Monday, May 19, 2014

rObOx reflections: permanence as myth

it's been a while since i've written a blog post.  mindy has been keeping our blog running, while i've been working on other projects.  but i promised her i would take more time to blog.  the past couple of months have been exceptionally hectic.  in a good way.  i have many new projects on the horizon and we just opened the new show at artists' own.

foam city lafayette

the opening the other night was a lot of fun.  we had a great turnout, and even though the rain and cold kept some people away, many still braved the weather to come to the opening.  we all chatted and talked bullshit most of the night, shmoozed and shook hands.  the question that i received most was about the permanence of my materials: in that, it is not permanent.  it's cardboard.  but there was an important reason to use impermanent materials, beyond that fact that i'm a cheapskate.

foam city lafayette

permanence is impossible.  i like change, and there is an important element in creating art in today's landscape, that employs a conflict of permanence and impermanence.  in the past, i was preached the importance of archival materials and 'properly' displayed works: framing, matting, etc.  but there is a level of exclusivity that this type of media creates.  'fine' art, as they call it, has become inaccessible.  people go to art museums to view relics of art history.  most people never visit an art gallery.  this is due to a lot of different reasons, but one that sticks in my mind is the inaccessibility of what is considered 'fine' art.  the white box gallery is intimidating.  you keep your hands in your pockets.  you try hard to think about some abstract concept in a space with no context, and you end up confused, annoyed, or just downright dismissive of the work on the walls or in the space.  unaffected.  but that was the modernist (and postmodernist) idea of art.  it is art because it is for art's sake.  it is permanent.  and it is art in any and every culture and time.  bullshit.  art has a time and a place: a context.  and that context is always changing.  to view a work by picasso at the MoMA, simply places the work into a category.  it tells nothing of the times.  it tells nothing of the history.  it tells nothing of the context in which the work was created.

this is where permanence and impermanence run head-on into each other.  why would you waste your time to create a single work of art that will not stand the test of time?  because its impermanence has a context, and it is more important to create in that context, than to attempt to think about the future of the work.  paintings are not children.  they do not grow.  they do not learn.  they are static.  once finished, and out of the hands of the artist.  they cease to be art, and begin life as a relic.  the evidence that art was experienced.  in these cases, experienced by the artist alone.  but our goal in creating today, is to make our work accessible to everyone.  that is why we are moving into street art and moving our work out of the gallery and into the public sphere.  taking that preciousness off of the things we make, by removing their permanence.

the most important aspect of creating today is accessibility.  selling products is not making art.  repeating the same technique or idea in the same media is not making art.  it is making products.  who cares whether they were made by a factory or one person if the only reason a work was made was to exchange it for money.  art is not for sale.  products are.  so when i create things from materials that won't last forever and put a price tag on it, i believe i'm making something that is existing between they idea of what is product and what is idea.  and that is the line i want to play on.  going one way or the other will defeat the art in what i'm making.  if i make things with the purpose to sell them, i've lost that experimentation ideal that is the excitement of creating.  if i forget about creating things that are meant for people to buy, then i approach an inaccessible level of abstractness that removes the context from my art.  so i play along that line, where everything interesting occurs.

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