Monday, November 12, 2007

art as altered reality

I was hanging out on Etsy forums this long weekend, trying to get some clues on what works and what doesn't, and got sucked into the age-old debate of "what is art?" ~ though I'll admit this particular discussion had a practical application. Whether photographs could be considered art was touched upon, and later on in the day, when I saw these photos that Rudy pointed me towards, I knew in a heartbeat that this is art, the whole art and nothing but the art. The ones that sport unexpected colours are made simply by covering a strobe flash with coloured gel. Brilliantly simple.

While at Etsy I also came across this artist's surprising assemblages. To alter it one step further, I'm feeling inspired to make some drawings from them.

Altering photo reality can be seen on this page of souvenirs-in-their-natural-habitats. The blow-up London bus photos are the ones I like best, though none of them are my London bus (the #73).

And while we're discussing altered reality and 'is it art?' what about words? Do they count? Hell yes, if they're made into artwork by Wayne White. I was fascinated to read that he also directed Peter Gabriel's groundbreaking (to geriatrics like me) video Big Time in the '80s. He picks up old paintings at thrift shops and integrates his 'message' into them. Kind of like Trixie Delicious at Etsy. I lust after her vandalized vintage dishes but my budget won't allow it.
To finish on a why-doesn't-anything-like this-ever-happen-to-me note, this article gives new meaning to the phrase 'found art.'


Blogger A Kite Rises said...

Love the "Lost America" photographs, art oozing out of each and every one. My faves: "underwater cubbies", "six red lights", "radiator glow". Very interesting discussion and makes me think harder and value my photography more, for which I thank you :)

13/11/07 2:29 a.m.  
Blogger HMBT said...

Great post...and why oh why can't I find a (rare) painting folded up in my second hand couch?! I use text in a lot of my work, and I love the imagery that text brings...I love making art with words. Off to look at the rest of your links!

13/11/07 3:31 a.m.  
Blogger Paula said...

I've rifled thorough my furniture several times and didn't find so much as a cookie crumb, much less art. Wow how lucky was she ????? I'd have settled for a cookie crumb actually, my expectations are low when I'm this hungry.

And. WHAT IS ART???????? I ask myself that very question every time I drive by one of those Saturday morning church "art and craft fair" signs. I guess perception is everything, right?

13/11/07 11:58 a.m.  
Blogger dinahmow said...

The living room floor is a mess of cracker crumbs, car fur, a piece of Lego (I don't own a Lego set!)a 5 cent piece and (now-broken) sofa paintings. Thanks a bunch!
I've wandered around that Lost America site several times and keep coming back for more.
Good post.Thanks Andrea and Rudy!

13/11/07 1:42 p.m.  
Blogger Merisi said...

I am not qualified to discuss what is art, but as a "user", I love Robert Rauschenberg's art, from his early "Combines" (through creative use of a poor budding artist of found objects, I always loved that idea) to his photography to his paintings. His collages are my favorites. Could one say that everything that is wo/man made and provokes an emotion is art? I own a lounge chair that is art to me.
I recently went to an exhibition about depiction of death in art. The first half hour there I was able to look at the paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc. with a certain emotional distance, but then it really got to me and I had to go outside for a while for fresh air. Nothing beats listening to a Schubert Impromptu after that. Art again.

I am looking forward to your drawings based on the assemblage.

13/11/07 2:51 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

A Kite Flies: Six Red Lights is one of my top two or three faves, too (and originally part of this post). There's a textural/symmetrical/detail thing happening with it.

HMBT: I've found that my images wit text aren't that popular (though it doesn't stop me from making them! :).

Paula: They should be called Craft & Craft fairs! (Or maybe Craft and Crap... :)

Dinah: Good excuse to buy a new sofa! Too bad you don't have a valuable painting to pay for it...

Merisi: I LOVE art like Rauschenberg's that relies heavily on collage -- maybe because I'm not very good at it! Same with fabric art. I think there's a very easy way to divide art up: fine art and applied art. Your well-designed lounge chair might be an example of applied art.

13/11/07 3:41 p.m.  
Blogger nadine said...

You always point us to the coolest things! When I'm randomly surfing, I somehow always end up at checking the temperatures in Uganda, or Tallahassee, or Helsinki...
I've always been drawn to decaying buildings, scrap heaps, rusting remains. The lost america photos are facinating.

13/11/07 3:52 p.m.  
Blogger Paula Manning-Lewis said...

Hi! Thanks for the comment on my blog! I'm not sure how much traffic Absolute Arts gets, but I have an artist friend here at the studio that has sold work there. So, I figure, what the heck! Can't hurt to give it a try.

13/11/07 4:49 p.m.  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

Have always thought that there is probably some hidden treasures in the art bins in the thrift shops. Wish I knew more about the regional artists as I think that is the key.

13/11/07 5:57 p.m.  
Blogger CS said...

Interesting collection. I especially like those West photos. But I'm with you - why can't I find a valuable peice of art in my furniture? All I ever find is old M&Ms.

13/11/07 7:31 p.m.  
Blogger Merisi said...

there's an article in today's Washington Post about Jeff Koons:
Reflective Surface
There Is More to Art Superstar Jeff Koons Than Meets the Eye

I quite liked his magenta balloon dog on the Grande Canale in Venice. I loved the juxtaposition of those old Venitian palazzi and the decidedly modern sculpture. Most surprising for me was that all of a sudden I realized that there were a lot of magenta undertones in the greys of the old palazzi.

13/11/07 10:47 p.m.  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I just love Cat Bishop's assemblages! I wish I could afford one! I almost bought a print of one though - but I'd rather have an original.

The tricked out abandoned ceramics are also a nice touch. I would love to throw a dinner party with a few of these place settings..."whore", "creep", "lust", "loser" "skank"...imagine the dinner conversation! Now why can't I think of these things?

I always get sucked into the art vs. craft argument. Not anymore. lalalalalala

14/11/07 7:34 a.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

As I see it, art is an individual expression, whereas craft is mass-produced, but what do I know?

Do you remember the Mason Williams Bus Book? If you bought the album you got inside a full size (albeit folded up) Greyhound bus.

14/11/07 9:01 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Nadine: I have a not very web savvy friend who occasionally reads my blog and thinks that everything I link to was also 'done' by me! :)

Paula: I used to have a portfolio but dumped it ages ago.

Jan and CS: I think the good stuff should go to those who make thrift shopping and Antiques Roadshowing a hobby.

Merisis: Thank you for the link! I especially loved reading the details of Jeff Koons' life towards the end.

Cynthia: I've thought of making my own but when you didn't think of it first it sort of loses its lustre, doesn't it?

Ian: Crafters will lynch you at high noon for that one!

14/11/07 9:08 a.m.  

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