An angel in the Musee d'Orsay
Imagine art as a pendulum.
Imagine art as a pendulum. On one end is poetry, and on the other end is information. Life is everything in between.
I usually approach the thinking-seeing-experiencing art process like this: I consider the thoughts and conversations frequently recurring in my personal life and zoom out to consider how these play into global affairs. From there, I can see how even the most intimate details, dilemmas and delights reflect universal shifts; these macro developments form the basis of art I like to learn more about and share.
It's an imperfect formula that has led me in some exciting directions.
There is no doubt we're living through an era of pure chaos. The forces beyond all our control that inform how art-making and viewing happen have silenced expressions of global disarray.
At the same time, I firmly believe that we must find a way to face whatever may unravel with a sense of hope – that is what keeps art going. Cultivating a deeper understanding through art is always the best place to start. However, the intersection of politics and art is complex and ever-changing.
Everything is aesthetic because the original definition of aesthetic has something to do with the senses. We're returning to the senses by employing what's available through our body – a sophisticated trick.
The intersection of aesthetics and politics has always fascinated me. They have a history that is incredibly difficult to cover and moves quickly. The possibilities of what defines an artist have transcended. What art contributes to politics – and vice versa – is the shape of a philosophical problem with two very different institutions. Over the last decade, I've seen politics and contemporary art meet in three different ways.
Art as a contribution to public discourse
People talk to one another in the news, social media, and other public spheres. Art has a message or puts forward a particular view, facts or information on an issue.
Art as an action
Artists (instead of engaging with medium-based art) participate in social practices like organizing protests and working with communities to the point where it becomes blurrier as to what the artist is doing as an artist.
Art for aesthetics.
Art is about the experience and why the experience of the beautiful is so crucial—letting art do something to you and mix with your thoughts, feelings, and being. It's a way of knowing yourself and thinking and opening up the mind's windows to reach new depths.
In the 1960s, we saw the introduction of strangeness and unpredictability in art through pop art, minimalism, and conceptual art, and in the 1970s, we saw politics evade art through postmodernism. It has remained.
Now, on the cusp of a post-woke world, are we in a weird position of redescribing something we already know? Are we re-writing art history we have forgotten, or has something changed that requires a reinvention? And how do you leave room for enchantment when making art on severe topics?
I have no idea, but it's so fascinating to watch at a time when art and politics are more potent than ever. Think about when Russia invaded Ukraine. That was the first time in a very long time that war broke out in a country with a global, progressive, active art community. Art is part of culture. If you lose culture, you lose identity.
An angel in the Musee d'Orsay. Not political, here for a purely aesthetical purpose.