March 24: Installation and Conceptual Art

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Ahoy, ahoy!

Conceptual art,as well as installation art, can be confusing for some people. Heck, even I find it confusing sometimes.  This is one of the reasons why I find this youtube video both hilarious and thought provoking:

The idea of adding false labels to everyday objects within a museum setting makes me smile, but it also encourages me to think about what exactly is being presented to us?  Is the intent of the false labelling to encourage us to reflect on what we believe conceptual art is to be?  Is it making a mockery of conceptual art?  Or is it presenting an idea of guerilla art, the idea of putting false art into a museum to see if people believe and accept it a credible work, solely based on the presence of a label?  Evidently the artists here see this as a project, not a prank, and they carry out this work at more than one museum worldwide.  The work is credited to an artist or a group of artists called Tiny Arrow.  I searched on the Internet for more information about their work but couldn’t find any.  However, the video in itself does a pretty good job on its own.  In a sense, this installation or alteration or addition of existing work was also a performance.  We see the artists intervening with the surroundings in order to place the false labels, we see the reactions of people around them.It is also largely based on conceptual art, so beginning with the MoMA seems natural to me.

The first piece at the MoMA is a drinking fountain.  This appealed to me especially because I visited the MoMA this past November.  While we were there, a student from the Mount Allison group broke a sink.  The first thing I asked my classmate who delivered this bit of gossip to me?

“Wait, so was the sink a display or in the bathroom?”

And of course, because it’s the MoMA, the sink had been on display in part of an installation about Tupperware and the American kitchen.

That’s all!



February 8th: Parody and Performance.

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Ahoy, ahoy!

Welcome back to another week of musings and posts.  Today in class, we discussed and watched a bit more performance art.  Performance art is definitely something I am relatively unfamiliar with.  In all of my art history courses, I have not run into much by way of performance art.  What is the purpose of performance art?  What does it do that other art forms cannot?  One purpose for performance art that was brought up is that it seems to have a moral responsibility.  Most of it seems to respond to social or political conditions of the day.  Certainly, I can think of why this would be so.  Because often performance art is a parody or personification of something, it would be easiest to choose a popular topic du jour, and perform a reaction to it as such.

When the topic of Youtube came up, I began reflecting on different YouTube videos I have watched and enjoyed.  I came to the conclusion that one of the most popular uses of YouTube is to create something that entertains. A YouTube video can’t be too long, or else the audience gets bored.  When it comes to videos that people have specifically created for entertainment value, often they are videos that make me laugh.  For example, this video below is entitled “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Goodlooking”

The girl in this video likely does not classify herself as a performance artist.  She probably came up with this idea after seeing similar tutorial style videos that are in abundance on YouTube that show you how to do your makeup like Gwenyth Paltrow at the 2011 Golden Globes or how to curl your hair like Miley Cyrus in her latest music video.  Believe it or not, videos such as that get tons of hits and some of the creators are classified as YouTube “gurus” because they are in the top  most subscribed or most featured or viewed vloggers (video-bloggers) on the website.   And I will admit to the fact that, on a Saturday night, when going to a bar in Montreal, I have willingly and faithfully followed step-by-step instructions on how to apply a glittery eye makeup look from one of these girls.  I won’t deny that they are useful for someone who is make-up challenged like myself.  But so often the videos are all about how to hide this, enhance this, shade that, highlight this.  And often, you don’t really look much like yourself at all by the end of it.  The girl who made “How To Trick People Into Thinking You’re Goodlooking” probably did it as a joke, but to me, it is very much like a performance piece, addressing the fact that there is so much propaganda thrown in the faces of young women about how to change themselves.

“The goal is to make yourself look nothing like yourself.”  The girl in the video says this and it more than likely makes the viewer laugh.  But in a sad sense, it is true.  I remember the first magazine my mother ever bought me.  I was in grade 6, so probably 11 or 12.  I don’t know if they make it anymore, but it was called Girl’s Life Magazine.  It was aimed at preteens and had lower level fashion tips, hair ideas, very simple makeup and gave advice about how to prove to your parents that you were mature enough to spend a night alone at home, pierce your ears, date a boy, wear makeup, extend your curfew by an hour…the whole thing was about making yourself look and act more mature.  It really seemed to be something that somewhat forced growing up on young girls.  I think it’s important to have media, even if it is a silly YouTube video, that seem to reach out and address these issues.

That’s all!