Monday, November 15, 2010

Mr. Weiner, Art and Commodity

"The point is, that every piece of art changes your whole perception of the rest of the world for the rest of your life.
And it's not a joke! And if it doesn't, then it's not art, it's a commodity."

- Lawrence Weiner responding to a question from Liam Gillick in "Between Artists"

This brings up a simple(haha yea) question, What is art?  Is it only with purpose?  Is it in the eye of the beholder?  If I see a shadow of a tree branch behind my boyfriend who is standing in front of a perfectly hospital green wall, and I decided "WOW! That's nice," is that art? \Does it become art when I document it?


-A commodity is some good for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market. It is fungible, i.e. the same no matter who produces it. Examples are petroleum, notebook paper, milk or copper. ...

So here we have it.  Even a commodity can change a persons perception of the world.  Andy Warhol danced on the border of this notion, that art is commodity.  His artistic reproduction of everyday images, objects, happenings.  He wanted to bring commodity to a new value I guess.  Lawrence Weiner says, "And it's not a joke!"  Well, sometimes it is a big fat joke.  Art that is commenting on commodity can be very funny, commodity is actually pretty funny too when you think about how every items do start with a basic design that somebody had to think creatively to come up with.  


As far as commodity not even being in the same realm as art, I would have to disagree with Mr. Weiner on some levels.  I believe that ones vulnerability to change in their perception of the world is always extremely relative.  I have never experienced war firsthand, and although a piece of art dealing with violence and war might be touching to me, a person who has dealt first hand might have a reaction that comes from inside of them, that they have held there for a long time, because what they are looking at is familiar to them.  My reaction is a product of an idea, theirs is a product of experience.  That is not always the case of course.  Viewing and reacting to art is something that cannot be regimented so strictly and discussed so matter of factly.  I might like a certain painting one day, and not the next.  Art, to me, seems like physical manifestations of human moods.  I think some humans are lame and make lame art about their lame moods(HAHAH i thought that would be funny to say.) I'm going to use one particular artist as an example of commodity.  My disclaimer is that I don't know him personally, I don't know if he has serious sentimental attachment to his paintings, but I have read that one in every 20 households in America has some form of his artwork displayed in his house.  His name is Thomas Kinkade.  He is "the painter of light"  BLAGHHH BULLLLLLLLLLL-ish!!!(Caravaggio thank you) as some like to call him.  He makes these paintings that are drowning in saturated pastels and there is this weird glowing angelic light that shines on everything, they're all nostalgic nature scenes that make you think of your grandmothers house during the holidays.  He makes these paintings, and then they are mass produced as prints and calendars and greeting cards and balblabla...and they become commodity.  But I have to say they have changed my own perception of the world because I have a personal feeling against it, so does this make it art?  I guess so Mr. Weiner.

No comments: