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Lesson Plans

re: real artists, cool artists...

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 15 Jun 1998 02:05:52 EDT

I often wonder about the "cool artist" issue. It really isn't a true issue
because a cool artist is really in the eye of the beholder. What, are you
going to think an artist is cool because someone else thought and told you so?
Deep down, you know what you like and depending on your own personal culture
(your background, your education, your choice of breakfast...), you'll be the
one to judge who's cool.

I work at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. It's the very museum that is
currently exhibiting the Liza Lou work. I spend my days speaking to people
who love art and I see the reactions of the visitors toward Lou's beaded
wonders. Her work is touching people across the board, from 1 to 100 year
olds representing a whole spectrum of society. Her work is very accessible,
beautiful, and definetly "wowie-zowie", as Wendy Sauls says. And if you did a
survey, about 99.9% will say that her work is "very cool". But there is that
.1% that claim themselves to be "cool" and they'll find Lou's work to be
"uncool", read "uninteresting". They'll criticize the generous,
straightfoward beauty of the piece and say that there basically is nothing
more to it than that: a pretty sculpture with no DEEP meaning. These are ones
who think themselves the arbiters of cool. And then, when you see what they
consider "cool", you either get it or you don't.

I want to respect everyone's effort at expression when it comes to art. Art
comes to us at many challenging levels. Liza Lou's work is a pick-me-up, for
sure, personally, I see much more to it than a titanic effort in beading. I
want to be able to decide what's cool and what is not for myself through
seeing all kinds of work. The whole artworld may say something is "cool" but
I'll make my own decision. So to ask who are the "REAL" artists is pretty
futile in my view. Sure, we can reach a consensus on many but when it comes
down, the "REAL" artist is the one that touches you and you alone first.