pavement, into that building, I would probably never have seen these things. Millions of people don’t make that turn and they’re perfectly happy. When I pass jugglers and fire-eaters and people who stand really still in the street, part of me hates them. I’m not entirely sure why; I know they’re not doing me any harm. I also think Spectator T is abhorrent. Spectator T questions what I’m up to because the media give him a titbit of knowledge that gives him the right to an opinion. He has the nerve to question whether something is ‘art’ or not, even if it has been presented to him as such. He thinks he’s important in the question of art, as important as he believes artists think they are, to be placing their work out in front of him. I don’t wish any harm on Spectator T. We need each other, if I wasn’t me, he’d have nothing to moan about and if he wasn’t him, artists wouldn’t get to feel marginalised.

S Mark Gubb


For the individual within a society, the structure we are part of, exerts forms of pressure to demand our complicity, in order to support and to adhere to its principles. Whilst at the same time, through our desire to make the system work we pretend to ourselves that it does. The structure exists through the division of labour, where our individualism is rewarded, but at a cost. To counter this, the individual can attempt to think critically about the system; in order to its contradictions the individual needs to become a cultural critic and work alongside other cultural critics to develop collective systems.
We see Art & Languages text, ‘Painting by Mouth’, as discussing art as a product of ideology; declaring that art and ideology are intertwined, art is not an autonomous activity, and like ideology it is full of contradictions and flaws. It points to social division, and how art, as part of hegemony maintains this. In liberal democracy the status of ‘high art’ remains unchallenged, despite its aesthetic and elitist history, and regardless of the social divisions and tension within society. Instead art, through public funding is encouraged to function and become more ‘accessible’. This appears to demand a change from those who manage art, to ‘open the doors wider’ but access policy does not question art and cultural hierarchy. It suggests arts’ audience is without difference or division, and that art offers all its audiences a necessary sustenance.
Andy Hewitt & Mel Jordan


Spectator B is historically specific: an ideal spectator for a radical and critical conceptual art; someone witness to what Art & language have called Modernism’s nervous breakdown. The task, for the artist, is not to make work which appropriates philistine attitudes nor is aimed at philistine constituency. Spectator T is not a role model; spectator T is not a spectator. Established notions of work, artist and spectator are part of the current cultural settlement: these terms must be transformed if cultural division is to be overcome.

Mark Hutchinson


There is a danger that Gavin Wade’s text relies too heavily upon a one off incident, which then becomes a generalised character type in Tony T. Gavin Wade’s text runs the risk of patronising and further excluding those he may wish to reach. The character of Tony T could read like a partially formed cipher of one aspect of a cultural practitioners private experience. What concerns and interests us is that the rationale for Art Sheffield’05 could be inadvertently premised to create further divisions and stereotypes. There is a contradiction that Gavin Wade’s text, like much art, both responds to and perpetuates division simultaneously, albeit in good faith.
Steve Dutton & Steve Swindells


Spectator F is an art tourist
She is watched by spectator V
Spectator T would hate Spectator V
But might love Spectator F
Spectator V would like to watch Spectator T

Michael Bartlett


WHY I GO TO EXHIBITIONS ALONE (after r. p.)
she wakes up with a good idea of who she is and what she likes but for a long time now she has wondered how it is to respond. it seems such a fugitive affair- having ones own opinions. they get tampered with, coerced, manipulated and she knows that tony t was not alone, he had accomplices – you said so. she will respond though, glaringly, unflinchingly. it has to be done, eye contact has to be made. no room for doubt. no dark glasses on. no quiver or flicker of the eye – it will be noticed. remember, the thinking has already been done. it is a world of resemblances now. the pictures have already been seen and words read. she does know what she likes as long as she can make it seem more or less what she wants it to be like. that object in front of her is but a catalyst for the thing she knows to be real. it might be hard for her now to connect with that thing in front of her. it seems like an example or version of that which she desires to see, to experience. it had to be done though, she had to make it real a long time ago. it’s a literalness that she can deal with now. this is what she wears on her hands.
Jo Mitchell


Interesting that within the spectators mentioned there isn’t one woman spectator, they all seem to be men. Do women not go to see art? Has she been forgotten and therefore left unlabeled or is her opinion merely so unimportant that she doesn’t need a label?

Danica Maier


Art has no responsibility to please or offend the viewer.
It is the product of a digestive process based on ideas and passions that are passed into sight because they have nowhere else to go. Whether it is glorified, ignored or destroyed, is the responsibility of the spectator. although tony t hates art, his reaction to it does an excellent job of keeping it alive. In a world confused by advertising and media forms, art is such an abstract concept that it is reassuring there are spectator t’s to confirm its existence and strengthen its ideas.
Ingrid Z


I am spectator T. But I’m also an artist. Pretty stupid career move!

Dave Rowland


When I encountered my Spectator T he told me that ‘art people are irritating but they can be laughing stock as well.’ It strikes me that your Spectator T might not dislike art, but that he hates the type of people he associates with art. He might think, like my spectator T conveyed to me, that ‘the art public is a bunch of old fogeys and that they are arrogant’. But at the same I suspect time he is slightly intimidated by them. I wonder in what way art is frightening to Spectator T ?
Teike Asselbergs


The venue was my Canadian secondary school’s main gymnasium, transformed by temporary walls and folding tables into a chaotic catch-all of student art: the bad drawings showing the cast shadows of eggs, the even worse paintings of woodland fairies. My own contributions to this mass-scale crime were equally horrific, and included my first use of the assisted ready-made: in this case, an oversized plush pony, beautifully combed and trimmed with ribbons on one side and childishly mangled and red-paint besplattered on the other. My subtlety knew no bounds in those days.
Nor did my rage upon finding a group of teenaged boys hidden out of view, circled around my plush pony - my art - and taking it in turn to wrestle, kick and further mutilate my efforts.
This was my first and to date my most dramatic encounter with the hateful spectator of art, and I would even argue that hate had little to do with the willfully destructive behaviour of those boys, aside from the general hate of having to be in such a place at all. But there was real loathing in that moment, savaging my young hormonal nerve endings as my complete indignation on behalf of everything Art was flung at these boys in the form of every obscenity available to the English language, echoing in the cavernous gym almost loud enough to drown out their scornful laughter.
I can speak of this encounter calmly now, no longer so young and foolish, but I still recall how easily hate of art in the spectator can permeate in both directions, and elicit an artist’s own hate of her audience: anger, disgust, and frustration that for all possible destructive acts they would disregard all things fragile and wonderful just to beat a dead horse.

Stephanie Begh


Hey Tony, I'm wondering what difference there is between ownership and generosity?
Until then
Sav


How can Spectator T ‘hate art’, if he doesn’t know that what he is looking at is an art work? He can be caught out with a covert, unnanounced art work and he might inadvertantly appreciated it.

Anna Pharoah


We need to start non-threatening conversations with spectator T. (along with those through A-Z.) engage with T their friends, peers and neighbours … about art and art: everyone deserves respect FOR THEIR beliefs, ideals and dreams.
Antoinette Burchill


You’ve got to love tony t, right? He’s the easiest critic you’ve got. Here’s why –
1 – most of the other people you know are probably involved in art; artist or spectator a through b. Unlike these people Tony T does not want to compete with you.
2 – Tony T will hate your work. You will expect this.
3 – Tony T will sit on your shoulder while you make your work. He will either be in a bad mood for having to be there or he will annoy the fuck out of you, asking you questions continuously you find difficult to answer. But he will most definitely not, when you invite him to the pub afterwards want to talk about art. you will thank him for this.
4 – Tony T, you will realise, has a point.


If tony t does not consider something to be art, he may be more disposed to looking and responding to it. photography could be one of the solutions. After all, we look at photographs every day in newspapers and books, but don’t normally think of them as works of art. By showing images to which Tony T can relate, there is more chance of him showing an interest.

