In my recent ponderings on iconic figures and separating artists from their art (or not), I remembered a comment I’d made about auctioning off investment artists’ shopping lists. After researching a little further I found this:
“…speaking of genius is always talk about artistic hierarchies, about the experts who wield the magic wand that makes something art, placing an art work within a context of previous and subsequent events, and creating authors and oeuvres in the process – the experts create the author and define the art work, separating Picasso’s art from Picasso’s shopping list…As Foucault has discussed, the author (of which the genius is a specific type) is a functional element in the discourse, not a natural category or a real person. It helps us to group the incoherent fragments of the past into understandable segments, and to rearrange the life of an individual into a narrative that can have meaning for our lives.” Hanna Järvinen
As I am now in possession of a metaphoric shopping list, I think another layer could be added. That is – the “non-expert” brings their own value system in making artistic judgements and of course “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
Speaking of Foucault and icons, makes me wonder if anyone has run the Foucauldian lens over McCahon – I mean they must have. If so, please forward any references in the comments. I mean:
“The collaboration of word and image engenders what Foucault calls a “calligram” ,a composite text-image that “brings a text and a shape as close together as possible” . The calligram is a figure of knowledge as power, aiming at a utopia of representation in which “things” are trapped in a “double cipher”, an alliance. Word and image are like two hunters, “pursuing its quarry by two paths…By its double function, it guarantees capture, as neither discourse alone nor a pure drawing could do”
From Picture Theory By W. J. Thomas Mitchell
And just because thats all very heavy – something funny and serious all in one. Happiness is a warm gun.
Anna Campbell Warm Gun Series