Exploring the world one word…and one mile…at a time

Conceptual Art

And We’re Back…

Caption

L to R: Off the grid in Moab (UT) and Jenny Lake (WY); two road-weary (and oxygen-deprived) travelers at 12,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains in CO; Sal’s tripometer as it neared 6,000 miles; and an evening journal session by the campfire in Yellowstone.

From where, you ask?  From a much-anticipated, 9,084-mile, state-bagging road trip from our home base in New Hampshire.  We headed west in mid-June, crossing the northern plains into the Canadian Rockies before starting a slow meander down the mountains all the way into New Mexico.  We completed the loop back east via the southern states, and by the end of the trip, we had traveled through 24 different states and 4 provinces.  We slept in 16 of them, and ran in 13.  And in the six weeks we were on the road, we posted here on WPG exactly six times.

Why just six times when I had early visions of blogging every day, of sharing our adventure as it unfolded (or at least shortly afterwards)?  I’ve given that question a bit of thought lately, and here’s what I’ve concluded. (more…)


Life as Art…Art as Life

L: Me transformed into Kafka on Dusni Street in Prague (2012); R: J as part of an installation at Musee d'Art Moderne in Paris (2011)

L: Me transformed into Kafka on Dusni Street in Prague (2012); R: J as part of an installation at Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris (2011)

Conceptual art, or idea art, is an art form in which the concept (or idea) that generates a piece of art is more important than the art itself. For example, poet Kenneth Goldsmith (of @ubuweb) recently announced his plan to “print out the internet.” Clearly, Mr. Goldsmith’s idea is loaded with intention. The idea, and the public’s response to the idea, is the art. I hope we never actually see the internet on paper, but the idea has given us much to contemplate.

Another common aspect of conceptual art is the rejection of self-expression. Once the idea and rules are set by the artist, expression is abandoned and the piece becomes what the rules and form allow, nothing more. Many would compare this to the process of computer programming, although I would argue that this comparison ignores an enormous amount of human variation, innovation and expression that exists in the programming and software development world (another blog post altogether).

I, however, am a believer that self-expression cannot be taken out of art. The moment an artist makes a decision (at the highest or lowest level) that influences the piece, self-expression has occurred.  But I often wonder if there is an opportunity to embrace the self in conceptual art. (more…)