The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'conceptual art'
Banksy's latest art project, unveiled in New York, is a step away from "street art" and culture jamming and into the territory of conceptual art: he seems to have taken a leaf out of Pascal Bernier's book, and opened a fake pet shop full of grotesque animatronic food-animals, such as walking chicken nuggets.
He added that there was a serious, philosophical aspect to the work, saying: "I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing."
Banksy defended the pet show exhibition even though it contained no graffiti by saying: "If it's art and you can see it from the street, I guess it could still be considered street art."There's more about it here.
A condemned prisoner in Texas has requested for his body to be made into fish food as part of an art installation. Gene Hathorn, who is on death row for murdering his father, stepmother and stepbrother, wants to donate his body to a project by Chilean-born artist Marco Evaristti:
Mr Evaristti, 45, a Chilean-born artist who lives in Denmark, said he would first deep-freeze Hathorn's body and then turn it into fish food which visitors at the exhibition could feed to a shoal of goldfish.
"One of the reasons I chose the theme of fish food is because in his court papers, they considered him a piece of 'human trash'. This is what the court papers called him, with regards to eliminating human trash. He wants to be a part of this art. It's the last thing he can do for society and he views it as positive," he said.
It will be part of a wider project by Mr Evaristti, who, in August, presented a clothing collection called "The Last Fashion", in which 15 models wore outfits designed by him. He stated that those garments were for death-row prisoners to wear on their execution day, to be offered by mail order to prisoners whose execution dates are imminent.Meanwhile, Evaristti is helping Hathorn mount an appeal. If the name "Marco Evaristti" sounds familiar, it may be because of his previous project, in which he placed living goldfish in blenders, giving gallery patrons the power to kill them at the flick of a switch.
In the 1990s, Two Russian-born, US-based conceptual artists calling themselves Komar and Melamid created what they intend to be the world's most unlikeable song. The 22-minute opus is assembled from a palette of elements determined (through a poll) to be the least desirable aspects of songs, and includes things like an operatic soprano rapping about cowboys over a tuba-backed bassline and bagpipe breaks, a children's choir singing inane holiday ditties and advertising Wal-Mart, and someone shouts political slogans over elevator music. It is, in its own way, awesome:
The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commercials and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance—someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example—fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece.Komar and Melamid also produced what their research pointed to as America's most wanted song; it's somewhat less interesting, being a schmaltzy assemblage of Kenny G-esque sax, FM electric piano, R&B female vocals and husky male vocals, not to mention the obligatory guitar solo and not one but two truck driver's gear changes. It is, quite literally, a statistical average of early-1990s commercial radio music; if you're morbidly curious, there's a MP3 here. They also did a survey of what the American public liked to see most in paintings, and produced the resulting work of art, an autumnal landscape with wild animals, a family enjoying the outdoors—and, standing in the middle of it, George Washington.
From the artists' own website:
In an age where opinion polls and market research invade almost every aspect of our "democratic/consumer" society (with the notable exception of art), Komar and Melamid's project poses relevant questions that an art-interested public, and society in general often fail to ask: What would art look like if it were to please the greatest number of people? Or conversely: What kind of culture is produced by a society that lives and governs itself by opinion polls?
(via Boing Boing)
Costa Rican artist Guillermo Habacus Vargas caused an uproar after announcing an art exhibition in which a dog was starved to death. The world was informed that a stray dog named Natividad was chained in an exhibition space, with a pot of food on the other side, out of reach, and kept there until it starved to death. As you can undoubtedly imagine, there was mass outrage worldwide, with galleries dealing with Vargas/Habacus receiving death threats and a petition against him collecting two million signatures. Then it emerged that the whole thing was a hoax: the dog was "starved" only for three hours at a time, and during the rest of the time was fed by the artist.
It has now emerged, however, that artist Guillermo Habacuc Vargas intended the work to be a stunt to show how a starving dog suddenly becomes the centre of attention when it is in a gallery, but not when it is on the street. The work was intended to expose people for what they really are - "hypocritical sheep". He said that in order for the work to be valid, he and the gallery had to give the impression that the dog was genuinely starving to death and that it died.
In 2004, an artist in the Netherlands created a room filled with aerosolised gin and tonic, as an art installation and/or party. Apparently inhaling aerosolised alcohol is a good way to experience the intoxicating effects very quickly. Whether or not it is safe, I don't know (though passing out in such a room would probably be a bad idea), though I suspect that aerosolised tonic can't be good for one's clothes.
