Denny and I went to the Habitat for Humanity Benefit Dinner and auction last night. You may or not may recall my having posted pics of our birdhouses. Denny's was more sculptural and conceptual and mine was more literal and decorative. I was a little embarassed to show mine to other artists because of this even though I was certainly pleased enough with the results. I entertained thoughts of doing something conceptual but decided against it because I wanted to stay focused on making as much money for HFH as possible. My birdhouse went for 105.00 and Denny's went for 50.00, which is about what most of the more conceptual pieces went for.
This of course proved my point to myself, but his disappointment and the research I am doing, the direction my art is moving is causing me to think...
What is so incomprehensible about conceptual art? Is it that you have to think? Are we really that "dumbed down" as a culture?. Have I become a snob?
Well, that last one is easy. By definition, I am an intellectual snob. I love using my mind and I do not understand why others are so intellectually lazy. My consistent dissapointment with people is that they seem to suffer from an appalling lack of imagination. Socialization--for better or for worse--can do that to a person. It's painful to watch from this vantage point-I can literally see how little many people settle for-in their lives, their relationships with spouses, siblings, and especially and most sadly, their children and themselves. This entry isn't all about how much smarter I am, but in the larger sense, how much smarter we all are--and how we repress that.
And... Don't get me wrong, I have many guilty pleasures. They are guilty, however, simply because I know they are not good for me. I love my big, red sofa. I love fries from Dairy Queen and ice cream, cake, soda and ...cooooofffeeeee. I read Fast Food Nation, John Robbins, and have seen Supersize Me. I have studied nutrition, nutrition and politics and the politics of popluar culture. I. know. better. I have a TV and I not only watch it, but it is on all the time--if only in the background. I might want to watch what is on, so there it is. Most often, I am listening whilst I do something else. Like this. Or reading.
And, OK, artists that have no connection to popular culture annoy me as well. How do you relate to people that do not have artistic interests? How do you relate to... Oh... new dilemna here. Just another prejuduce of mine, I see...
Good trains of thoughts contain more questions than answers.
But, hey! I have sooooo digressed!
I was also thinking about how Denny was so disappointed that his sculpture did not sell for mmore than it did. I kept trying to give him a context for understanding what he saw that didn't involve the explanation that his birdhouse was crap, because it wasn't! I watched with interest at the crowd and what they were bidding on. I tried to explain that what was selling for the higher prics were the most decorative pieces. People don't always appreciate "art" as they do the decorative. Be that as it may, the highest selling piece was made from hardware and painted in bright colors.... All good, really, because the proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity.
What I wanted Denny to see--and I don't know if he did or not or whether he really cares--is that artists and children bid on his piece. Children don't have much $$ to spend(neither do most artists we know) and are rather "pure" in their perceptions. One of the people that was bidding on his work is a woman that used to curate a gallery at Harvard. (her piece-inspired by Joseph Beuyswent for a lower price as well, btw... )
Denny's birdhouse was funny( a visual pun in many ways), challenging, intellectual, attractive, minimally aethetic.
Mine went for an average price($105)-to the wife of the man that bought the farm art piece.
My point ??? Sometimes, context is everything, and he recieved high praise last night.