Want to comment on this blog? Email Elaine & Gordon: lines-of-dialogue [at] t-a-p.org.uk
ET: May: Where did it go? Looked up 'lost' on Google and found this: The Lost Correspondent, Depth 8m, Grenada, West Indies by Jason de Caires Taylor .... wonder what the visitor experience is like for this sculpture?!
Museum of Curiosities II,
ET: 27th May: Private View (the artist's view) * The only people who know you are an artist in the show are the people you have invited and the curator, you only invited two people, three people know you * the two people you brought are family members * one family member has to be closely watched or you may never be showing work again * You feel embarrassed looking at your work just in case someone you thought doesn't know you does know you and sees you looking at your own work * You can't look at your own work * everyone elses work is gorgeous, yours is tired and obvious * you want to make a tiny adjustment to your work but can't be seen to go near it * you eat too many crisps just to look busy * you drink too much fizzy water because you drove, you always drive, you desperately want to drink wine * you stay too long because you think you should * your guests have been fidgety all evening, they want a bag of chips * you spend all night working out the right time to leave
GF: April 22nd: Art in the Age of Reproductions.
Sitting in the Tate Britain cafe the other week I couldn't help over hearing two ladies chatting. One proclaimed to the other that although she loved Matisse she didn't feel she needed to go and see the new exhibition of his cut-outs. It would appear that in an age of high quality reproductions the experience of the original has lost its unique power. I don't think this is right and plan to visit the exhibition to check this out. I just hope with all the publicity surrounding the exhibition it won't be too crowded to see the work properly!
ET: April 25th: A cinematic exhibition experience
Even better pop into your local cinema and 'watch' the Matisse exhibition on the big screen! "At this one-off event, you are invited to enjoy an intimate, behind-the-scenes view of this blockbuster exhibition presented by Francine Stock and with guests such as Tate Director Nicholas Serota." www.tate.org.uk
GF: April 12th: Many Happy Returns.
Writing in the this spring's Art Quarterly Julian Opie confesses that "like most people I don't look at any one art-work for very long. I move at a fair pace through exhibitions, art fairs and collections." But here's the clincher, if he likes a show he reverses and looks at everything again. He has become something of a collector too, so pieces he falls in love with he sometimes buys allowing him to return to them again and again. Perhaps this is part of the definition of good art, that it repeatedly tempts us back. It is never totally "consumed", but always has something more to give.
ET: April 23rd: Temptation Recently came across a small commercial gallery and wandered in (a distraction from the hundreds of craft shops!) ... A mixture of paintings, prints, photographs, all very expected in content and style, but then just above the sales desk two tiny oil paintings caught my eye and I couldn't stop looking at them. They were still life paintings by an elderly gentleman and maybe to the next person were nothing special, but they really stopped me in my tracks and I had to keep going back to them over and over. I just wanted to consume them and get inside the painting ... I havn't felt that feeling for ages and I loved it and oh how I wish I'd bought them!
GF: 21st March: The Observers' Behaviour
I've just started reading "The Peregrine" which is an account by J. A. Baker's documenting the comings and goings of a pair of Peregrines across the flat lands of East Anglia. In the opening chapter he sets out his approach;
"Everything I describe took place while I was watching it, but I do not believe that honest observation is enough. The emotions and behaviour of the watcher are also facts, and they must be truthfully recorded."
This, I think, is a reminder that the observer is never passive. They are part of the picture and should not be ignored.
GF: 29th March: Again and Again and ....
In "The Peregrine" J. A. Baker is on foot much of the time, and when he's not he's cycling, but this is not a book about track or path. It is about place. Here place is a performed space defined by the peregrines' hunting and Baker's repeated visits. The repeated action, the return, is as important to creativity as the journey.
Destroying Works of Art by
James O. Young
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
Vol. 47, No. 4 (Autumn, 1989), pp. 367-373
Published by: Wiley
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/431136
ET: 14th March Even more Destruction (and theft) Exhibiting in the public realm... In one week, 9 artworks stolen, 1 artwork slightly damaged, 5 removed and placed in the bin, another kicked and partially destroyed. Ignorance? boredom? jealousy? One of ten death masks created by the artist Lisa Temple-Cox, installed along a stone bridge in a town centre, only 3 remained by the end of one week.
