Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Is it art?

Here we see IPLawGuy trying to figure out what Donald Judd has done at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, during our visit there last month.

Here is an overview of what we were looking at, taken from the Chinati website:

The fifteen concrete works by Donald Judd that run along the border of Chinati's property were the first works to be installed at the museum and were cast and assembled on the site over a four-year period, from 1980 through 1984. The individual units that comprise each work have the same measurements of 2.5 x 2.5 x 5 meters, and are made from concrete slabs that are each 25 centimeters thick. Funding for the project was provided by the Dia Art Foundation.

Intriguingly, the pamphlet that came with the tour included a review which described the piece as a work of "megalomania."

[I like the way the concrete frames a rainstorm in this one, though I did not notice it when I took the photo]

So... do you like it? Are you more or less baffled than IPLawGuy?

That's... a bunch of oversized cinderblocks.

Not art.
It is art, and it is crap.

20th century Stonehenge? Not that I'm in any way qualified to speak about such things.
Art. The above comments, (and the look on IpLawGuy's face) all confirm it to be so. By my definition art is that which can be observed, makes you think, and makes you feel.

Whether it is "good" or not is a pointless query. What it makes you feel, what it makes you think...that is more interesting.

For example, your photographs also fit my definition of art and are far more interesting than the art they depict.
Not art. He should have just taken a picture of a metallic object, posted it on the internet, and saved himself some time and resources.
Another example of the art BS syndrome - learn the lingo, put on a good rap, con the gullible out of some cash, put up some sort of junk, and giggle all the way to the bank. Unfortunately, this syndrome is rampant in the "arty" world now.

I can hear the artist and his supporters now - "The sameness of the rectiliner shape echos the wide space of the surrounding place, and deliniates the attempts of man to reduce it to a controlled, confined area that we can more easily grasp....." And off to the bank with profits. The emperor really has no clothes.....

Saint Gaudans (sp?) weeps.

That's really a pretty thoughtful analysis of what you call BS, Lee.

I'm with Ginger on this one. How many of the people who do not consider Judd's pictured work art have been to Chinati? I have and I was as baffled, or more baffled than IPLawGuy and I loved it.
I can produce that sort of BS by the ream - and it is as meaningless as the nonsense it describes. Anyone with sufficient chuzpah and no ethics can make a pretty good living at it, I guess.

Unfortunantly, I have to look in the mirror, and I couldn't do it if I used that drivel to fleece the public. There is a whole inbred world that uses that stuff to congratulate themselves on how cool they are. Critics, 'artists', and the public that trusts them to define what is 'in' this week - and spend money on it.

The emperor, etc.

I think art can anger you, in fact the valuation of art seems to upset a lot of folks. Why should one artist command more for pleasing a more mainstream taste? Or is it a perceived pretense that upsets? A conspiracy of pretending to "get it" for fear of being thought less sensitive/intelligent?

Or that the arts are sometimes subsidized with tax dollars?

All very interesting ideas! What about art that seems created entirely to offend? Is it less valuable? Or parody? Less original? What is art goes to the heart of what it is to feel, to experience, to care. There can be no right or wrong answer, as each is as unique as the respondent.

I will say that the professor's question is fundamentally flawed, in that we cannot all experience this art alongside IpLawGuy. And now, even he experiences it through the flawed lens of memory, and the Judas frame of photographs. One can't know how this installation will effect her without experiencing it in person.
I wasn't baffled at all. I was amused. The photo actually shows me reading aloud the brochure we picked up at the gift shop (yes, there's a gift shop).

It's art. Its interesting. It makes you think. We had a great time talking about what it meant and laughing at the reprinted reviews in the brochure.

I wish we'd made an appointment and seen the other installations inside the old ammo storage buildings. There's another of metal boxes.

So long as Judd didn't use taxpayer money to do this, I have no problem with it. In fact, the facility draws people to Marfa and they spend money there as a result. I myself bought a Blizzard at the Dairy Queen that I most likely would not have purchased if we had not visited the Chinati Institute.
Warren Buffett thanks you for your purchase; as does the franchise owner.
That's really too bad that you weren't able to see everything else at Chinati. The boxes are really very striking. Here's a link to some photos I took while we were there:
Wait, wait, "So long as Judd didn't use taxpayer money to do this..."

Do you oppose state support of this art, or of all arts, IpLaw?

Sorry, not trying to stir, but you snuck that in there, and I couldn't let it pass.
I'm not thrilled with the idea of state support for the arts, esp. such a big project. I guess a tax break would be OK, again because the Chinati Institute does draw visitors and money, just as other art installations, museums do.
That was a very reasonable reply. Hmm. :)
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