Thursday, February 07, 2008

What ever happened to smart art?

Don't get me wrong, there are some really smart and clever artists working out in the world, and I really like a lot of what I see.

But last night I went to see the Agnes Denes lecture at the Drawing Center and found out just how complicated her work is. She was "making the invisible visible" by using math, symbolism and structure to investigate human relationships. That all sounds really simple until you hear her explain it. I think about the other big things that artists were investigating in previous generations, and it all seems to be heavy on the the thought and, well, conceptual end. I'm not saying that climate change, or human emotions or other topics aren't big, we just don't seem to present them in the same manner.

I was thinking that maybe this is because those artists who came before us, already broke it down. They erased the barriers between art and math, science, philosophy, psychology, etc., so that basically we don't have to go to the trouble of adding all the language on top of the work. We move fluidly between lots of different circles of study because the bridges between them already exist. So what is the new frontier, what hasn't been done?

I'm most interested in creating interactions between web 2.0 and artistic practices. How can they inform one another and use one another. I know there are lots of other artists out there doing this, I'm certainly not claiming pioneership (in fact I am probably a little behind the times), but I do think it holds the most interesting exploration opportunities.

Just think what Agnes Denes (and her little man pyramids) could do with social networking.

Good quotes:
"thoughts are like crystals, one builds off of the other"
"art as an incubator of disiciplines"

I also really was touched at how she referred to the works as "my" wheat field and "my" forest. And hearing her talk about the beauty of the wheatfield was so moving.

Apologies for the more rambling and incoherent nature of this post (more than usual) - I have the "I feel woozy and incoherent" head cold going around.

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