December 11, 2019
What is art??
The Miami Art Basel has created an opportunity to have a discussion about art! "Comedian" by Maurizio Cattelan is the issue:
(Buy a banana. Buy a roll of gaffer's tape. Tape the banana to a blank wall for an in person experience.)
On Facebook, where everyone has an opinion, I was pleasantly surprised to first learn from my friend, Pat Willson, about "Comedian" a work by Italian artist, Maurizio Cattelan. The conceptual piece was taped to the wall of the Perrotin gallery space in Miami: Banana and duct tape.
Read the excellent accounting by Miami freelance journalist Douglas Markowitz. (Please copy and paste the link above.)
consider that the "Georgian-American Performance Artist" David Datuna, walked into the Perrotin booth, wrote on the wall "Epstein did NOT commit suicide." and ate the banana!
I've asked an obscure question on FB about Datuna regarding the eventual resurgence of the banana. Having just screened Alejandro Jodorowsky's film "The Holy Mountain" and have known about "Artist's Shit" by Piero Manzoni., it seems that the cycle and recycle? of this piece may shine for a while and make folks outside the world of art, at least.. have an opinion.
To me, there are two kinds of art:
"Stroll by" Meaning that whatever "the art" is.. in a gallery or museum or anywhere... that if we pass on by, that's that! Kinkade!
"Thekindofart that engages us and stops us in our tracks"..
This would be for me: Delatour's Joseph in the Carpenter Shop in the Louvre, Van Gogh's The Mulberry Tree at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, and Rauschenberg's Coca Cola Plan at MoCA.
For a local Miami Hatian artist, Edouard Duval Carrié, it is beyond cruel for rich collectors to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a ridiculous duck taped banana when a tiny portion of the purchase price would fund his efforts to help other artists which would be productive and welcome.
(I don't know why those links don't highlight? Please copy and paste)
I tend to understand both the business of collecting by deep pockets collectors and the plight of Carrié.
It's about percentages and desire to share. Certainly, Carrié has the right to look askance at the temerity of a rich person to pass his work by. It seems unfair. But, essentially, it comes down to what the rich person sees as valuable: to him/herself and/or to the art world in general. A slap in the face to Haitian art? Yes. A way to see the deep pockets art world? Oh Yes!
A woman on Facebook was incensed that anyone would pay $120,000.00 for a silly banana (and tape). She offered a "million dollar glass of lemonade" for sale in her rejection of the banana idea. I was unsure if it was the glass that she wanted the million bucks for or for the lemonade? I offered to negotiate to buy her offer and also offered to bring my own lemons. She has not responded, but I'd be willing to buy her glass, her lemonade or both if we can negotiate a price that is agreeable to me. I can afford a dollar for a glass, filled with lemonade or not. Or, I'd bring my own glass and pay a dollar for the lemonade? OR.. I'd bring my lemons and my own glass and pay a dollar for her to make the lemonade while I watched.
Is that art?
It is to me. The idea, the ingredients, the action and the product. Even this description of the idea is art, to me, in that it's a plan to do or make something. An idea. A Concept.
My dollar is probably in direct reference to the $120K that the two collectors eash paid for the banana and duct tape (I do prefer gaffer's tape, but what the heck?).. Percentage wise I can afford a buck. The rich collectors wealth is proportional to mine.
Finally.. Currently, on display at our local MoCA in Los Angeles is a favorite piece of mine by the NYC artist, Dove Bradshaw. It consists of a piece of copper (a new piece each time the work is installed) that is placed in the museum at a specific height from the floor and then sprayed with a specific solution that causes the copper to react chemically, sending the resultant patina down the wall. It's subtle and depending on how many times the piece is sprayed, the discoloration: a lovely blue green from the oxidizing copper, becomes, with the copper and the instructions: 'the art.'
Concepts. Every art work emerges from a concept: Andy Goldsworthy's outdoor installations using the rain? Michael Heizer's Big Rock at LACMA? Christo's amazing wrappings? Ideas made manifest.
My own personal contribution? It's just for me, though I've 'installed' others: Chayote. See photos above. It's art to me. And, to me most important thing about "Comedian" is that the attention it has garnered is drawing folks into the art world, who, under other circumstances might never have had an opinion or a say so!
December 12, 2019