isms in the art gallery n.
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‘ISMs In The Art Gallery

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‘ISMs In The Art Gallery

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  1. ‘ISMs In The Art Gallery Kat Outten

  2. Adolf Loos- a bad dude • “They [Austrian Ornamentalists] say: ‘We prefer a consumer who has a set of furniture that becomes intolerable to him after 10 years, and who is consequently forced to refurnish every ten years, to one who only buys an object when the old one is worn out”. (pg 23) Already, in 1908, consumerism was happening, although we tend to think of it as a much more modern invention. It is also interesting that this was written in an age where decorated goods were becoming more widely affordable and accessible. The connotations of this could be that wealthier academics and architects, such as Loos, were turning against ornament due to the rise in accessibility and affordability. By decrying it as something that only “backwards” people, i.e. the lower classes, aspire to own he is implying that the “modern” man is above the lower classes who still own ornamented objects. If “The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects” (pg 20) then those who still own ornamented objects are unevolved, in his mind. He goes on to say: “the urge to ornament one’s face and everything within reach is the start of plastic art. It is the baby talk of painting…But the man of our day who, in response to an inner urge, smears the walls with erotic symbols is a criminal or a degenerate… what is natural to the Papuan and the child is a symptom of degeneracy in the modern adult.”(pg 19-20) To give context, at the beginning of the piece he talks about the tribes of Papua New Guinea- comparing them to criminals and children in the way they tattoo their bodies and decorate their objects. Yet again we see the inherent classism present throughout Ornament and Crime; those who succumb to ornament are likened to children, criminals, and the uneducated tribes of Papua New Guinea. Clearly in his mind the well-to-do who are abandoning ornament are wealthier, white, and educated. • This is also super racist, on top of all the classism

  3. The idea that you only need unornamented objects, and a minimal amount of them, has existed since Loos wrote “Ornament and Crime”- where the previous quotes are from. This is an inherently classist idea, as lower class (i.e. poor) people often have unstable income, meaning when we do actually have money we tend to stockpile basic necessities • It could be that Loos’ push towards minimalism was a reaction to the fact that the industrial revolution made ornamented objects, previously only affordable to the wealthy, cheaper and more accessible • His lecture heavily inspired minimalism despite being written much earlier than the movement

  4. White- ethical? Moral? Religious? Progression? • “The styles of the past would have no place in the sane and healthy world of the future. The case against ornament seemed unanswerable in the 1920s and 1930s. Its loss seemed a trifling price to pay for a progress which extended beyond aesthetics- or technology itself- and which, it was claimed by its apostles, had an ethical and moral basis.”(pg 263) Durant. S. 1986 (Ornament: From the Industrial Revolution to Today) • Here Durant mentions the “ethical and moral basis” of Modernism, and this ties in directly with what Loos goes on to say, in Ornament and Crime-“Every age had its style, is our age alone to be refused a style? By style, people meant ornament... We have outgrown ornament; we have fought our way through to freedom from ornament. See, the time is nigh, fulfilment awaits us. Soon the streets of the city will glisten like white walls. Like Zion, the holy city, the capital of heaven.” (Pg 20) We can see the religious ideas of white creeping in here- he speaks of “fulfilment”, and the “white walls of Zion”, and this is echoed in The White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, written much later.

  5. In a LOT of the texts I looked at for my research paper white walls and the White Cube style gallery space are described as: • Ethical • Moral • Holy • “Since this is a space where access to higher metaphysical realms is made to seem available, it must be sheltered from the appearance of change and time. This specially segregated space is a kind of non-space, ultra-space, or ideal space where the surrounding matrix of space-time is symbolically annulled.” • “segregated space” does not sound great… • “the white cube suggests the eternal ratification of the claims of the caste or group sharing that sensibility. As a ritual place of meeting for members of that caste or group, it censors out the world of social variation, promoting a sense of the sole reality of its own point of view and, consequently, its endurance or eternal rightness. Seen thus, the endurance of a certain power structure is the end for which the sympathetic magic of the white cube is devised” • And neither does all the jargon… • Or the words “caste” and “power structure”

  6. Most older art that survives existed because it was commissioned by the rich, and owned by the rich, still exists as it was taken care of by the rich- “promoting a sense of the sole reality of its own point of view” • What we need is:- more art made by a wider variety of people- art that reflects the diversity of our modern world- gallery spaces to be less segregated and more accessible for everyone

  7. How can we change things? • Encourage and support artists of colour, disabled artists, queer artists and women artists • Make your work more accessible to a wider audience

  8. How does my work relate to this? • My project aims to encourage the audience to slow down in the gallery space, sit down, and interact with the work • I want to make sure I use accessible language when talking/writing about my work • I want to make work that goes beyond the visual- engaging other senses, i.e. touch/sound • Making work more engaging can help make it more accessible- it shows that art can go beyond paintings hung on a wall, and can ease viewers into the modern art world

  9. What now? • Finish the aluminium pieces • Finish 3D scanning/printing • Ceramic casting • Find and then paint wooden table as per the plan • Do I want to create holders for each object? P.S. (the irony of a white slideshow complaining about the white cube style gallery is not lost on me)