Saturday, January 12, 2013

Art and creativity as acts in community

Walking art galleries. Something I’ve done a lot of in recent days. There is a pattern. Payment. Coat removal. The signs – no flash, no backpacks. The rooms patrolled. Pictures framed. Ropes to divide, cameras to watch.

But it turns out such an approach to art is cultural. At least according to A History of the World in 100 Objects.

Of the 100 objects that are the focus of the book, number 39 is a painting from China. Called the Admonitions Scroll, dated around AD 400, it introduces a very, very different way of understanding art appreciation.

“each imperial ruler has left their mark on (the art piece), in the form of a stamp carefully placed in the blank spaces around the paintings … Some of the previous owners have also added their own comments to the scroll. This brings a kind of pleasure you can never find looking at European painting: the sense that you are now joining a community of discerning art lovers who have cherished this painting over centuries.” (A History of the World in 100 Objects, page 213-4)

So this is another approach to art. You make it with interactive borders, a white space for viewers to engage. In doing so, you allow, expect even, participation. All very different from the wonderful solo artist who produces solo art works. Instead we have a work for community.

Which sounds like an early form of blogging to me, that deliberate attempt, at least for those who allow comments (!) to encourage participation, to expect work to be modified and affirmed.

There is one caveat. In the case of Object 39, the participating community is elitist, in this case the emperors. In contrast, any can blog and any can comment.

Still, the challenge remains. Who is art and creativity for?

(This links with the work of Thomas Struth – which I’ve blogged about here) and his exploration of how people engage galleries and museums, and how museums and galleries actually control people.)

Posted by steve at 02:16 AM

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.