Art Doctor: a neurotic journalist meets a paranoid doctor

Dear Art Doctor,

I write a column for a popular newspaper but I’m convinced no one reads it. This means my articles are becoming progressively more ridiculous. Why bother making sense? No one cares anyway.

You’ve written to the right girl. I have often contemplated forcing my friends to read my articles in public and laugh loudly (or look enlightened, if it’s a serious piece).

What we have to realise, you and I, is that being ridiculous is not something to be feared. As long as you say it with conviction, people will enjoy it – or hate it, perhaps, but they’ll definitely notice it. Be genuine and open and you’ll get readers. If nothing else, there are few things people like more than tracking mental collapse. (I trust your “popular newspaper” isn’t Heat or similar, or you’d already know this).

This is an issue of artistic integrity, and one chap that we could perhaps take some (anti)inspiration from is Jeff Koons, who has just taken over the Dean Gallery’s coveted Artist Rooms slot. Koons has made a career from turning mundane objects into art. This is all fine and dandy, I suppose, except that he is now suing a small shop for selling book-ends that resemble his piece based on that childhood favourite, the balloon dog – an image he appropriated in the first place. Vitriol doesn’t even begin to cover it. But nonetheless, he gets attention. I’m recommending Koons for two, rather disparate, reasons. First, he may be utterly lacking in “integrity” in the normal sense, but he has convictions and he sticks to them. Second, you can console yourself with the fact that you may not get as much attention as you’d like, but would you really want to be quite as hated as he is?

The other, slightly less arty, option is that you write to me again and tell me your number. Maybe we could go for a drink and moan about how awfully hard the life of a scribe is. I’ve got a feeling we’d like each other. Get in touch…

Originally published in The Student.

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