The destruction of the $1 million Ai Weiwei vase caught on film.
GF: 17th February: Object, Action, Debate.
A Miami artist, Maximo Caminero, has kicked up a furore by smashing a reportedly Han Dynasty vase, that was part of an installation by Ai Weiwei, at the Perez Art Museum Miami. The action was apparently a protest at the gallery's failure to exhibit work by local artists (BBC News).
As the exhibition also shows photographs of Ai Weiwei himself dropping a Han Dynasty vase, rather than progressing Mr. Caminero's cause, the action has opened up a far more interesting debate on whether it is ever justifiable to destroy someone else's work of art. The BBC website quotes Ai Weiwei as saying "He can drop whatever he likes to drop, but not other people's property." I wonder if the The Chagall committee in Paris are paying attention to this debate (see below 5th Feb).
Perhaps of more interest to fellow visual artists is the fact that the act of destruction has generated far more attention and debate than simply exhibiting the object.
GF: 4th March: More destruction?
According to news paper reports even Prince William wants to get in on the act of destroying art. This time it's the ivory artefacts in the royal collection.
The glow from the lampost
ET: 10th February: I saw you there You take the buying away and for some people it's difficult to understand .... I took my sister to the opening of Onsite at TAP, she doesn't do art, but she's clever, she was much better than me at school, but I thought, I wondered, would she look for looking or would she wonder what she could buy, not that she would buy but would she think how odd it is to just look for lookings sake. She didn't, she had a great evening, she found it odd, she ridiculed some pieces, but she really liked the lampost and the reason she really liked the lampost is because she'd imagined the scenario of how the lampost came to be there and she'd grasped the humour. She'd concocted a whole narrative to go with the work and she left feeling accomplished and slightly hysterical from the welcoming 'hello's' at the door. And once again I spent the journey home from Southend having deep and meaningful conversations about art and the universe with a 'non-believing' member of my family.
GF: 5th February: It's All About The Context.
On 2nd Feb the BBC aired a program, 'Fake or Fortune', where a painting purported to be by Chagall was shown not to be an original. The Chagall committee in Paris have now announced they want to destroy the painting and the BBC turned this into a big news story.
The Chagall committee understandably want to protect the market value of original art works. The BBC's interest is entertainment and viewing figures. The owner had bought the painting as a speculation. In each case the context was the market place, or more bluntly money. The picture can no longer be regarded just as something pretty to look at. Perhaps this makes it more interesting.
ET: 6th February: Money Spoils From the Observer archive: 29 November 1970: A Velázquez now forever scarred by its £2m price-tag 'Young artists must be worried about the Midas touch of capitalism on their creativity ....' read the edited extract from The Guardian online
GF: 22nd January: Down to Experience.
It's so difficult to filter out the context of where a work is shown. Seen as part of a major collection infers greatness, even if we don't like a work. At an art fair it becomes a commercial product. If the known provence of an painting changes so does its value, even though its quality remains the same. So is it the object where the art resides, or in the experience?
ET: 15th January: Changing the experience with a price A consideration ..... Discussing a new exhibition at The Gibberd Gallery in Harlow it was pointed out how the viewing experience is changed through the simple addition of a price - the option of buying the art affects the reaction to the art. Outside of a value a piece of work can be viewed purely and innocently, add a price and immediately the story is about the worthiness of that work.
'Las Meninas', Diego Velázquez (1656).
GF: 8th January: The Viewer is Warned.
Artists frequently talk about the viewer completing a work. An example often given in these discussion is Las Meninas by Velázquez where several of the figures in the painting stare out at the person looking in. What do they see? What is the artist painting? The sculptor Tom Price was apparently inspired to start making bronze heads after seeing the expressions on the faces of visitors as they watched his performance piece licking the walls of a gallery. The viewer becomes the art.
