An Open Letter To a Gallery

   This letter is dated at a time I was trying to receive gallery representation in Malmo, Sweden. I thought that posting it here would balance out my last blog post, and even being dated my stance is the same, and to me, the words remain true.

Hello,

    I want to thank you for allowing me to meet with you to show my work. I am pleased that you thought of it as elegant, clean, and in a well disciplined style, and that my voice is clear and compelling. 

    I want to say that the conversation that the three of us had about art was very important. The main idea I was expressing, is that there is a great responsibility for artists, and to some degree for galleries, to be directional in not short changing the goals of art, and not to dupe and misguide the public into thinking that what has little or no merit should be looked upon as having value.

    I said that I did agree that it is good for an artist to experiment from time to time, and there is real benefit in doing so. However, if the artist finds that the end result is cheap and lowers the ideals of art, then he needs to learn from the experiment and make the necessary changes to improve upon his craft. In this he matures as an artist and his collectors grow and mature as well. To hold on to an experiment when it is in bad taste, or because it is something new, different and edgy, is a show of immaturity, is childlike. Some of his collectors may not be fooled, but this is misleading to the general public, and the outcome for society is disillusionment.

   Now, if we can turn away from the creative process for a minute, let me say that every person __ artist or not __ has deep in him the knowledge of what is in good taste and what is not. When a person acts upon this inner guidance, he gives life to his heart, and he finds the way to truth. If he ignores it by accepting a decay of high standards, morals and nobility, he deadens his heart and loses his way. If this person happens to be an artist, he takes his viewers along with him, and deadens their hearts as well.

   For photographs in a gallery to display badly crafted pictures of what the society is becoming is hardly a real reason to praise and glorify the photographer and display his work.  I do not see any reason to display that kind work, even if the intent is to warn the society of where it is going by ignoring what is good and wholesome for itself. Artists should lift the viewers to high standards with their craft, and show that there is hope, even in a world of decay.

   If your response is that this is photo journalism, and the role of photo journalism is to show the events taken place and not to be a commentary on them.  I would say that the challenge of good photo journalism is to supply __ as best as one can __ the images of the people who stand with dignity and strength, and of those who face the issues of their society with hope and good will. He needs to find those images to balance out his photo journalistic project before displaying them to the public in the form of gallery representation. 

   You may not agree, and I do not see how I am mistaken. Morality and nobility are truths that do not change, even when some believe that there is no such thing. The society is in great need of them, and the people of integrity and goodwill appreciate that on the walls of an art gallery.

   Thank you.

Mujahid ‘Abdul-Ba’eth

   I did not get a response . . . Maybe they lost my email address.

   The art world is creating in the minds of the masses an acceptance of degrading imagery of which they call art, and many galleries are part of it __ I am not saying all galleries. Art schools are requiring their students to leave their personal values, morals and loyal commitments at the door of these schools for the sake of higher learning. This dumping down of the arts I believe is by design, and the society at large is repelled by it. The masses are more drawn to football, video games and the TV then to fine art, while artists of high standards are trying to educate and bring the public back to fine art, and they need their support.

   I ask that you express your thoughts on wheather you are drawn to, what is called "Modern Art", or are you repelled by much of it?