Truth be told, I was pretty pissed off when I saw Red Plank so many years ago. It seemed like a ridiculous farce and the idea that my art teachers were presenting it as something worthy of admiration and that it was in a prestigious art museum stripped my gears. It seemed like lunacy and I resented what I thought was an affront to my common sense and the perceived implication that if I didn’t see its value, I was an uncultured boob.
I was maybe 14 then and have gotten much more accepting of being and/or being perceived as an uncultured boob. I have learned that standing for my truth, with as little confrontation as possible, is the best way to honor me and the other parties to the conversation. It such a joy to be able to discuss wonderful things and not get tripped up by all the silliness that often surrounds such subjects, I am very grateful to have mostly learned that lesson.
Back to art, the idea that the artists creates art as a conversation with the audience fascinating. It never occurred to me that the viewer is considered by the artist. That makes a difference in my understanding. For example, I better understand Jackson Pollock’s cigarette butts. Not completely, but I have an inkling.
I wonder why the interactivity is sucked out of the art in museums. There, the cold placement and historical context seems to powerfully fix the visitor in the “observer” role, passive and mute. Wouldn’t it be interesting to be an artist who silently asked questions with art and had viewers fill out questionnaires, fine tuning the art to the way it’s perceived? Really, if you want to provoke an conversation or an emotional connection with the viewer, what better way to refine that process than with feedback from a survey?
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