Monday, May 16, 2005

Outsiders design

Today we enjoyed episode AABF-15. I am not talking about an underground version of some starwars movie... of course it's the simpsons! That's the episode when Homer becomes conceptual or better said "outsider" artist... you know:

Amazingly, this couple of weeks there were some "serious" tv reportages about "outsider artists" like a 7yr old girl and Tarzan's sideshow "cheeta", yes... the monkey from the tv series... is now an "outsider artist" just check the article to read about his exhibition at Palm springs.

I'll have to check on some art philosophers, but there must (or should) be something like "I paint, therefore I am" what I mean, is that to be art, it has to be created by humans only. Animals may feel pain, and have some instinctive intelligence, but animals cannot be artists, because they have no need to express themselves. Art is a form of expression. I remember very well when we met Takeshi Kamei and someone asked him "what do you do?" and he replied "I am in the business of communication" The other guy must have thought that Kameisan was a Keitai sales rep. I loved his answer. Yes, he was right, in fact, art is communication.

Therefore, art has to have a message. I doesn't matter if the message is anger (like Homer's BBQ) or pleasant kitschig emotions. The message has to be deliverately enclosed in that work of art... so, an animal cannot "talk" or communicate emotions through paint spots or footprints on a canvas. That only demonstrates that many of the modernist's paintings are at the level of communication of a chimpanzee: Zero, none, niente, null, nada!

Don't get me wrong... I am a great fan of artists like Kandinsky or Chagall among many others. But we have to understand that at that time, modernism was "deconstructing" i.e. smashing everything into small pieces so that the next generations could build using those powders of new recycled materials. Instead, 100 years later we are still trying to hold on too strong to the modernists. The uneducated think that paint splatters are still "avant garde". I don't know if it's because it's simple, easy or because even a child or a chimpanzee can do it! Or is it because capitalist imperialists (like Greenberg) saw an endless source of money on modernists paintings. Just think a little bit about it: a classic painting may take months or years to be completed, while modern painters can do hundreds of kindergarten drawings a day, and sell them for very good bucks. Astrid Weller was only making good business selling Homer's work, just as Scruton says that Greenberg was a only very good speculative broker (and bully) and not such a good art critic.

A similar thing happens with industrial design. During the same time frame as modernism, designers were only looking at form or function, or a combination... any exploration of cultural meaning or symbolism was considered "kitsch". Design also had to be free from any form of figurative meaning. It's until recent times through the understanding of material culture, that we realise that objects play an important part on the construction of our cultures. We have now the choice: we can choose to build our culture with "outsider's design" (objects that are a great commercial success but have no meaning and can be done by a chimpanzee) or start building with meaningful objects.

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