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Commitment


It strikes me how many young Dutch artists, having graduated at an academy and starting their own practice, present themselves with activities that focus on social targets rather than artistic goals.
It’s no news that since the 18th century a number of famous artists - from Voltaire, Zola and Brecht to Bob Dylan - had a great impact on social movements and politics. But these celebrities never had the intention to be a rebel or the leader of a revolution. Only their drive to create great art was propelled by social motives. Whereas nowadays young people with an artistic ambition seem to feel obliged to figure out concepts for social change in the first place, and consider artistic methods and techniques only as the main vehicle for that ambition. Isn't that a shame?

As far as my observations reach, this is the result of a deliberate policy, at least in the so called free art sections of several academies in The Netherlands. At the same time when this policy was developing, existing facilities for training of traditional craftsmanship were abolished. Students in genuine need of individual coaching and solitary concentration were pushed into exchange of ideas and strenuous interaction, not only with their peers but also with outsiders who had to contribute to art as well. Social relevance of art, coined in the seventies of the last century, still  has to be proved and worshipped at any cost today. As a result a lot of talent is led astray, unsettled or even wrecked. The victims are blamed for “lack of commitment”, to justify lack of necessary professional coaching. So what about the teachers?