Living in Arizona it is extremely rare to get a chilly downpour rain type of day, but today it was a welcomed change. I spent my afternoon re-visiting old art history papers and shuffling through all my notes to help with personal statements for graduate applications. I came across some really terrible stuff and some treasured forgotten art papers, I absolutely loved researching. (My apologies go out to my ARS 101 teacher for the truly awful paper on Jasper Johns; who, I am embarrassed to admit, I kept repetitively referring to as John Jaspers. My only excuse is that it was my very first art history course and I had no clue what I was doing.) It was a great indicator of how far I have really come these past five years.
Today, I wanted to show ya’ll the work of Jean Shin, who had an exhibition at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art last year. I participated in this highly collaborative show, which asked the public to donate their old keys to use as the aesthetics of the work. When you submitted your keys, you were also asked to trace on a piece of paper, all of the keys on your keyring and invite whoever shares a key with you, to outline theirs. These outlines were then traced together and connected based on who you share keys with. The keys donated were melted down into a map of the Valley gridded on the gallery floor, with the curve of the real keys making up the mountains. I think the collaborative process and ending visual result is a really interesting aspect of contemporary art that is being made now.
I invite you to check out the exhibition blog, which has great details and visuals, documenting the ENTIRE project (from initial inspiration, conception, to the final objects and installation.)
I found this little excerpt in my collection of art history papers that was a response to the article The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents by Claire Bishop. I remembered when writing this, that I was working on Jean Shin and appreciated the articles connection with the project. Leave me a comment with your email address if you’d like me to send you the article!
“This article I found the most fascinating. Bishop is discussing the same thing Bourriaud introduces but with more depth. She begins with a quote by Dan Graham, talking about an artist’s desire to create with purpose and produce something more tangible and telling than just ”art.” As artist, we are connecting with the viewer in a moment, revealing to them what we project. Art is a conversation, from one person to another, without actually having a conversation. It’s an aesthetic conversation. Art has always been a social act, however beginning in the 90’s this sociability like formalism, has in a way turned on itself. Art produces a conversation and now artists are pointing out that; that the conversation IS art, rather than the object. This idea has spawned many large community based art collaborations, that has strengthen and changed the way we think about communication and simple acts. In theory, I like this idea. That this social conversation and communication can come together to create something big and meaningful, and be art. For me, the people become the aesthetic, like each brush stroke the makes up a painting. It’s the creation. While the outcome or final result of the project is the “ART” Both need each other to be whole. For me, this collaborative act is only effective when everyone is on an equal playing ground, and brings something to contribute. There must be a call for everyone to contribute a piece of them, to create something bigger and whole. As far as the debate, process vs. product, I stand firmly that this must be an equal equation. The process IS always just as important as the final product. The conversation and making of a social piece, is very much the ART as the final outcome.”