Sunday, December 14, 2008

Art Blog: Inside (ART) Jokes

First of all, I am not meaning to criticize or judge anybody. I am just asking questions here. If anybody has answers, please speak up!

I know new art is supposed to push the envelope, think out of the box, and carve out new territory, but sometimes I don’t get it or believe in it. Sometimes I look at it, feel my brow raise, and realize my wrinkles are standing at attention. If there was a thought bubble over my head it would read “What the hell???”

I have been perusing all the Art Basel videos I can find. I have watched so many, I feel like I have seen much of what was at the fair. Some of the work kicks butt. I have my favorites. However, other work exhibited makes me wonder with a grand curiosity. I would love to be a bug on the wall next to the label of these pieces. I would love to hear viewer’s responses. I would not be so interested in hearing the artist’s statement. I am sure it is a well thought out defensive discourse on why these pieces were created. I have heard that kind of yadda, yadda, yadda before and it comes off as a tongue-in-cheek diatribe.

As I have taken in the Art Basel vids and other exhibitions including Avant-garde works, it reminds me of sitting at a table among friends. Suddenly, there are whispers between two people across the table. They snicker. You ask "What?". They try to explain away the humor. Of course they leave out the juicy details so you still don’t understand why they are laughing. It is a case of “you had to be there” or it is an inside joke. That is the way I feel about some new art I see. It leaves you feeling you are missing something. You become self conscious, question whether you are part of the joke, and wonder why they don’t just share the whole truth.

I could go on and on and on and on…………And the point is?????
Am I the only person on earth who wants to yell “SAY WHAT?”
No names were mentioned to protect the innovators.


namastenancy said...

You aren't the only one. I feel that way a lot and wonder if I'm just "not with it." Am I a artistic reactionary like those who mocked the Impressionists and the Fauves? Then, I look at the work again and go - No. I may be conservative in my artistic tastes but I'm not THAT conservative. A lot of art made today is tomorrow's junk. I think that we can see it better than others because we've been around a while (cough, cough, cough). But the viewpoint from the over 50 is a lot different from the viewpoint of the under 40 (or 30). But we don't write the reviews for the trendy newspapers, we aren't the collectors and we aren't running well-known galleries so our viewpoint doesn't get validated. But want to prove to yourself that your judgment is valid? Google some of yesterday's art stars that you just didn't get? Where are a lot of them now? Of course, we also know what rises to the top and it isn't always quality.

Sheree Rensel said...

Nancy wrote:
"Am I a artistic reactionary like those who mocked the Impressionists and the Fauves?"

You know Nancy, I was thinking this very thing when I was writing the post. However, I discounted that idea too. The kind of "art" I am talking about isn't revolutionary. It is idiotic. This is weird coming from me because I am NOT conservative.
So when I want to say "Oh come on now..." there is something weird about that. As far as the movers and shakers in the art world are concerned, if they feel comfortable selling this crap, I think they should take the money and run. For those willing to pay for this junk, all I have to say is you get what you pay for!

JafaBrit's Art said...

I subscribe to art forum to keep up with the avant garde, the contemporary. I can get some of it, like some of it, and others I think is just plain shite. I can't say I really have seen anything pushing the edge or revolutionary. I do think there has been an interesting marriage of sorts between fine and low art, in galleries and on the streets (some of the graffiti-not talking tagging-is phenomenal).

Kim Hambric said...

That the artists' statements are a defensive discourse rings so true to me. I don't think it could have been stated better.

There is so much new art that don't get or believe in either. I've probably missed thousands of inside jokes. So far, it hasn't bothered me. I don't feel that I have lived less of a life because I haven't understood these works of art.

I recently went of an exhibit of "New York Cool" at the Penn State gallery. It is an exhibit of modern works from the 1950's and 60's. I went with a friend and her mother who is a docent at the gallery. We were treated to an in-depth review of the artwork. Many times, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped as I finally understood the work. But just as often, I had to turn away so I could roll my eyes. When that happened, I just moved on to the next piece.

Sometimes, you've gotta laugh and keep moving along.

namastenancy said...

I should have added this earlier but forgot. If you want a demonstration of similar "say what" for SF, look at this list: I'm sure that the founder of Fecal Face thinks he's being very avante-guarde by the title; he's got a gallery near me with the same title and full of works that are ca-ca. There are some things on the site are are decent but the homage to drunken frat boys with tats and attitude revolts me. This is the sort of "art" that gets huge press and it's one of the reasons why "ordinary" people are so turned off by "art," because it's been co-opted by jerks with more money than sense or talent.

Sheree Rensel said...

This is the stuff which stands as an example for my thesis. It is total B.S. YES, it gets notice and lots of press. That doesn't surprise me at all. Have you watched TMZ lately? It is all related.

This is even more offensive than the "jello artist" for which I spoke a while ago.
It has gotten to a point in which it is not about art anymore. It is about who can be the most outrageous and/or CLEVER.

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh, I know! In fact, I think I have been moving along to the next piece for quite a while now. I don't anticipate a different strategy emerging any time soon.

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh I read Art News, ArtForum, et al.

You should keep up and be aware of what is going on in the art world. I just balk at some of the crap. Not only the art is B.S. but the story behind it, how it got there, and the fantasy explanation of what it means is what irks me.