Trevor Atwood


My work is not especially for R
it is for those who want to see it
After all you cannot please them all
And frankly, I do not think that T hates art, he most likely hates whatever happens to be in his line of vision at the moments that he hates the world.
I live in a city where an artist was killed because of his work, so, you have to be aware that T is there, but do not work for him. If anything, work against him
RIta Klauke


A spectator is automatically a participator. They become one among a group who at any time perceives that which they are surrounded by. Their response is an emulsification of internal and external reactions. Taking a stance like Tony T in which he hates art merely validates the range of responses attached to viewing art.
Sarah Sandford


If I hadn’t had a head cold for the last 4 days and was able to think straight, my response would be different. likewise, I suspect, differing conditions for the production and reception of art produce differing responses at different times, only not always from different people.
Ronee Hui


The circumstances surrounding the destruction of ‘Here are the young Persons’ are complex, it was clearly a sustained and physically laborious effort undertaken by numerous individuals. I could argue that this action was territorial, political, anti-social, collaborative, critical, delinquent or personal but actually I would expect that boredom was as forceful compulsion as any of these other factors.
I would suggest that the sight of the broken remains of ‘Here are the Young Persons’ scattered across the yard of a bowling green on the outskirts of Sheffield (where they had been taken by the local council after they had been destroyed) is an equally valid articulation and representation of youth as the top 5 lists printed on the original work.
The difficulty for artists working in this context is to construct a scenario in which the urgency, energy, commitment and creativity exhibited in this single act of vandalism can be directed as a non-volatile, non-destructive critical engagement with art.

Neil Webb & James Brown


Gavin Wade’s text surrounding the destruction of Here Are The Young Persons struck a chord, we too have recently had works destroyed. In 2002-2003 Yoke and Zoom sited 5 pairs of grit bins, one labeled grit the other determination, in rural villages in Worcestershire.The project was intended to provide salt-grit to rural residents who otherwise were not on the local gritter routes, making access easier during the winter months. In June 2004, visiting the sites we found that in three of the five locations one bin of each pair was missing. Two determination bins and one grit bin had been either moved by the local council or stolen by an unknown passer by. Rendering the original artworks destroyed whilst leaving behind a functional bin and therefore still providing the intended public service as usable grit dispensers. These events occured prior to succesful evaluation from the Arts Council who funded the project, but left us questioning the procedure of the current system of short-term evalution of public art - was the project really a success? Or can a grit bin only be expected to be a temporary thing anyway? A council highways officer would tell you that the reason the sites were not on gritter routes initially is because they do not have enough funds to replace bins that are often stolen whilst also proving bins for new locations. So this event of public art destruction could be seen as the natural conclusion of the artwork through its dispersion, if the bins were stolen to be utilised their use as grit dispensers was therefore extended to more (unknown) sites than originally intended, therefore providing the artwork with an extended function.
Yoke & Zoom


Art education all but killed art for me. I suppose I used to be a bit of a mild spectator T- and I still think he's usually right. The more you learn about people's reasons the less convinced you become of your own opinions and reactions. It's not hard to make most people believe you're right about something. Now I say: there's no limits to art, there's a place for anything that gives anybody entertainment, information, joy, interest. Even though most of it's shit, I say, It's a playground. But I wish I could still hate things like I used to.

Carla Mackinnon


My dad’s mate used to work at a wimpy in Sheffield he said the worst job you could have was to be the bloke who had to dress up as the wimpy man just in fount of the door and give out flyers. Because the wimpy man was a big burger with a head you would be basically this big inflatable ball shape, which had a limited view, once you were in the suit. I remember him describing being knocked over and rolled down the street once by some kids once.
Will Foster


Tony T seems self-absorbed and bored. Tony t wouldn't like me or my work, its not work its ammunition. And my work is that made by Tessa t - a whole different kettle of fish angst.
tessa t is not cool she doesn't trade on these terms. She doesn't skate she doesn't like weetabix but she gets pretty much the same kicks as tony t.
tessa will tell tony to go fuck himself. go shit on every unsuspecting spectator whilst she does her thing. unaware, unwatched, uncool.

