Saturday, March 26, 2011

BUT...Is it ART? Dennis Oppenheim + Original Recipe Chicken

"It's not what you 
look at that matters, 
it's what you see." 
- Henry David Thoreau

An OPINION on the phrase "But... is it ART?" 

I have been fascinated for many years by the question everyone asks,"But... is it ART?" I look at a large volume of visual art and a percentage of what I see, does not appeal to me, but I STILL think of it as ART. Some of the art I enjoy, I soon read that a professional critic does not share my opinion. Still, most professionals in the art world would never say ART - created by a serious artist - is NOT art. It simply art which does not connect with them.

Premise: There are hobbyists and non-committed practitioners whom I contrast with the people who consider themselves artists, no matter how they earn their living. Most of these artists produce their art with the intent of their work being exposed to an audience. (There are exceptions!) For this article, the work of this latter group is what I call "art".

First consideration: All art is conceptual to some degree. The Magritte painting shown is titled: "This is not a pipe." No, it is really paint on a canvas stretched over a wood frame or, here, a digital image on your screen - but our brain says we are looking at a "pipe"! Thus all pictures are a mental connection to reality, they are conceptual.)

Second consideration: Art can be enjoyed on a technical level for its execution and technique without consideration of content. (ie: A beautifully painted watercolor.)

Art is logically evaluated by concept and execution (either/or or combined).

Third consideration: "The felt content." The very best art has an emotional element to it, which is difficult to evaluate or express in words, but you feel it!

Throughout history, great art has risen to the top and lesser art has dropped away through the filter of time. Ultimately "people of influence within the art world" must recognize and "anoint" an artist or a work as being "worthy, respectable or outstanding" for the art to become a noted part of art history and ultimately appreciated by a majority of the art loving audience.

Paul McCartney during
his most recent tour.

Any person's creation can miss in making a connection. We all understand this concept, but it is often difficult to analyze or know why the art does not connect. In the last issue I posted a Paul McCartney video for his song "Young Boy". McCartney has written great songs throughout his career, but only the songs he recorded during the time he flourished with the Beatles or with Wings or the songs he wrote for movies seem to resonate with the public. His song, "Young Boy" is fine, as far as a rock song goes, but for McCartney that song would not get the same reaction at a concert as would a Beatles' song.

If everything produced by "serious artists" is ART, how does some ART get noticed?  During the last years of the 20th century, as the color field painters, conceptual artists and POP artists grew older, the word on the street was: "Unless you are Young British Artist, a practitioner of art does not actually become "AN ARTIST" until he or she was in their mid-to-late 30s. After they have lived and gained life's experience, but also  after they had moved through the early, superficial phases of their art practice.
SVA has an outstanding
Graduate School
in Fine Arts

Then the 21st century dawned and the mantra changed overnight back to "Don't show any artist over 30 years old, unless they are already famous!" Media and content became king and collectors and gallerist started being obsessed with youth and finding young emerging artists or students in graduate art schools they could embrace. To that mix add a German artist component, a Cuban artist component, a Japanese artist component and a Chinese artist component - all while the art world boomed during the "Goldilocks era" of Wall Street. Now, ten years into the new millennium, art sales followed Wall Street down and are just starting to recover, many galleries have closed or downsized. But the excitement by collectors for this new era of contemporary art termed "Pluralism" seems as strong as ever. Also the highest end of secondary art sales at the auction houses have made a come back in an unbelievably strong way. (Secondary art sales are collectors or galleries selling their holdings for themselves, no proceeds go to the artist.) 

There are no rules in the Art World. This lack of rules is what makes Art constantly fresh, and great, and so difficult to predict its next direction. Although 
any multi-billion dollar business market, pared with human nature, demands some analysis and understanding of the dynamics of how the industry works. To borrow a line from Winston Churchill, the internal workings of the Art World "is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma."  I certainly haven't figured it out, but I do understand the exterior of the industry. 

The mystery of the art world revealed - ooh - 
Get ready and read carefully!  Unfortunately the answer is a cliché. "He who has the GOLD sets the RULES."

Gabriel Kuri represented
by Franco Noero, Turin
and Esther Schipper
Berlin - Armory Show 2011

Yes, it's the same power dynamic as most institutions and markets. 

In the context of the art world the above phrase means:
- if you own a gallery, know who the collectors are and the collectors trust your opinion and buy artist's work based on your recommendation, then THE GALLERY has the gold and sets the rules. 
- If you are a seasoned collector who has learned the ropes and now knows what direction you want to go with your collection, then THE COLLECTOR has the gold and sets the rules. 
- If you are an art auction house, know "who" owns the great art of the world and "who" has been wanting to buy that art, then THE AUCTION HOUSE has the gold and they set the rules. 
- If you are an "art star" artist, who is so well loved you can sneeze on a tissue, frame it, and sell it for a fortune, then THE ARTIST has the gold and sets the rules. 

Summary: "BUT... IS IT ART?"
All art created by a sincere artist trying to make a statement is indeed ART.

Technically beautiful and wonderfully executed drawings, paintings and sculpture are seldom questioned as being art, but they can be dismissed for not having enough or any real content or emotion. 

Since there are no rules in art, the viewer doesn't have to like any work of art, no matter what critic complimented it or what gallery or museum is showing it. We should all simply look for art we do like. BUT, if the artwork you have questioned has gotten into your head and you keep asking,"Yes, but is it art?". There is probably an art purchase in your future.  

Connected galleries, art-star artists, established auction houses and knowledgeable collectors all have the potential to take the lead in Art World negotiations, depending on who has the most valuable asset! 

But... Is it ART? Only time will tell. 
Dennis Oppenheim 

The artist, Dennis Oppenheim, was one of the most important figures working in land art and public art. Before he passed away in 2007 he was interviewed in this 13 minute video. He shows and discusses his projects and at the end he discusses the discomfort level artists experience. Question by Robert Knafo: "Do you have to refrain from taking too many chances to get the (public art) commission?" Dennis: "You can't understand that enough.... Being an artist is already uncomfortable.... You are used to discomfort and being involved in things you don't fully grasp.... How much can you know about what you are doing? It's never enough. So (as an artist) I am already so used operating with discomfort, I would not know what it's like, otherwise. I really don't how you make art with a full grasp and comfort level. Where you know what you're occupying - I just don't know what that would be like!" (video courtesy of NewArtTV, Robert Knafo producer)

There is a rumor on the internet that the secret formula for KFC's 11 herbs and spices was accidentally discovered. Doubtful, but it has created huge publicity for the fast food chain and their "original recipe"! 
Below is the recipe if you want to try it. Many will enjoy the fun of trying to recreate the original recipe. I say if you just want to eat KFC, go to your local outlet and buy it - the clean up is SO much easier.
Is this the secret formula?

    • The 11 Herbs and Spices:
      • 1 tsp ground oregano
      • 1 tsp chili powder
      • 1 tsp dried basil
      • 1 tsp dried marjoram
      • 1 tsp pepper
      • 2 tsp salt
      • 2 tbsp paprika
      • 1 tsp onion salt
      • 1 tsp garlic powder
      • 2 tbsp powdered tomato soup mix
      • 2 tbsp Accent
      • ----------------------
      • 1 chicken cut into frying pieces or a package of thighs with skin.
      • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour (150 grams)
      • 1 3/4 oz. of secret herbs and spices mixture (50 grams) 
      • 2 well beaten eggs mixed with buttermilk
      • vegetable oil
      • ----------------------
      • Marinate chicken in buttermilk and egg mixture for 3 hours.
      • Mix all dry ingredients together.
      • remove chicken from beaten egg & buttermilk
      • Roll in spice & flour mixture
      • Fry in pressure cooker made for oil cooking for 10 minutes. With non-oil based pressure cookers, you will ruin the seal. Look for a (oil tolerant model) "Fagor" pressure fryer. Better yet if you find an original KFC pressure cooker in an antique shop. The earlier franchises were sent these stovetop models for cooking chicken.
      • OR cook on the stove top in a deep frying pan in 1/4 - 1/2" of oil. Now fry the pieces over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, turning often. Please take care to cover the lid of the frying pan to get the soft original crust results. When both sides are fried golden brown remove from fire. Drain on a cooling rack over paper towels and serve hot.
      • (This recipe is for emulating the original KFC recipe, it is untested, by me - so go online and check several other options too. The 11 herbs and spices is the NEWS here and what KFC keeps locked away. I will test this reciepe also and let you know what I think.) 

    Until later,

    ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

1 comment:

  1. I am dying to know MOMA's recipe for their Organic Quinoa & Radish Salad with cured olives & citrus.
    Any chance you can get it, or have it?