15 Bytes | Artist Profiles

Faux Naive

Maybe “faux-naïve” art is nothing more than what you’d imagine: simple, modest works by trained artists who choose to draw and paint in a seemingly juvenile manner despite their higher education in the arts. But maybe there’s something more to this art tradition; maybe there are greater reasons for its emerging momentum in the contemporary art scene other than an ever-present irony or a giggle-factor.

In the January 2013 edition of 15 Bytes, Kev Nemelka sits down to discuss the style with three of Utah’s faux-naïves: Andrew Ballstaedt, Fidalis Beuhler, and Brian Kershisnik

Categories: 15 Bytes | Artist Profiles

4 replies »

  1. Hi
    I really appreciated this article, not only for its immediate cultural relevance, but for its immediate historical relevance, and value. I am a die hard post-Modernist schooled in the theories of Danto and learned in the ways of Warhol and the anything-goes-that-has-a-philosophy movement instigated by the Brillo Box. I have University of Utah and its zealous grad students and my own grad program to thank, studying the Renaissance taking a step back to take a step forward to see the world around me as the world I was taught it to be and it was, from the ongoing reality of the Classical to the eclecticism of the today and the reality of the Deseret Industries Phenomenon. My point is… as a die hard post-Modernist and not being sophomoric about it but well grounded in it… I find it healthy to read about “movements” such as “Faux-Naïve.” True, there was the Arte Povera in Italy in the 60’s and “Faux-Naïve” isn’t exactly new, but what is in post-Modernity? That is the whole point. Decontextualized and recontextualized but it is a real and viable movement like others out there that are like healthy veins in the body of post-Modernity. It is exciting to read about it and affirming to learn that the equivocal question of the avant-garde is answered on the affirmative and it is very alive and continues to breath new air and fill new spaces in this landscape of post-Modernity that has no limitations. If you have any thoughts on this, Kev, I would love to read them, thanks… Ehren

    • Ehren, I really enjoyed your response, and I fully agree with you, faux-naivete really is nothing new–Picasso was essentially a faux-naivist at times, and I’ve been writing a complimentary piece comparing the works of these Utah faux-naivists to a mid-20th century Hungarian faux-naivist in hopes of universalizing (or at least transatlanticizing) these “new” faux-naive philosophies, these ideas of “getting to the core of things” in a freshly-recycled manner. I find your comment of decontextualizing to recontextualize to be spot on because, yes, these artists have reasons for doing the things they do that are somewhat comparable to those of faux-naivists of the past, but they are, because of context and era, growing from a different branch all together. Building off of your “nothing is really new in post-Modernity” idea, they’ve in a sense merely attached their own new “twist” to a larger philosophy of faux-naivete (because let’s face it, these days all is but a twist on something previously twisted, etc.), and there is still something progressive and “new enough” about this, no matter how twice-removed something seems from the initial round of twistings. I’m glad you found something of worth in this article, Ehren, thanks for reading. -Kev.

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