Thursday, July 1, 2010

Take a Seat. Or Not. What is Art, Anyway?

You won't be playing with this beach ball, grilling shrimp on the Bar-B, or sitting on these outdoor chaise or chairs anytime soon. All images clickable.

A R O U N D   M Y   T O W N — Madison has what it calls the "Sculpture Mile." We have large sculptures and art installations all around town, perhaps a dozen or so. They've been created by local and international artists alike. This installation is new this summer, and consists of outdoor lawn furniture and picnic items like a charcoal grille and a beach ball, completely wrapped in wooden frames. I saw no "artist statement' or anything else to explain the thought process behind these items. 

One thought I've come up with is that familiar everyday things, items we rarely put much thought into, have been rendered completely useless for their original purpose—even though they are still completely visible and haven't been altered in any way. Why? Why not, perhaps? But then again, what is usefulness anyway? Should we be putting more thought into our everyday lives, not taking anything for granted? Is something as ubiquitous as a beach ball or a plastic lawn chair a metaphor for our personal relationships, those we surround ourselves with every day? An everyday item being elevated to the honored—giving a unique purpose to a decidedly non-unique item? Maybe it's me, but something as simple as this installation can keep my mind, what there is left of it, occupied for hours, lol. And isn't that what art is all about?

Hit the jump for a few more photos of this fascinating, though admittedly odd installation.