I make art as … a complicator of social feeling. – Marion Coutts
Why the idea of art as complicator had never occurred to me before is probably testament to my spotty formal education on the topic; but since reading that quotation in an interview of the sometime Dog Faced Hermans frontwoman, I’ve been fairly obsessed with the idea.
Specifically, it’s helped me recontextualize the perennial question: If everything is art, how does some art seem to fail at being artful? Or, more commonly, Why does some art suck? This debate, whether I’m having it with myself or others, tends to devolve sooner or later to bolstering the notion that there’s no accounting for taste. But that’s not incredibly satisfying to me, so the question continues to come up.
With Ms. Coutts’ quotation in hand, I think I may finally have a good argument. Maybe art fails when it fails to complicate any part of reality, or any part of a perceived reality. I realize how tenuous notions of reality and perception are, but at least arguments can be made about them.
Taste, on the other hand, seems not only unengaging, but unengageable.
(This also sheds some further light on my complicated love for Clipse.)