Santiago Sierra, the Mexican conceptual artist who, in the past, hired labourers to masturbate, created casts of prostitutes' genitals and invited patrons to an art opening which was blocked off (thus demonstrating that they were more concerned with free champagne than aesthetic experiences), is back. His latest project involved turning a former synagogue in Germany into a gas chamber:
The Mexico-based artist has parked six cars outside the synagogue and attached their exhaust pipes to the building using plastic tubes. It is then filled with deadly gas. Visitors are invited to go inside one by one wearing a gas mask, escorted by a firefighter. Before being allowed in, they have to sign a disclaimer stating they realise the room is full of carbon monoxide.Sierra claims that the installation, titled 245 Cubic Metres with chilling blandness, is a protest against the "banalisation of the Holocaust". Germany's Jewish groups, however, don't see it that way and have denounced the exhibit as "scandalous". Visitors' reactions have been mixed. The exhibit has since been suspended until Sierra meets his critics to discuss the project.
The comments in the Guardian's blog raise some interesting points, with some claiming a second subtext, equating personal automobiles with genocide, and others comparing it to a notional installation spraying the inside of a mosque with pigs' blood.
While one member of the KLF, Jimmy Cauty, is now busying himself with selling terrorism-inspired art to Londoners (sort of like a more literal-minded SCHWA), the other chap, Bill Drummond, is now involved with a project called Penkiln Burn. This is a catalogue of conceptual art-related jobs proposed and/or undertaken. The jobs in question include returning a work of art to its origins, selling sledgehammers to explore their destructive potential, throwing provocative propositions into the ideosphere, protest through silence or withdrawal of art, an outsider band and a meditation on the finite number of haircuts left in your life. Oh, and if you live on a line between Belfast and Nottingham, Bill Drummond will make soup for you.
Art curator acquitted in goldfish blender case, because the fish in question were killed "instantly and humanely":
During the two-day trial, a zoologist and a representative of blender manufacturer Moulinex said the fish likely died within a second after the blender started. It was not known who turned the blenders on.
Interactive art vs. animal rights A Danish art gallery director is facing trial for animal cruelty after hosting an exhibit featuring goldfish swimming in a blender. The artist who created the exhibit, Marco Evaristtis, said that he wanted to make people "do battle with their conscience" when confronted with the switch. Throughout the course of the exhibition, two members of the public decided to press the switch (out of curiosity, disbelief that the blender could be live, or sheer sociopathic callousness; who knows?), killing the live goldfish. The gallery director is being sued for failing to cut off the electricity supply to the blender, which he says he didn't do as not to interfere with the artist's vision.
Santiago Sierra is an artist who specialises in winding up the art world and using the medium of "art" to criticise the world we live in. As previous works, he has hired labourers to masturbate or to blockade galleries, recorded street riots in Argentina and distributed CDs to gallery patrons with instructions to play them out loud, and most recently, invited patrons to a gallery opening where the gallery was blocked off:
Last month, a steady stream of them turned up to the opening of the £500,000 extension to the Lisson Gallery in London, expecting canapes and cocktails. Imagine their frustration at being confronted by a sheet of corrugated iron across the entrance. "It was as though they were saying: 'Just get me inside and give me a drink. That's what I've come for.'" So the invitees weren't so much frustrated at being deprived of an aesthetic experience, but angry because they couldn't get inside for champagne and nibbles? "Obviously," says Sierra. "I mean, there were 10 other openings in town that night. And the aesthetic experience was right in front of them. The corrugated sheet was beautifully made. They just weren't ready to look at it."
Now that's what art is about, I think; more so than pretty landscapes, portraits of sportsmen and prime ministers and safe, bourgeois decorative objects. More in the realm of conceptual terrorism.
This morning on 3RRR, I heard about an interestingly subversive art installation being launched at the Blackbox gallery. It explores the nature of globalisation and personality, and consists of a love-letter transcription service. Users record a romantic message on a computer, and it is sent to a data-processing consultancy in Bombay, India, where (thanks to the cheap, skilled labour that is so popular with the call-centre and medical-transcript industries in the West) it is hand-written and mailed to your beloved. I believe it is part of the Experimenta "Waste" programme.
London installation artist Michael Landy, 37, is destroying all his possessions in the name of art. The objects, which range from odd socks to valuable art works by Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, will be pulverised as part of an art performance named Break Down. Landy attained fame in 1994, when an installation of his (consisting of a bin full of rubbish) was accidentally disposed of by the gallery's cleaner.