Wednesday, October 2, 2013

If Jonathan Jones Thinks Opinionism is Journalism He's Trippin'

Jonathan Jones, art critic and staff writer for the Guardian, just wrote a nasty article entitled 'If Banksy thinks he's following in Warhol's footsteps he's tripping'.  First of all, Banksy is not following in Warhol's footsteps.  Secondly, how did your title ever make it past the editor? Jonathan must get paid by the word, and not for proper capitalization of those words.

It seems no one is monitoring the editor's desk at the Guardian, otherwise tripe like this would not get published.  Basically, Jonathan Jones' article is nothing more than an opinionated attack of Banksy. Jones accuses Banksy of being "banal" and "untalented".  Jones hurls the terms, but he offers no supporting evidence why that is the case.  Jones conclusion is that Banksy is cool only because "All graffiti is cool". Jonathan Jones ends his opinionism by saying "Myself, I wish Banksy would go see Jackson Pollock's One at MoMA, look at it until he sees how dull and lifeless his own art is by comparison, and retire."

Ouch. Like we say, hurling insults is opinionism, not journalism.  Anyone can spit words and opinions at a computer.  But the bigger point is, Jonathan Jones is ridiculously wrong on many levels.  Simply put, Jonathan Jones, not only is your writing banal and untalented, but it also seems you have no understanding of the streets, or even art.

Yes, street art is "the sacred totem of our age" and not just because it requires risk on many more levels than traditional indoor art.  Street art is the chosen genre of this generation, because, at its best, it provides an unfiltered voice for the truth of an individual daring to make a personal stand in this day and age.

This is where we re-visit our accusational 'opinion' that Mr. Jones does not really understand art, and like good journalism does, back it up with some evidence.  Case in point, if there is one general definition for good art, it is that 'good art' is inspirational.  If Mr. Jones is suggesting that Jackson Pollock's One is the epitome of high art, and he is also suggesting that anyone could stare at it and lose hope, then it seems that his scenario is failing good art at the most elemental level.  To be clear, M&F is not commenting on the quality Jackson Pollock's painting as art.  Rather, we are arguing that Jonathan Jones is stretching so hard to make a point, that the point he is reaching for just isn't there.

Mr. Jones, your article has untalented writing that doesn't come to a clean point.  And it seems that you are completely out of touch with popular culture.  The kids these days don't call it tripping, and you're trippin' if you think so.  Furthermore, you write for a mainstream media institution and are admonishing art lovers to visit a museum to experience real art.  This is why you don't get street art.  To spell it out for you, Mr. Jones, you are a cog in the institutional authoritarian framework that the street artists are anti- against.

Trust us, not all graffiti is cool.  Far from it. There is plenty of bad and lame graffiti and street art. Banksy is at the other end of that spectrum.  Banksy is not trying to be Warhol, either.  Wanting to be Warhol is what the bad graffiti and street art attempts to imitate. Banksy's unique skill is that he paints static pieces of art that are engaging and conversational.  And this generation digs what Banksy is saying in that conversation.  In fact, the first Banksy that M&F ever personally encountered on the streets was not an authentic Banksy at all.  It was a copy of one of Banksy's images, featuring a cop glowering out from behind his hard had, flipping a 'Fuck You' with his middle finger.  The image was painted behind a random gas station in a mid-American town.  At the time, I was a teenager who had never heard the term street art and I didn't know who Banksy was, but this piece spoke to me.  This 3 inch image seemed to capture exactly how I felt about the abuses by the powers.  I've been a fan of Banksy ever since.  Every piece from Banksy might not be profound, but when Banksy is on, he is the voice of this generation.  That's why Banksy is going to be bigger than Warhol.  Tomato cans are for your grandparents, museums, and institutions.  Banksy is wielding spray cans to lead the street art generation.

In closing, M&F would like to share a piece of Jonathan Jones' advice with himself.  Just as you recommended a visit to Pollock's One at MoMA and staring at it for inspiration, we would like to suggest that Mr. Jones try to familiarize himself with some Banksy imagery.  Why don't you look at the same picture that first inspired M&F to become interested in street art.  This version pictured above might not be from Banksy, its just from another one of his countless fans.  Still don't see the glory in street art?  Don't worry.  Enlightenment will come with time.  Just keep staring at it. You will get the point, eventually~

Or maybe, Mr. Jones, just re-visit Pollock's One at MoMA, and retire.

For all the art lovers, a picture of MoMA's Jackson Pollock's One, for comparison below:

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