Information Show – Matt Niebuhr

Information Show - drawings by Matt Niebuhr

Notes concerning an “Information Show”

“In conceptual art, the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all planning and decisions are made beforehand. The execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.” – Sol Le Witt –  Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, by Sol Le Witt – Artforum (June, 1967).

This collection of drawings is evidence of my explorations of a question concerning conceptual art that the idea or concept is the fundamental experiential element of a work of art.

Ideas are, strictly speaking, intangible. They exist as a mental construct and have no form. In this sense, ideas do not take up space. Ideas and concepts float only in the space of the imagination or “mind’s eye”.

Ideas can be made tangible in a number of ways. These drawings are examples of an idea for a work of art. When ideas are translated into another medium the intangible is made tangible. The idea is described through execution, a translation from the “minds eye”.

Some of the ideas executed in the exhibit are not my ideas. Some are. To me it makes no difference.

Only when the idea is translated into a physical form can it be shared. Whether an idea is spoken, sung, written, or drawn, it is only in this translation where the idea can be exchanged in some way with another person. The intangible is made tangible. The idea can be apprehended by another person.

Execution of an idea is not a perfunctory affair.

How it is made, why it is made, what it is made of – and then making (process)are essential questions and actions that must be decided upon. Each decision has a profound effect upon the execution and ultimately the form that expresses the idea. Means and methods influence the perception of the idea immensely.

“… while objects may be perishable, ideas need not be…” – Sol Le Witt.

Ideas in art (and life) are potentially useful but have little value until acted upon.

Objects in art are quite useless, but of great potential value.

Longitude and Latitude

Today, a glimpse out the office window alternates between rainfall and sunshine,  a black hearse drives slowly by and somewhere the ocean changes color…

Cy Twombly, Untitled (Bolsena) 1969

CY TWOMBLY
Untitled (Bolsena), 1969
House paint, oil, crayon and pencil on canvas
78 x 98-1/2 inches (198.1 x 250.2 cm)

Some notes on coordinate systems as a way towards a description:

“We might say that there are two sections through the substance of the world: the longitudinal section of painting and the cross-section of certain pieces of graphic art. The longitudinal section seems representational; it somehow contains the objects. The cross-section seems symbolic; it contains signs. Or is it only when we read that we place the page horizontally before us? And is there such a thing as an original vertical position for writing – say, for engraving in stone? ” Walter Benjamin (c. 1920) p. 8 – notes from Marus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings (eds.) Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 1, 1913-1926, Harvard, MA, 1996.

I’ve been looking closely at some of Cy Twombly’s works in the book “Cycles and Seasons”. The passage quoted above resonated with me as I was looking at the reproductions of the Bolsena Paintings by Cy Twombly and reading the accompanying essay by Nicholas Cullinan. One of a series painted in 1969, the Bolsena series it is said records the events of 1969 that may have been on Twombly’s mind – the event of the decade perhaps as NASA’s Apollo 11 space mission unfolded before a collective world audience.  It’s an interesting consideration and connection of current events of that time influencing perhaps and recorded in Twombly’s own cryptic cypher of graphic marks and painterly splots.  What a hopeful time and sense of exploration!


Gulf Oil Spill May 17, 2010 - via NASA satellite imagery

NASA’s Terra satellite captured a visible satellite image of the Gulf oil spill on May 17 at 16:40 UTC (12:40 p.m. EDT) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Instrument on-board. The oil slick appears as a dull gray on the water’s surface and stretches south from the Mississippi Delta with what looks like a tail. Text Credit: NASA Goddard / Rob Gutro

I’ve been thinking about this in the context of our own current events unfolding, as reports and images trickle in on the growing disaster of the oil spill in the gulf. NASA Satellite images show the extent of the slick as is disperses – but it is too soon to know the toll and we somehow still are unsure of how to stop the bleeding. How far we have come in the last 40+ years.

Emerging artist derivative contract – Tom Saunders – consumer goods

Commodities, futures, derivative contracts….for art

Interesting concept and altogether not too hard to imagine the business world trying to formalize  in contract terms what may already be taking place in concept.  That is of course if the artist and buyer actually get to the point of forming some sort of relationship…

I suppose that in this case the benefit is mostly to the buyer in potentially protecting themselves in the event that the artist fails to capture an audience… or the best case goes on to  be a smashing success which increases the value and importance of the work, assuming this allows the derivative holder to purchase future work at “emerging” prices…

The benefit to the artist is of course the potential for financial security to the extent that it allows the artist to develop their potential and even out the financial peaks and valleys.

The tricky part (gamble) is to consider the variable of “experience value” of the work what I might call the artworks “shelf life”  and the attention span of the audience.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in feeling a bit uneasy  – what with recent examples of what can go terribly wrong in the parallel financial business world.  What’s at risk is a fundamental connection between the artist and patron.  Most of my own personal experiences with works of art are greatly enhanced upon getting to know the artist – and that experience with the art – is what may also be at risk.  On the other hand – the benefit of being able to focus on creating has to be recognized !

Source: Via Artdaily and this story (filed under consumer goods)