See art in a
A New Medium
for Postmodern Expression
One of Postmodern Art's
important contributions to art history is cheek. But, far from
being simple, there are several requirements that need to be met
for a successful postmodern work.
Marco Evaristti exhibition of canned meatballs cooked in his fat
inspired me for a moment to see what idea I would come up
with if I were a postmodernist. It would have to be a new medium
of artistic expression and, at the same time, solve several PM requirements.
The thing would have to be temporal; use the body of the artist
in some fashion; reference an aspect of mass production; be an unorthodox medium; and use the
natural force of one's spontaneous genius (Kant).
As you might imagine,
solving these demands is no easy feat.
Evaristti, Polpette al
grasso di Marco. Marco Evaristti
recently exhibited canned meatballs cooked in his
Think about the variety of
unorthodox mediums PM artists have used: straw
(Kiefer); human excrement (Manzoni);
elephant excrement (Ofili);
blood (Quinn); islands, buildings, trees, etc. (Christo); rocks
(Smithson); earth (Turrell); toe nail clippings (Jones); sperm (Meste);
Vaseline (Barney); mayonnaise, hotdogs, ketchup (McCarthy); and,
of course, human fat (Evaristti, above).
My thoughts are
going along the lines that it is absolutely imperative that a
postmodernist use a medium that is unique to art, yet, is common
to the human experience. The result should be temporal. Here
today, gone tomorrow kind of stuff. Piffft, piffft. Something
that bypasses argument and is distasteful--important PM qualities. That's it! Flatulence. Canned
flatulence. Yes. Flatulence d' Artista. No wait, don't go off
dismissing my idea too quickly. I think this has merits.
Newberry, 2007, Flatulence d' Artista, canned flatulence, 8x2 1/2x2
1/2" $ priceless
Think about it:
temporal, it instantly dissipates, there is no waiting around for weeks
for a Christo project to come down or for Merde d'
Artista to decompose.
2) It uses the
body as a stool ... I mean a tool of artistic expression.
It's a unique medium, and so minimalist that it's totally
transparent. There is no painting white on white. In fact, way
beyond that it is almost nothing. Yet it leaves an unmistakable
suggestion of our experiencing it, experiencing something
subliminal, and, depending on the taste and the good sense of
the audience, something sublime.
4) It's mass
produced, or at least it has the reference of being mass
produced. And it is something that every human has experienced and produced, yet they have never thought of as art, until now.
a natural force of one's expressive genius. No
explanation needed. After all, Kant has said that: "[Genius]
cannot indicate scientifically how it brings about its product,
but rather gives the rule as nature." Genius in art is an
explosive force with no thought about its coming about.
6) And this
artwork is interactive. Say some boorish acquaintance comes
along and fills your space with thoughts that smell suspiciously
of romanticism. You get
out your can of Flatulence d' Artista, piffft, piffft.
This lets him know exactly the position you take on that! Piffft,
So when it
comes to Postmodern Art, be clever and use a little cheek.
New York, June 2007
Note: Sometimes it is helpful
for an artist to contemplate the absurd.
Michelangelo once wrote a viciously satirical reply
to the Pope's request for gigantic marble sculpture
in which several massive blocks would be needed.
Michelangelo outlined that if the subject were a
smoking man, he could hollow out a smoke shop at the
base, ground floor, charge rent, and even create a
funnel and chimney, in which smoke could escape
through the marble pipe. The concept of using marble
as building blocks was the antithesis of
Michelangelo's prime concept that the figure is
inside the block of marble waiting for the artist to
Michelangelo wasn't simply
ranting, he was examining the aesthetic issues of
the concept of using blocks to create a sculpture,
and the absurd directions that it could lead.
Likewise, with my satire
above, I am seriously looking at possible PM
pathways, and drawing the conclusion that
postmodernism is a crippling aesthetic.
Other related art presentations you might enjoy.
copyright 2012 by Michael Newberry