(Pronounce as geeko, not gecko.)
The Great Art Expert Cop-Out
The GAECO is invoked to allow the so called art expert to be a fully accredited, respected, well paid expert whilst lacking the most fundamental of all expertise, namely the ability to discriminate between art and garbage.
The GAECO may be defined as the process whereby those lacking expertise claim to derive said expertise by proxy from others who also lack said expertise.
This is how the GAECO works; the so called expert (whether critic, historian, administrator, writer, pedagogue, or other non-specific arty-farty) will contend that it is not their duty to define what is or is not art, but rather it is their duty to comment upon, record, etc, that which others have defined as art.
The truth of the matter of course is that as in the case of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' these so called experts are so utterly scared of appearing ignorant or unaware that they willingly conspire in making themselves entirely foolish. (The final paragraph of the story:- "He doesn't have anything on!" the whole populace shouted at last. And the emperor shuddered, for it seemed to him that they were right. But then he thought, "Now I must go through with the procession." And he carried himself more proudly than ever, and the gentlemen-in-waiting carried the train that wasn't there at all.)
It always amuses me that the GAECO, this piece of intellectually cowardly Catch-22 buck passing, is routinely couched in terms of a 'duty', as if some supreme being had parted the clouds and laid upon them this solemn task
"Go forth from this place and comment favourably upon that which the pretentious pea-brains of the world call art; enquire not into what skills are displayed in said art; nor look too closely into assertions of sincerity; nor yet delve too deeply into intellectual capacity; set far from your thoughts any notions of beauty, or of story telling of substance, or of point making of worth; but rather slavishly lap at the glowing iridescent flourish of proclaimed intentions; allow thyself to be dazzled by the radiant magic of the sacred words
'challenging', 'innovative', 'ground-breaking', 'risk-taking', 'innovative', 'breaking the mould', 'pioneering', 'eclectic', 'provocative', 'innovative', 'shattering taboos', 'innovative', 'pushing the boundaries', 'innovative', 'cutting-edge', and 'innovative';
yet seek ye not to attach meaning to these words, but spout them with abandon, for they are mighty in themselves. Above all kowtow, genuflect, tug thy forelock, and greatly abase thyself, and forever more - this day and all days without end, worship boundlessly at the shrine of the omnipotent
'C O N T R O V E R S I A L'
for this is the great word of power which none can resist."
and so on.
It might be suggested that the GAECO could more simply be defined as
'the blind leading the blind',
however the GAECO is more nearly
'the initially partially sighted wilfully seeking out the now fully blind in order to hide behind them'.