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The Big Work

Have been thinking a lot about process, presentation, ego, genuineness, installation, relational aesthetics and audience.

Makers say it is about the audience – or maybe it is the artists that say that. Makers are different. I think of makers more as cultural workers. Artists are more of a self – absorbed lot actually; pretty much victims of their own labeling.

What i am thinking about is large work. Installation – the experience. This period of time, which for some artists, is of great affluence and limitless resources (even if imagined) is contributing to spacious locations – filled with a story (or not), supported by objects (or not). Suffice it to say – it is taking up a lot of real estate.

No matter how one looks at it. It is difficult to believe that much of this work is about the audience and their participatory role in the art of the 21st C. It is about the artist’s ego. Filling up a space in their name for viewers to walk into and enjoy or transform or relate or engage or whatever the term is now. It’s branding the artist through big spaces filled with their stuff.

I sound like my non-art students here – however, the part they miss is the issue of intention. Beyond Duchamp’s because it is made by an artist it is art… What is the artist’s intention now? What my students don’t miss is bullshit when they see it. When we say “out of the mouths of babes” it is cute until they call out the older generation for their disingenuousness- which is what my students do.

The artists that are at the fleeting “top” of the “art world”, that critics, theorists and historians talk about this month or this year; if they were asked to really dig deep and talk about what their intention was – would it ultimately be about serving themselves?

Well, yes.

It may not entirely be their fault – it is easy to get caught up in the “spirit” of this entire thing (the market system). It is leaving us with the idea that art “just is”. Which in some ways is a good thing; but, is it serving the public? Seems to me it is serving no one but the artist. And at this time – when the world we live in is so torn – is it not time for the artist to train their ego to step aside?

There is a monotony about it all. Creative energy needs to take new forms and new approaches.

Making “art” is not enough. What is your real contribution as an artist?


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