Friday, October 23, 2009


(painting credited to hieronymous bosch)

SdB Yeah. He got a job at Bell Labs doing helicopter design as a way of pursuing his interest in the so-called Psychopter, which he was much more enthusiastic about than the helicopter.

DH What is the Psychopter?

SdB It’s Young’s idea of a vehicle that would transport the self—the human self—into another dimension. He really believed in this.

DH So this is outside of neuroscience or psychopharmacology. Are you talking about nuts-and-bolts engineering in the service of…altered consciousness?

SdB Exactly. He’s in pursuit of something fantastic, but positioned within the world of utter practicality.

DH Well, as painters, we have permission to take questionable theories seriously.

SdB To what degree do you have to be right, as an artist? There is the notion that you should have some idea of what you’re talking about, but it’s never going to replace how interesting a work is.

DH The work needs to reflect the strength of our convictions. Our motivation thrives if we believe that our efforts matter.

SdB I have this belief that the work will yield awareness or trigger a connection to the images as if they’re encoded in the paintings as bodies of information. It also becomes a way of escaping the issues around painting: nothing interests me less than the questions of abstraction, or the possibilities of whether painting can compete with other mediums. That seems to be really behind us.

DH This gets to the core question: What is painting good for?

*(full bomb magazine article can be found here:

I find this article interesting for the dialogue these two artists are engaged but I also find it taps into an idea that's been mull'n about my kehnoggin for some time. In April I took part in a project that challenged the notion of collaboration and more specifically artist collaboration and artist/curator roles. Because I'm a professional artist I take my role as artist into consideration, not necessarily seriously but always considerably. With professional collaborations there should be a basic understanding of ownership of intellectual property as well a delineation drawn between the art concept and the curatorial concept. One should also think about a contractual agreement if relationships bear a certain amount of hostility towards these lines. Lets just say that I will always be wary from now on. As an artist I think it abhorrent for a curator to shit all over my idea and work. The bold italic dialogue above points to the main issue in my mind - that is, what is the function of the art as opposed to the curatorial umbrella. I say opposed because sometimes there is a great but silent battle taking place between the two. I do have more to say about this in time. In the end I'll add that when conducting projects that involve people of considerable skill, good intention and quality there must be an effort to give credit where credit is due. When collaborating ask yourself, did I do the whole thing by myself with no help and do I deserve complete credit for all this brilliant work? In the end I ask all you self absorbed users to always check your ego at the door when asking for help' (me included).

On another note: The Bomb Magazine article is worth a read. While hardly touching on my issue the conversation is really inspiring. My thought is that it manages to be mindful of artistic practice and sincere. Arthur M Young is also worth checking into.

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