Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sketchbook Assignment 1: My World and the Art World

  • In your sketchbook choose a work by another artist that stands for what you think art really should be in your perfect world—if art was daring, bold, unique and special, if it was community-building or affirming, if it made the world a better place or turned the world on its head. Here, you get to decide. 
Barbara Kruger. Untitled 1981.
I think the first time I ever saw a piece by Barbara Kruger I knew it was exactly what I thought art should be; confrontational and questioning. Kruger manages to achieve what I feel is a perfect balance between the political and the personal. This piece obviously draws on the feminist art of the 70's but also advertising techniques of the early 80s creating a provocative piece that questions the political issues of the time: money, greed, consumerism but most of all misogyny of the male dominated business and political environment. 
Of course I am reading into the image based on my own experience the male shhhing the viewer which as a female I view as a dominant symbol of male oppression the dramatic colours/framing reminding me of consumerism/advertising and lastly the catchphrase its self which directs me to to incite protest, to rally against the statement. It also directs me to apply and question the issues introvert; why should someone have the right to tell me what I can and cannot do? Why should I say quiet and unquestioning? Is it because I am a woman? but the work also makes me think that I am important, my opinion matters and I, like Kruger, should question authority. 
For me good art should question the social norms of the time it was created but also incite a personal response that makes you think about your role in society and draws upon your own experiences. This work particular reminds me of the Riot Grrrl movement in the late 80s and early 90s with its confrontation approach, in the words of Kathleen Hanna “I’m so sorry if I’m alienating some of you. Your whole f**king culture alienates me.”

  • Then, make or describe something that stands for what you think people in the world think art should be—because a teacher or expert told you that’s what art is, or because that’s what you think “good art" is, or because you think this is what the art market wants, etc.  
This is by far a more difficult question than what I think art should be, I really think it depends on your own personal preferences. Some people want something pretty to look at, others it's about the investment, others prefer art that's different and others, like me, want something political.
I really feel that what makes good art is your personal interaction with it, that it provokes a response. Like the MFA students said in this weeks video on critique there is nothing worse than indifference!
So weather you think something is so beautiful it takes your breath away or makes you so angry you want to start a political uprising, the personal response doesn't relate to the quality of the art but it does confirm that the art is important to you and that's all that really matters at the end of the day.
If everyone was the same the world would be a very boring place....

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