Sunday, November 3, 2013

conceptual foundation

acrylic on paper

from a bookoid

Somebody asked what I meant in the previous post by conceptual foundation. I was about to reply when a dog ran up and sniffed my hand. While patting the dog, a load of mental gibberish melted away. Conceptual foundation could mean a lot of things. In the art world, it often refers to a layer of blibber-blabber placed around the art object in order to make the artwork more something or other. Conceptualizing hides ones embarrassment at being confronted with something direct, spacious and non-conceptual. Peel back the pile of words to have direct experience of the artwork. Of course, the notion of a non-conceptual type experience is also conceptual.

One could split hairs about beauty, social relevance, history, current events and argue that each artwork requires a conceptual peg. However, when it comes to an artist making art, concern with conceptual things is a bit like....

Heaps of verbal tissue and mountains of rhetoric pile up over the centuries. Are you able to see the picture through the barrage of words wrapped around it? Which do you prefer, the artwork or the rhetoric about art?

This is not to insult art critics or art historians. I'm just saying it is possible to make an art object without conceptual head banging. In fact, if the artist's concern is concept, he or she might be better off to skip making art and to write an essay or book instead. I also don't understand why galleries require the artist to provide a conceptual foundation when applying for a show. The artist might have a story, or wish to describe what he or she was thinking; but that's different from trying to say something that sounds clever or relevant to the current taste of curators or funding agencies.

No comments:

Post a Comment