Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts

Friday, July 25, 2008

example: sonsbeek 2008, the procession (advertising, the bane of modern art 4)

like multatuli, i do not have to go out and look for examples. if i stay at home and lock the doors, i still cannot escape them.

about 3/4 yr ago i was contacted by slak, an organization in the area arnhem/nijmegen that rents out subsidized studios to professional artists. slak announced that sonsbeek 2008, the 5-annual(?) open air sculpture exhibition in sonsbeek park arnhem, would be accompanied by a Procession...


well, because processions are becoming the fashion in modern art. there had been a procession in ... and also in ... and they had been a huge cultural and artistic success.

*but what the mahogany is the meaning of this `procession'?

well, to show that art is supported by the people, the procession will feature the exhibited sculptures carried by `guilds' through the streets of arnhem, before their placement in the park for exhibit. guilds of course, you uneducated artist, were what we had in medieval times, when processions were popular. And so it all makes sense, you see?

*but what do you need me for?

well, it would seem most appropriate if the artists of slak would form a guild, to carry one of the sculptures through arnhem. of course, a guild is more than just a labour gang. the guild will adopt their art work, meet its maker, and organize meetings around it, and take care of it in years to come, etc, you understand?

*ok, so let me get this straight. i'm a professional visual artist, but you are not interested in my work. instead you have some `star' visual artists, and to promote and advertise their work in a carnivalesque need me? oh, i see, that makes sense. but only if you think that art is entertainment. and then of course, satellite entertainers will enjoy their part (even if small) in the Grand Event. well...good luck...i hope...


let's see what the website has to say:

The Procession
Art carried by the people

It is unique that at Sonsbeek 2008 the inhabitants of a city carried works of art through the streets in a magnificent Procession. An event that states that art needs the support of many in order to acquire a real meaning in society. But the idea of the Procession is also a celebration, a festive way of presenting art as the symbol of human imagination.

On Sunday June 8, 2008 this Procession took place amidst the decor of the old innercity of Arnhem.


to me this is a perfect example of advertising winning out over art (at least what i call art). the advertising for art (that's what this procession nonsense is about) is surrounded with the same bla bla that art is surrounded with, and then pronounced art itself. the artistic success is measured in terms of advertising and entertainment terms. serious professional visual artists are even expected to join in for free, for the good cause of art i suppose (or because it will give them exposure...?).

let's all arty party...would you hold my sculpture there, then i can dosido around this painting...and take your brush and swing it wide, paint your partner side by side...

sonsbeek 2008, procession

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

advertising & art 3: conflicting purposes

again and again my thoughts come back to the question: what is the purpose of art?

to be honest, i don't know. in its generality the question even seems unanswerable. of course many people claim some authorative knowledge on this question. i seldom find their answers convincing. the question to me only makes sense on a personal level. then it first becomes: what do i see as the purpose of art? and later, as an artist, the addition: what do i see as the purpose of my art?

in order to explain why i consider advertising the bane of modern art, i should explain what i see as the purpose of modern art. i phrased it a little mystically in the previous post, but even on a personal level i see hardly another way than this mystical phrasing. but perhaps a few more words will help, who knows.

to me, visual art's unique possibilities lie in the opening and widening and deepening of our perceptions of reality. for me personally, i connect this with spirituality in the sense that i believe visual art can help experience spirituality, can help develop human(e) concern for the well-being of others and other living creatures. but visual art can also reveal -brutally, one might think at first glance- la condition humaine: the level of our collective spiritual (un)wellness. as well as the harshness of nature, our fragile existence, our limited role in this universe, etc. etc.

so whatever the precise form or formulation, visual art for me has as its purpose the deconstruction of old clichés -after all most of these stereotypes in my eyes are hampering our progress by cluttering up our brain and heart in the same way as our predecessors, and look what state the world is in because of their and our doings along these stereotypes. the methods, images, contexts etc. used can vary greatly from artist to artist, and from artwork to artwork. one artist might, like goya, depict the horrors of certain types of human behaviour, in order to open our eyes to this behaviour, in order to make us realize: this is what you get when you think and act along these current stereotypes. another artist might depict loving scenes, going beyond what is the current cliché of love, in order to remind us that spiritual love between people is not only possible but even something that deep in our heart many of us crave. yet another artist might go for aesthetic abstract beauty, yet another for unsettling bodily/sensory sensations in some sort of installation.

francisco de goya, los desastres de la guerra

francisco de goya, los desastres de la guerra[one of 80 prints]

therefore, the purpose of advertising to me seems diametrically opposed to the purpose of art.

the ultimate purpose of advertising is to increase sales, i think. the advertising approach to this purpose seems to me to be this: reinforce existing clichés and stereotypes, and then tie these clichés to the product/concept/brand you wish to sell. just look at the simply awful gender stereotyping in advertising (because sex sells? reinforcing stereotypical gender roles makes people happy?), look at all the fake and superficial youth-and-happiness imagery.

now why should i worry about advertising in connection to art?

firstly, it seems to me that increasingly, the purposes of artists and other people in the art world are verging towards the purposes of advertising. (increase sales, to do so first achieve brand recognition, to achieve brand recognition first introduce suitable existing stereotypes, and reinforce them in some `new' (albeit shallow) fashion, then repeat them over and over and over.)

secondly, it seems people are spending more and more time looking at ads, and discussing them, to the point where i'm starting to believe that people derive some sort of personal meaning-to-life from these ads. then, when they see art, they look at art in the same way and if the clichés of an artwork are not as readily scooped up as in advertising, well then people are puzzled, disappointed and distracted and will seldom spend some more time trying to `get' it.

so which of the two approaches to imagery is winning out? that's why i consider advertising to be the bane of modern art. pretty soon modern art will be a branch of advertising, if this isn't already the case.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

advertising, the bane of modern art 2

before continuing the thread, first an image - absolute necessity for an art blog:

georgia o'keeffe, black place ii

georgia o'keeffe, black place ii

from the metropolitan museum website:

--The Black Place was the name O'Keeffe gave to one of her favorite painting sites, located in the Bisti Badlands in Navajo country, about 150 miles northwest of her home in Ghost Ranch. It was a stretch of desolate gray and black hills that the artist said looked from a distance like "a mile of elephants." Isolated far off the road and away from all civilization, O'Keeffe made several camping trips there in the 1940s, with her assistant Maria Chabot. Writing to Stieglitz in 1944, the year Black Place II was made, Chabot described in words what O'Keeffe captured in paint: "… the black hills—black and grey and silver with arroyos of white sand curving around them—pink and white strata running through them. They flow downward, one below the next. Incredible stillness!" (Maria Chabot—Georgia O'Keeffe: Correspondence 1941–1949, 2003, p. 193).--

incredible stillness. yes, that about captures it, what i mean with advertising being the bane of modern art. incredible stillness, does it even still exist? it is in every case the very antithesis of advertising.

but in my opinion, only from that place of incredible stillness can come what i call great art.

the bane of art: advertising 1

due to a trojan horse on my computer (a variant of vundo) i have spent quite some part of the last three days behind the screen trying to fix my computer system.

finally, i succeeded. no more silly popup-screens advertising for battleknight, mobile telephones, and a host of other products. google available again. the computer again on reasonable cruising speed (still not warp speed, but anyway).

but it makes one wonder, doesn't it? why should anyone want to advertise so badly that they are willing to disrupt millions of computer systems, and saddle their owners up with hours of work - if even successful?

in some follow-up posts i would like to examine this phenomenon of advertising more closely (it already was part topic of some previous posts). the more i think about it, the more i'm convinced that modern advertising is the bane of modern art.