WE REPRESENT avant-garde painters, sculptors and performance artists who reject tradition like a starving man rejects a force-feeding of putrid left-overs. Yet to continue to make art that exposes the meaningless striving of people with regular jobs, we rely on funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. With such funding now imperiled, we issue this manifesto.
WE REJECT beauty. We reject truth. We reject Art that seeks to inspire or uplift the viewer. We reject the ability to draw a cat that looks like a cat.
WE EMBRACE only one aesthetic question: If Art is a pointless Mess, what is the difference between a Mess and Art? Answer: Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Without funding, a Mess is simply a Mess. Only with government funding from an Arts organization is a Mess transformed into Art. And so we demand continued NEA funding. But we will NEVER clean up our Mess.
WE DESPENSE with conventional language, morals, courtesy, decency, personal hygiene. We are above these. We are awoken to a sense of beauty-turned-ugly supported by a line item in the federal budget.
WE AIM to stab a thumb into the eye of the gallery owner. We raise a middle finger at the so-called “art lover.” And for those too busy to visit art galleries–those so dulled by meaningless devotion to job and family–we leave no escape. Our Art descends upon your public spaces. You gasp: “How does anyone get away with this shit? I wanna a job where I get government money to make this kind of garbage.”
WHY SHOULDN'T we indulge our most juvenile impulses? Why shouldn't we throw a tantrum and break all our toys? Make Art with our vaginas and bodily fluids? Hope that someday our discharge and excretions will be auctioned at Sotheby's for millions?
WE OPPOSE the corporate ethos “to add value,” “to serve a customer,” “to get to work on time” in the empty quest to build wealth to pay taxes to fund federal Arts organizations.
WE DETEST the comfortable compromise, good manners, attending to the practical demands of life. Saving for retirement. Paying off Art School student debt.
WE DEFINE a new paradigm of Art that ridicules the viewer in order to establish our own creative superiority. We refuse to sing a cradlesong to the nice nice taxpayer. Rather, we lay bare his impotence to create.
WE FINALLY DEMAND continued funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For one day, we will describe to Terry Gross how a tortured life and federal funding contribute to our creative process. Meanwhile, commuters stalled in rush-hour traffic will listen to us on NPR and lament working jobs so unimaginative that they will never be interviewed by Terry Gross.