“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” Antonio Banderas (from Brainyquote)
All artists experience frustration at some time or other. It is a fact of life. How one chooses to handle the frustration can make a huge difference. Or not. Fantasizing about destruction of another’s artwork may have occurred in the thought processes of some artists at one time or other. Most people will grumble a bit. Others will, perhaps, voice a few well-chosen descriptive words. Some may even take to a blog to spout some derogatory witticisms. Few will act out of violence toward another artist.
One artist recently vented his frustrations by very publically destroying the one million dollar work of another artist, (see note below). His frustration was supposedly due to the gallery in question’s statement of intent to support local artists. The destroyed artwork was by an artist who was not local. While the frustration is understandable, what purpose does violence toward another artist serve? Or is this a case of civil disobedience?
In Max Ehrman’s famous Desiderata is the quote, “Avoid loud and aggressive people as they are vexatious to the spirit.” While the frustration is understandable the reaction is quite vexing. Where does smashing artwork get anybody beyond the “15 minutes of fame” spotlight? It did call attention to the galleries statement. That could result in possibly a few more pieces by somebody local. But long-term change seems doubtful from this bit of destructive violence.
Insight from the blog, Johan Turdenmeier’s Miscellany pinpoints the innate problem with this behavior. “I wonder when if ever the vexatious person will notice they are the cause of other’s retreat. If they have any idea that they’re behavior is literally sucking the spirit out of their companions.” Violence does suck the spirit out of those around it. The art- smashing artist is probably wondering where his friends are about now.
Had this artist taken the time to examine his frustration a bit he might have come up with a less vexing response. Organizing a protest would have been a good start. His friends may have joined him for that. The publicity would undoubtedly have been more favorable, not to mention the optics. When expressing vexations it is always better to avoid vexing potential supporters. Vexing the target problem would have garnered significantly less vexation and possibly led to future reductions in vexatious-ness. We could all get behind that.
(This account is purposely not reporting the artist’s name or the gallery in order to not assist in perpetuating more of this behavior. We observe the 15 minutes of fame rule whenever possible. We hope the smasher’s 15 minutes are now over.)
If you would like to read more there are accounts at these links:
More from Johan Turdenmeier can be found at the blog: