Art Is Just A Story

People make a big fucking deal about art.  They talk about provenance and historical relevance and cultural significance.  Those things can certainly make a piece of art more interesting, but why does that make someone want to own something?  There’s literally billions of dollars worth of famous art I wouldn’t even think about hanging on my wall.  A piece of art might be important.  It might have been the genesis of a new style.  A famous artist may have made it.  But if you don’t enjoy looking at, who gives a shit?

Well, museums do.  Art historians do.  The art-loving public does.  Even I do, to an extent.  I want to see important art.  I want to see the works that launched new styles.  I want to see the most famous and “important” works of art in the world.  But that doesn’t mean I like them or think they’re good.  That doesn’t mean I’d ever want to hang them on my wall and look at them all night.

That’s the interesting thing about art.  There’s a market for just about everything, even art that looks like shit.  It’s all about the story behind the art.  With the right story, you can get people to buy anything.  Or literally nothing:

Black on Black No. 8, AD Reinhardt, 1953

Black on Black No. 8 by AD Reinhardt at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. I'm not fucking with you. It's just a piece of black canvas.


I recently ran across Deborah Butterfield’s sculpture.  She goes out and finds wood scraps, fashions them into horses, and then casts them in bronze.  I think they look super cool:

Deborah Butterfield's "Tracery"Deborah Butterfield's "Red Branch 2007"Deborah Butterfield's "Blackwood"A gallery that sells her work also documents how she builds these:

Deborah Butterfield looking for suitable sculpting material

Deborah Butterfield looking for suitable sculpting material

Deborah Butterfield preparation
Preparing to sculpt
Deborah Butterfield mid-build
Deborah Butterfield support for bigger pieces
The support for bigger pieces

Why?  The process behind the creation of the artwork makes it more interesting.  It gives it context and scale.

Tell your story.

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3 Responses to Art Is Just A Story

  1. Snampy says:

    Hi A.J.

    Have you read “The Painted Word” by Tom Wolfe?

    Also, check out this blog by Stapleton Kearns:

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