Friday, March 6, 2009

Art Blog: Oh So CLEVER!

To me “CLEVER ART” is the kind of art in which the idea and statement behind the work supersedes the image or physical presence of the art. In other words, it is idea art that you look at, scrunch your brow, read the description/artist statement, and then say to yourself “Oh that is CLEVER!”
(Please pardon the fact I am speaking in every day, pedestrian, human being language and not speaking “Artalkese”. I am trying to be real here.)

Currently, I am not a fan of clever art. In fact, I get very bored very fast looking at such creative endeavors. I suppose there is a place for it in an art historical context. Shoot, Duchamp’s toilet was clever art. Personally, I can take or leave it. I leave it more often than not.

I haven’t always felt this way. Oh no! In fact, back in the mid 80’s, I was holding up the flag for the cause! I was an exhibition coordinator at a suburban Detroit art center. I curated shows for the galleries. I invited all kinds of artists to show their clever wares. For example, I curated one show that dripped with clever. There was the artist who picked up trash on the street, bagged it, and put a hang tag on it which documented the time, date, and place he found it. Then there was the “organic” sculptor. She showed huge 2’ X 3’ blocks of chocolate which proceeded to mold during the month long run of the exhibition. Then there was the installation artist who hauled in real, live sod and covered the gallery floor with growing grass and broken blocks of concrete. The director of the gallery almost had a heart attack when I tried to defend this work. So I am no stranger to CLEVER.

Today, I saw a post about some photos on a website titled “Urban Camouflage”. When I saw the work, I laughed. I have to admit, the photos are very amusing. They do make a statement about society and consumerism. Also, they represent our need to mask ourselves in “fashion”. Oh I could go on and on with more explanations of what I think the message is here.

However, I don’t feel like being CLEVER right now.
Let the clever artists use their energy to explain this kind of stuff!

“Urban Camouflage”
Click the pic to see more!
What do you think about CLEVER ART?


Martha Marshall said...

Yeah, Sheree -- I guess I enjoy clever art as much as the next person, but once you're in on the joke, you move on. Some of it holds the attention for about ten seconds.

Sheree Rensel said...

Martha, EXACTLY! Once you realize the "joke" or cleverosity, you just go "Oh, OK I get it. HA HA HA" then move along!

Kathy Hodge said...

I agree, I just saw the faculty show at RISD and there was a video of a young women struggling out of a straight jacket. I soon realized that she would then struggle back into it. OK, I got it, clever. Otherwise it was a boring 20 minute piece. The problem was that it was accompanied by loud irritating theremin music. I usually like the theremin instrument, but this tune permeated the entire gallery and interfered with seeing the other pieces. Was the piece memorable, yes,but only because it was so damn ANNOYING!

Miriam's Art Journal BLOG said...

that was HILARIOUS!! Thanks for sharing....I agree.....I get it and now I'm moving on....


gilda said...

isnt that a picture of the IKEA showroom? I love to go there to take photos of the abundance. Maybe I should frame them up!