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‘We see not the art, but the space first.’(1)

Perhaps if we can see that ‘we see not the art, but the space first’, we might not see the space first.



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Context directs Content/Customs

I’m currently writing about the placement of objects and the ability of the white cube to define objects as art objects.

Art is created when an object is contemplated as art.

This has led me to wondering about the removal of context. What happens to the object without the white cube?

Craig-Martins’ An Oak Tree becomes a glass of water again, people can piss in Duchamp’s Fountain and Damien Ortega is no longer the Controller of the Universe and can flog his tools.  But people wouldn’t piss in Duchamp’s Fountain though. Or if they did it would be a performance of sorts. Fountain surpasses the gallery now and can maintain its art object status. Because the white cube stretches farther than its physical attributes. It too is conceptual.

I’ll leave with a gem I’ve discovered of late. This blog is a little bit amazing.

Great Art in Ugly Rooms

Meticulous photoshopping of Pollock into a public school. Decontextualisation ensues.


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The Arts of Air

Steven Connor addressed The Arts of Air at a talk in 2007 at Art Basel. As an introduction, he references Ruskin and the view that everything delightful comes from life, earth and air. Rust means life, and polished perfection means death.

Absolute Air

In conceptual art, art refuses to be reduced to the fixed object, or mistaken for that one object. Art has always struggled with the enchantment of objects, when often process is preferred. Duchamp’s Air de Paris, 1919, presents air as the art object. This gesture establishes immateriality as material. Air is not a readymade, but rather a ready to hand emblem of unmaking.

Homage to Duchamp’s Air de Paris

 No object embodies arts desire to have done with objects more than air.’ – Connor

…If air is nothing, and art aspires to identify with that… then art is nothing… and can therefore be anything. Right?

Art does consist of nothing in particular. Everything else is miserably final and particular. Similarly, air embodies a multitude of traces, but no single state of being. Impression without presence. Only outerness.

The desire of the unattainable.

Neil Mulholland talks about the creation of ‘living gestures rather than museological landfill’, in his Notes on Ambient Art.


The fixed is limiting. I’ve been looking at works by Robert Barry who wants to make minimal impact on his surroundings. It is important to remember that the invisible is not the inexistent.

Object Air

‘Let us recall what we are sure we know about objects…’

Objects are dead/fixed/permanent

Objects have no relation to each other

Objects are not free to change nature

Objects are for our use

Objects stay the same, for that use

Objects are needed by subjects

Objects are what we know

… ‘All this is mistaken.’

Air is, in essence, an object. It is errored to think otherwise. Objects are finite but not final. They are not immune to relations. Air is needed for objects and objects guide activity and allow us to move beyond ourselves.

Rubber Duck, 2009

Conner turns to the subject of inflatable art. I found this an unexpected direction. I didn’t expect the article to detail such literal interpretations of Air Art. However the comical and impermanent nature of the inflatable obviously relevant. From Deller’s Sacrilege to Floretijn Hoffman’s giant Rubber Duck, the delicate form of the inflatable is intriguing as an example of the transitory object.

Air is not an ideal image for art, but an object for it to work on. Air, then, is not immateriality.


I’ve said ‘Air’ too much. I need to go do something…

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Nightmares, Traps and Contemporary Art

Dreams are a weird one.





-Louise Milne

Having never really thought much about the nightmare and a possible connection to a work of art, this was new territory for me.

Milne likens the nightmare to a trap. There is evidence of what came before, the creator. And there is suggestion of a possible victim. The trap is this middle point that acknowledges both the aware and the unaware. In a dream every entity is intact you. And the hunter and prey interact.

Artworks too ensnare attention and provoke ‘self shattering’ experiences. Milne comments on the anxiety caused by placing paradoxical representations against each other. This is why a nightmare can be frightening, the familiar comfortable objects interwoven with fear and ‘monsters’. Art, and curation too, incorporate juxtapositional paradoxes into their viewing.


Damián Ortega’s work has drawn my attention recently. His use of objects but in grand representations amuses me. In Controller of the Universe he manipulates a collection of tools into a spectral and threatening display. The title alludes to this manipulation. This speaks of mans dominance over the object, the assignation of purpose and use