Monday, November 4, 2013

Should all art be bland?

We make money, not art.

That seems to be the credo of the good ol' US of A.  Andy Warhol chose that as an artistic theme in his own way.  With The Factory as his studio and an almost "assembly line" method of silkscreening images, Warhol turned the bland and ordinary soup can into an image of the advant-garde.  One artist aims not to defy this trend, but to embrace it...only without all that advant-garde business.  It's the utterly ordinary that's the key now.  In the artistic manifesto of conceptual artist Jonathan Keats, the universe is "beige."  I can't really say he's wrong.

Keats is calling for what he terms a "Copernican Revolution" in art.  He seems to be advocating for art that demonstrates the world as "an average place and that our place in the cosmos is really nothing special."  The color beige comes into play as it is the averaged color of all light visible to the naked eye in the universe.  It's a color that is flat, neutral, inoffensive, serviceable, and boring as all hell.  Perhaps just like real life?

Indeed in the Atlantic interview linked above, Keats does call out Pop Art as a sort of predecessor to the Copernican movement.  Warhol's boxes of Brillo and cans of soup were sufficiently banal and were products indicative of their time, but to Keats, they fall short as Copernican Art as they are not representative as the leading products of the universe.  I mean, we can't say for sure, but its doubtful that Campbell's has thriving popularity on other planets.

As with most art movements, the article indicates a fair amount of debate (always is with a crowd oft described as pretentious and skeigh) going on in terms of locating the "first" true work of Copernican Art.  It doesn't matter.  The answer, if fitting, would no doubt be suitably bland, inoffensive, and so far beneath notice that it might not be worth the effort of locating.

After all, doesn't that just describe our workaday lives when writ upon a cosmic scale? 

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