manifesto titled The Stuckists was the first proclamation
written by U.K. artists Billy Childish and Charles Thomson
in 1999. In heralding the tenets of Stuckism, this particular
declaration sent shock waves through the international arts
community - but it's also the pronouncement that caught
our eye here in Los Angeles. While it's impossible to agree
with all the points in the document ("Artists who don't
paint aren't artists"), it was a clarion call to resist
the tyranny of the "cul-de-sac of idiocy" offered by art
world elites. Stuck in L.A. offers the original manifesto
for your consideration, and if you find yourself agreeing
with it, if only in part - you just might be stuck.
entire archive of Stuckist Manifestos can be viewed at:
Stuckists (est. 1999)
paintings are stuck, you are stuck! Stuck! Stuck! Stuck!"
- Tracey Emin
conceptualism, hedonism and the cult of the ego-artist.
Stuckism is the quest for authenticity. By removing the
mask of cleverness and admitting where we are, the Stuckist
allows him/herself uncensored expression.
Painting is the medium of self-discovery. It engages the
person fully with a process of action, emotion, thought
and vision, revealing all of these with intimate and unforgiving
breadth and detail.
Stuckism proposes a model of art which is holistic. It is
a meeting of the conscious and unconscious, thought and
emotion, spiritual and material, private and public. Modernism
is a school of fragmentation - one aspect of art is isolated
and exaggerated to detriment of the whole. This is a fundamental
distortion of the human experience and perpetrates an egocentric
Artists who don't paint aren't artists.
Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn't art.
The Stuckist paints pictures because painting pictures is
The Stuckist is not mesmerised by the glittering prizes,
but is wholeheartedly engaged in the process of painting.
Success to the Stuckist is to get out of bed in the morning
It is the Stuckist's duty to explore his/her neurosis and
innocence through the making of paintings and displaying
them in public, thereby enriching society by giving shared
form to individual experience and an individual form to
The Stuckist is not a career artist but rather an amateur
(amare, Latin, to love) who takes risks on the canvas rather
than hiding behind ready-made objects (e.g. a dead sheep).
The amateur, far from being second to the professional,
is at the forefront of experimentation, unencumbered by
the need to be seen as infallible. Leaps of human endeavour
are made by the intrepid individual, because he/she does
not have to protect their status. Unlike the professional,
the Stuckist is not afraid to fail.
Painting is mysterious. It creates worlds within worlds,
giving access to the unseen psychological realities that
we inhabit. The results are radically different from the
materials employed. An existing object (e.g. a dead sheep)
blocks access to the inner world and can only remain part
of the physical world it inhabits, be it moorland or gallery.
Ready-made art is a polemic of materialism.
Post Modernism, in its adolescent attempt to ape the clever
and witty in modern art, has shown itself to be lost in
a cul-de-sac of idiocy. What was once a searching and provocative
process (as Dadaism) has given way to trite cleverness for
commercial exploitation. The Stuckist calls for an art that
is alive with all aspects of human experience; dares to
communicate its ideas in primeval pigment; and possibly
experiences itself as not at all clever!
Against the jingoism of Brit Art and the ego-artist. Stuckism
is an international non-movement.
Stuckism is anti 'ism'. Stuckism doesn't become an 'ism'
because Stuckism is not Stuckism, it is stuck!
Brit Art, in being sponsored by Saachis, main stream conservatism
and the Labour government, makes a mockery of its claim
to be subversive or avant-garde.
The ego-artist's constant striving for public recognition
results in a constant fear of failure. The Stuckist risks
failure wilfully and mindfully by daring to transmute his/her
ideas through the realms of painting. Whereas the ego-artist's
fear of failure inevitably brings about an underlying self-loathing,
the failures that the Stuckist encounters engage him/her
in a deepening process which leads to the understanding
of the futility of all striving. The Stuckist doesn't strive
- which is to avoid who and where you are - the Stuckist
engages with the moment.
The Stuckist gives up the laborious task of playing games
of novelty, shock and gimmick. The Stuckist neither looks
backwards nor forwards but is engaged with the study of
the human condition. The Stuckists champion process over
cleverness, realism over abstraction, content over void,
humour over wittiness and painting over smugness.
If it is the conceptualist's wish to always be clever, then
it is the Stuckist's duty to always be wrong.
The Stuckist is opposed to the sterility of the white wall
gallery system and calls for exhibitions to be held in homes
and musty museums, with access to sofas, tables, chairs
and cups of tea. The surroundings in which art is experienced
(rather than viewed) should not be artificial and vacuous.
Crimes of education: instead of promoting the advancement
of personal expression through appropriate art processes
and thereby enriching society, the art school system has
become a slick bureaucracy, whose primary motivation is
financial. The Stuckists call for an open policy of admission
to all art schools based on the individual's work regardless
of his/her academic record, or so-called lack of it.
further call for the policy of entrapping rich and untalented
students from at home and abroad to be halted forthwith.
We also demand that all college buildings be available for
adult education and recreational use of the indigenous population
of the respective catchment area. If a school or college
is unable to offer benefits to the community it is guesting
in, then it has no right to be tolerated.
Stuckism embraces all that it denounces. We only denounce
that which stops at the starting point - Stuckism starts
at the stopping point!
Childish - Charles Thomson 4.8.99
following have been proposed to the Bureau of Inquiry for
possible inclusion as Honorary Stuckists: Katsushika Hokusai,
Utagawa Hiroshige, Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Karl
Schmidt-Rotluff, Max Beckman, Kurt Schwitters.