Monday, August 28, 2017
Seed art at the State Fair
I don't believe there should be any limitations or restrictions put on art from the outside. An artist should be entirely free to express themselves as they like or need. It does no good to say that a painting has to look like something, or a comedian can't swear, or a novelist must primarily compose in words, because when Kandinsky comes along, or Richard Pryor, or James Joyce, those once sensible seeming rules are going to look pretty ridiculous anyways.
But that doesn't mean limitation can't have great utility in the arts. Poets do it with form. A painter might do it with restricted materials. I myself have written 1,700 essays with the understanding that if one of them ever goes all the way to eight paragraphs I will immediately wrap it up in a fit of pique.
It works for me.
I think similar things work for others too. The history of Western Art is in some ways a history of constraint and the terrible power of artists as they break free of those limits. The raw naturalism of the Baroque bursting out of the stomach of the studied and measured grace of the Renaissance. Impressionism cutting the chains of a limiting academic culture. Rock and Roll screaming away from a music of polite expression. And there is terrible energy in breaking out of bindings like those.
But because artists have figured this out they have broken by now all but the most carefully hidden cages. They have cut all but the tiniest chains. And, unfortunately, when there are no chains to be found it can get a little hard on all these rascally artists. Who wouldn't want to rebel in this world, but how does one do it?
My case in point is the humble Minnesota State Fair. The first day of the fair this year we went and poked around. And as is our wont we popped into the fine arts exhibition. This is a very competitive competition, a huge display of juried art, spanning all manner of approaches, styles, mediums, and materials. With diverse judges it is open to everything from classicism to the Avant Garde. And yet somehow it all seems to be less impressive each year I see it. I'm not saying there aren't enjoyable things numbered among its winners, but there's something unraveled about the whole experience. Something at once decorative, self important, and ambitious about it all. Almost everyone looks like they're trying too hard, not having much fun, and, able to say anything, not sure what to say.
Contrast this with our later visit to what we call around here "Seed" Art. This is where one uses seeds, glued to some kind of board, to make an image. You have to use seeds. And this stuff is great; sarcastic, witty, playful, virtuosic. This year's winner was an impressively executed take on Dr. Seuss's Yertle the Turtle subtly enough redone to reference Trump. It was clever, tight, silly, and smart. Better than anything in that huge art building, it was nevertheless hard to imagine it would have even made it to the wall if they had entered it in that contest there.
And so in conclusion, let me just say that, oh, look, my time is up. Curses, just when I was getting to the good part. I demand to talk to who's in charge around here! One of these days I'm going nine paragraphs and you'll never be the same.
If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.
I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!
One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.
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Well, writing about the visual arts is like writing about a piece of music in that after so many paragraphs sometimes it's just helpful to post a picture. That way one has more space for the intended critique and no need for drawn out description. Just sayin'.ReplyDelete
I like to tie my hands behind my back as regards pictures on the blog, but I can see how here that might be too massive a handicap.Delete
How about this then as a sample:
Do these work? Let me know when you've had enough. I think you can see these are far better than the butter heads.
The links don't work for me, which may be just as well. I've been debating with myself whether to go to the fair, as I debate every year. (About 50:50 so far). Then you described the winning entry in crop art, and I decided I should go see it.ReplyDelete
Then you offered the links, and I thought "Heck, I'll just look at the pictures."
Then the links didn't work, so I'm back in decision-making mode. We'll see.
They're not real links. Did you try copying them and then pasting them into the address bar?Delete
I don't have a picture of this years (Senior!) winner though, as I didn't find a good linkable picture. But you could maybe if you search Potus the Tortoise state fair or something.
Or you could go. But the State Fair is an odd one and maybe if you have to ask whether you should go it should be avoided.
Whoa, sweet, the Putin/Trump Corndog in legumes is wonderful!ReplyDelete
And this is just par for the course! But yeah, I admired it more on second view.Delete
Ms McEvoy, i had trouble opening the links until my phone suggested using the image setting. Violá!ReplyDelete
Che, Prince, Spock, Al Franken, etc. All ine beans! :*oReplyDelete
There seems to be a gender discrepancy skewing towards the male side. I'm going to write a letter to y'alls governor now about this.
Well, there is the bride of Frankenstein, which I thought I linked because it was a really nice one. I saw a Frida Kahlo and a Barbra Streisand too. But, that said, I think it reasonable that you let Governor Dayton know. Give him a fair shake though, he's a pretty decent guy.Delete
Yes, i did end up seeing Frida!, and B. of F.. They're the best. Didn't want to post anymore because i was afraid you'd be angry. ^_^ReplyDelete
Oh, well, I'm pretty sure I don't get angry at any rare precious comments that come my way vis a vis the blog. Everytime I get one I just think "Oh, look, someone reads my blog" and it only takes a few hours before I return to my conviction that I'm mainly just addressing the vastness of space here. So, um, that said I'm glad you saw the Frida and B of F which indicates that women are represented in seed art (or crop art), even if sometimes the women have been dug up and reanimated.Delete
Good point. I'll just mention that to your governor. >:*(ReplyDelete