Thursday, July 08, 2010

An Introduction to Conceptual Art

A few days ago we (here in the States, anyway) celebrated the birth of our nation 234 years ago.

Though, there is one fact we tend to overlook. July 5th, 1776, most of the citizens in the United States awoke as subjects of the crown. Only a handful of guys, who were present in the room during the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, awoke with hearts lightened with the murky vision of what America might look like (as well as a lump in their throat for the potential penalty worthy of treason: beheading).

Actual independence as a nation state did not come until the Treaty of Paris in September of 1783. Or, some might argue it didn't come until January of 1784, when our Continental Congress was able to ratify it, or April of 1784 when the British King did the same. But, as true Americans, we celebrate our initiatives, not the initiatives of those aided by the French (thanks during the Revolution, BTW), or the blessings and acceptance of foreign kings. It's like celebrating budget surpluses (which are projected).

We celebrate the idea.

But, my question is, if it is possible to unify 300 million people around July 4th, 1776 as the birth of our nation, why is it so difficult to get even 1/10th that number of Americans to embrace some of the simplest conceptual works of art as "works of art."

Perhaps we should take up arms and fight it out for seven years. Though, as F.T. Marinetti discovered after his Futurist Manifesto, artists make lousy soldiers.

No comments: