The best part about art is the fact that you can produce alchemy, meaning specifically to make something out of nothing. Besides the fact that art is just that (alchemy), with its use of materiality, the fact that a piece of a paper and a pencil can produce a piece worth millions of dollars and an idea that becomes a sign of genius is what makes art one of the last great modes of expression left on this planet. And i suppose, in particular, one artist who uses this idea really well is Tom Friedman. The fact that he does just that, makes something out of nothing, but the 'nothing' being specifically the typical 'nothingness' of household/mundane materials is what makes him fantastic. And sure, we can say, "oh i can do that, it's just eraser shavings." but we can't do it like he does. His approach to Minimalism and conceptual art is unlike anyone's and that specific sort of love that exists in his work holds a charm and touch that no one else can own. Which is why he is that awesome. So yeah, this blog post is for him, Mr. Tom Friedman:
Suicide. (construction paper)
chewing gum rolled into a perfect sphere and stuck in the corner of the gallery space.
aluminum foil rocker.
spider. (human hair)
Hot Balls (balls stolen by the artist over 6 month period)
two pieces of paper crumpled identically.
and this last one might be one of my favorite ones, even though it looks like "nothing":
"1000 Hours Of Staring." (a piece of paper the artist stared at for 1000 hours over a 5 year period.)
So alot of people want to say "that's stupid" with this last piece. And sure, it might be, depending on who you are, but for art lovers, it's about something else. It's about believing in the piece. So much about art and it's ideas is about how much you believe the piece is a good piece. It's a sort of substitute for religion, in a sense. To believe that Tom Friedman possibly sat around in his home staring at a piece of paper for 1000 hours is pretty fantastic. You always wonder, "i wonder what he was wearing when he stared at it at the 15th hour, and the 900th hour?", at least that's what i was thinking. And sure, he probably didn't stare at it for 1000 hours, but who cares? It's about the idea. And the fact that this piece sold for (i believe) $11,000 is pretty fantastic as well. I mean, in that sense, it's also a critique or parody on the art world on some level. Regardless, it does what the power of art is all about: making you think. And i guess with the way everything is, maybe this caters to suggest a different way of living? One where we stop being so mindless, consumed, and lost (so to say) in the current state of things, and maybe just stop and really think about what we're really doing.
- Alchemy all day!