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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When Art Kills

There has been a recent spate of killer art on the prowl. Sculptures that step menacingly into the paths of unsuspecting passerby's, leaving contusions, broken bones and concussions in its wake.

Sounds like science fiction but in reality, people keep walking into sculptures because they are not watching what they are doing and end up causing themselves harm.

The solution? Don't wise up people. Let us move that nasty piece of art to a place where you can't bump into it while gazing adoringly at your cell phone.

I propose that sculptors should start making safe art. They should use only government approved materials such as toilet tissue and gauze to make their artistic statements. Better yet, lets remove any artistic statements from our art. If we are dumbing down the materials, we really should be dumbing down the message also.

Imagine if you would, a world where absolutely nothing can harm us and everything is made from jello and cotton swabs. Oh could poke your eye out with a cotton swab, better just take the cotton off the swab and use that.

Perhaps we, as artists, should take the opposite tact. Maybe we should start making art with secret trip switches where razor sharp knives occasionally pop out, randomly hacking and slashing at anything nearby. A big signed can be attached that reads "Take notice of me or else! You have been warned!"

No, the art is dangerous enough as it is. We need not go overboard.

So what do we do with dangerous art? 

Could it be that we need to open our eyes a little more often and like...maybe LOOK at the art for a change?

If we can't even take the time to see the art which is in our path how are we ever going to learn anything about what the art is trying to tell us?

Its a tricky situation where the answer seems to be to dumb down the art world to the point where it can neither physically or mentally harm us. 

The standard response of moving anything that can harm seems to be the answer to everything now. 

But I as an artist want to make art that speaks. I don't make art to just create pretty pictures. I do not wish to "dumb down" my work either physically or mentally. 

I can only conclude that the real danger isn't in the art, but our own complacency. Complacency is always the hidden devil. When we are complacent about the art around us, we become complacent about all things in our lives. If artists also become complacent then we just compound the problem. 

When I enter a museum and see people taking ridiculous selfies of themselves with great works of art, I know its not being done for a love of that art, but rather a love of themselves. The art work is forgotten in the need to make ourselves the only art work we want to look at. 

Sometimes I just want to run up, knock the phone aside and shout "LOOK AT WHATS IN FRONT OF YOU!" But I don't. I am just as complacent. I sigh and walk away. 

Its all a symptom something larger. We flee from intelligence these days. We run like scared rabbits from anything that may rock our boat or make us think of things we hadn't thought about before. 

But that is one of the purposes of art. To make us confront things that we would rather not think about. Without that, artists may as well go back to painting trees and pretty beach scenes so people can take selfies next to our work. 

It is then we are truly doomed as a society. 


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