Week 1 Assignments
Yoko Ono and Bruce Nauman
How does Sol Lewitt express the notion that “the idea is the machine that makes the art” in his work? What does the artist’s actual hand have to do with the final work in a conceptual art context?‘ I believe that the notion that “the idea is the machine that makes art” is expressed through Sol Lewitt’s initial thought process and his ideas, as art cannot be created without them. Although he did not physically paint the wall, and “create” the art, he came up with the entire concept, colour scheme, and size, which is his conceptual art. The idea behind the work could potentially be even more important than the physical piece itself. Sol Lewitt then sends out his idea/plan to be created. The idea of a machine is represented by Sol, as machines use power to build and perform an action. Conceptually, Sol Lewitt used the power of his brain to plan and make decisions beforehand. Although the final execution was not painted with his hand, it is still his art. Overall, no matter what form the art takes, it must begin with an idea.
Where do you draw the boundaries around the artworks in this video? What are the artworks? What strategies and tools does Ono use to challenge the viewer? Do you like any of these concept-works? Discuss. I do not believe boundaries need to be made around the artworks in this video. Art can be anything you want it to be. It can range from something simple to something extremely complex. It can include anything ranging from your body to a hair on the ground. The artworks in the video are unlike what might be perceived as “regular” art, as they are created through words. Yoko Ono creates art through words to challenge her viewers to think about the possibilities of art. A simple one she mentions is called “Beat Piece”, where all one does is listen to their heartbeat. Perhaps this teaches the individual to slow down, relax, and think about things, almost like meditation. A more complicated one is called “cleaning piece”. To accomplish this piece, one is asked to make a list of the sad things in their life, and gather stones to correspond with the number of sad things they think of. They are told to add a stone each time they are sad and appreciate the beauty in the stones, while perhaps metaphorically finding the beauty in their sadness. They are then asked to make another list of happiness in their life and add stones each time they feel happy. Finally, as part of the exercise, they are asked to compare the number of happy stones to the sad ones. I feel this artwork gives an opportunity to see things in a different light and to dig deep down so an individual can see things more clearly. I really appreciate this artwork, as I feel this is an amazing artistic exercise, as it gives the viewer a chance to examine their feelings through art. This also allows the individual to stop and recognize the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, and perhaps allow us a deeper understanding of our lives. Some of the other concept-works included are called “earth piece”, “shadow piece”, and many others. Yoko Ono reads them out loud and the viewer is expected to accomplish the task based on what is requested of them. I believe this is a very creative concept-work as it gets the viewer involved on a different level, creating an interactive art experience that allows the artist, Yoko Ono, and the viewer to create together.
Describe two works by Bruce Nauman (include images) where he frames everyday actions (non-heroic, banal) as art. How are they “framed” as art, and what does the framing do to our understanding and experience of the actions?
In Bruce Nauman’s Piece “Double Poke In The Eye” He created art only using neon lights to bring new meaning to everyday actions. The everyday actions in this piece consist of the 2 faces looking at each other, as well as the hands pointing in different directions as shown through the timing of the different lights.
Bruce Nauman’s piece “hand circle” consists of ordinary hand movements, grasping the hand in front of it, to form a circle. This piece illustrates sign language, and most likely depicts intercourse as shown through the positioning of the fingers.
These pieces are “framed” as art, as they are both unique, unordinary pieces. Bruce Nauman took ordinary objects and turned them into something that can be interpreted in many ways.