Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I've been writing a review this week of the Martin Puryear show at the NGA. This will be my first City Paper piece since--eek!--last December. So, yes, I guess the AAC has been keeping me busy.

This would probably also explain the cobwebs gathering in my friend Evan Reed told me that I should expect to take about a year to figure out how to balance running a gallery space and actually making art--Evan should know, since he teaches at Georgetown and runs the gallery there. I guess that means that in about a month, I'm out of excuses.

Anyway, while I might not have much news for you, Tyler's doing a wonderful set of posts this week about the Baltimore Contemporary Museum's current show, Cottage Industry. The show sounds fascinating (I regret that I haven't seen it yet), and I'm glad Tyler's giving it such extensive coverage.

I did pause, though, when I read Tyler's statement today that "a lot of the work here isn't really art." Tyler is specifically referring to Fritz Haeg, whose piece, Edible Estates, is in the show. I understand Tyler's hesitation; Haeg, after all, is as likely to talk about his projects as exercises in landscape architecture or design as he is to refer to them as art per se. But my immediate knee-jerk response to the statement (probably just conditioned by having students tell me they "weren't convinced that [insert some piece of art or other from the last 60 years] is really art") is that anything can be art.

Any action, object, list of instructions, or bit of ephemera can be a work of art, provided it comes with the right reasons or explanations attached. And since Haeg is pretty much part of the academy--he has taught both sculpture and design at various universities--one assumes that he has the right set of reasons handy.

The only thing that remains at that point is to determine whether or not what's being offered is actually relevant or good. (Given Tyler's observations about victory gardens, I'm guessing he'd judge "no" and "no".)


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