ET: 14th January: watching you watching me watching you “Total surveillance” by Toni Dimitrov represents a kind of video installation or a network/structure composed of video cameras, video projectors and screens which mutually intersect and constantly record the object/viewer in front of them, from every angle. The viewer, with his/her presence is a participator and part of it at the same time. The cameras record his presence from all four sides, and the viewer is capable of watching the recordings on the screen in front of him i.e. to watch himself. It is about the total surveillance of the viewer, but one in which the viewer is under surveillance by himself from every side and perspectives which are usually invisible for him. In the surveillance, other viewers in the room are also included, by watching themselves, or by watching other viewers. With this, you get a network of crossed cameras and projectors which project images of the viewer from every side, fill the whole room and complement it with the visual noise of the space. This replication and reproduction creates a projection of the viewer in the screens, outside himself, in a sort of virtual world, which continues to infinity, similar to a mirror projected in another mirror, gaining new and new aesthetical forms, a product of the replication and reproduction of themselves.
GF: 11th December: A Word in Your Ear.
James Elkin's article in the Huffington post (see ET's post 2nd Dec) describes the very personal relationships that can be developed over a long period of time with specific pictures. In response to our blog Amy Mountney has commented on the very different experience of using an audio guide whilst going round a show at the Royal Academy. Yes, it gave her lots of information, but led her to only concentrate on works picked out by the guide. Amy goes on, "I followed the thought trail of another, and subsequently left feeling deprived of my own independent journey through the exhibition."
Personally I find the voice in the ear intrusive, preferring to go round an exhibition by myself, but once outside I want someone to discuss it with over a coffee. You can't exchange views with a digital recording.
ET; 2nd December: Transfixed James Elkins, art critic and historian, writes a lot about looking, in an article for Huffington Post back in 2010 he also asked the question 'How long does it take to look at a painting? .... ...... Looking for a long time is not the usual way people see artworks. The usual interaction with an artwork is a glance or a glimpse or a cursory look. What I have in mind is a different kind of experience: not just glancing, but looking, staring, gazing, sitting or standing transfixed: forgetting, temporarily, the errands you have to run, or the meeting you're late for, and thinking, living, only inside the work. Falling in love with an artwork, finding that you somehow need it, wanting to return to it, wanting to keep it in your life." He also mentions the book by the Austrian novelist Thomas Bernhard, called Old Masters, in which a man goes to see a painting in the museum in Vienna every other day for his entire adult life.
'Pictures and Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings' by James Elkins
GF: 28th November: Keep on Looking.
What's the longest length of time, in one stretch, that you've ever looked at a single work of art?
In May 2013 Professor Jennifer Roberts described to a conference on learning and teaching at Harvard University how she sets her students the task of looking at a chosen painting in a museum for a "full three hours".
Vision, she comments, "seems direct, uncomplicated, and instantaneous... But what students learn in a visceral way in this assignment is that in any work of art there are details and orders and relationships that take time to perceive".
ET: 22nd November: Timed Viewing Lindsay Sears latest work 'Entangled2', exhibited at Matt's Gallery in Mile End, has a unique viewing experience with timed half hourly slots and strict limits of only two people per screening. I visited with an artist friend, we were having a 'we need to re-connect to art away from all this paperwork' day. It was a very different viewing experience, your focus remains completely on the work for it's 15 minute duration, there are no distractions, the way the installation has been created really centres the way you look. Reviewing the exhibition, Charmaine Griffin from Time Out magazine wrote: 'After your allotted quarter of an hour, you and your fellow viewer will emerge: the same but subtly different.' I guess that happens with any audience of any exhibition, we all walk away with a slightly different reading - but have we really looked?
GF: 21st November: No Chance of Looking.
I came across Katherine Tyrrell's blog Making A Mark the other day. In October she comments on the success of the Mall Galleries in attracting visitors to the Private View for the Society of Wildlife Artists Exhibition. By inviting a celebrity to talk, in this case David Attenborough, they packed the gallery.
Good for them, but definitely a case of the art taking second place to statistics. In fact very little chance of looking at the art at all!
