Time With A Theorist

I spent some time reading and watching interviews with art theorist and critic Hal Foster.

Hal Foster is a contemporary critic who studied under Rosalind Krauss. He has written at length about postmodernism and capitalism's affect on the arts. In, his most recent book; Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency; he explains the role of the artist and critic in a post "war on terror" environment.

Available here

Available here

Following are my take aways from his interviews:

He defines 5 paradigms for art:

Abject: Art that references a trend in world news. e.g. increase in body related art after the introduction of the AIDS crisis. 

Archival: Art referencing the past either recognized or forgotten.

Mimetic: Art with a heavy inspiration from pop culture, products, and consumerism.

Precarious: Temporary interactive and performance art. This idea spun into a longer discussion about how Museums are embracing this type of art more and more. As if these pieces feel more democratic or customized to the viewer. In one of his interviews he talked about how museums are creating exhibitions focused on musicians or dance performances. These exhibitions sit somewhere between experience and artifact. He doesn't mention it but I think being "postable" via social media is another reason for museums embracing this kind of artwork.

Post-Critical: Discussing the changing role of the art critic. Gone are the days where the critic was seen as the major art forecaster. That role is now commercially driven through dealers and collectors. The true critic also sticks to critique. Comparing the work to itself and time instead of sharing their personal experience with the work.

Also mentioned was the idea that when we're in a state of "emergency" we seek art that is "safe" and "organized" in order to counter the chaos. 

I appreciated his comments regarding his role as a critic. He feels hurtful comments that aren't constructive are inappropriate in his role as a critic.

I would love to hear his thoughts on art and the internet because I think the "fine art world" isn't fully utilizing it and they're missing out.

I found it helpful to spend time with Foster's work. I think as artists we can get too focused on what we're making that we forget to think about how it might be read by others... It made me think about the subconscious influences of my own artwork. Influences that I can't easily identify but an outside viewer could.

It also had me thinking about the artwork I see that looks very similar. What's influencing those artists and how did they come to make art that looks so similar? What are the trends in the different genres?

The best is that all of this has me asking myself more questions about my subconscious influences so I can control their application, then trust my gut in making the kind of art that I enjoy making and looking at.