11.23.2009

"poet of refusal"



I don't know much about the art world (meaning here: high end art that is allowed in elite galleries) and while there are a myriad of reasons for this complete dismissal is not one of them.

I like art worldly stuff from time to time. My best review, which applies to all works of art, music, writing, etc., is when something "haunts" me, stays with me after the fact. That sometimes causes me to talk about it with others, sometimes even intimidates. I like it when I manage to stumble across such art.

A story I like to tell about my first look into this world is how in junior high school, I took copies of Art in America and Artforum out of my friend's mom's (a local curator) trash. I was intrigued by the fancy photos and the sometimes challenging art unlike anything my Wichita, Kansas catholic school upbringing had ever shown me prior. Somehow Trish Higgins found out I was taking her trash and she began to save them for me.
Without knowledge of context, of excess, of the world that these and other magazines that she gave me documented, I began to pick out what I genuinely, all-but-purely found interesting. Basquiat, Matthew Barney, and Cindy Sherman stood out. When I later saw shows of their work in NYC (Brooklyn Museum of Art and Guggenhiem respectively) I smirked recalling the photos I had cut out and pasted on my teenage walls, shaking my head about how I got from there to here. For better or worse, yes, but a wonder (I am still about that earnest).
The second half of this story is how I often got to check out the work Ms. Higgins was representing. In a stack of paintings leaning against a wall in the living room, Seth Depiesse's work stood out just as clearly as Basquiat's, Barney's and Sherman's. He is not much older than me and we later became friends for a moment. After a stint in Chicago I understand that he is back in Wichita where some say he is the hardest working artist in town. I am sure he is roaming the streets as usual. A quick web search found a little on him which is too bad. Guess that's one thing about art world recognition-- it puts your work out there for larger audiences to maybe find you.

Anyways-- the point of all of this was to note how nice it was today to randomly learn about some contemporary artists, most notably the artist David Hammons. It's a convoluted, train of internet thought journey of how I stumbled on the articles below. The first if just about Hammons and the second is a larger article that puts him in a contemporary peer-like context. Smart stuff. Intimidating in the way I like. (One of the articles calls him a "poet of refusal" and at the same time notes how he is able to skirt the label of "protest art"...)
The last link is by Hammons himself-- talking about his art and the art world.


David Hammons

article by holland cotter

David Hammons in his own words

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