David Attenborough talking at the Private View of The Society of Wildlife Artists Exhibition.
'The Green Line', Francis Alÿs (2004), still from video.
GF: 13th November: Looking and Seeing
Last friday firstsite in Colchester held a seminar on Francis Alÿs. The final slide from the first talk was left on the screen whilst questions were fielded. After the academics had bickered for a while the artist Richard Wentworth chipped in to observe that it was unusual to spend so long looking at a single image. He then went on to give a very informative reading of the picture before the academics went back to their arguing
ET: 5th November: Awkwardness I went to a talk at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival back in 2006, the historian Simon Schama was interviewing Howard Hodgkin. It was entertaining in the wrong way - Schama couldn't get a word out of Hodgkins. An article in The New Statesman reported 'on the disastrous conversation between historian Simon Schama and painter Howard Hodgkin at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival. Schama's questions failed to elicit more than the briefest of unenlightening answers from Hodgkin. The audience became perceptibly divided in favor of one man or the other. Hodgkin finally managed to assert that painters were not normal human beings, which leads them to behave badly.' Portrait of the artist as a silent man AUTHOR(S) Eyre, Hermione PUB. DATE June 2006 SOURCE New Statesman ;6/5/2006, Vol. 135 Issue 4795, p15 For the most part, Hodgkin doesn't talk about his work. Paint is, for him, more eloquent than words. When people ask him what he means by a painting, he's given to saying: "Look! Just look!"
"In Bed in Venice," by Howard Hodgkin, oil on wood in artist's frame, 1984-8, The UBS Art Collection
GF: 30th October: Putting it into Words.
Do we sometimes over intellectualise art, or are we just trying too hard when we come to writing about it? In The Sunday Times last weekend Christina Patterson took a swipe at the language used for discussing fine art. Interviewed for the article Michael Craig-Martin suggested much of the problem could be traced back to the demise of the Art Schools when they were turned into Universities. "The problem in the university model," he says, "is that art is discussed as though it were a form of research, as though it were a form of experimentation. Art isn't any of these things." That put me into a bit of a fluster. Whilst I hope my work is more than simply research and experiments, these still play a significant role in the process. Do I need to look at this again?
The article winds-up with another quote from Craig-Martin. "I think there's a failure of confidence on the part of many of the people who write about art. I think it shows an anxiety that maybe the work needs bolstering." Patterson certainly agreed, concluding that there is a touch of the emperor's new clothes syndrome in operation. For my part I have a growing resentment when I'm asked to support an exhibition application with a written statement. Please just look at the work, there's more there than I can put into words!
ET: 24th October: Reith Lectures
Grayson Perry: 'To appreciate art you've got to work at it a bit' The artist on his Reith lectures, working within the establishment – and the secret to enjoying art. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00729d9
Lyndall Phelps, 'Covarience', 2013.
Photo: J. Townshend.
GF: 18th October: Underground Art
I went underground to view art yesterday. To reach it the audience had to don hard hats and climb down a couple of ladders into an ice well. These are subterranean chambers built in the 19th century to store ice. In dim light we ducked under a low concrete lintel into the further of two chambers to find the art work glowing in the dark.
The piece, titled Covariance, was created by Lyndall Phelps in collaboration with the physicist Dr. Ben Still as part of the superposition artist-in-residence programme commissioned by the Institute of Physic. It was in part a response to the neutrino detectors Ben Still uses in his work and the visualisations he makes of the data collected.
People lingered a long time with this artwork. We had to be called away to allow others into the confined space. What kept us there? It might have been the investment we had made to reach it, the unique atmosphere in the chamber, the exquisite detailing, or simply its beauty (an unfashionable word to use in art circles). We soaked it in. The academic discussion of this multi-layered piece waited till we were back above ground. Then we went back down for another look.
GF: 10th October: Ticking off Rembrandt.
I was back at The National Gallery on Saturday to see Hendrickje. Just as we were settling down to enjoy some quiet time together a bus load of tourists bustled into the room. The guide gesticulated for 3 or 4 minutes, whilst her followers looked round bemusedly. Then they were off. Rembrandt done.
GF: 2nd October: Looking Outwards.
The screening room at TAP was packed last Friday for a talk by Steve Kurtz from Critical Art Ensemble (CAE). This was a prelude to their latest project in which they'll join with Southend based artists YoHa to explore the development of the Thames Estuary, and what this might mean for those who live there.
Kurtz was keen to make the point that their art is very much "art about something". It is difficult for someone coming across one of their projects to be a passive viewer as the work directly addresses the environment and society the audience is part of. Often the very environment they are standing in, as CAE 's work is invariably found in situ rather than in the sanctuary of a gallery.
CAE, 'Underground Tarot', (2011).
A series of images/text constructions repeated at ten minute intervals on the platform monitors of the Toronto subway system.
ET: 21 September: Viewing the Viewer
I took my mother to the 'Seminal Work' Private View. My mother is 76, grammar school educated and from Birmingham, she is open minded and happy to engage in new experiences, but she wouldn't choose to visit a gallery. She is as far removed from the average 'artist led space' PV audience as one could get. I was nervous, she can be very outspoken if she feels like it (think Catherine Tate's character 'Nan'). She would be more comfortable in The Saatchi than The Jerwood Space, she fits the profile of The Saatchi audience.
'Seminal Work' artists, Duggan and Simnett are exhibiting video pieces, of all art forms I find video and film the hardest to enter into. A strong narrative or humour can engage me immediately but my impatient nature struggles if within that nano second of first sight I don't feel 'it'.
These two things, my ignorance of video work and my mother, are a potential recipe for disaster so I concentrate on why I'm there, to view the viewer, and within this I consider my mother.
For everything that was going on, and it was a good turn out with plenty of visitors watching the work, I come away with one overriding impression: people are far more comfortable learning about a porn star and seeing a woman pretending to be a dog than watching the natural act of a mother breastfeeding her baby.
The voyeurism of watching the viewer enters into the public/private debate, sex and domesticity are acceptable but the intimacy of feeding ones child creates discomfort in the audience.
We discussed this on the way home, that and the baby's gorgeous eyelashes ......
GF: 17 September: Performance
At the end of last week I took a trip into London to see the Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition, and then went along to the Saatchi Gallery to look at the show “Paper”. It was striking how different the atmosphere was in the two galleries, and also how very differently the visitors behaved. The Jerwood Space had a church like hush with people reverently contemplating each drawing before moving quietly to the next. In contrast there was almost a carnival spirit at The Saatchi. Lovers on dates, students, and school groups, all darted about. Some children were drawing, but many people were waving cameras about, whilst a few taking careful close up shots of the work. The performance was as attention grabbing as the art.
ET: 11th Sept: Or worse
Gosh that would so disappoint me, feeling a kinship to a piece of work, finding an understanding and then discovering your way off the mark! But then if the artist is really behaving as an artist shouldn't the reading be in the viewer anyway? isn't he opening up a whole myriad of interpretations?
But worse, falling in love with a painting or sculpture then finding out you despise the artist and all he or she stands for .... this messes with your head, how can you like something so much that was created by someone you feel so strongly negative about?!
GF: 4th Sept: Change of Mind
I often grow to like an art work that I had been luke warm about on first encounter. Learning about the work by looking and reading causes me to see more and revise my opinion.
More troubling to me are the works that I have an initial favourable response to, but that seem to have less depth when I hear the artist discuss them. Should one be swayed by what an artist says rather than makes? Not all visual artists are eloquent. Why should they be? But can one stand by a reading of a work when it goes against the artist's stated intentions?
GP: 21st August: Hidden Criteria
Yesterday the BBC reported research suggesting that judges of classical music competitions are heavily influenced by the visual performance of competitors rather than by the quality of the music.
"Their study concludes that the best predictor of a winner's musical performance was the visible passion they displayed, followed closely by their uniqueness and creativity." (Melissa Hogenboom 2013)
Whilst visual artists might be hearten at the dominance of the visual senses it prompts the question: what are the hidden criteria fine art is judged on?
Do we ever evaluate something truly independently?
ET: 29th August: White Walls
I would agree, definitely influenced, the only way to really judge sound is to listen without vision and listen live, as it unfolds.
Slightly unnerving that performers could in effect be not too good at what they do but they're likely to win because they have passion for their art, every performer should have passion or why do it?
Visual art can be elevated by it's presentation, a not too brilliant painting can look quite different in a good quality frame and hung on the right wall ... so we are often influenced by the way the work is shown. The hidden criteria being a white wall in an influential gallery perhaps?
Really Looking, found image
GF: 21st: How To Look at Art
HELP IS AT HAND. Just click on Google and you'll find a myriad of sites giving you simple instructions in easy to follow numbered steps. No problem...
ET: 14th August: Guilt
I've done it, I've looked at labels for longer than the artwork, I know I have, I'm sure there's a reason, maybe the artwork was rubbish and the label was more interesting, maybe the label explained it and a glance nailed it? maybe I was in a hurry, maybe I'm just guilty for not really looking, for being greedy and trying to 'get' all the art in an exhibition in one go? or maybe I was embarrassed, maybe it felt uncomfortable to look at one painting, one sculpture, one installation for too long, maybe no-one offered me a seat! Gosh I don't know, but I'm anxious to have a go at really looking, at deciding before I'm told, at enjoying the work for the works sake. Busy time ahead then!
GF: 13th August: More or Less.
The strong reaction to the labels accompanying the re-hang at Tate Britain illustrates how contentious this issue is.
Some critiques have rejoiced in the less obtrusive texts that allow gallery goers their own response to the work. Others seem rather disconcerted that the general public should have this freedom without the guidance of their betters.
Perhaps the divide lies between those who simply want the pictures and sculptures to function as works of art, and those who see them as historical documents?
"...most visitors spend ten seconds in front of an object—seven to read the label, three to examine the thing itself."
It's not clear where exactly these figures come from, but if it's true then it's a rather sad indictment of galleries that visitors spend more time reading the label than looking at the art.
Does this suggest that being told something is more satisfying than looking?
Is the art just boring?
Perhaps galleries should do away with the paintings and just have the label texts? Or perhaps galleries and museums aren't the right place for art?
ET: 14th August 2013: Lable Mania
Blown up versions of the labels that accompany art work in galleries and museums, the title card works are critiques of the gallery/museum and of the commercial aspect of the art world — a Duchamplike prank that would earn cash ($75 to $100) for something that is seen as augmenting the actual "art."by Kent Wolgamott in Art Papers Magazine, May 2005
GF: 1st August: Too Much Information?
Exhibitions are usually accompanied by explanatory statements. All to frequently these attempts to give the art a critical framework close down interpretation and in so doing stop the viewer bringing anything of their own to the work. These texts routinely disappoint, but somehow I'm always drawn to them.
GF: 1st August: A bit later...
I have to confess I also get frustrated when confronted by work that puzzles me and there is no convenient guide to point the way. I'm obviously not easy to please. It's a difficult balance.
GF: 20th July: Many Happy Returns
Yes Elaine, we live in an age when we are overwhelmed by information and visual imagery. It also seems that we demand an ever heightened intensity of experience in our entertainment, from video games to blockbuster films and exhibitions designed to shock.
But visual art can be different. A viewer can quietly develop a deep appreciation of a painting in a public collection by returning to view it time after time over many years.
ET: 11th July: I shop therefore I am
Just thinking and wondering if anyone's carried out research into the changes in gallery visitors behaviour over the years. Did we spend more time looking at art in the past? Does the shop at the end of the gallery visit hold our interests for longer than the artwork itself ? is it because we want to own a piece of the memory and physically hold it? is it not enough to experience an artwork? and what about the speed of life? is this contemporary world just so fast we don't know how to slow down and really look anymore? or maybe we are just so bombarded with imagery an artwork becomes a blink of the eye recognition....
When was the last time you were truly lost inside an artwork?
