Sitting There, Reading This...

By K.

Get ready to peel the layers off. You want to eat this art ichoke he art.

No. You stole that line from a good writer!

I considered saying something, but that would be unpunfessional.

No, stealing lines would be unprofessional!

Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Picasso would know! He stole everything from Braque!

He’s a great artist then.

No, he’s not! Wait…who are we talking about?


I like Duchamp!

Did you know he was a cross dresser.

He was an artist!

Same thing.

What do you do again?

I’m in school studying art.

So does that mean, like, portraits and watercolors and stuff?

Didn’t you say you liked Duchamp?


Yes. Watercolors and stuff.

Jackson Pollock is my favorite, though.


Well…I can’t really put it into words.

Neither could Pollock.

So are you going to write about art now?

I thought I was.

But you haven’t said anything yet!

Story of my life.

Can we talk about it?

No one cares.

I do.

I stole it from Thom Yorke.

It was a bad intro anyway.

Are you confused? Me too, art feels all jumbled up inside my head and I can’t find the detangling shampoo. Artist statement, state of the art, artwork, work of art, art object, object-based aesthetics, dematerialization of the art object, I’ll tell you where to put your object, subject, viewer, relationships.

Would you like to write a little somethin-somethin about art? Where are you going?

The bathroom, I mean my studio.

What happened? Did Duchamp put art in the dicer while no one was looking? Did Duchamp put art in the dicer while everyone was looking? Did they applaud him as he flushed the remains down a toilet, THE toilet, THE infamous Fountain.

The urinal wasn’t connected to anything, though.

I know, I know! So where did it all go?

Maybe Duchamp took art out of the loo, pasted it back together, and our new eyes have been adjusting to the light ever since.

That would explain why no one could find the pieces.

I know it’s hard to keep up, but this is the way things are now, take a breath and tighten your sneakers. Cause yes, things are different now.

Throughout art history a beat emerges that you can tap your foot to. Each artistic movement, each philosophy, each style arrives, reigns as valid, and then disappears into the next. Classicism, Byzantine, Baroque, Impressionism, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, ism, ism, etc, etc. One dominant, ruling ism. One school of thought. One right answer, usually reacting directly to the style that came before. Usually, reacting against the style that came before.

Enter Postmodernism. A name that makes us sound like an intelligent afterthought; it’s one of those things that’s not like the others. What is our dominant philosophy, our aesthetic standard? We don’t have one. No ideal, no standard. Almost every movement from art history can be found represented in major galleries and other artistic practices across the globe today. There is no collective reaction to any of the past movements, to any philosophical norm, to any one tradition. We swallow all the opinions, all the styles, all the approaches, pat the artist on the head and whisper “Everyone’s Perfect.” There is no negation, no rejection of any religion, activism, political tilt, ethical standard, aesthetic approach, artistic purpose, or medium in art (and much of life). We swallow it all. Why? Because no one is wrong. Why? Because we got tired of others claiming they had it right?

If all that is true, what then is art? Or better…what is not art? Are there any more rules or did we relish destroying each one? Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance.

Can I tell you that you, sitting there, reading this sentence yes reading this sentence, are part of a performance piece I’m calling Sitting There, Reading This Sentence.

You’re performing it now.

Am I right? Am I wrong? Is that breaking the rules? Do you give up? I agree, let’s go drink fake cherry limeades at Sonic. But wait! Before we go, do try to come up with an answer (that is, if you think answers exist, because deep down inside, your thoroughly Postmodern self probably believes there are no answers…only eternal questions).

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