Derville Quigley


Spectator T won’t like my work because he hates art in general. But eventually he doesn’t even realise that he is confronted with art while looking at it. That might be a possible way to approach him I guess. And he wouldn’t even have to know that he has had an encounter with art. As long as nobody tells him, he might be happy with his anti-perceptive behaviour.
Miriam Steinhauser


Hey, hey, hey. It, its all male spraying your stuff all over the fucking Green. Fatherfucker- Mutherfucker. Its sister Fi you think its just always goanna be a mans world – Fuck you its also spectator Fi. Never mind just the gentleman, I say hey ladies I hope you come to see the She wizards got her slot. We ain’t goanna be stuck in no ones fucking box. I ain’t doing no pop stuff.
You got to get real. You’re directing your own moves dancing your own denial. I ain’t doing it for yer.
I don’t know, something changed I got a wake up call. I have my own real fiction. It’s the invisible stuff that can do shit and more. I don’t mind making it seen.
T likes his waitress. Well she’s looking at him. And everyone drinks milk. Man your always laying all you’re shit on. Well I say it’s always best to get the right mix.
It’s all about control. Well lose it.
The artist- she’s just doing her stuff.

Lorna Knowles

It is an interesting state of mind –being an artist and having an alien philistine living inside your dreams. He would form an alliance with your bad memories and become a constantly flashing disturbance rather than a mere spectator. …
Lela Budde


Artists are generally thought to embrace their audience, no matter how they react to their endeavours. Though many approach artwork with open minds and desire to engage, there is always the exception to the rule who ploughs in headlong like the proverbial bull in a china shop.
Ben Cove


Spectator T looks at the world through a set of personal truths, carrying round a suitcase of social references that are specific to him or her. An artist looks at the world through a set of personal truths, carrying round a suitcase of social references that are specific to him or her.
They’re both asserting learned truths.
Our aim in making is to referee. To make opinions and judgements in connection to sets of learned ideology. To decipher rules of play. We spend time researching social and political structures that make up culture. Recognising that social consensus mostly informs ones awareness of the world and that these structures not only bind us to prevailing thought, but make us who we are.
Sam Ely and Lynn Harris


I would aim to approach Spectator T from the context of conflict and territorialism, to contain aspects of Tony T’s worldview within the work, but also to question it and locate these sentiments beyond his context, within the wider social context.
My work takes human conflict and dichotomies as its subject, to the degree that different, often contextually rooted areas of everyday life are pitted against each other across conventional boundaries. The work is about territories and spaces, areas for action and inaction, the politicising or making- subjective of space and the ultimate questioning of the rules and structures which govern our actions and placing.

Claire Hope


Perhaps it’s a double coincidence that Tony T is a non art lover, it’s a stance I take, so much of it (art, art world blah blah blah…) is depressing, bought , sold by taste-brokers in a lightweight contest between the dumb and the insecure.
Perhaps my submission would make Tony T laugh, and then get pissed off because it’s still art and then not so dumb.
Dan Mitchell


A fatherless teen skater with a crush on a waitress, how real can life get? Reality? Which one do they want? Am I awake? Yeah, yeah, this is me. Is it me? Having never had this kind of certainty, I do not think I have ever actually woken up feeling myself. Certainly feeling myself up. Or was that already another I was feeling up?
It always surprises me how the mind makes connections that one is not in control, just reading the following line: “Man the light’s bright. The sun’s got his fuckin’ hat on today.”, produced in me a totally divergent set of ideas. Nothing to do with the story of T. but something produced by my own subconscious. I immediately got a mental picture of the dying Turner, yes, the painter, and heard his reputed last words about ’light being God’. Even whilst trying to focus on a completely different ‘now’, the now of T, I was sent more than a hundred years back to a moment which I did not even experience.
Encountering “Posters of some kind” where one was not expecting them could have that same effect of transposing you to the here and now of another experience. So what would we do if we did not want this?
“Just ignore it mate. No, that’s just too easy. We have to take so much shit all the time just doing what we want to do”
Is this kind of experience just more shit to deal with or perhaps it is a more complex experience of the here and now. Is it the shit we deal with anyway. “this is not meant to be out here in the real world, my world.”

