I un-quit, too!

Two years ago, cultural critic, professor and art writer extraordinaire, Dave Hickey, proclaimed he quit. He left, fed-up participating within the ‘courtier class’ of writers who pander to the monied and powerful collectors, curators, and consultants. He said he was tired of being a cog in the very well-lubricated jack that is elevating our overrated-and-often-over-injected artists, like Hunch of Mutton’s mother figure, Tracy Emin. He was cashing in his chips, and heading for the hills ( of Santa Fe, specifically!),  pining for the yester-years of true rock n’ roll, sex, drugs and anti-establishment art on the way.

Almost exactly one year later, Hickey shows the courtier class how fed up he is by publishing Pirates and Farmers, and just this past winter chose to publicly discuss his new book in the only arena where one can both be fed up, get fed and sing along to Grease at the same time – Grand Central Market, LA.

Well Dave, Hunch of Mutton is with you –  I un-quit too.

So here goes HoM clamoring back in again, taking cues this time from the ultimate on-again, off-again writer. After all, anyone who describes their writing as ‘inadvertent obituaries‘ has my attention. Thank you, Dave, for showing us there’s always room for one more.

Let’s begin with Dave and his more recent rants about identity politics, or for that matter any discourse or movement which gains influence and forces artists to self-reflect. Hasn’t it always been that way? Since when is art truly guided by artists? Like a bickering couple, Art World and Artist vie for control, struggling to hold on to it just a bit longer, and then ultimately fail, watching the other co-op, usurp, subvert, or otherwise destroy what one just finished building. But this couple can’t divorce.

Photo by Francis + Francis

And Dave knows this. Read this interview, and then read this article in the Guardian. His ‘quitting’ announcement went something like:

So you’re quitting the art world?

Dave: Yes those people suck.

And no more writing then?

Dave: Damn fuckin’ straight.

So what will you do instead?

Dave: Write.

Come on, Dave, by your own admission you were never quitting, you were just cashing in your well-earned art-world pension, and that’s OK. You’ve earned it, and now you have the privilege few others can ever afford. You get to bask in the glory that is unbridled judgement and criticism devoid of any semblance of a filter – a position embraced by retirees world over!

Let’s start reveling in the delight of straightforward appraisal, and having one too many nips of sherry along the way with the little lady, Libby Lumpkin. Besides Dave, you’re already doing it. I don’t like pasting quotes from other articles, but this one is just too damn good:

“Well, I think artists should be proud and too cool for school. I told my students in my last class that I always had my TA grade their papers. They asked why I didn’t read their papers. I asked them how much they would enjoy teaching a swimming class where everybody drowned.”

That’s about as subtle as a shark in a bathtub. And what did you say about professors being ‘big fucking failures‘?

Hats off to you Dave, onward and upward!


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