Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happenstance Art

We need more happenstance art in the urban scene. Some refer to this as street art while others refer to it as guerilla art. In both, people have been moving beyond graffiti to create many different works in various media that engage the viewer outside of the gallery setting. I refer to it here as happenstance art because I am most interested in the happenstance aspect of how the viewer stumbles upon the art while going about his/her routine.

I first became aware of this direction when studying under Adam Frelin at Webster University. Unfortunately at the time I didn't appreciate it as much as I should because I was still "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed". I wasn't as disillusioned with the art world beyond the university setting. (For some reason, I thought things would be more open and varied when I got out of school but I've since come to learn that, in all too many ways, there are even more limitations.) I also wasn't as disenfranchised by the lack of public involvement because it's hard to see these interactions when you're pulling all-nighters trying to get things done for class. And, after graduating, I needed time to myself for more introverted philosophical speculation.

I recently picked up Street Renegades: New Underground Art at Left Bank Books while getting ready for my Point of View solo show. This book really got me thinking about urban art beyond graffiti and hearkened back to my class with Adam Frelin at Webster University. Now I am really starting to look more at the world around me, and I think we need more happenstance/street art. I have a hard time coming up with things that I want to do in this setting for several reasons, though. 1.) I have always been rather painfully shy and never really imagined that I'd go out on a limb to put my thoughts and ideas out there where anyone and everyone can see them. 2.) I am not, by nature, destructive - I don't want to permanently damage or vandalize anyone else's property in the process of creating work. And 3.) I have always been afraid of getting caught whenever I have done anything out of the ordinary and have done my best to seem as "normal" and "civilized" as possible.

Right now, my biggest goals in regards to working in this direction are to develop Wishes, the Penny Project and to further Claude's travel journal. I think it's equally important to work in institutional critique because it encourages artists, patrons and exhibition spaces to reassess both how art is shown and what is shown as art. I also need to make a point of getting out more and just taking in the world around me. I think all of us could benefit from experiencing more of what the world has to offer - it's altogether too easy to get wrapped up in our daily lives.

1 comment:

ChaoticBlackSheep said...

Speaking of art that viewers happen upon, check out Knitta: