Art Amiba post - does art speak louder than words?
I am of two minds when I think about artists statements... primarily I think crafting an artist statement is a good exercise for undergraduates and emerging (gag, I hate that word, but for lack of a better one...) artists IF it helps them focus their passion into good art. And by good art I mean art that communicates something to anyone who invests the time to really look at - or listen to - it. (Great art, in my opinion, is art that captures the viewer, art that insists the viewer invest the time...)
I believe that an artist statement should be about the artist, not the work. The work, when executed well, doesn't need an explanation. And in fact, I think the explanation usually gets in the way of the audience's experience with the art.
I think people worry too much about getting "THE" message of a work. When I talk to my students I tell them that every piece of art has a message for them and that their responsibility, as the viewer, is to discover that story. It will be an individualized story, the work tells a different story to each viewer, each viewer creates their own story. It may be the story that the artist intended to tell, but probably not. And that's the way it should be.
I do think an exhibit should include an artist statement. But it should be tucked away in a unobtrusive, out-of-the-way place, available but not front and center, a way for the curious audience to get a glimpse of the artist's persona (note - persona, not person - very few people - artists or not - are secure enough, honest enough, or even self-aware enough to offer up a one page window into who they really are).
An artist or curator, who puts the words before the art is simply egotizing.