Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Public as Art?

I am really starting to question my own perception of what constitutes as art. I am challenged daily as I take alternate strides to forming my own art history knowledge. From found art to art activism and now the public as art, it is fair to say there is still very much to be learnt.

I stumbled across this article and I would really like to know what other people think about 'Work No. 850' and also the 'Fourth Plinth'. Do these constitute as art?

Artworks that put the public centre stage
Laura Barton
Wednesday July 2, 2008

A volunteer runs through Tate Britain as part of Martin Creed's Work No 850. Photograph: Reuters
Every 30 seconds they hurtle through the gallery, short, damp breath stirring the dry museum air. These are the runners who have been recruited for Work No 850, Martin Creed's latest exhibition at Tate Britain. Creed, who was awarded the Turner prize in 2001 and became notorious for exhibiting a lightbulb going on and off, was inspired to create the piece after a hurried visit to the catacombs of the Capuchin monks in Palermo. "This work celebrates physicality and the human spirit," the Tate website explains. "Bringing together people from different backgrounds from all over London, Work No 850 presents the beauty of human movement in its purest form, a recurring yet infinitely variable line drawn between two points." It also, apparently, returns to one of the principal themes of Creed's work: "the relationship between art and reality, art and life".

The mingling of art and reality is something that appears to be on the rise, with a number of artists enlisting members of the public to help create their work. Antony Gormley, for example, has proposed public auditions for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, with each volunteer occupying the plinth for an hour - a work of art sure to satisfy a society still besotted with reality television. Since the early 1990s, Spencer Tunick has been photographing large groups of nudes in public places, from 1,700 naked people on the quaysides in Gateshead and Newcastle to 18,000 of them in Mexico City's principal square. All his nudes are volunteers who are given a limited edition photograph for their efforts.

And the organisation Artangel was launched with the specific intention of developing "projects and events that extend opportunities for collaboration and participation". Work has included the Margate Exodus, which recreated the events of the Book of Exodus in the seaside town, and involved 5,000 members of the public.

To find his 50 runners, Creed advertised in running magazines and at sports clubs. Each is paid £10 an hour to, as Creed put it, "sprint as if their lives depended on it" along the length of the 85-metre gallery. There are limits to the level of interaction in Work No 850, however; the gallery stipulates that, "for reasons of safety, we ask the public not to run or obstruct the runners".

No comments: