Friday, May 23, 2003
Questions of quality?
I've now seen this site posted on a few weblogs, and I ran across it a while ago myself. Loosely speaking it's a running art exhibition promoting copyright violation as freedom of expression. I don't really think that focusing on copyright violation as an action addresses the eternal question regarding beauty and representation, but that aside, even for the low standards of performance-y art, nothing in that exhibit is worth the time. There's a saturation problem in contemporary art right now, but unlike a lot of people, I don't think its roots are in the nature of the performance or the installation--both are fine media. I see a problem with quality of execution in a lot of individual cases, and more generally with the easy access of filming, performing, and installation-installing. With that in mind, I found this site archiving "art adventures" performed over the last thirty years. Here's a few intriquing ones that I'd say were well executed:
1967 - Abbie Hoffman disrupted the New York stock exchange on August 1967. With a group of twelve individuals he threw dollars at the traders from the overhanging balcony of the exchange floor; an action that stopped trading for a few seconds when the brokers lunged to grab the money.
And on and on. Those five were performances that probably every art history student reads about in depth when they're covering contemporary stuff, but there are a ton more listed on the site. You can get into question of value about these guys, too--especially when a bastard like Brener vandalizes one of five Malevich white-on-white painting--but I think it's all theoretically more sound than the "illegal art" stuff.