Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Kinkade File 2
Burned Rauschenberg Erased De Kooning
The problem is noone is going to let me take the Rauschenberg off the museum wall and burn it. The only other option would be to hide a container of lighter fluid on me and hope the work is not behind glass. Well if it was behind glass I’‘m sure I could smash the glass, but that would take precious seconds, and bring attention to me before the lighter fluid was applied and lit. There is also the variable of museum preservation. That paper could be treated with something flame retardant. My lighter fluid wouldn’t do a damn thing. Gasoline and Styrofoam mixed together make a wonderful little napalm which would probably get the job done.
The napalm would be the most reliable choice but it would change the meaning of the action. Burning the Erased De Kooning is meant to continue the process Rauschenberg started with his erasers. Napalm would destroy the paper but it leaves a plastic black substance. It would therefore be an additive process more akin to destructive painting then erasing. If only I would be given enough time to violate it with urine and, no wait, this entire train of thought is derailing.
Earlier in the semester I was in my Contemporary Art in Context class AH 441. The teacher, whom does not need to be named, made an unpleasant statement. She, I mean he or she, said that the only good art is made by artists who do real research on art history. Well maybe that doesn’t sound terribly shocking. Nobody in the class seemed bothered at all. For me the statement made my brain hurt.
Since the day I got out of highschool ten years ago I have worked my ass off making art. Now I am informed that all that work was nothing more then masturbation. All I really had to do was research art history and occasionally slap some sort of work together that references that research. Specifically the statement places a value on the type of thought that goes in to making a work of art. Greater value is placed on the thought given to an artworks historical reference then to thought used on the production of the work. So what, there is nothing new about that, you can thank Dadaism for that revelation.
That was not the part that hurt my brain. What hurt my brain was the realization that art historians are subject to the same system artists are subject to. Art historians can not possibly understand contemporary art, or have anything relevant to say about it unless they can do what I do, and invest all of their adult lives in the nonstop production of art.
So this theory seems somewhat juvenile, or reactionary, or at least untestable. But I took a whack at it anyways, because this should hopefully be my last semester at this school, and I was getting bored. My test was small and subtle. I wrote my term paper as if it were a conceptual sculpture. And Oh joy, I had two contemporary art classes to play this game with. I chose a living successful artist who is as far removed from contemporary art relevance as possible, Thomas Kinkade. For practical reasons the artwork produced had to be diptych.
Part 1 was an action, a personal invasion in to the culture of Thomas Kinkade, while part 2 was theoretical analysis of Thomas Kinkade. All done as subjective as humanly possible, with every fact drowning in self reference so thick it might make Andy Warhol crack. To sum it up; trips were made, evidence was forged, alcohol was consumed, and art was successfully produced.
Unfortunately the results can’t be fully analyzed yet. Only part 1 has been returned, but I have studied the grade written on the back of it the same way a biologist studies cultures on a petri dish. “This reads more like a some sort of a sociology study or even diary entry rather then a research paper. Not enough sources, also, your sources need to be scholarly writing”,”65 D”. This might look less then informative to some but look closer. Notice what was not written. An eight page paper did not have a single comment or correction written on it, anywhere. Just a dismissive statement on the back. Even the fact that it was titled as a part 1 was not questioned. Then you have to ask, since when does a diary entry even qualify for a D grade? There is contradiction hiding in the teachers statements. But of course, like a petri dish, all that I am looking at here is just a drop in the bucket. Rest assured the study will continue through the lens of a website created solely for this purpose. http://aronbriggs.blogspot.com/