In defence of artspeak 2017-04-17T05:46:14+00:00

The case for International Art English

Artspeak is not intended to be industry jargon. More poetry than the language of science, it reflects the difficulties of using material words to describe the immaterial. It is necessarily metaphorical because it is an attempt to describe the ineffable.

Artspeak should never be seen as an attempt to define conceptual thinking. Instead it is a valid part of the discourse, the conversation that is evoked and stimulated by conceptual art. After all, conceptual art is more than a product or event. Intrinsically it is self-critical, an examination of its own nature or reason for existence.

You simply cannot separate artspeak from art. After all, art is also a language. It is in itself a vocabulary of visual communication which is imparted to its audience. Art is also a catalyst for the culture in which it finds itself, so in many ways a work is completed by the conversations it provokes, whether that be from conversations in a gallery or flowery critiques which seem to be the point of discussion here.

Of course artspeak is also propaganda. Purveyors of new cars use marketing speak to sell oh what a feeling, sheer driving pleasure or vorsprung durch technik. We are surrounded by propaganda, be it advertising, political or parochial cultural influences. The propaganda of art is no new phenomenon and yes it has its own language, just like the propaganda of wine, spirituality or philosophy.