Christopher Dean: Simon Barney


Reply to Christopher Dean's review in HR.2
The review of 'No Ideas' by Christopher Dean makes
some pertinent points about 'critical stupidity'.
However, while matters of interpretation are for
reviewers to decide, the article goes further and
makes claims about my statements and intentions for
which there is no basis.
I have never made a statement containing the words 'I
have no ideas of my own' or even words to that effect.
This is therefore not the reason for my asking other
artists for instructions for paintings.
The show was not, as claimed, an attempt to
demonstrate any points about 'curatorial concepts'. I
have, through the Briefcase and other activities,
sought structures for art outside the museum, but it
is a mere commonplace for artists to complain that
curators are devoid of ideas. I wouldn't waste my time
making a show about that issue and have nowhere
suggested such an intention.

My intention in working with other artists was to
explore the non-identity of artist and work, recasting
identity (an idea usually so crucial for art) as a
kind of dispersal. The resulting paintings rely on
'unbelonging' not attribution for their understanding.

This approach is closer to collaboration than
appropriation - a historicizing and often distancing
method that maintains for the quoted work its status
as original.
I displayed each set of instructions with the work.
While there would obviously be other ways of following
each instruction I am in debt to the inventiveness and
generosity of the other participants for the shared
result of each painting.
So failure to list these artists is not as the review
suggested 'in the spirit of this exhibition'. They
were Mikala Dwyer, Sadie Chandler, Elizabeth Pulie,
Chris Fortescue, Stephen Birch and Adrienne Doig.

The review concluded with a complaint about curators
subsuming the work of artists in their own 'concepts'.
Likewise for reviewers, I guess.

Simon Barney