Hoping to gain some insight I wrote to Kilar for an explanation. He replied with a one sentence answer: "I like to take pictures of pretty sunsets and bums." Which is true enough. His site has many photos of those things, and that sentence describes them more concisely and meaningfully than his artist statement (which could probably accompany any photos). But it doesn't help me determine if he's sincere or not.
I'm not the only one to harbor doubts. The mysterious rien de le monde has left a few outrageous reactions to Kilar's statement at Feature Shoot. A sampling:
"The effluvia of sensation that reaches us is indicative of the enormous capacity that art endows to the artist, allowing the distiller–for art in this sense is truly a distillation of juxtaposing cultural sentiment that resonates in its own particular moment–to accept the nourishment of the world, process it, and return it to us in a solid form that we may instantly recognize, even should our eyes and ears be closed."
Now come on. That can't be real. Can it? I'm not sure if rien de le monde is in on the prank or if he's just going with the flow, but it's beyond doubt that such language is pulled from his ass. It's definitely a joke. Probably. Maybe. I hope.
The reason I find this so fascinating is that I harbor secret fantasies of pulling this exact prank. The art world is so self-referential now, so dependent on context for meaning, that virtually anything can pass for art if projected in a certain way.
It's the perfect foil for an experiment, to throw a fake photo project out there accompanied by a dense statement, just to see if it passes. Or maybe a real photo project with doublespeak statement.
Chances are it wouldn't pass. But if it was well crafted, and reviewed in the right circles, and circulated on certain blogs, who knows? And if someone caught on, well that would be part of the project, right? The audience completes the art. Maybe there are some projects out there right now making the rounds of galleries and reviews, passing as real, which are indeed pranks. Maybe that is what Kilar is doing.
At this point I can't tell but I find the ambiguity intriguing. If artist statements have reached the point that fake ones and real ones might be interchangeable, and equally meaningless, what sort of world is that?
Enough. The emperor has no clothes. I call bullshit.