Sunday, June 22, 2014

Too Common to be Extraordinary

A supply run turned into a side trip to the Crocker Art Museum.

It's a great space to reflect in, I imagine its what a library must feel to a writer... permission, talent, and potentiality all set out like a buffet on a table in one manicured space.

I hadn't talked with Jess much about why I wanted to go, (who  needs a reason to go the the museum anyway?), but I've had conversations running through my head regarding Art vs Craft. One of the bigger thoughts swimming around in my head is,  
"Is there any real difference between Art and Craft?... and if there is, what exactly is the difference?"

I wanted to set myself back down in front of a few specific pieces in their Pasific Island collection and start thinking this through. The work has haunted me since my last two visits. Sitting in front of the works, I keep looking for the story thread in the beautiful nonsense of pattern and artcitecture of the objects. Neither of which relates to the world I live in and that alone seems to elevate the work into a category labeled "mythic".

Is it Art? Does it speak to my soul? Does it have meaning? Does it change my perspective?

I can't answer the first question, but for me at least, I did find myself sitting and thinking about much more than the carven shield on the wall in front of me, so my answer to the rest of the questions is "yes".

Is it Art?... That's always the question... Painting, wooden mask... shrug

The Crocker had a new exhibit up of Quilts up too. This was what i needed to see.
In my house, quilts carry a lot of meaning. 
My mother is a quilter. 
Not one of those "I'm going to make a quilt this year" kind of quilters, but one of those obsessives that makes a few amazingly detailed, beautiful, complex works every year.

With the hundreds if hours that's poured into each one, what does she do with them? She gives them away to her Loved ones, friends, family, new babies... She shares her gift of time attention and talent not to make a profit but to serve the life with beauty.

Is it Art?
I still don't know...
They definitely speak to me, but maybe it's how it speaks to me is the difference.

Art speaks as a oracle, a shaman, a saint, a revolutionary, an intellectual, and often a train-wreck, but of late, the Art world seems to disqualify those that speak to us as Mother, or Laborer, or Uncle Bob.

We Cherish the quilt... We Value the Art.

Maybe it's "too common" to be extraordinary. 

Maybe it's too comfortable to be anything more than "decorative".

I do know that the potential that we all live with each and everyday is boundless and what we need, more than anything, is permission to sing.

... and No... I didn't find my answers.


Dan Finnegan said...

Great post! I have a few pieces in the Crocker Museum's permanent collection...part of Sidney Swidler's recent donation.

Joel Blum said...

We actually look for your piece every time we find ourselves at the Crocker.

Linda Fahey said...

great post, Joel. and always a big question. I love the Crocker -- if you ever get down the peninsula way, you may want to take in the Cantor.

...and I belive there are as many forms of art as there are as many forms of love -- each seen through the eyes and collective body of those particular eyes.

Some see love everywhere !

Midori said...

In Japan where I'm from, we don't share the definition of art in English. I have never questioned that if the ceramic vase I purchased was an art or a craft. I don't have to.

However, I do question if it is art in front of certain paintings, installation etc.. To me it is not material/media, it is the message I receive.

I feel really free about it. I think it is difficult to make art if you are bound to 'categories'.

FetishGhost said...

Art vs Craft is a matter of semiotics, but as illusionary as it is, it is a real hurdle in many of our heads and its not a simple matter to dispel. Luckily I do think a creative can function very well (maybe even better) as they question what they are doing by always creating with intent, meaning, and pressing against one's own personal standards, but categories really aren't helpful to anyone but those on the outside that need to explain the work. Unfortunately I find myself shaking hands with that world as well. They look to us for many of the words and content that it takes to move our work from the category of Craft to the category of Art.