Friday, September 5, 2008
In addition to being equal parts absurd and brave, the above image of Paul Ladnier and Jim Draper got me thinking about the public construct of the artist.
I touched on it lightly in the previous post about Andres Serrano, and I am certainly not the first person to ponder the presentation of the self, public face vs. private face, (Banksy has made an entire career out of being unidentifiable) but there is so much information to be gleaned from the way a person presents themselves, that I often find myself scouring artists’ interviews for an image, not just of the work but of the artist him or herself.
Of course, this practice isn’t limited to artists by any stretch of the imagination (drive by any high school, or TSI for that matter, and you’ll see a parade the highly costumed as indicators for beliefs/social status/class/etc...).
However, it is a curious phenomenon among artists, there are those who see fashion as a way to both further question the status quo, and a way to celebrate unexpected and unorthodox beauty. There are those who belong to a larger social group and dress accordingly--pegged jeans, vans, and sleeveless tight tees--though this is just one example of a subset of a subset.
And then there are those, who blast into a restaurant/party/gallery, hair wild, covered in paint, and so ‘swept away by their own creativity’ i.e. “So sorry I am late, I just got lost in my work,” that they make a production out of it. Though by and large, artists are not members of the status quo, (I think) that the artist’s image of him or herself, is best constructed within a framework of personal values and experiences. Not, with a showboating, green-paint covered face.
So, I am especially amused by the Ladnier/Draper flier, if for no other reason than it is vulnerable, funny, and references (obliquely) Ladnier’s misadventure with a canoe
*Swamped opens Thurs, Sept., 11, 5-8p.m., Gallery L in the Modis building.