Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thinking about art

After the discussion in class on Tuesday about Chicana Art and some of the works in it, I started to seriously interrogate the subject of how we come to understand and conceptualize art, what constitutes as a legitimate piece and how something so ephemeral and insignificant does and should matter. Particularly the issue of ephemeral pieces. It is easy to not recognize the value or legitimacy of an object, a sight, an event, a performance, et cetera because of it's ephemeral nature, particularly when it is not displayed in a tidy, conventional space such as a museum or theatre. The spatiality and temporality of art greatly influences its reception. A piece that is exhibited in a museum may be warmly received as innovative and cutting edge, but if that same piece is put on display in a street or a gas station bathroom many people would probably not stop to consider it or regard it as a legitimate work of art.

One example that came to mind upon my reflection was graffiti. Many people might find it to be a stretch of the imagination to consider graffiti as more than the result of juvenile vandalism and a disrespect and disregard for the property of others. However, graffiti can have a variety of implications and can certainly speak to the conditions or sentiments present in a particular neighborhood or location where it is found. It can also represent the frustration, violence and despair within a space, or perhaps just be somebody's interpretation of society, or even more benign, just be an artistic expression that happens to be using a wall, freeway overpass, abandoned building, sidewalk, et cetera as the canvas and medium of delivery.

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