Daily Bytes | Mixed Media

Free Speech, Mural Art & More MiXeD MeDiA

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The Salt Lake Tribune reports that West Jordan is still struggling with a law that will accommodate artwork like the murals at the Azteca Taqueria while regulating inflammatory or offensive speech.
More than four months after the city’s attempts to remove a Mexican restaurant’s murals depicting civil-rights leaders caused an uproar, West Jordan leaders continue struggling to craft a local law allowing such artwork….
Check out our 15 Bytes article on the mural controversy here:
http://artistsofutah.org/15Bytes/index.php/west-jordan-mural-controversy/
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Categories: Daily Bytes | Mixed Media

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  1. My colleagues Shawn Rossiter, Editor of 15 Bytes, in his review of BYU MOA’s ‘No Place Like Home,’ and Scotti Hill, in her puff piece for the Deseret News on the departure of BYU’s curator of ‘contemporary’ art, further excavate the grave I’ve been trying to dig for this hopeless, ‘contemporary’ attempt to hijack a necessary word for the exclusive use of wealthy collectors. I’ve pointed out that ‘contemporary’ is an essential part of the language, meaning ‘at the same time as.’ Shakespeare and Cervantes were contemporary artists, dying in the same year—400 years ago next year. Being dead is something they have in common with many of the artists in ‘No Place Like Home,’ while most of the rest have one foot in the grave. Norman Rockwell has been dead since 1978, while Olafur Eliasson was born in 1967. If they are to be considered ‘contemporary,’ it was for the first eleven years of the latter’s childhood.

    I don’t object to the age or living status of these artists. ‘No Place Like Home’ was a superb show, and I thank Frank McEntire, who returned to it multiple times, for taking me along on one of his visits. His company helped illuminate a show that, by using multiple artistic points-of-view of a single subject, enabled viewers to see the differences and commonalities of a broad spectrum of recent artists, many of whom may well qualify as truly ‘great.’ But to call this ‘contemporary’ art is to reveal just how meaningless the word has become. It now means whatever the user wants it to mean. Shades of Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty! Meanwhile, giving Jeff Lamson credit for the caliber of the art and artists in ‘No Place Like Home’ is disingenuous, since primary credit for the selection should go to the collectors, or perhaps to their advisors and the gallerists who recommended works to them, or perhaps to the artists who not only made the works seen here, but built careers that made them virtual household names, whom anyone might consider selecting.

    I’m not just being pedantic here. The world needs words like ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ to do real work. Specialized populations—scientists, technicians, academics—have always drawn on general language for their jargon, the artificial terminology they use to communicate among themselves. But it’s increasingly clear that no one, especially not the experts, knows what ‘contemporary art’ is. To one, it means digital computer-aided art, or video, or installation. To another it means anything following an alternative tradition, like the Son of the Bride of Conceptual Art. At the very least, those who insist on using it should define what they mean, and not go on as if we all knew what was meant.

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