June 01, 2012
"Raw + Material = Art"
Above and below, snapshots from the book taken by Hamada and featured in a review, excerpts from which follow.
Tristan Manco is known for his books on street art. Raw + Material = Art is his first attempt at surveying contemporary fine art. In his own words, "The idea behind the book is to focus on the natural and found materials and low cost, low-tech methods that artists are being drawn to today. Our aim will be to generally inspire and explore the synergy between the artist’s work and their materials." He certainly succeeds in presenting his theme in the context of contemporary art and the book does even more.
When I learned who would be in the book, I immediately felt that another aspect of this book is the introduction of artists emerging on the internet. For the past decade or so the internet has quietly moved into the traditional contemporary art scene with somewhat varied angles on both artists’ geographical origins and their approaches. Numerous image-based sites have been inspiring countless personal sites. We’ve been exposed to many artists not necessarily affiliated with established galleries, museums, and other major art institutions. For the first time in the history of contemporary art, visual art is experiencing the true possibility of democratic participation. It is no longer a necessity to live close to a large city with major galleries and museums to explore some segment of visual art. The authoritative voices of art critics, major art collectors, and major art institutions often do not reach the common ground offered by the internet.
The new venue is not without its problems. The accuracy of representation through our computer screens will be an issue for some artists. Some art just does not present well that way. The same has been true in music. The proliferation of inexpensive personal devices and compressed music files has been a blessing for some music but not for the others, which I believe has been adding to the sad decline of classical music (Ironically, if you look at the high end audio world, this is the best time to enjoy classical music). Secondly, the emphasis on cheap materials and inexpensive ways of making might not be a coincidence since many of the artists are not supported by the art-as-investment-network of collectors, galleries, auction houses, museums and so on. The generous exposure some artists might enjoy online does not guarantee any form of financial reward. As the world faces the limitations of capitalistic pursuit, the art world and the artists keep searching for practical ways to make their contributions.
In any case, Tristan has nonetheless done a great job of putting together this wonderful book featuring 38 notable artists today in large format, 256 glossy color pages. It's a celebration of the new era with the new artists. Anybody who enjoys looking around online for fascinating new art will find at least some artists to look at.
Here are some snapshots of the pages, although they hardly do justice to the beautiful book itself....
June 1, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink
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