Ambiguity

Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Andy Warhol 
 (from Artpromotivate)Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 11.58.29 AM

 

Do artists want an “anything goes” Art World where anyone can call anything art and put it up for display?  Does that forward the cause of Art?  While at dinner with several friends this topic came up.   One friend is astounded by an art piece she viewed at an art museum in Toronto titled, “The Black Bathroom.”  My friends all thought it hilariously funny that someone would call this art.  It seems possible that a certain elitist attitude has opened the Art World up to ridicule by this “anything goes” mentality.

Alicia Eler of Hyper Allergic, linked from Arts Journal visual arts section, has a wonderful article titled “At ArtPrize, What the F*** is art?”  She spent time at the Grand Rapids, Michigan annual art fest known as ArtPrize and makes the observation that at this art show anybody can display anything and nothing is turned away.  The major difference here is the judging.  Anyone can judge.  Visitors who do not normally patronize elitist art galleries can get in on the judging.  These every day people judges are not in on the “cryptic language,” as Eler calls it, of the art elite.  The judging will be released this week end and we will see what “the people” have judged as art.

From the descriptions of some of the art in ArtPrize, I can hear the comments of viewers not privy to the “cryptic language,” but does this further the cause of art or leave it up to more ridicule?  From the local to the national, art exhibitions have taken on the “anything goes” attitude and ridicule is becoming more vocal.  Another friend recently described a local large outdoor sculpture as “that Gumby thing.”  For me, I prefer the artist’s work that is less ambiguous.  If I am focused on trying to figure out the meaning of an artwork, I have lost the beauty of the brushstroke, the form, the use of color, or any of the indications of the skill of the artist and to me, that’s what art is all about.  But maybe that’s just me!

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