Musings on Gimmick Driven Art……
“To put it in laymen’s terms, a masterful chef could make a shit sandwich look appetizing, but it doesn’t really matter if it still tastes like shit.” PSC, 2011
Dan Colen, Coulda, woulda,
In today’s social media world- ‘artists’ are fighting for your attention. And many are succeeding with a marketing skill set instead of substance or mastery of fine art. In contemporary mosaic art particularly, one must dig through an enormous amount of ‘mass appeal’ driven works that rely on pretty materials, sentimentality, or repetition. Without a thoughtful study of art- I mean drawing, art history, sculpture, color theory yadda yadda yadda, the crutch of the gimmick is the lazy artists way to the short attention spanned masses, fulfilling the dream of becoming ARTSTAR. Some dudes will do anything to get attention for their mediocre work, and the media has no problem feeding the masses a pasteurized digestible ‘art’ product on TV, in print and online.
Brooklyn artist Paul S. Connor has a great take on the “Gimmick in Art” which I share with you here:
-An art object where the dominant feature of the piece is a blatant novelty that fails to satisfy the conceptual foundations of the work
-And/or an art object seeks to create an imitation of an object, where the object of imitation is more interesting than the artwork itself.
Remember -craft (the skillful application of traditional and invented techniques to create an object that achieves a desired end result) is not a substitute for substance in fine art. Craft is merely a set of tool/skills which artists may use to translate their ideas into a physical form.
“Art is both an idea and a physical object; the artist’s role is to conceive the idea and bring it into a tangible (or experiential) realm that others can experience. Craft, is therefore an important part of the process. Craft is the set of tools (in the broadest sense) that allows the artist to translate their idea, in the truest way possible, into a physical object. However, a well crafted object is a far different thing than a well conceived object; a well conceived object is very different than a well crafted object, and neither guarantees a great art object. It’s an undefined balance that makes a fine piece of work, but despite the dubious ratios, it is absolutely certain that in no way, craft is a substitute for substance.Superior craft is admirable in that it takes many years and tireless hours to master, but practice and experience is really all that you need. A monkey could paint photo-realistically if you had the patience to train him, but there is no amount of practice that will ensure inspiration. This is an important distinction because a lot of gimmicky art relies on the impressiveness of craft to carry people through the swamp of bullshit that is their concept (or lack thereof).
Well crafted objects are generally widely popular (especially amongst people not well acquainted with the art world) because a well developed craft is truly admirable. And, due to the lack of education and discourse about art amongst the wider populace, the idea (the fundamental being of the art work [or lack thereof])is often an afterthought, shadowed by the excellent craft of the object. But popular opinion does not good art make. And neither does craft. “
So, I’d love to hear what you think. Post examples if ye dareth.