Escaping Thoughts and Elusive Artworks

I haven't had the time to really think about what I want to post about, so I'll just post some significant things that have made me think in the past few weeks.

I was asked if I could be part of a photo shoot at an art museum (which will remain unnamed because I like the place but I'm about to be critical).  The photos were to be used in media publications and I was told to dress like I was going to a museum and wear bright solid colors.  I had the day off and I would get to visit the museum on a day it was closed to the public, so I agreed.

There were about five other people present for the shoot and we were all asked if we had smart phones. Then we were given brightly colored cases and told to hold the phones and gesture towards the artwork because the museum had a new mobile feature they wanted to promote. I was in front of a Jasper Johns device painting. There was no way I was going to hold an iPhone and pretend like I was learning something about a painting by looking at it's screen. I simply explained to the lady who was asking this of me that it was just something I would never do. True I was supposed to be just an average museum-goer not an artist at a museum, but I didn't want a photo of me doing something I would never do to exist for the sake of advertising. I must have baffled her because she approached me a few minutes later and tried to sell me on the awesome features of the mobile museum guide. I think it's a good idea and I'm definitely interested in interviews with artists and learning more about the artwork, but personally I would look this information up somewhere else... in the cafe, once I get home, just not in the presence of the actual artwork. Sometimes there's just too much noise, and I mean descriptions/statements/text/audio tours/videos, all supplemental and informational, but what about the actual experience of just simply looking and thinking about what is seen? I think, sadly, that is something people seldom do anymore. They want to know what it's about, they want to be told what to think, they want instant gratification. People are becoming reliant on having (or thinking they have) "the answer" to everything available at their fingertips. I'm probably coming off as being completely against technology and mobile applications, but I'm not. There are things that I dislike but also find fascinating. The way we view art will inevitably change and the way artists create reflects that change. But I think it has to be questioned. Should people view the artwork the way it was intended by the artist or curator to be viewed? I remember when I never questioned the huge gilded gold frames around the portraits and landscapes of the 18th century, and now I see the whole room in which they are displayed, wallpaper and all, as an installation. 

The other piece we were being photographed with was Félix González-Torres untitled (water) and the photographer kept getting frustrated because the beaded curtain essentially disappears when someone walks through it, thus making it difficult to photograph. I was thinking it's a beautiful thing to be hard to capture and elude a traditional way of being viewed or contained. It's true that parting the beaded curtain creates a void where the material does not exist, but that doesn't mean the void isn't part of the piece. I love troublemaking artwork that the viewer can become a part of and change. Does the term viewer even apply when an artwork allows interaction beyond viewing?

And I was going to write a lot more about other little thoughts, but I realize that if I did this post would be super long. So I'll just leave with this appropriate ceramic piece by artist Kina Crow. I saw her work a few years ago at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh and picked up a little card with this guy. I lost it somewhere, but I saw that someone on Facebook posted a photo of her work and it reminded me. Sometimes the thought escapes you, but that doesn't mean it's gone. And I recently read an interview with Andrew Bird where he said something along the lines of "If you have to write it down, it's not worth remembering."As a compulsive list-maker and lover of the little bits of scrap that ideas generate, I'm inclined to disagree. But to a certain degree, I do agree. 

Kina Crow The Thought Escapes Me