Okay, that’s likely unfair of me because I’m sure that Baselitz is not remotely the most misogynistic asshat to come out of the contemporary art world, but still–what the hell, dude?
So, basically, Hyperallergic covered an interview that Baselitz had in Der Spiegel, where Baselitz was just a (not)charming dinosaur that, unfortunately, is emblematic of the kinda inherent misogyny that has existed in the art world since–well, since forever.
A taste of the interview:
Baselitz: Women don’t paint very well. It’s a fact. There are, of course, exceptions. Agnes Martin or, from the past, Paula Modersohn-Becker. I feel happy whenever I see one of her paintings. But she is no Picasso, no Modigliani and no Gauguin.
SPIEGEL: So women supposedly don’t paint very well.
Baselitz: Not supposedly. And that despite the fact that they still constitute the majority of students in the art academies.
SPIEGEL: It probably isn’t a genetic defect.
Baselitz: I think the defect actually lies with male artists. Male artists often border on idiocy, while it’s important for a woman not to be that way, if possible. Women are outstanding in science, just as good as men.
…I kinda think that there’s as big a problem with the interviewer not calling Baselitz out on his out-dated idiocy, but y’all read the interview and see what y’all think. Okay, their interviewer was kinda scoffy, but still, there could be something more like addressing the issue.
Baselitz also hates Jeff Koons, so ya know, there’s that. Koons is kinda the archetypal white, male artist, but I actually really enjoy his work and his message…and I kinda like that he basically turned porn of him and his porn-star-cum-Italian-politico into art. That’s kinda amazingly saucy.
But, Hyperallergic is always rhizomic in it’s coverage of such things and included a bunch of tweets about Baselitz’s remarks about women’s inability to paint well and with ambition with some accompanying analysis. The most poignant and timely, I think, is this one:
AFC writer Corinna Kirsch made one of the most astute points when she tweeted:
Finally read that loooong Baselitz interview. Now that everyone remembers who he is, I’m worried Baselitz is going to be a comeback kid.
— Corinna Kirsch (@hereisafantasy) January 30, 2013
I fear she’s right. The art world consistently rewards macho, bad boy behavior (see: Hirst, Koons, and basically every canoncial white male artist), so that even when there’s no blatant dismissal of women, there’s a latent sexism that permeates everything; existing hierarchies are reinforced through decisions about who gets to show where, who gets written about and interviewed, whose sales generate more money. All I can think of to really deal with Baselitz and his idiotic comments is to ignore him, and for Der Spiegel to now interview 10 women artists — young and old, emerging and established, white and of color — in his place.
So, what do y’all think? I’m interested to hear what y’all think because I’m obviously a biased individual and artist.