Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Genres: Artist Response

I have become increasingly excited for each class and a presentation on more performance artists. Starting with the first which gave a wonderful introduction to performance art and where the artists were coming from that would have spurred them on to do the work that they did. I think this is a very important thing to understand when it comes to understanding this kind of artwork. You have to see the influence of Dada, Futurism and Surrealism to come to terms that performance art was a continuation of pushing boundaries and developing the definition of art.

The first artist we looked at was Yves Klein. Klein is interesting to me not only for his use (almost to the point of overuse) with the color blue (which happens to be my favorite color), but also for his concept of "the void". Defining space by the lack of in a space. Creating by removal. Using emptiness as form and structure. My favorite work by Yves Klien was his "Leap into the Void" photograph. It was wonderful for both its visual interest and suspense and also for it pre-photoshop development.

The next artist we discussed was Tony Orrico, who is by far my favorite artist thusfar. His work creating spherical shapes on huge sheets of paper with graphite are fantastic. As someone who loves to dance I really appreciated the way he totally encompasses his body into the creation of the work. He keeps his arms movements in sync and his rolling and shifting movements are carefully measured. I also love the meditative quality, endurance, and mandala-like quality of his work. Watching the video of him working was totally mesmerizing. For me, I think that doing something of this nature would truly be a kind of spiritual experience. I would love to do something similar to Orrico's work at some point (as soon as I have obtained an extremely large sheet of paper).

Chris Burden is one of the most interestingly bizarre people we have studied so far. He has lived in a locker for five days, gotten shot in the arm, laid in the street rolled in a tarp, stuck live wires to his chest, and crucified himself to a car. I think that he has a lot of intriguing thoughts about different things, however I think what makes Burden so hard to really appreciate is that he doesn't really seem to make plans and follow through to express an exact thing to a specific audience. His works are often spontaneous and seem to lack real need to show meaning or structure. I think what can be taken from performance artists like Chris Burden is that they live fully immersed in their art which is directly integrated into their life. I would say that my favorite would have to be Urban Lights for its aesthetic quality.

Lastly, the New Genres class was introduced to Marina Abramovic. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the works that we saw by her in class (The Artist is Present, Rhythm 10, Relation in Time, AAA_AAA, and Imponderabilia). Abramovic's work has a lot to do with ritual, endurance, the body, human nature, relationships between people and interactions. I think she totally integrates herself into her art, bringing her experiences and trials through endurance rituals to each work that she does (and I think that is why I love her performance art). I liked her quote on the difference between theater and performance art and I think it is very telling about how she approaches her performances. I also enjoyed seeing the Marina "Boot Camp" video where she instructs others in focusing their mind and bodies in the way that she does for her performance works. If I had the chance to do something like that, I would definitely do it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Genres: Response to History of Conceptual Art

In the previous class we had a fantastic lecture that covered a wide range of artists and their work. The slide show started with Marcel Duchamp and ended in the 70s. I was glad to recognize many of these artists or works from taking Contemporary Art History last year, but I think that this overview gave me a much more complete sense of what Conceptual Art really is and how it came to be.
In many ways I see how irritating Conceptual Art is. Most people can immediately come to the conclusion that "I could do that," or "Well, that's just dumb and doesn't make any sense" or question its purpose or right to be housed in any museum. And while I think these are perfectly valid and common responses to much of Conceptual Art, I think it is equally valid to accept each work as acceptable expressions that can be described as works of art.
Personally, I like Conceptual Art a little more than I am inclined to dislike it. After seeing galleries and galleries of beautiful renditions of landscape, portraits and bowels of fruit, I must admit to a certain questioning hope that there might be something that makes me really think about what the artist is doing and why. There is something truly wonderful about really experiencing something creative in conception and construction. I think that the main purpose for this genre of art is to really push the boundaries of definition and what had been previously understood as art and making these things stretch into something new to work with.
I generally lean towards conceptual works of art that are more of installation or land art. I think this because it makes you question the world around you as being beautiful and interesting. I think in many ways just by being well thought out in concept and created with purpose and success in imparting that concept automatically makes it art.
One of my favorite pieces of Conceptual Art that we saw during class was the 4' 33" by John Cage. The score was preformed by an entire orchestra that is instructed to not play during the piece which lasts four minutes and thirty three seconds. The purpose of this piece is to listen to all of the environmental sounds the audience would hear while it is preformed. It really made me consider surroundings and place not only of those in the recorded audience, but also that of which I was actually in as a student in a classroom and the sounds that were in that space. It was a very interesting work for its meditative quality and the idea of getting an entire orchestra together to do the work was fantastic. While 4'33" is by no means traditional art, I still appreciate it for its concept and creation and therefore can still deem it as being art.