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January 08, 2005

art as experience

So, time was, art was a craft. Not ‘ny more, it ain’t. Today art is what you do: art as experience. Tracey Emin, after a two week bender, ensconced in her bed, came back into her bedroom after a much needed visit to the bathroom and saw her bed, with the ash tray and the empty vodka bottles and the dirty knickers and crumpled sheets and saw it as art – and the rest, as they say, is history.


Today Art is about Art. Art is about being an artist. As I’m sure I’ve said in these diaries before, today you can say: “I am an artist, therefore everything I do is art”. Whereas [time was] you did art and then said you were an artist.

But to be an artist treating your life as art only works if you’ve got contacts. Only if you can get your life as art into the gallery. For one of the prerequisites of art-as-experience is that it only exists as art so long as someone puts it in an art gallery.

In a bedroom a bed is a bed, lying in the street a bed is a bed, but in the Tate Gallery a bed is art. A drawing on the kitchen table is art, a drawing on the pavement is art, a drawing in the Tate Gallery is art.

So if your art-as-experience doesn’t make it to the hallowed halls of a national gallery [or sometimes even a provincial once] than sadly it just remains experience and does not rise to the level of art.

Posted by john at January 8, 2005 03:51 PM

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