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February 19, 2007


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Good point. But I think that the special vulnerability-to-charges-of-fraud of so-called avant-garde or experimental work has to do with the fact that that work aims for something more than 1-to-1 representation and conventional morality. I think? The more risks taken, the more space for philistine critics like myself to point fingers and go, nyah nyah.


Well, there's a certain amount of sense in discussions of frauds returning to alt-art. Any fraud does its dirty work by taking advantage of ignorance and uncertainty (By what criterion should I judge this new thing? People must sell bridges to strangers all the time, right?) Uncertainty is a natural part of avant-garde art because it may be difficult to compare it to other works and develop an effective criterion for evaluating it. With mainstream artists, we are accustomed to what they are trying to do and have ample work to compare it to, and therefore we can simply evaluate their works as good or bad or some mixture.

Here's a question: to what degree is fraud a product of the work in question and to what extent is it the product of the hype or marketing that surrounds the work? If you saw a work that you considered fraudulent, would it matter if you had not seen any marketing, read any articles, or heard any other hype about it?

Finally I think we often call works that are financially or critically successful frauds. What greater delight is there to be the little boy pointing out to the adoring masses that the emperor has no clothes? That makes you very special child.


One final question, have you ever produced anything, put it in front of people and then think "For this, and at this time, I am a fraud?"


no. i've been worried about being *accused* of being a fraud, but i don't think i've ever put anything up and said "that was fraudulent" or its lower-grade variety "that was bullshit".


In 1998 I directed something of which I was quite proud. The next year a script/concept that was so lousy (I discovered too late) that I was scarred for years. For years I turned in performances of varying quality but generally equal zest. I don't honestly believe that people set out to be frauds. Only the fevered imaginations of critics!

Alison Croggon

Is bad faith the same as fraud? I've seen quite a few shows I would consider done in bad faith, but I doubt I'd go so far as to call them fraudulent. Most often a good case of doubltethink: the artists involved have convinced themselves that what they are doing is, really, Great Art... And certainly, failure is a different kettle of fish. And, IMHO, must be allowed.

Oddly, where I've cried fraud (at least, to myself; I don't think I've ever accused anybody of it) it's much more likely to be with mainstream stuff. Though I can think of shows with huge intellectual pretensions that the work didn't fulfil. Again, is that fraudulent?

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