In today’s tutorial we discussed the various ‘collectors’ we had researched for homework and some interesting people and their take on collecting came up from my fellow students’ research, which I think is worth sharing here.
Laura Was and Adam Echstrom
Collaborative artists, Laura and Adam Echstrom, decided one day to collect lottery scratch cards. They were interested in how people spend their winnings after winning the lottery. They turned their research into amazing representational sculptures of desired material objects such as a Hummer, a yacht and a large luxury home using scratch-off lottery tickets.
The project was called Ghost of a Dream, and the aim was to match the monetary value of the lottery tickets to the price of each item. For example, they created a ‘Dream Home’ out of $70,000 worth of discarded tickets, the interior decor includes a chandelier, framed portraits, an ‘antique’ clock and vase of flowers. To the artists, the discarded lottery tickets represent unfulfilled dreams as well as money that could have been saved and possibly spent on the item itself. The objects have a glitzy crassness to them, perhaps representing the glitzy crassness of the objects they represent which are the material things lottery winnings can buy. On the other hand they have an aesthetic appeal, despite the glary colours.
Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose work is most usually associated with Dadism and Surrealism. In his day he was regarded as quite shocking. Possibly he would be less so now, are we less shockable these days perhaps? That’s a future blog entry. Duchamp challenged conventional thought about artistic processes and art marketing in his collections and ideas about what constitutes a piece of artwork. Perhaps most famously with his urinal. He critised ‘retinal’ art, believing that anything could be art, it is the intention that is important, not necessarily the pure aesthetic value of the simple pleasure it brings. He came to a point in his career when he moved away from conventional art, disillusioned with two-dimensional art and the quest to create beauty in art. He famously created a porcelain urinal, which was signed ‘R.Mutt’ and titled Fountain. It was submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917 but it was rejected by the committee, even though the rules stated that all works would be accepted from artists who paid the fee. This work is regarded by some art historians and theorists of the avant-garde as a significant landmark in modern art.
Paul Couillard is a Canadian performance artists who ‘collects’ performance art and works as a curator of performance art. He fits very neatly into the category of ‘art collector’ although not in a traditional sense. Performance art cannot be kept, except in recorded form, so to be a collector of performance art seems to be an impossibility. But to Couillard curating is a form of art in itself, it is a way of collecting and presenting, and a way of selecting particular pieces of art whether they be performances or otherwise. It is a form of bringing things together.
Marina Abramovic is another performance artist we talked about in our tutorial. Abromovic describes herself as the ‘grandmother of performance art’. Her work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. She has collected other artists’ pieces of performance art and reinterpreted them in her own performance art. Some artists have rejected this as art, others have embraced it.
I was interested by the discussion we had about Abramovic and Couillard as I really don’t know much about performance art and had not heard of either of these two artists. Performance art is beyond my art radar being mostly a two-dimensional artist myself. I think it is an art form worth further musings.
The last artist we talked about was Turner-prize winning artist Grayson Perry, known for his cross-dressing and sexualized artwork. Grayson Perry spent some time as artist in residence at the British Museum and there he created the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman exhibition. In the show he combined his own work with objects by mostly anonymous craftsmen that he has taken from the museum’s collection. He wanted to celebrate the craftsmanship of the unknown and the unacknowledged. He juxtaposed modern art next to ancient art. Objects he chose from the museum include drawings, prints, coins and religious objects. Perry’s decorated motorcycle, which has a stuffed toy on the back seat, also formed part of the display.
All of the artists we talked about in the tutorial, which also included Portia Munson mentioned in another blog post and the three artists I researched seem to be rather on the eccentric side. Does eccentricity and art come hand in hand? Therein lies yet another future blog post.
Cool Hunting, http://www.coolhunting.com/culture/the-art-of-disc.php [last accessed 5 November 2012]
Interview with Marina Abromovic, http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/oct/03/interview-marina-abramovic-performance-artist [last accessed 5 November 2012]
Wikipedia on Paul Couillard, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Couillard [last accessed 5 November 2012]