Monica Oechsler and Alexander Hidalgo


Spectator T took a train. A book lay on the seat next to him. After six stops Spectator T picked up the book and opened it. He began to read.
‘Woke up. Angelina called. I turned over in my elephant sized bed to find three hookers. I smiled. Out of bed and on the street I attempted to seduce every woman that I saw, even Laryinia the local transsexual. I made a movie in black and white. I made another with no sound, picture or props; I called it the ‘Masterpiece’. Angelina called. She’s adopted a baby, too many women. Fade to black.’
Spectator T put the book down on the seat, stood up and left the train at his usual stop.
Charles Danby


-That’s crap, why are you doing that?
-It’s Art
-No it’s not. It’s crap
-You can’t just say it’s crap, why do you think that, why’s it crap , how could it be better?
-It’s just crap
-We need to begin some sort of dialogue here, what about it don’t you like?
-It’s fucking crap; all art is crap, it don’t mean nothing
-Ok now you have started to formulate a position, it is not this work per se that you object to, that is to say consider ‘crap’, but the whole concept of artistic production which you consider meaningless and while that point of view has certain…(SMACK)

Jonathan Trayner


I think I’ve met Tony T on a Sunday afternoon in a pub. He asked what bands I liked. He said he liked Slayer. I said I liked lots of different stuff. He got a bit aggressive so we did our best to ignore him, finished our food, and left.
Chris Clarke


I enjoy the concept of elitism. I enjoy the fact that I am continually learning, trying to get deeper into my thought, trying to learn through my art and peoples interaction with it. I enjoy the idea that there is not right and wrong in art, and the infinite contradictions which come with it. Maybe this is the irony that people are often unable to accept.
I have always hoped that no matter how intellectual a work may be, there will always be an element that Tony T can enjoy. But when one must make so many decisions, conscious that too much sensationalism will prevent viewers from peering below the surface, or too little catalyst for engagement will have them move on before depression sets in, then it is difficult to communicate with everyone from every walk of life. The inability to communicate with people through language was the driving force which set onto the road of visual art, so it is no wonder that there are a certain number of ambiguities, which will strike Tony T as “weird”, a concept society has taught him to hate, fear and destroy. When face with the challenge that my work should be simplified for his sake, I ask him; “Should the scientist never work beyond the general understanding of the public?” I for one, with my university education, would be severely disillusioned if I understood everything that the scientist proposed. If I ever reach a conclusion, and I realize that I understand everything in art, that is the day I will stop.

Reuben Henry


There is a scene in the Getaway, where Steve McQueen, sitting in his prison cell confused and alone, is building a bridge made of matchsticks. After finishing it, he smashes it into pieces in a fit of rage; something Sam Peckinpah never anticipated…
Why did he do it? – spend months building an art piece, and wrecking it in a moment of madness. Was he such a weak piece of shit, that he couldn’t cope with being inside? Or was he scared about his latest creation? It was in the script art was supposed to keep him alive, art has always been a matter of life and death, the artist code of conduct as they like to portray it; you have to commit! If you stop/don’t, you’re dead! The likes of Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Van Gogh … all dead meat! Shouldn’t he have seen it coming? He could see the infinite possibilities, the commitment, the abnegation, the resilience and above all the futility of it, 7000 matchsticks for an 80cm bridge, the so called art of liberation! Fuck That!
Because one day she appeared.
He could then understand the meaning of it all, he had to cross over, it was a path leading to freedom, but most of all to her, and her amazing body. A life inside, of matchsticks masterpiece, or spend endless nights in her arms? What would you do?
Stay in for twenty years and build a whole city with wood bits; so that on your release, Dubuffet, so inspired by the art of the imprisoned will greet you, praise your work, include it in his “collection de “L’art Brut” so that today it might become a major influence on the mighty Brit-art/Saatchi concept. Ali MacGraw, was her name; he didn’t think twice and took the option of becoming one of the countless missing links of art. From matchsticks to lust, he had crossed over, and there was no return.
Pascal Rousson


Spectator T shows a close resemblance with many contemporary artists. The emotions ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’ are close relatives and it is a thin line that divides these intense feelings. As a young visual artist I am confronted with both emotions on a daily basis. I love making art but I can’t avoid hating the thoughts that occupy my mind 24/7. Ideas about what to use for future artworks in terms of politics, culture, personal joy and sorrow, are impossible to ban from my daily existence. So in this sense I show similarities with Tony T that art does interfere with my life continuously. On the other hand it is the ‘love’ for art that that I thrive on and the misunderstanding of it that feeds my motivation. Meeting many spectators A,B,C and more of a different alphabet, it is the ignorance of them that forces me to take a stand on certain subjects.
So who is Spectator T? is he a latent art lover? A frustrated artist? Someone who is afraid of the undefined? Or he or she might be a great admirer of art and knowledgeable of this way of life. Spectator T could, for this reason, be aware of the enormous amounts of rubble in the art business. The love for art has eventually turned into hate. It really isn’t a matter of “do I like Spectator T or not”. It is refreshing to meet someone that is sincere in their feelings whether it is a negative attitude towards art or a positive one. Although Spectator T’s attitude is one of extremes and completely opposite of mine, I’d rather have more Tony T’s walking around than spectators A, B and C. At least hate and ignorance are strong, intense feelings that tend to surface more often enabling, perhaps, a space for dialogue.

Chris Peterson


My work attempts to engage Spectator T through a poetic vision. There is no problem for the artist if Spectator T is irritated, bemused etc. There is the issue of stereotyping. At some point spectator T may catch himself daydreaming… of journeys or childhood memories. My work may intervene at this point.
Helena Tomlin


Worm had to give a woman flowers and stare at her for a while. Worm then had to go to take them away. The woman went to hand them back, but Worm then declined. Worm then had to go to take them away again. The woman went to hand them back but Worm then declined. Worm started to move in again but the woman promptly placed the flowers on the floor and pushed them away from her body. Once she had done this the woman gave Worm a look of distaste. After a while of having to stare some more, Worm picked up the flowers and moved on.
Later the woman approached Worm wearing a large smile. She thanked Worm. She apologised for not understanding earlier and claimed that she had now got it. The woman thanked Worm one more time and left hurriedly.

Tina Carter


You have turned me into Freud. Tony T is lying over there on the leather couch, telling me everything, in a stream of consciousness. I need to make an analysis of him – to understand the way he sees things. He is telling me about a day in 2002 when things got a little out of hand…
It soon becomes obvious that Tony T is certainly not an ignoramus – he knows what’s going on – he also knows what he likes. He has knowledge and understanding of the world. It’s just that he doesn’t like (stronger?) art – he doesn’t like being preached to or his territory being invaded. I am secretly impressed by Tony T; the strength of opinion, independence and single mindedness. The will to shape the world exactly as you want it to be. He possesses the extreme opinions of youth. I am reminded of Generation X, a book published in 1964 (Charles Hamblett and Jane Deverson) which documented, through one to one interviews, the lives of teenagers in 1960’s Britain. Generation X exposed the lives of teenagers – drugs, sex, fashion, contraception, politics, religion, relationships with their parents, aspirations for the future.
The way I see him? – well I can’t quite decide if he’s a revolutionary hero or an idiot who’s missed the point…(typical me).
Jerome Harrington


Antisocial, receptive, active, fiction, reality, artist, audience. The list could go on forever. What Tony is, cannot be defined. Perhaps he is a bad dream. Perhaps not. Perhaps he is one of Nietzsche’s demons. The one that stands there making fun of you because he has mad you realize the pointless circles your life consists of. While you make art trying to break them. Only, Tony is the artwork. And if he wishes not to break them, then all you will be hearing for the rest of your life is a slow painful laughter.

