“You are the terrorist of the art world,” Stefan Ruitenbeek tells curator Steven ten Thije in this video. “You are taking power by controlling conversations.”
The Gerrit Rietveld Academy disinvited Dutch art critics Stefan Ruitenbeek and Kate Sinha (‘KIRAC‘) earlier this year because of Kate’s ‘disrespectful’, ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ repons to a Zanele Muholi exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Kate said that “the highlight of the exhibition was Zanele Muholi, where the visitor was expected to be interested in the lazy works of a spoiled bimbo – just because she comes from South-Africa, is lesbian and black.”
The head of the academy, Annelies van Eenennaam later talked to the press and stated that it’s a fact that KIRAC acted racist and sexist. So KIRAC made a very respectful film about the affair.
Curator Steven ten Thije tried to shut down debate about the issue, by agreeing to disinvite the critics. In this taped encounter he says before an audience that he thought Kate’s ‘interpretation is eloquent and she probably didn’t mean harm, but also dangerous (…), how are we supposed to talk in this political climate, (…) this is not helping, etc.’
Stefan Ruitenbeek sarcastic respons in the film is very clever, almost eloquent. Please watch as well. (starting minute 19.20):
“People like Steven ten Thije take power by controlling conversations,
[He thinks] it’s not about eloquence, that’s all nonsense…
It’s about how stupid people interpret intelligent things.
It’s about the fact that KIRAC is too complicated and too eloquent for the audience at the Rietveld.
They are too stupid for it.
And that is why they are very thankful that Steven ten Thije acknowledges this.
He says: “Kate, what you say is very eloquent. And you have good intentions, but it is too complicated what you say. It will not be understood.”
And everybody claps because they are happy that Steven ten Thije protects them against the evil Kate.
The evil Kate that is not evil because she has bad intent, but because she doesn’t understand that other people are not as intelligent as her.
And Steven ten Thije, he does understand these things. He knows that other people are beneath him. He knows that other people are more stupid than him. And that’s why he protects them against themselves. That’s how he keeps conversing with these people.
And the nice thing about it, is that these people, they like it.
They like it when you say: “You know we should tone it down. We shouldn’t be that eloquent because, maybe it’s a little bit too eloquent.”
And they applause because they like the idea of stupidity. And they like to live in a harmonious world where they can be respectful and stupid. That’s what they like.
That’s a world they envision, when they think about art. When they go to the Rietveld and study art, they are going to be stupid and respectful. They are going to hold each other’s hands and give away all their privileges, all their responsibility and all their attempt at understanding things that they don’t yet understand. Because they don’t have to try. They don’t have to understand anything.
It’s not necessary, as long as you keep up the respect.”