Monday, July 19, 2010

Artist Statements say Nothing when Plagiarism is Involved

Artist Statements say Nothing when Plagiarism is Involved:

Since my involvement with it is safe to say that I’ve viewed the artwork of thousands of artists-- probably more in the hundreds of thousands-- online. I can remember days when it was not uncommon for me to view the work of at least 300 artists on a routine daily basis-- a constant search for potential interviews. Needless to say, I've viewed a lot of artwork and have read many artist statements as Senior Editor. Thus, I have learned to key in on potential problems concerning the statements of artists and the manner in which they gain exposure online.

While 'hunting' for potential myartspace blog interviews I often notice basic problems artists face concerning exposure when placing their best foot forward via the Internet. In some cases the problem is in the form of poor website design-- others, poor image quality of photos that have been uploaded. These only serve as professional trip lines when one is trying to advance his or her exposure. However, those errors can be corrected. Unfortunately, some of the problems I ’catch’ during my ’hunts’ are truly self-inflicted-- and can foster lasting damage to ones artistic ambition. The main issue-- individuals who plagiarize from the artist statements of others.

In truth, I have ‘caught’ a few instances of plagiarized statements on myartspace as well as other social networking sites designed for artists-- and dealt with them accordingly-- while others have been brought to my attention. It is no secret that some artists have ‘borrowed’ from the artist statements of others since statements became the norm. Said practice has never been accepted-- and in my opinion, it only serves to limit the artist who is doing it. However, in this day and age-- one fueled by the power of the Internet-- it is increasingly more crucial for an artist to communicate with an authentic voice rather than ‘steal’ the words out of a fellow artists mouth.

In my opinion, the artist statement plagiarist risks damaging his or her professional presence more than ever. While it is true that some individuals do not care about the authenticity of an artist statement it is also clear that others take it very serious. This is compounded by the fact that it can take a mere Google search to expose an artist statement plagiarist. In other words, with just a few clicks an artist who has plagiarized his or her statement can easily face a lifetime of criticism and ridicule for that choice-- especially if the offended artist is involved in exposing the truth.

It is unfortunate that some artists place their practice, education, or other aspects of professionalism on the line simply because they are too lazy-- or don’t know their own work well enough-- to come up with their own words. After all, a plagiarized artist statement only ‘speaks’ to those who are not aware of the plagiarism. Once exposed-- said artist statement is silenced and the plagiarist-- from that point on-- will ‘hear’ the criticism and ridicule of his or her failure.

To put it bluntly, the artist statement plagiarist places an unneeded obstacle before himself or herself-- once exposed, the act of plagiarism is apt to block success, respect, and dignity. And for what? For an easy route? A lack of words? It is not worth it. An artist should strive to communicate authentically about his or her art-- an artist statement says nothing when plagiarism is involved.

Links of Interest:

The Artist Statement...again

My Art Advice: The Artist Statement

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor

1 comment:

SeBiArt said...

Couldn't agree more. But what's most troubling about this post is that this happens at all! Great, another thing to worry about... I seriously never thought this went on where statements are concerned - and you make a solid point - it's near unimaginable to me that someone wouldn't be familiar enough with their own work to write their own statement!

But though you say it's easy to unearth plagiarists, I have to wonder; couldn't the appearance of such an act erroneously implicate the original composer? Should one consider copyrighting statements now? Eek!

On another note - what's the best resolution to use for websites? You've got me fretting on that now... And for that matter - flash or html? Gone to a couple talks at Calmet and CCNY about this - so many different views on this.