David Thompson
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June 11, 2008

Comments

Anna

But will the machine burn? That's the big question.

David

Most things will, if you’re determined enough. Wait. Don’t tell me. You’re an art critic.

sk60

This is supposed to be art?

David

Well, the people who “made” it regard themselves as artists, which is apparently what matters, at least to them. As so often, I think the problem is that if, say, an advertising agency had done the same thing, it would almost certainly (a) look more attractive and (b) be funnier. It seems to me that conceptual artists basically want to work in advertising, but aren’t quite good enough.

witwoud

I was about to make the same point. The idea made me laugh ... but then how depressing to read that it is supposed to be 'interactive sculpture'. How is this possibly a work of art?

By the way, the above comment is a work of art.

Anna

David,

From the comments at artblog: http://artblog.net/?name=2008-06-11-10-56-quotes

"I've never thought that conceptual artists wanted to work in advertising, but when I think about it, I realize they already do: They're advertising themselves as artists. Ed Winkleman has said that the sole criterion for whether a person is an artist is whether they say they're an artist. If they do, they are. So conceptual art can be seen as an advertisement communicating "I am an artist," or the artist themselves, as the product. In which case it's not that conceptual artists aren't good enough to work in advertising; they're just selling something different."

David

Anna,

Well, that’s sort of my point. I agree that what’s very often being advertised is the claim to be an artist. That’s the starting point and, all too often, that’s where it ends. If the artists concerned were better than they are, they might be able to take themselves out of the frame and advertise something else, and do it in more interesting ways. Thus, their status might be a secondary feature of producing something ravishing and substantial. For example, the Fallon agency is famous, insofar as it is, for producing adverts that are often ingenious and beautiful and which communicate something besides the fact they’re clever or contrarian or made by an agency called Fallon:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/12/feat-of-clay.html

I think it was Angus Fairhurst who had an exhibition a few years ago involving doctored advertising images with the actual products and logos removed. As a piece of visual work it was unimpressive and as a comment on how branding works it was pretty obvious, even banal. It seems to me advertising already does this kind of thing anyway and does it much, much better. Again, I suspect quite a few conceptual artists would like to work in advertising, which is where the best of this takes place; but many such artists are saddled with ideological hang-ups about capitalism or whatever, or pretensions to such, or with insecurity and vanity, and *therefore* just aren’t good enough.

TimT

I kind of like it.

It reminds me of another popular way of releasing passive-aggressive tensions, reading leftist blogs.

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