Thursday, December 08, 2005

The time is coming

I have been working on a little manifesto that I am calling "bring back beauty" I have been thus far a little hesitant to post it, as I wanted to work it over a bit, but the tribes are gathering and the voices are clamoring... well at least one voice is speaking loudly. The voice is J.T. Kirkland over at Thinking About Art.

Tuesday, J.T. posted about the Turner Prize winner Simon Starling and about the frightening loss of "beauty" in contemporary art. It also triggered a little bit of a discussion about obsessiveness and craftsmanship in art. Which led to the post today (Thursday). Which pulls quotes from Jerry Saltz's "Clusterfuck Esthetics" which is posted on artnet magazine. J.T. goes on to discuss his thoughts on (and I am paraphrasing here) crappy male dominated installation work and the female dominated obsessive work that is precise, organized and detailed. First of all I want to say that I COMPLETELY agree with J.T. on this. I do wonder (as he does) about Saltz's theory of creating works that have to compete with the chaos in our everyday world. I haven't really studied this in any depth, but I would imagine that the works that we consider timeless are not merely copying their environment, but reacting to it, by reacting against it... Will have to think about that more.

These "sprawling, often infinitely organized, jam-packed carnivalesque installations" are becoming more and more frequent in galleries and spaces in nyc, most only interesting for what they contain, not what they are. (Which is different, I think from what Sarah Sze is doing). I also find that many of these installations are poorly constructed (on purpose) which only creates distraction. (Phoebe Washburn's piece at the Sculpture Center comes immediately to mind).

I would think that there would be more of a backlash against our world where things are mass made quickly and lacking in craftsmanship (H&M, IKEA), would bring forth a celebration of fine craftsmanship and attention to detail in the arts. And actually I see this all the time, in numerous artists who are working but not necessarily receiving a lot of attention. I think of Michele Kong's obsessive sculptures, Yuko Oda's insects, Sky Kim's manic drawings, Sarah Bostwick's subtle and detailed mappings and Chris Natrop's painstaking paper cuttings, just to name a very few...

So because of this, and well the things I am seeing out in the galleries, I think there is a call for me to post and distribute that manifesto (such an intimidating word! but the definition isn't really: A public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially of a political nature.)

3 comments:

J.T. Kirkland said...

I totally forgot to mention H&M and IKEA. The latter is specifically what my work reacts against. Young people, frequently the "dude, that's freaking cool" crowd fill their homes with IKEA furniture. All it is to them is furniture... an object that which is frequently not beautiful and only functional. I think this "functional" aspect of contemporary society has crept into the contemporary art world. And it's a shame.

Man, I could write on and on about this...

esm said...

Me too, and if we aren't careful that could happen. So all this talk of accumulation artwork and this pops into my inbox (thanks Art Moco), Mark Fox showing his work at Larissa Goldston. Beautiful accumulations of watercolor cutout drawings. I wonder if he and Chris Natrop (who has recently introduced color) have met...

esm said...

and more commentary on the state of contemporary arts, from modern kicks