Monday, October 29, 2007

Do Explanations Help Art?

"It is a commonly held view in the art world that the public resists conceptual work because it is difficult to understand. Its reputation for being pretentious and "not as good as painting" would improve, they argue, if it were properly explained. In many exhibitions - the pavilions at the Venice Biennale this year being one example - reams of text, and even books, are handed out to visitors to help them interpret what they see." – The New Statesman, 10/18/2007

I’ve included narratives with my paintings for as long as I can remember. In my work, the story is inseparable from the initial reason to make the painting. –DN


Leslie Pearson said...

I agree. I think if an artist is alive and can lend some insight into how or what led them to create a piece of work, then they should. I'm putting the finishing touches on a book of my work now called "Off the Diving Board, the Narrative Paintings of Leslie Pearson" and it is filled with the things that inspired my work (and photos of me working on the pieces).

But, I also feel that an artist shouldn't force it on viewers. Artwork can and should be enjoyed on different levels for different people. Someone might be drawn to a work of art based on the color, then fall in love with it when they find out that the artist chose that color because of x, y or z. I find that to be true even in my art classes. When I show the kids a painting and begin to tell them something about the artist or what that painting meant socially or politically, you can see something (that looks like appreciation) come over their otherwise glazed facial expressions.

Leslie Pearson said...

Additionally, I have really gotten into the artcasts (podcasts hosted by Museums everywhere). I have learned so much by listening to artist talk about their thoughts and ideas behind the work (and the struggles they encountered along the way). Furthermore, think about all the commentaries out there about novels, poetry, movies, even the Bible. Everyone wants to know more.