Friday, May 26, 2006

Good Conversation

I just came upon this strange, rambling thread on google groups. It starts off with some not all that interesting "is this art" kind of back and forth-- but then some fellow named "chirstopher" weighed in and made what i thought was a pretty good comment One of my favorite parts of what he said was his ending:
I believe art should take people by surprise-   but not in the same manner as a banana peel... too much of fine art has become slapstick in its impact. Rather, art should surprise people in the way that a very well thought out gift surprises the recipient as they realize, over a long period of time, how much thought went into something you chose, or created, especially for them.
I totally agree with Christopher here, and i think that most of the people that i know and care about are trying to hold themselves to their own version of that standard despite the fact that so much of Chelsea seems to mostly ask "is it really, really weird?" and "does it have some kind of recognizable 'look' that can serve as a kind of brand for this artist and make them more collectible?" So much of the time i see things that are clever and fun, and wierd, and enjoyable and by the time i walk to the subway on 8th avenue i've forgotten all of it. Of course (as someone points out also in this thread i'm talking about) it was ever thus and ever shall be-- right? 95% of everything made in all time periods is crap. But its the stuff that keeps coming back into your mind that matters?

I want to say that my favorite art is art that is that which surprises me by being in some way exactly what i didn't know i needed.

Also a gem, i thought, is this:
artists take stuff out of context, make it larger, smaller, a comfy looking sofa made of concrete, turn a dress form into bulletin board, or a urinal into an installation
This reminds me of a joke i like to make that all contemporary conceptual art (even some that i like) can be described by the following formula: "Its a {blank (could be anything, a taxi, a tree, the artists' grandma)} except that its {blank(looks like elvis, is twice its normal size, is half its normal size, is surrounded by jello)} and its made out of {blank(snails, moon-pies, high-strength aluminum tubes for-use-in-uranium-enrichment-or-are-they?!, puppy-dog-tails)}"

The thread is 80 posts long and veers wildly through some other topics including Christopher's defense of Picasso, a raging debate about communism, and the authenticity of alien crop circles -- Amy you might like some of christopher's conspiracy theories thoughts. then, at one point a link to this video gets posted as some kind of support for someone's argument. I'll admit i was skimming at that point, but it kind of jumped out. I wonder if anyone had suggested that that the alien autopsy video is a Rovian-Duchampian fake-of-something-real to discredit the fake trick? (forgive me the shameless plug for my own essay, i can't help myself, i'm an ego-maniacal artist-type) (also on the topic of Mr. Mutt did y'all see this?!

The conversation goes back around to art including a debate with someone who may or may not be a robot and then gets capped off by someone spamming the board with a "save the internet" post about the net neutrality law-- which, is really important, and (i think) needs to be passed, and you should all write to your representatives about it (i did!) but its not really the place for it and i just thought it was funny that 'save the interenet' ended up being the thing that made this example of one of the great things about the internet stop dead in its tracks.

( interestingly i later figured out through googling his email address that the thoughtful and intelligent Christopher is a sculptor based in California best known for his sculptures of indians)

1 Comments:

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Torture Monkey said...

Nothing seems to get people energized more than art and politics. I love it. Both tend to do the exact thing which is to spur discussion about ideas and feelings. And when they cross over each other stand the hell back. The only problem is when too many people are talking and not enough people are listening, but what you gunna do? Now if you'll excuse me I need to watch First Blood. I love that wonderful film...

 

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