AM: 23rdJuly: Amy sent us this 22nd July From Art Monthly June06
I shop therefore I am, Barbara Kruger
GF: 5th July: Attention Span
I’ve been watching the cctv footage for the last couple of private views. It has to be admitted that visitors don’t spend very much time looking at the art! But perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised about that, especially at a private view where socialising, networking and discussion often take precedence.
Philip Hensher, a Turner Prize Judge in 2010, suggests in an article for the Mail, that gallery visitors on average only give a few seconds consideration to contemporary art, such as one of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings. He contrasts this to the average of almost 2 minutes people spent looking at Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais.
It’s not clear to me if this difference in viewing times is statistical significant. However, Hensher points out that the time spent in front of a single painting compares poorly with the time concert or film-goers are prepared to devote to their chosen art form. What he doesn’t ask is how long visitors have spent in the gallery as a whole.
Perhaps the basis of the study is flawed. Wandering through Tate Britain looking at works that catch your eye is a very different experience to purposely going to a specific show. The premise might also be wrong on another count. Yes, some art is made for contemplation, but some is about ideas and may not require prolonged study. Though that might well pose the question of why the artist chose a visual medium rather than writing.
ET: 10 July 2013: The PV Audience
We are alternative structures PV, a social affair
GF: 25 June 2013: Survival of the Fittest.
It has been argued that aesthetic taste is a legacy of mankind’s struggle for survival*. The idealised pictures of lakes and pastures that instinctively appeal to us show landscapes where our ancestors would have flourished. These are places with a favourable climate, abundance of food, and clear views so surprise attacks can be avoid. There is an obvious adaptive advantage for being able to identifying these landscapes and they clesrly still attract us.
* Barrow J.D. (199) Between Inner and Outer Space. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 143 - 146).
ET: 14 June 2013: Comment Alley
Comment Alley, concept and design by Elaine Tribley ...... An artwork commissioned by firstsite to provide visitors with a voice ...
ET: 20 June 2013: Land of Dreams
Remembered this, saw it featured first in Landscape and Western Art (Oxford History of Art) here's Denmark's Most Wanted too, notice the similar composition and components - 11 of the 15 countries surveyed produced a landscape as their 'most wanted'
GF: 12 June 2013: Visitor Surveys
Now days public galleries sometimes informally survey the opinion of visitors to shows by encouraging them to pin comments on a notice board at the end. - It's not infrequent for visitors to be asked to vote on their favourite.
At private solo shows there is sometimes a comment book, but remarks recorded seldom rise above banal complements, rather than revealing new insights.
ET 20 June 2013: Comment
The Turner Prize being a prime example of taking a vote, having a voice, getting your gripes out there! Some lovely designed comment areas in the past, particularly liked the one where the pencil was the hook to hang the comment on. Comment books arn't so fresh, the 'wall' works because it continues to grow, comment against comment, a continued conversation, and it's fun to read ..... the old fashioned Facebook ...
Comment Alley close up, one colour
Comment Alley, all three colours RGB
GF: 15 June 2013: The Peoples Choice
In the mid 1990's artists
Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid
instigated an extensive survey of people’s aesthetic preferences and tastes in
paintings. They constructed “Most Wanted” picture for different
nationalities using the research results. http://awp.diaart.org/km/index.php
Unsurprisingly people seem to like the familiar and safe. Here's the image favoured by those surveyed in the USA.
ET: 10 June 2013: Lost inside the internet
Can't stop searching, just two words 'gallery visitor', now onto Hans Haacke (from how to look to who is looking with a few tears on the way...)
A 1893 illustration by Baron C. De Grimm shows emotional museum gallery visitors moved to tears by art. (via public-domain.zorger.com)
"Hans Haacke's Gallery Visitors' Profile" (1973) reported the results of Haacke's asking visitors to the John Weber Gallery to complete a questionnaire. One-half of the questions were about demographic background, while the other half dealt with their opinions on political issues. A running display of the current results was exhibited on a wall of the gallery during the period of the survey. He used four sub-groups in which to break down the political information: artists; students; professional interest in art, but not artist or students;
GF: 2 June 2013: The Living Mountain
Perhaps we all have something to learn about how to "look" from naturalists and nature writers. Nan Shepard in her fantastic book on the Cairngorms, The Living Mountain, comments; "I knew that when I'd looked for a long time that I had hardly begun to see." Else where in the book she observes that after long hours of walking and watching "the eye sees what it didn't see before, or sees in a new way what it had already seen. So the ear and other senses".
