Monday, January 15, 2007

new term for new genre?

There's been a perceptual shift in public art, from the "irrelevant and overly artist-centered tradition of public art" of the modernist conventions to a type of art that encourages participation from the community that it benefits. Sitting squarely on the fence between fine art and social intervention, no one seems to know what exactly to call it. A close relative to what we all know and understand as "public art", it has unceremoniously been christened "new genre public art". Well, ok, I get it - I suppose it somewhat describes what it is, but for someting so new, so exciting, and life-changing for many people, can't we come up with something a little, well, flashier? What we need is just a completely new term, that leaves out "art" and "social work" altogether, because it is so much more than either of those separately, and even more than just simply bringing the two together. This type of art stands on its own, and needs a name that does the same. (remember "cyberspace"?)

1 comment:

Cody G. said...

Yeah, I agree "new genre public art" is a pretty clumsy name for a movement that has the potential to positively alter social consciousness. I like the idea, though, that this movement is so powerful that it could change the system of art that has come to dominate, and in that sense I think the term "art" should be retained.

I know it is a risk in so far that anything that challenges the current art system can be absorbed into the system and in effect turned into just another part of it. (For example, the artists who attempted to transcend the gallery system in the '60s and '70s by calling physical acts [performances] art, one that could not be bought, sold or even displayed on a white wall. However, documentation of performances can be bought and sold and certainly displayed in a gallery, which is what happened and still happens to work that is finally accepted by The Art World.)

An art movement like "new genre public art" can not remain in its current form with its current goals if it is accepted and absorbed in this art system. So, I guess I'd rather this socially conscious art become the norm and for everybody to just forget the failing modernist conventions.

How that can happen is a whole 'nother blithering rant...
for another time.