Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Marcel Broodthaers anti artist

On Twitter tonight, @Jecklin (Andrew Jecklin) asked "Can art be so bad, it's good?"

I said, yes, but it takes a real genius with vision and skill to break the rules in an interesting manner. Not everybody can "slop" something out and call it art. It takes an inspired anarchy or a bold move into discomfort and radicalism to pull it off.

Jackson Pollock got rich by dribbling paint. But how many artists can dribble as creatively as he? Maybe a lot, I'm not sure. It's funny how the latest trend in art is a return to dribbling, or creating the appearance that paint is running down the canvas, in a manner that most people might call a "mistake" or "amateur".

Check out Art Forum magazine for examples of this contemporary dribbling and running effect.

Marcel Broodthaers is one of my favorite artists. He painted books with black paint and partially painted over other people's paintings. He constantly did the unexpected, the strange, and the new. I consider him an "anti-artist", in the best sense of the word. He suspended normal expectations, even re-titled his works to annoy art museums and galleries.

In the image above, entitled Pense-Bete (Reminder) 1964, he took 44 books of his own original poetry, and embedded them in plaster, rendering them unreadable. This was his first official "artwork".

Rosalind Krauss book Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition discusses the art of Marcel Broodthaers.

Listen to a discussion of him in this Broodthaers podcast.

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