Fear No Conceptual Art
"Yesterday's loony loner is today's Conceptual artist," says one of many snickerworthy bits in today's New York Times article about an art student who placed black boxes painted with the word FEAR around subways, causing quite the hubbub. But writer Michael Kimmelman, while bringing up good points about the state of art in a world where you see a black box in a subway and *assume* it's an art prank, is too stuffy and cranky to get into the spirit even the tiniest bit.
"By provoking fear, the work trafficked in emotional violence," Kimmelman says, wagging his finger. Since when does that prevent a work from being effective, much less from being "art"? If I were in Union Station and saw an unattended box or bag painted black and sporting a FEAR tag, I'd certainly stop and take notice. I wouldn't be enough of a moron to think it was a freakin' BOMB; I'd think it was a startling, humourous bit of artwork. I would think about my personal relationship to fear and public transportation and how objects become charged in public spaces. I'd think about the changes in New York and throughout our country since 9/11. I'd think about the role of fear in violence, in a Michael Moore, Bowling for Columbine kinda way. Whether juvenile or sophisticated, this work would make me *think.*
Student artist Clinton Boisvert was arrested and jailed overnight; he will be charged with reckless endangerment. Other people's paranoid idiocy is now YOUR crime, so watch what you say and do, children. I suppose leaving a GAP shopping bag on the L train is akin to shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre nowadays?
Check out the article at The Times website; free registration is required.