Michael Corris’ Twelve Rules.*

Michael Corris


  1. No massive concrete poetry. Language as art is naturalistic or mechanical and is a vulgar quality, especially vinyl lettering or taped floors, walls and ceilings. LED boards, projections of text, or computer screens are unintelligent and to be avoided. No graphic design.

  2. No hand painting. Hand working and hand jerking are personal and in poor taste. One should never let the influence of evil demons or middle age gain control of the brush. No dense fields of rich pigment of any color.

  3. No information. Information is omnipresent; consequently, it does not need to be displayed, made public, or organized in a tasteful way as though one were a point-of-purchase display stylist or furniture designer. No dangling of political lines or ideology. Madmen see political relationships and therefore they represent them.

  4. No casting or modelling. No volume. No mass. No push or pull, contrasting the work with the plinth. No shape or substance. No Corten steel dining tables without matching Corten steel.

  5. No wristbands. The artist is already shackled.

  6. No woodcarving. No handcrafting, Grendon Gibbons impersonations, or sub-Madame Tussaud’s waxwork figures. No clever concatenation of tradition and the new. No memento mori. No fine patina or finish. No tortured figures. If sculpture is to be tolerated at all, it should be polychrome, in the classical tradition.

  7. No musing, self-righteous, megalomaniacal architect-urban planner-social theorist systems managers. No informal use of ink jet prints, whose only purpose is to fool the public into thinking that being an architect is as cool as being an artist.

  8. No agit-prop indoors. An art activist’s place is in the streets. No high-tech vinyl banners or billboards. No parroting mass media advertising. No obvious references to the cultural context of the exhibition. No artists biting-the-hand-that-feeds them. No frivolous or conspicuous consumption of tampons.

  9. No high production values in video. No 35mm film. No special effects. These are the resources of Hollywood and other centers of global entertainment. High production values prove the rule that in art, the higher the production value, the lower the content. No bear suits.

  10. No social welfare projects. Governments not artists — ought to be responsible for the welfare of citizens. No games or entertainment centers. No blood donor stations. No floating bedrooms for young artists too poor or too disorganised to find conventional accommodation. No hospitality barges.

  11. No Ikea Konstructivism. No do-it-yourself architecture. No making-one-thing-look-like-another cheap aesthetic alchemy. No wrenches, nuts or bolts. No laminates.

  12. No crossing cultural boundaries. No poignant visual metaphors that reflect on the individual versus the crowd. No vulgar use of memory to create trivial statements on globalisation or migration. No photocopying of U.S. government checks. No subversion of cultural stereotypes from within. No UFOs.

* With apologies to Ad Reinhardt