03 July 2019
Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 53: Dictatorship of the Consensoriat
Dr Great Art podcast Episode 53: Dictatorship of the Consensoriat
The creation of a term for one of the problems in the artworld, one very obvious usually around June each year when we all go to the Basel Art Fair, often the Venice Biennale, documenta etc. A phrase for the convenient conformity of (small) minds to have identical tastes in order to achieve hegemony.
#arthistory #consensus #drgreatart #markstaffbrandl #postmodernart
Dr Great Art Podcast 53
Dictatorship of the Consensoriat
Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 53rd "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.
Today my Artecdote concerns the creation of a term for one of the positions we find ourselves in within the artworld. One of our larger problems, one very obvious usually around June each year when we all go to the Basel Art Fair, often the Venice Biennale, documenta etc.
Thinking about this, way back in 2007 I created a phrase and word within it, which I have used regularly. I would like to draw attention to it here once again, with the hope that ever more people in the artworld use it.
The phrase is "Dictatorship of the Consensoriat:"
I wish to re-introduce this word and phrase into the international artworld dialogue. Please assist me by using it every chance you get. Forming neologisms is one of my favorite diversions, especially since I learned Latin. It may be a slightly arcane hobby, but I enjoy it, and terminology can control far more of ones thought processes than we are often happy to admit — therefore, why not grab the bull by the horns and begin to develop our own phrases for what we feel it is necessary to discuss or critique. Shakespeare created words like amazement and radiance, which have become commonplace. These made-up words have stood the test of time because they expressed notions people wanted to articulate, and because they were understandable. Let's hope I can do something similar, if less inspired. In fact, Shakespeare, in his plays, sonnets, and poems, used approximately 17,677 different words —and of those 17,677 words, 1,700 were brand-new, coined by him.
While immersed in various local struggles with the regional outpost of the "consensus clans" in first Chicago then Switzerland and elsewhere, I began to see that I needed a few new terms.
My contributions usually nit-pick one or two professions unnecessarily, for the drive to the herd mentality manifests itself in all the sub-layers of the artworld currently. Therefore I began to play with Latin (rather freely and not always correctly, thus making what is known as "ML," or Modern Latin). I needed a term for the international cabal of consensus-thinkers, and I needed a phrase containing that word to express the power-control situation of the artworld since about 1987. I played with consensus, primarily, as that expresses the problem concisely. I tried to find a word expressing "those who seek only consensus" or something similar. I remembered the old Communist sententious saw, "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat." Mixing that with censor, and utilizing the similar and appropriate ending –iat, I had my term and phrase. (-at, or –ate, or –iat, is a suffix occurring in loanwords from Latin. In English the use as a verbal suffix has been extended to stems of non-Latin origin, and by way of French into the formation of certain nouns.)
I suspect I need not exactly define the group to whom I am referring, as most of us deal with them on a daily basis.
I often call them, them the "Consensus Clique." That is, a few people gathered together, who actively exclude as many others as possible (particularly artists) and tacitly agree to agree on everything. They check in with each other regularly and only promote the lowest common denominator of what they concur on. This is not a conspiracy, they say, just a very convenient conformity of (small) minds to have identical tastes in order to achieve hegemony. You can envision what I mean. The small group: including international curators who show all exactly the same few artists, no matter what the supposed theme of the show is; art bureaucrats who give all awards to the exact same people; supposed theorists who all borrow from exactly the same few recent fad thinkers (whether Lacan or Derrida or whoever is "in" now); artists who unquestioningly do boringly almost identical Late Minimalistic Neo-Concept Art; art professors who teach and force that style; everybody who bootlicks this group, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
However, now my improved terminology. Let them be called the Consensoriat (when they have positions of power), and let this sub-period of time at the close of Postmodernism be designated as "the Dictatorship of the Consensoriat." And let us now work on this Late Corporate Capitalist form of Academicism to bring its demise to a hasty conclusion.
That was The Dictatorship of the Consensoriat.
Thanks for listening. Podcast number 53. If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch, with Performance-Paintings!
I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history, or look at your desired theme through the lens of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations. Most recently I did "Petr Jan Brandl, Baroque Art, Prague and Me" in Prague at the Festival Brandl.
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