Archive for January, 2015

20141229_134457 Visitors taking photos of themselves and Sturtevant work at MoMa. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/17/arts/design/elaine-sturtevant-appropriation-artist-is-dead-at-89.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaine_Sturtevant

Via Wiki: “She achieved recognition for her carefully inexact repetitions of other artists’ works that prefigured appropriation.”

I’m not sure when I first heard about her work, either in my high school art history class or college, but I was never that taken in by it. I like handmade original object things. But experiencing her work in this setting and watching people looking at it and taking hundreds of photos not knowing what it is they were actually photographing was quite a weird/fun/original experience. It was some form of performance.

I asked one visitor if they knew what they were looking at. He was Australian and though confused, sort of understood that it wasn’t the real work. The show included a recreation of a mural by Robert Gober (pictured above). This same mural was featured in Gober’s own retrospective just a few galleries away. Pretty funny/great move on the curator’s part to include these. Were they knowingly making  a joke?

Usually photography in these  temporary shows at museums is strictly prohibited, but it didn’t seem to be the case here. I watched visitor after visitor take photos of the work and of themselves in front of the work.  The guards didn’t stop anyone like I saw them do in the Gober galleries and Matisse paper cut out show. Perhaps, because it wasn’t allowed in other galleries people went photo crazy in here. Who decided this? The curators? Sturtevant’s estate?

I’d always assumed the work was gender critique of the male dominated art world.. She copied mainly male artists’ work. Looking into it just slightly I found this article: http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/erase_and_rewind/ “To one critic who inquired whether it is ‘important that you do the work of exclusively male artists?’ Sturtevant replied: ‘Oh no, that question! It never dawned on me. My choices were made on another level.’ 10 She has made a work by Yvonne Rainer, but when pressed on whether she saw gender/biography as having little to do with her project, or if there were a fluidity about the imaginary that overwhelms/disregards gender/biography, she responded: ‘Surely you don’t want me to reiterate. Gender discourse has nothing to do with the work. Why agitate? Why bring it up? A[nswer]: desire & drive to/for surface + flacks probing issues.’ To bring the issue to a complete halt, she added: ‘These questions are not for you/you.’”

But who can trust an artist about their own work? I had just read this article about art forgeries: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2014/12/how_a_foundry_owner_in_queens_got_rich_selling_imitations_of_world-famous_s.php

So what’s the value of a piece of art? How do you enjoy it? If someone tells you something is a famous piece of art you take a closer a look, right? I try to make my own opinions of things, but I know I’m influenced by outside forces.

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