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Somebody, pinch me

History of art…kind of.
Manet-Bar in den Folies-Bergère 1881-82

Manet-Bar in den Folies-Bergère 1882


Kosuth- One And Three Chairs 1965

Stuckist, White Cube gallery, Hoxton Square, London, Conceptual art

Stuckist demo outside White Cube gallery, Hoxton Square, London-2002

Is simplicity just laziness? Artistically, are we in a generational sigh of relief or a yawn of boredom? Have we ridden out the theme of white walls pregnant with pretentious interpretation and enabling symbolism?

I understand and appreciate most conceptual art, but it seems that concept is overriding skill all too often while they should inspire one another. While I know this is a matter of taste, I’m glad to see some of the irony dying out of art. Every piece of art means something to someone, but instead a gut reaction being a list of prompts, “What does this mean? What did the artist intend? What are the political implications?” it’s fine to react with “Wow that’s gorgeous. Why is it gorgeous?”

Strangely enough, I think this default to over-evaluation is a result of availability and too much of it. Having an opinion on something is a just a click away.

Social media and the abundance of news sources and search engines have made sharing your tastes (artistic or not) as easy as a click. You can “like” something, “digg” something, Tweet it, post a link on Facebook—the options are endless. These decisions veer from thought or evaluation into this sort of fifty/fifty dilemma—one that is often immediate, and consequently annoying to followers. You either like it or you don’t.

Of course, you can usually read comments from strangers and comment yourself taking part in a world-wide-web-discussion, but how much did you think about it before you clicked share? And even with all of the simplicity and streamlined information sources online, I have found something liberating.

I read a book, (Not a Kindle or any form of e-book. A book with covers and pages that you turn with your fingers.) and when I come to something I have a question about or a topic I want to know more about, I think about it. I don’t Google it, I don’t Wiki it, I think about it. Sometimes, I even come up with some of my own thoughts!

This rant might seem like one of hypocrisy. I Tweet. I Digg. I read 99% of my news online, and I surf design blogs and post links to things I like to Facebook. But, this thinking revolution is something new and exciting that I feel I’ve lost sight of when all of the answers are just a matter of refining a Google search. When information online comes from so many so-and-sos (credible and not), why not be your own byline before you read someone else’s?


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