I have visited online art battles before, but just got back from my first evening out at a LIVE art battle at the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit. If you’re wondering what this is, below is a description from the event organizer:
“Over 30 visual artists of all genres (Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Fashion and Graphic Design, and more) will compete for cash prizes in a live performance. Artists are given 3 hours to create an original piece of art in front of an audience. The audience will judge as they walk around and interact with the performing artists. At the end of the 3 hours voting cards will be collected and tallied.
The winners will then be announced ($1,000 for first place, $250 for second, and a gift bag for 3rd). Artists from Cranbrook, College for Creative Studies, Wayne State, Kendall, and all around the Metro-Detroit area will be participating. There will be live music, food, and alcohol. ”
In reality, the event was essentially an art rave party. A basically abandoned warehouse was the setting for hordes of alternative students to congregate and flirt, and who got to listen to throbbing techno music while getting a contact buzz high from the paint, glue, and pot fumes. My friends and I joked that our breast-feeding friend should probably avoid feeding her daughter when she got home.
So, definitely an interesting event to kick off my blog. I got especially excited about this being my first post when some of the live art was random placements of PB&J sandwiches throughout the space. You can see some examples in my slide show, but they were everywhere.
While I love art, I have a hard time appreciating contemporary and avant garde art. Usually I feel that the exhibits would be perfect for a Saturday Night Live skit. Or a candid camera show, where behind the scenes we’re laughing at the people who took the art so seriously (those that infuse the art with symbolism and meaning), when in fact it was done by an elephant with a paintbrush.
Large museum exhibitions help give credibility to such art. I know that art and beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but I can’t help but feel that such shows are a variation of buying into the Emperor’s New Clothes mentality.
For example, last year at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) I saw an exhibit by Richard Tuttle. I just couldn’t understand the enthusiasm over his work. I found at least some others have agreed with me since the curator of The Whitney in NY was fired after booking a special exhibition of his work in the 70s. However, since then, at least one piece of his work has sold for an exorbitant sum. He sold Letters (the 26 series) for over $1Million at Sotheby’s auction in 2002.
My friend Mellanee mentioned that the impressionist artists weren’t understood and appreciated in their time. Am I just behind the curve in appreciating modern art?
Here are some photos from the event. Be sure to open up the slide show to see my comments on the pictures.