# 12 [4 May 2012]”The modern artist exists in a society as an experimenter with the conventions of culture; licensed to define his/her practice, its criteria and aims, independently from the dynamics that drive the change in conventions that prevail in the same culture generally.

At the same time, the existence of the artist is also something of a social experiment itself, subject to the authority of conventional assumptions, beliefs and expectations. Thus on the one hand, each individual artistic practice is by definition unique and non-representative of the culture at large. While on the other, all artists and their practices share in the eyes of the public certain common characteristics and traits, and these collectively represent the place of the art in the make-up of the societys self image, The image that the society has of itself as a culture is then less the product of artists experimental efforts – the singular worlds they create through their art – than it is the outcome of societys attitudes towards the vale of the artists unique practice for the social experimentation of art.

The experiment also extends onto the attempts to modernise the old job of the artist as one who records, reports and celebrates the actions and achievements of others from the observation and experience of their world. In this again the artist is generally expected to provide a contribution which is at once unique and representative of the cultures concepts of art. The artist must show an insider understanding of the others world but also maintain the distance that the society needs to understand the artists practice as a model of art. The more modern society becomes the information society or the more the two become interchangeable, the more remote the models of art become and the more society tends to learn about itself, not from the observations of the artist but from observing the artist.

The artists old job is taken over by the intermediaries who deliver the art to the public, who facilitate public access to art – curators, critics, arts administrators – and whose role it is to negotiate the practical and ideological terms and conditions of the services provided by artists in society.

“Extract from Other peoples culture, Pavel Büchler published in Curious – artists research within expert culture, Visual Art Projects, Glasgow 1999

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