Yannis Lagogiannis


The “conceptual framework” for “PR 04” – an exhibition/event in Puerto Rico stated:
“Our interest is to work closely with the community, carrying out a sort of archaeology of the place and having artists collaborate with local residents. More than an exhibition, this project is envisioned as an opportunity to create symbiotic relationships between the local and international artistic communities. Artists will elaborate projects in various venues (public and private spaces, publications, situations, interventions, presentations, panel discussions etc.), and we look forward to sharing these activities during one week with daily guests from the non-art community.”
This event perfectly demonstrated the successes and failures of artists’ projects designed to ‘integrate with the local community’. To crudely generalise in 300 words: local Puerto Rican artists’ projects successfully ( and in some cases spectacularly) integrated with the community while western ‘international artists didn’t.
Projects devised by western artists, on the whole made work that existed in the local environment but which did not create symbiotic relations. An artist from Germany proposed a project focusing on domestic violence in local homes spotlighting ‘real’ and ‘socially conscious subject matter, this was ridiculous, naïve, voyeuristic and stupid. An artist literally flying in and out- using social context, not thinking about it and working with it. Other projects slipped into situations which completely contradicted the idea behind the event by patronising local shopkeepers, completely baffling them by arranging a camped up fashion show in the local clothes store. Artists cavorting in feather boas and surf shorts didn’t sit well for me, too much ‘in the know’ hidden slapstick, a critique of western consumerist decadence I suppose – keep your fashion shows , boas and lipstick in Shoreditch.
Jesse Ash


I empathise or identify with Tony T, I feel in some way he is me. Despite being a practicing artist I am Tony T, I hate what the establishment persists in perpetuating. I hate most things it stands for:
Let me clarify. I fell that it can be defined in my belief that the arts are at a perilously low ebb. A search for a new source to replenish the reservoir must be begun. By embracing the current notions of art, society has to some degree disregarded its heritage, bring back the craft and finish. A studied practice can only help to produce a polished product, its time to relinquish the idea that its art because the artist says it is. Fine artists who, in their role, strive to be controversial or revolutionary in their expressions are bound to turn heads in the media and elsewhere but they are making art for the minority or for an audience that may not exist; not for an ordinary audience. More and more it appears that art has exiled itself to a theoretical/aesthetic desert in its pursuit of values that have little meaning to the population.
I would like to start plain speaking; lets try to talk to a wide audience, lets stop talking to each other in the cult of artists and start listening to our audience. How can we expect them to understand when we don’t speak the same language?

Gareth Davenport

Spectator T’s inability to engage with any kind of art is born from consumerism. The promise that art will give him some kind of enlightenment in to the world in which we live just isn’t enough. He lives in a world where he worships objects, in a world of immediate promises by advertisements and advertisers alike, where everything is tangible and immediate. He had no connection with art as it has no catchy slogan, no particular celebrity footballer endorsement and no connection to guaranteed satisfaction. He worships on the steps of the high street sports store, he enjoys it there, it’s comfortable.
Leigh Agnew


I am fascinated by the nature of ‘encounter’ in art works; how do the audience come to the work, and how might this affect their experience of it? I am also interested in how work might exist after the event; will it exist only in as much as it might be remembered by those encountering it. Might it be spread by recollection? Might it enter the public domain again through spoken word, thought and memory? Perhaps it might enter and leave unnoticed.
Lucille Power


My area has a number of people like Spectator T. (I must point out, however, that I think Spectator T is both male and female but for this passage I will refer to it as he) As a result it is very challenging to exhibit my work. Spectator T is the kind of person that you cannot win against. You will never make him happy. However Spectator T makes me want to get out of bed each morning and produce art that would be approved. He is the person who you really want to convert to enjoying art in all its forms but underneath I know he will never approve. Without Spectator T the art world would be a lot less challenging.
Russell Maggs

 


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