OUR COLUMNIST MIKE REACTS TO MY COMMENTS ON THE ART OF INSTALLATION AS AGAINST AMBIGUITY (WHICH, IN MY OPINION, IS AT THE CORE OF WHAT ART SHOULD BE):
‘Installation art can be effective but it must have relevant context and a sincere and honest studying of the issue to be addressed, which is often too much work for many installation artists, who opt for shock or theatre. I believe the same goes for performance. It’s easy to make a performance or installation, but it’s very, very challenging to make a good performance or installation that has the potential to transform the viewer and the artist past the moment of the advertisement “gotcha”.
That aside, you said something that did catch my eye: “This has transformed the experience of art into a theme park experience because art has been, is and should be ambiguous.”
What do you mean by this?
Like effective installation art, ambiguity has it’s place, but to find it is often too difficult. It’s easier to be ambiguous in content, subject, even form, as that allows one to speak about what may or may not be in the art, which opens the sluice gates of Artspeak and allows the attendant sales performers to begin their verbose and tiring pitch, while the other performers in the Art World drama play their uninspired parts for the end game of profit and celebrity.
It has become easier to make shoddy work of ambiguous intent and shallow purpose that is supported by nonsensical sales pitch (i.e. art jargon), with the sole purpose of excluding the viewer but persuading the buyer by creating a whole false layer of expertise in the gallerists, curators, critics, and other related institutions.
So what is the purpose of ambiguity in art that makes it a useful and meaningful tool for an artist?
Can artists also use clarity to sincere effect as well?
If so, perhaps clarity and ambiguity are not essential issues for art and art-making. If not, what are the essential issues for art and art-making in our day and age?
Just a ramble.
Enjoy the Season and may 2014 be a year of clear ambiguity!’