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Thursday, June 13, 2013


eva hesse

What about Dada? What about Surrealism? What about Abstract Expressionism? What about Pop, Minimalism, Op, Conceptualism, Post Modern? Talking with a guy I've known several years, his whole family, about an art project I'm venturing into involving welding, something I'll be learning as I go. I've wanted to know how to weld all my adult life and never got it done. Now, here it is offering itself to me. Hooray. I'm looking at sculptures made of varieties of steel scraps, wheel rims, motorcycle skeletons. With welder friend Ross, we will make things and put them out by the road for sale. He has all this junk metal that is too light weight to get any money for as scrap metal. Let's have a good time and make some crazy things. Sell them. Friend today said he took a lot of art and philosophy of art---he can't take art that lightly. He has to be serious about art. So he doesn't make any art. I mentioned making some abstractions with the parts. His response was that abstraction was what was happening in the Fifties and has no more relevance since then. I thought: Huh? What? I didn't want to go there, because I believe he has his reasons for his own way of seeing. I've spent my life looking for making art without making art.

cy twombly

The list of questions above were the unspoken questions that flashed through my mind when he said he was too serious about art to be so frivolous with it. I wondered. Twentieth Century art has a serious / not serious divide. The ideal to be serious and not serious to where they cancel each other. Eva Hesse. I talked about inability to do something spontaneous without regard for Art, the kind that is funded by corporations for skyscraper office decorations. I don't want what I do on corporate walls. I used to know somebody who bought for corporate offices in Charlotte and I thought that the best job a man could have. He'd fund a European vacation going around to different cities and galleries and artists studios buying for the Bank. On the other hand, the hand I live my life by, I find it repulsive the major corporations cannot pay workers a living wage, but pay for art in office spaces with millions in their budget, where everybody who works there would prefer Remington prints in ornate frames. I was in a show in Greensboro some years ago and saw a corporate buyer going around looking at things with somebody associated with the show and thought: great job. I didn't want to meet him or suck up to him or anything. Didn't even want him looking at my things. It was at this show I learned that is not the world I want to do my art for. I'd rather sell it at a roadside stall. I'm not breaking new avant-garde territory. Nothing close to it. Just a Joe having fun playing art.

ellsworth kelly

Getting momentum started in the morning toward making some stand up sculptures like John Chamberlain and Tony Smith, though not like either one. We want to make things like swans and other animals and bugs with parts. I want to explore abstraction in what I'll call a Wipe Out series. The whole idea behind it is redneck art, something to put in your yard in front of the trailer. I think of making everything I do Dada. Approach it like nobody has ever done anything like vertical sculpture of any kind. Giacometti had his Surrealist period interrupted by ww2 and he moved to Geneva, just across the border into Switzerland. The artists of Paris had to leave the country. Giacometti in Geneva was alone in his art mind. He decided to start over as if no sculpture had ever been made. He was making first ever. He started carving tiny, one-inch long standing figures, out of soap with his pocket knife. He kept them in small pocket match boxes. He returned to Paris at the end of the war and began making clay figures like he made with soap, carved them with his pocket knife. It was the only tool he used. His brother, Diego, cast them in bronze. I can see I'll be using my art eye, which I can do and nobody will notice. I believe our key word will be humor. All in fun.


I found that I have come so far beyond Serious art that I don't even think about art as serious any more. It seems to me like internationally the whole world of art all over the globe is exploring Dada, making it new. My sensing is the next 500 years will run the course of 20th century art again, but all over the world; dada, surrealism, abstraction, pop, minimalism, conceptual. I'm seeing Post Modern the beginning of that cycle again on a bigger scale. First cycle happened in half a year in Zurich, 1915. Next cycle was 20th Century art post-Duchamp for half a century. This is why I suspect the next cycle to be half a millennium. After ww1 Dada transcended into Surrealism through similar excursions all over Europe into the inner realms in art. Abstraction started "officially" with Kandinsky and became a movement in New York after ww2, the same time bluegrass and rock n roll took off. Then the momentum happened in a hurry through the 1960s through minimalism and Pop, Op, et al, until about 1969-70, in my way of seeing the flow. By this time in the world of art, anything goes. This is why I have Found Art images with the blog, photographing things I see out and around, like water hydrants wrapped in black plastic and fixed with black tape. Christo came to Sparta.


I've reeled inwardly since hearing it's possible to be so serious about art you can't do anything. That's too serious. It tells me art is not serious. Maybe I'll be making art for the first time in my life.  I'm seeing this as my own chance to discard what seriousness I have in myself about art. I know I have plenty. To weld something together that looks like a gigantic penguin for the lawn. From what I've seen of the junk parts we'll be using, I am peaking in my designing mind. I already know what I want to do with some of it. I'm ready. In Little Richard's words," I'm ready, I'm ready, ready, ready, I'm ready-y, ready, ready, ready, I'm ready, ready, ready, ready, I'm ready, I'm ready, ready, ready to rock n roll." It's like answer to a prayer I never thought to ask. It's another reminder to myself that I don't have to suck up to anybody about my art expression. Don't have to suck up to a gallery owner. Don't have to suck up to rich patrons at gallery events. I can't do that shit. I cannot look at any art expression having to do with money. To me, they're antithetical. That's not very practical thinking. I feel like the art world is the way it is because it's the nature of the world we live in. I don't care to "make it" or pretend to. It's rather freeing. No two ways about it, I still have much of my own seriousness about art drifting about in my head like space junk. Time to set it free before this lifetime is out. I'll give it the rebel yell of today: Hail Yeah!

tony smith

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