My Artist Contract, the Magic of Art & The Steelers Shamanistic Corporation


It’s been about a year since I updated my Artist Statement. After reading Bronislaw Malinowski’s “The Group and the Individual in Functional Analysis” and then rereading my statement, I think I have figured out how I want to rework it. Malinowski, “one of the greatest anthropological field workers of all time”, explains Personality, Organization, and Culture through his in-depth analysis of the individual and the group and perhaps what I consider his own version of The Social Contract. In my artist statement, I continually refer to the individual, the neighborhood, and the community. Clearly, I am trying to explain their roles in society and relate my personal social contract as well. So maybe I should just call it what it is and reword my artist statement to be my Artist Contract. I mean, that’s why we write these statements anyway, right? Contracting yourself to but a few paragraphs to define your entire body of work. So that maybe if you are so lucky, you can get contracted by a commission. We should really start calling it what it is. Anyway, it’s time I stopped synthesizing my artist statement and started making my points flow together more coherently.

What I actually came here to write about is entirely unrelated to the above tangent. In Malinowski’s “Synoptic Survey of Biological and Derived Needs and Their Satisfaction in Culture” he matches column F Systems of thought and faith with Growth to equal Art, Sports, Games, Ceremonial. In more detail, he puts it as, “…the integrative aspects of culture are again carried on in institutions, religious, magical, artistic, ceremonial, and recreation. The church, the congregation, the totemic clan, the magical or shamanistic corporations, as well as sporting teams and organizations of musicians, dancers, and actors, are examples of such institutions.” I really appreciated how he gave each of these things the same amount of acknowledgment and importance, almost explaining they are basically the same things to humans. In Pittsburgh, The Steelers are religion. For me, art is magical and ceremonial (see below). In general, people tend to put a lot of devotion, faith, and investment into the above institutions and they in return get very happy and excited about them. I am thankful that I get to experience first-hand the energy around the ceremonial Super Bowl with the Steelers and I get to enjoy recreationally the Church Brew Works for its beautiful architectures, pews and brews. Likewise I get to enjoy musicians in the church of Mr. Smalls. Whether or not you dig sports or religion or art or whatever it is, maybe you can dig that everyone around you is in a much better mood because of it. 

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