Be Stealth Fish Manifesto

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Business is kept like a tropical fish tank, or everything will die. One degree fluctuation equals instant universal death. Every change accounted for and resisted. We are not contemporary artists. The future is in the past. The present has no potential. Modernism championed rejection before progress. Progress can’t be contrived, unless you’re willing to settle. We resist all forms of deliberate progress, artists that set out to challenge, and any anti-art that results from a premeditated agenda. Contemporary art eats itself because it thinks the opposite. Its paranoia about its own worthlessness is medicated with aggression, business control, and the need for everything to be castrated. YBA’s, Tate trustees, Directors, auction houses, galleries, critics, tutors, students, every role is filled by agreeable conformists that must be refused by us and neutered by themselves. Every way in is through a controlled channel. Contemporary arts paranoia is now worse than ever. So much so, Sir Nicholas Serota has to be given a job for life. Testament to how fragile an art world is, built on lies, and the agendas of the rich. Every Turner Prize has been identical since 1984. Everything about contemporary art smells like fish. Business is boring and predictable by necessity. Waves could destroy current buyers old investments. Investors need everything safe, the YBA’s summed up in a word. No art movement has lasted as long as the YBA’s because no art movement had such a vested financial interest. Its poor billionaire investors forced into this silent prison of denial while their agents constantly have to breathe life into their own doomed Ponzi scheme. None of our business though, unfortunately, say The Other Muswell Hill Stuckists. Paint the mundane without any quirks, and see how self-sufficient art is. What cop outs exist in contemporary figurative painting. Modernism rejected the academies, but they’re back, as contemporary art. Stealth artists fire time capsules at all life. Evolving and unevolved. Intelligent and contemporary. Success isn’t in finding it, but in escaping contemporary art in the meantime. Waving placards around against the Turner Prize like lepper bells. Contemporary art is for artists that want to be caught. Awards are duck whistles. Colleges are battery farms. Contemporary relevance means syllabus. Respectability is a plea bargain. Fame only brings the disinterested majority. Contemporary artists look for hang ups, as if they’re collectors. Satire is for critics, politics is for politics, both are shallow distractions that make conceptual art of painting. Narrative, social or political commentary, or other attempts to make paintings useful or multi-task are anti-art. Stealth artists reassurance is in our only contemporary audience being ourselves. The answer to contemporary art isn’t to look for a way in, or change, but to surrender it to its current uselessness, and be stealth fish.

Edgeworth Johnstone of The Other Muswell Hill Stuckists

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