January 10, 2005

ESSAY | but it started out so well

A paper presented at the Hatched Symposium - Art Writing and Publishing, PICA, Perth
by Robert Cook

"Art writing is about being a body in a space. This body that walks into a gallery is a body brimming with shame. The body makes a spectacle of itself every time it pulls out its notebook. It boasts, implicitly, about its opinion to come.

"Art writing tends towards sexual release.

"Yet art writing is always frustrated. Your pen works only half of the time, you can never find your notebook.

"You engage in fuzzy pillow talk. It’s such a big effort to get it straight.

"And most of the time getting it straight, getting it all down soberly, is enough.

"It’s enough because you’re so tired all of the time because art writing does not pay and you have to do too many jobs to support yourself but you cling to it because it’s the closest you’ve ever come to being what they called at school an intellectual but you’re finding that exhaustion and bitterness are dogging you all the time like that chimp you met in the forest but you say that and I still do not feel sorry for you you’re always trying this on trying to win the sympathy vote that’s your pathetic style."

Read the full paper online at: