What Is Art?
Anything you say it is!
What is Not Art?
Anything you say it isn't!
Combining Participatory Art with Zine Making this project is based on the idea that Art is completely subjective and we are all curators of our own environment. I want to bring the power back out of the galleries and into the hands of the everyday population while at the same time encouraging people to take a look at what is around them, both aesthetically pleasing and not.
There is a long history of artists questioning the status quo of galleries and the art world. Two works which come immediately to my mind as questioning not just the status quo but the very fabric and order of all things are Magritte's The Treachery Of Images (Ceci n'est pas une Pipe) and Duchamp's The Fountain. These two works asked us to question not only of what Art is, but the very nature of things, why they are and how we approach them. Time and again though, the rebels and questioners of the art world eventually become part of the status quo; the questions they asked are accepted, answered or not, and subsumed into the rich tapestry of Art History.
How many times have you heard people asking who decided "this" was Art? Or telling you their kid could have painted this, or their dog. How many people have you heard bemoaning or deriding or generally not engaging with the incredible wealth of Art Culture that there is out there to be had, every day and in every way? Artists know how to do this: we look at the world through a particular focus; we have a way of seeing, a kind of lens. It's the ability to look, analyse, cut what we want out, play with it and come up with something new. It's fun, it's a game we've learned, we can use it for any purpose we choose. It opens our hearts and our minds to the new and the different as well as the mundane, ordinary and everyday. What if I did this? What would happen then?
My intention with the game This Is (Not) Art is to put the power to make these kind of decisions in the hands of the people, the viewers, our public. To help people learn how to look and see without having to learn to draw first, use a camera or go to a special class.
So how does it work? Participants are given a bunch of stickers: one with the phrase “This Is Art” and one with the phrase “This Is Not Art” and asked to move around their environment at their own pace - be it city, town, country or even just their own house - transforming the world into Art and Not Art.
Participants then take a photo (with the sticker clearly legible) to send me or pop onto tumblr/instagram using #thisis_not_art
You can find more photos of Art and Not Art on my tumblr and you can get in touch through my main website if you would like to participate. All participants will receive a copy of the Zine if their photos make the cut.
I will later begin to look more in-depth at people's reasoning and ideas to explore the subjective nature of personal opinion, but for now, enjoy!