Wednesday, March 17, 2010
It’s true that art is exciting when it breaks through boundaries, pushes the envelope, confronts expectations, challenges esthetic norms. When it’s wild. Not easy to do. Especially every day.
What often ends up happening, is that artists think they’re being wild, but really they’re only making an insider joke. And from the outside, this comes off as pretentious, even uptight.
And sometimes the wilder an artist tries to be, the more contrived it looks. Anyway, I haven’t seen any wild-priority art that holds a candle to Lady Gaga in cigarette sunglasses lately. And those will burn out next week.
So when you have a show that’s called “Out of Line,” many will be sure to imagine the art equivalent of an orgy of stunts and provocation. But, I’d like to refine the notion.
Wildness can be shock like I’ve described. But wildness can also be risk.
Making art involves endless choices; you can go safe – stick with what you know, with the good looking cream-white combination - or you can go out on a limb, leap into the unknown, a leap of faith as my friend refers to it. Such leaps aren’t necessarily mind-blowing revolutions or sparkly, but they are always fresh and brave. And that’s what I mean by Out of Line. Partly.