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Dedicated to Marcel Broodthaers
By JEAN TOCHE
Flyer, Judson Gallery, New York, May 10, 1968
"I am a prostitute,
That's what our trivial "Culture" is all about. WE MUST DESTROY THE CULTURE.
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I AM JEAN TOCHE.
I work with aggressive lights,
I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE.
I am subversive, and I am a saboteur. I question the very validity of the Art Establishment. I question the very validity of that language called "ART". Can Art still fulfill our basic human needs, if it continues to compromise with a cultural society which is engaged in the very process of alienation of the masses, and repeatedly ignores, consciously, the very needs of that human race? In the early ages, art was not meant as art, but as a projection of the primitive urges of man, in order to appease the terrifying forces of nature. Did art not lose all its meaning by becomimg a merchandise, starting with the patronizing by the churches and the aristocracy, followed by the process of industrialization and business deals of western middle class man, including today's museums? Has art not become a weapon for the cultural gangs to corrupt people, a new kind of opium for the people?
To shout fire, when there is a fire, is not enough. It is not necessary "ART" either. It is how you do it, which makes it art. But has not the very notion of "ART" become obsolete, because of its constant refusal to face the present crises of Humanity? Has real life, King's death, the shooting of Rudy " THE RED ", the destruction of Columbia University, Khe Sanh, made even Destruction in Art inadequate, because of "art" limitations?
I HAVE A PROBLEM TO SOLVE.
Has the time come for the artist to make a choice: Either to stay the adulated "creative" toy of an aristocracy engaged in the most atrocious hypocritical games of corruption, domination and violence, and so probably become irrelevant and meaningless, like an old rotten core. Or, to involve himself more directly in human crises, and maybe become something more complete than just an "artist", something which would include today's social problems, and a definite commitment to the development of the human race, as well as a firm stand against Man.s exploitation and manipulation. This might include bringing the arts into the streets, going on the barricades when necessary, and playing an active role - how, this has still to be defined - in this cultural revolution, which is shaking and knocking down, all over the world, and right now, the very foundations of a very decadent western white empire.
When all over the world students are revolting against the corrupt carcan of the Establishment, is it right for the artist to stay passive and indifferent? Can art ever evolve in a more mature and human form, or will it disappear in its obsolescence and its corruption?
Can I go on just being an "artist"?
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About JEAN TOCHE: Born in 1932, in Bruges, Belgian. Moved to New York in 1965. In the early seventies he created the GUERILLA ART ACTION GROUP together with Jon Hendricks and organized actions and happenings directly attacking and provoking the New Yorker art-establishment. Involved in political mail art under the title OF PISS@N'PUSS.Lives in Staten Island. | ►more