GF: 28 May 2013: Drawing
In his essay Life-Drawing John Berger writes that "For the artist drawing is discovery." If an artist wishes to share this experience of revelation with others then perhaps viewers should be given pencil and paper when they enter a gallery?
ET: 28 May 2013: Found image - drawing in the gallery
ET: 21 MAY 2013 Airwaves Desert Island Discs Friday 17 May, Damien Hirst "my audience is one person ..." "you only get a few minutes in front of a painting ...... "
Yes! I have mixed views on this - The Pompidou Art Gallery allows photography and you can't see the artwork for the cameras clicking away ... Then I'm sure the viewer experiences the artwork later on a computer screen and doesn't live in the moment and see the original work at all....
GF: 22 May 2013: Lead Actor
The term audience makes me think of someone sitting in a darkened theatre!
In his 1967 essay in Artforum, Fried is dismissive of art that he sees as “basically a theatrical effect”. At this time Robert Morris, one of the targets of this criticism, was interested in the relationship between the image of a simple object held in the mind and the changing perspectives experienced as the viewer moves round the object. This is something I still find exciting. There is movement. The viewer is very much an active player in this drama, not a passive audience member. ET: 27 May 2013: Response
1. a. The spectators or listeners assembled at a performance, for example, or attracted by a radio or television program.b. The readership for printed matter, as for a book. (but not a work of art?) 2. A body of adherents; a following: The tenor expanded his audience by recording popular songs as well as opera. 3. A formal hearing, as with a religious or state dignitary. 4. An opportunity to be heard or to express one's views. (through an artwork?) 5. The act of hearing or attending. (an exhibition?)
ET: 16 May 2013 Found
Found one ..... perfect picture of Velasquez’s Las Meninas complete with 'the audience'
ET: 16 May 2013 Taking Note
Found some notes from early meetings thought it useful to add ...... * How long do we spend looking at an artwork? * How long should we spend? (how long can we spend? - how long can we stand ...... ? ) * PV identities - who is the visitor?
GF: 15 May 2013 Starting the Conversation
Research Residency Elaine Tribley & Gordon Flemons
1st June 2013
What is the collective name you give to people looking at art in a gallery? Are they an audience, or is that too theatrical; viewers, consumers or simply gallery goers? [Perhaps they don’t actually look at the art, but simply chat to each other? *private view] Is the process different when looking at art (outdoors) in the public realm outside of the gallery? Does this require an alternative collective noun?
Convention has it that the viewer completes the work of art. Should we then conclude that someone viewing, say for example Velasquez’s Las Meninas, become part of the painting and is therefore included by its title?
Is this lack of an obvious choice of word for the act of experiencing art down to the richness of the English language, or rather a sign of the confusion we have in this country on what art is and how to engage with it? the art viewer abroad ..
Over the next four months we will be asking questions about how people engage with art, both in the gallery and on the streets of Southend. During the residency we hope to explore the dialogue between the art object and its viewer, and to map the choreography of this dance.
* Love this Wiki explanation: A private view is a special viewing of an art exhibition by invitation only, normal at the start of a public exhibition. Typically wine and light refreshments are served on the form of a reception. If the artworks are by a living artist, it is normal for them to attend the private view. and this: An opening of an art exhibition which is open to the public, is known as a vernissage .......
so also this: A vernissage (varnishing from French) is a term used for a preview of an art exhibition, which may be private, before the formal opening. Guests may be served canapés and wine as they discuss with artists and others the works in the exhibition. At official exhibitions, such as the Royal Academy summer exhibition, artists, in the past, would give a finishing touch to their works by varnishing them ..... It’s a perfect word for ‘Call my Bluff’ !