art news & reviews & Interviews. jeff bergman, editor

110 – On not knowing

Sometimes I walk into an exhibition and don’t know what to think.  It’s taken me some time to be okay expressing that confidently.  It can take days or weeks to even register what I saw.  It creeps into my thoughts like a song, some little snippet of crap pop music that has stuck in my brain since I heard it 20 years ago.

If I haven’t said enough about it I am reaffirming my stance on “not knowing”.  Early on, I assured people I knew things that I didn’t.  In the art world, it is less about actual knowledge and more about stated opinion (as fact).  Knowing the consensus on an artist or show allows one to be “knowledgeable” with no actual insight.

My opinions are fluid.  I have changed my thoughts about a work or artist, usually when they challenged my preconceptions.  As some sort of freelance critical voice, I am supposed to judge and develop an opinion.  Often, I form strong opinions quickly.  These are the kind of opinions that start in my gut, that I refuse to ignore.  Still, I relish moments of not only confusion and bewilderment (written about in 92nd – Confusion) but also uncertainty.  I am claiming these moments, which are often more important than the ones where I know for sure.  I have spent my whole life knowing things, but when you aren’t sure, you have a challenge ahead.

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