Monday, February 27, 2012

...there's plenty of wood and canvas in the typical couch

I think I'm an artist… But I make jewellery and ceramics. I recently made a piece in metals that looks and functions like a picture. And you can wear it if you so choose… A Still Life With Gin And Oranges was provoked into being by the selection criteria published by a big Canadian emerging artists art fair, who excluded anything "decorative" or that could be used. Their potentially apartheid approach to anything clay or textile was overcome by including sculpture in their definition of art (so just to be clear: 3D work must be neither useful nor decorative to be art. Anything 2D is art). 

And so I give thanks to ARTINFO for this thoughtful piece on the art fair. I note that the red leather sofa (mentioned lower down in the article) would have been specifically excluded at my fair, because it was, well, useful - and because the organizers also specifically excluded furniture. 

A Still Life With Gin And Oranges - picture, pendant, art?
Chased and constructed from patinated brass, sterling 
silver, bronze, and some gold. Christine Pedersen. 2011.
Another recent event (reported by ARTINFO) made me gasp in astonishment. I know, must be some really AWESOME piece of art—wrong—it was this quote: "…So I went to the Frieze Art Fair in London, saw this piece and was like, "Oh my god, that’s amazing. I really want to buy that." And the dealer said, “Oh no, well we’re actually waiting for a more prestigious collector to buy that.” - that was Daniel Radcliffe on his initial attempt to buy a painting by Jim Hodges. Fortunately the painter was a fan of Harry Potter, and Daniel got the art that he LIKED. I wonder if the gallery owner committed a major foot in mouth for so openly attempting to position a sale that would make other-people-that-buy-this-kind-of-art estimate the artist more highly? And of course doing their commission no harm in the process. 

From the majority of ARTINFO's excellent art info, and the well positioned art fair that much of my work was excluded from, one might infer that "art" is probably painting. I am also led to conclude that this definition is worth protecting for some reason… Dare I say that it comes down to simple economics? If consumers get the idea that other forms of creativity are also art, and are increasingly tempted to buy them, then painting could lose some market share. And it can't just be about materials—after all, there's plenty of wood and canvas in the typical couch.

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