I have to be honest here. I harbor some scrutiny toward the practice of requiring artists to supply formal statements to accompany their work. Yes, I'm aware that providing such a statement is a large part of the application process for gallery submissions, grants, ect., and it's entirely logical that potential investors would want a better understanding of what their time & money might be going towards, but despite those functions the artist's statement itself always felt to me like a modern academia construct designed to justify the existence of one's output to the audience.
Composing an artist's statement might be an appropriate activity for the classroom, and I can see how it may even benefit a young artist to articulate their ideas in written form, but in most cases supplying extended text for public exhibitions not only seems unnecessary but often reads like an introductory sales pitch, unless of course that's the intent. Yes, there are instances in which the choice of subject matter requires some explanation in order for it to be fully appreciated, but beyond that basic information I'm largely uninterested in reading an in-depth exposition of the artist's rationale, especially from the artist himself. How much is too much? Is the work not capable of holding up to other outside interpretation without the artist's note as to how it should be experienced? Sometimes intentions are best left on the wayside.
And yes, back in art school I wrote some embarrassingly awful artist's statements! ;)
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