Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A new I-Beam Sculpture

So as many of you know that have been following my work.  i have been working with wooden I-beams for several years. Today i think they turned a corner. Actually i have been anticipating the corner for while now but today it happened. As you can see in the image on the left from ARCO last year the beams have been positioned on the floor and rather functionless. Today came the next step in the process.

The I-beam is something much more simple than the support in a building, it is a line. it is a material in the most literal sense of the word. The I-beam in modern architecture allows you to follow the hand of the architect as the pencil hits the paper, designing the house. It is erected like a toy, yet can bear the weight of a tree 4 times its size.

For those who saw my installation at the Atlanta Contemporary last month or the larger one at Indiana State University, you will remember i was playing with ideas of support. Haphazardly leaning the beams on each other in a temporary non committal kind of way, or shoving them completely through the wall cantilevered in drywall.

Today the beams were cut, drilled and bolted together. It brought to mind Mark diSuvero's large I-beam pieces, but at a closer look the order simulates a detail of a structure. a fragment of modernism discarded.

The I-beams have an elegance and lack of detail that i think only leaves content in the arrangement. It is the reason Mies van der Rohe used them, for a lack of detail, and the grace of a simple line. the more i think about my I-beam work the more rigid i want to get with them in a textbook fashion. I look at the new structural fragment and think more of a modern Gordon Matta-Clark than a diSuvero, cutting the corner from a modern home set in the hills of California, or the ceiling of a warehouse.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Thoughts on Dave Hickey's Orphans

i'm excited about this new piece that Dave Hickey has written for Art in America (Jan. 09, page35). its the first thing that i have read in awhile that has frustrated and inspired me in the same article. i haven't decided if i want to agree with Hickey or not, which is where i am finding my inspiration.  My frustration comes with the notion that Hickey seems exhausted with the current state of the art world. how can you not be? Younger artists no longer seek out a "revolutionary precedents" not because they are not there any longer. they may be, but it's not profitable. the attention span is not there financially for that kind of commitment.

Artists today find their rut and stay in it as long as they can. it is part of the "branding " process. to develop over time means that you may miss your opportunity in the market. i believe most artists working today would probably not be making the work they are making if money were not an issue. That is not to say they are all making money, but they are re-creating art that has a market in an attempt to get a piece of the pie, or at least their 15 minutes.

As an artist working today Ruscha is my Cole, or Church. I mine the fields of modern and contemporary work, stealing, borrowing and cross-pollinating in what are now appropriate ways. I see the art world in it's current state as a reflection of the mess that our world and country is in. We have accepted the fact that we can all do whatever we want, whenever we want to do it, and it is not only perfectly fine, it is our right. The problem isn't really that the art world has gone to hell, it's that everything else has lead the way. The reality that i think Hickey is feeling is that he has been around long enough to watch it all go down. The bitter pill is that permission has been given to these young artists, they have all been given a license to do and say what they want. the truth is that most of it isn't worth paying attention to. 

At the end of the day it was probably free enterprise that shot art in the foot. if you put a Cole or Church on the auction block you could probably strip it of any integrity it has with the drop of a hammer.