Have we become so accustomed to seeing art that is more about the thesis than the art? One reader of this article, Andy Dickens, summed it up nicely:
“I bet there were still a lot of art snobs describing how the fallen crane meant 'the juxtaposition of construction and destruction and how this parallels chaos and redemption in modern man' or some other such bollox.”
I can see his point. In the city of Vancouver the Jaguar sculpture, by John Henry, was in Stanley Park. It could have been mistaken for a construction site gone sideways. And there are plenty of other artists around the world that create art that is sadly misunderstood.
Take for example Sala Murats’s art, as noted in: A cleaning woman mistakes contemporary artwork for trash, throws it away.
But let’s not think illustrators are not guilty of creating artwork that is questionable too. Felix Pestemer is known for his illustrations of trash and compost. His illustrations are beautifully presented in gilded frames. Is it the frame, the artist statement, or the gallery presentation of the illustrations themselves that elevate these works from being thought of as Trash, to that of Art?
Perhaps it’s the combination of A, B, C and all of the above. Perhaps it’s all about the framing of the subject matter, and controlling the eye of the beholder. Or, maybe it’s the isolation, intent and presentation of the art outside the normal context that stops us in our tracks.
Or in art-speak, it’s the theoretical pontification about the dichotomy and juxtaposition of our banal environment with that of the neo-neo, post-dada, post-modernist world. So yes, when a cookie, paper scrap or construction crane are exhibited in the right context – it's art. Otherwise, to quote an artist friend, “it’s just crap”.
This week's illustration is a combination of a photograph I took of the Jaguar sculpture, and some added digital figures.