Thanks Bill. Yes, I think it's worth articulating oneself clearly, but to me the real work of the artist is in the doing, and no amount of explanation will suffice.
At any rate, even if an artist did a perfect art historical analysis of his own work, for an academics it would still require an additional layer of scrutiny (why is the artist so well versed? what is the relationship with the work? etc), so that an artist's statement or intention will always be a completely different thing from an art historical analysis.
Someone like Jeff Wall is the textbook example of an artist well-versed into art history, and whose work actively engages with major works of art in this manner. I think there's a certain amount of power wrestling therein, and an attempt at putting forth a response to the "photography isn't art" discourses of earlier decades. I have seen this exact same behaviour with comics: artists write "graphic novels" because they have been put down as "not literary enough." My gripe is always that if someone says you're not X enough, why give him credit by becoming X enough?
But back to Wall, the odd consequence of his doing so is that he short circuited the assumed distance between artist and critic/historian: he admitted having been inspired by Michael Fried's theories of absorption and theatricality for his work; in turn, Fried champions Wall in Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before as being a perfect example of the "good" kind of photograph, the "absorption" one. Way to be critical, Fried!