10/15/08

Conceptual

When it comes to conceptual art I am still baffled but a little less so lately. Tod was big into Anthony White when he started up his 'Money Series'. I would look at it and just feel irritated. Now he is doing something else with another artist and I feel even more lost when I look at that. (I will say I planned on making my 100th RR Clock using the idea of a steel Certificate of Authenticity as the 'bauble' before I saw this so maybe I'm conceptual by some strange default). Then there is the One Thousand Paintings site by Marcel Salathé. I think there is another artist out there who paints something that he wants and then people buy it and he uses the money to access whatever it was he wanted, be it pizza or a trip to Vegas to gamble (just found out it is 'wants for sale'). This is big on the internet, at least it was last time I checked. With these types of conceptual works I often wonder if the 'hype' and the 'buzz'...the participation has more to do with the buying of the work than the work itself. Maybe that is where I get lost. I can kind of get caught up in it when I look at it and see things getting sold, but you have that piece at home, when you are looking at a slice of pizza say from the 'wants for sale' sight, how much will you get out of that piece ten years from now? I would imagine that this type of art is for sure more interactive and piques the interest of a completely different admirer.

So my point in talking about this is more for me to explore where I'm going with this next collection of clocks. I had an idea that I just went to instinctively but when my thinking brain caught up with it it shut it down. I went back to it last night as I was playing with ideas for the edition of five mini's I'm making. It scared me. I showed Tod and his face lit up. That scared me even more. This is the interesting journey of making art.....following some magnetic force rather than breaking the connection. I do want to make these clocks and I don't want to make these clocks. I have a choice, I can follow this pull or ignore it and make something else which could be just as workable and sell better or not. The original idea might suck in your eyes but does that mean it sucks as a concept? Does it matter? Again and again I have to remember not everything has to look like is belongs in the MOMA gift shop. Not everything has to look like it is perfect for a retail art store. Not everything has to be perfect for the masses to buy. It's important to follow your gut and do what needs to be done. Each piece is a stepping stone to another level, how high you want to go is up to you. Sometimes it feels better to keep everything on a more level ground and expand there. Other times you have to go straight up and see just how far you can go in one direction, one shot.

I know I will start working on these today. I know that when I look at my RR Clocks I will immediately think they are individually more interesting and creative than this new series and start to judge it. I worry that this conceptual collection might bring forth judgmental thoughts from some people but ultimately does that matter? Not really. I already know I don't make 'popular' art. You have to be of a certain mindset I think to find 'junk' pleasing. You have to have some pretty eclectic tastes to put rusted steel on your perfectly painted paletted walls next to your designer furniture don't you?

I'm beginning to see that as a whole, conceptual art does merit further inspection. As a whole it is a little more interesting to me than it used to be. But separately, how interesting is it? When you buy a piece of a larger body of conceptual art is it as satisfying? Tod bought a piece of conceptual art online, The Black Cubes, when I look at it online and see what a big production it is ~ I get it (at least more so now than I used to). When I go into our bathroom (where it is) I rarely look at it or think about it. It is just a black box that sits there. I'm really curious about the mindset of someone who buys conceptual art, but then again I still don't understand the mindset of someone who buys any art. I'm still too minimalistic (not to mention financially inept) to want 'things'. There have been artists online I've gotten to know that I think were I in a position to buy art I certainly would buy theirs as a way of showing support and having their energy around me, but for the most part I'm still a one plate, one bowl kind of person.

All of the artists I linked to are doing massive projects....these aren't little stabs at making conceptual art. This is a big production and they have done very well online. I don't even pretend to think that my five clocks come close to this. But these artists serve as mentors and in a way beacons for what is possible. I think it is important to know what is out there, even if it is sometimes incomprehensible...eventually through some sort of osmosis things start to make more sense if you expose yourself to it with an earnest desire to understand it.

Have you ever bought conceptual art? Is it satisfying to have one piece of a larger body of work?

*I'm realizing after posting this that there is a huge arena to explore when it comes to conceptual art. I honestly hadn't paid much attention to this category on a conscious level. Just in writing this I have more questions and curiosity so will have to go exploring. I get it that conceptual art doesn't have to be repetitive, Robert Rauschenberg is a perfect example of that.

3 comments:

Lisa said...

I love the one thousand paintings - I almost bought one but for some reason didn't. Really wish I would have (although the number I really wanted wasn't available just a few days after it started).

Ellen said...

I think conceptual art doesn't lump together as something to be dismissed or accepted. Some is great, some isn't. And through all that, it's all so subjective. I remember having a big discussion years ago with a friend about "one-concept" art. Conceptual art that is gimmicky, makes a single statement and then feels mentally disposable after that. Complexity in ideas makes good conceptual art interesting. Some of it seems so 'hip art student-y', I can't be bothered and some of it blows me away.

And if you've got a pull to explore something new, go with it! It great to test new waters.

self taught artist said...

lisa i'm actually surprised to hear that, me living in my cave had no clue...how do people even know about this for one? and i would love to know what it is about that that intrigued to want to own one.

ellen: conceptual art does feel gimicky for the most part (to me) which is why I was turned off by it. but dangit if i'm not going in that direction at times. I know for a fact when I post these clocks 1 of you might get/like it. I might not even like it but I have to make them.