Passing Thought-Clouds of Doubt Over The Artist “Is Present”

Some things I’ve thought while thinking about something I think is nothing

PRESENTING: ON: The Artist is Present
(crude thoughts regarding the 2010 spectacle)

  1. If doing nothing means doing art, does that mean art is nothing? Or that art means nothing?
  2. Not even Zen artists would say their art was “doing nothing”
  3. Controversial alternate title suggestion: The Audience is Present
  4. Is it “interactive art” if the interaction involves the audience sitting in front of the art? (In that case, I would have to assume all art is “interactive”)
  5. Is it “participatory art” if the participation involves the audience sitting in front of the art? (If so, I would have to assume all art is “participatory”)
  6. Is it “performance art” if the performance involves the audience sitting in front of the performance? (Isn’t that the traditional way to experience a performance?)
  7. Thoughts of the artist who wants to be present: What can I do that is the most nothing?
  8. My thoughts: It’s going to be a (really dumb) idea.
  9. Thoughts of the artist they call now “Is Present”: It’s really difficult to present nothing as art!
  10. My thoughts: That’s not an artistic justification.
  11. The artist presenting her thoughts about not being present: “It’s not like a painting: you have the painting, the next day its there. Performance, if you are missing it, you only have the memory…” (TED Talk 2015)
  12. My thoughts: “It’s like a performance: you see the performance, the next day it’s not there because you aren’t still seeing it. If you are missing it, you only have the memory…”
  13. Would your rather…See an artist sitting in a museum gallery or see a painting sitting on a gallery wall?
  14. Definition query: living sculpture or dead performance?
  15. Questionable implications: Is it “immaterial” art if the artist is material? (Wouldn’t it be more immaterial if the artist wasn’t present?)
  16. Equation theory #1: immaterial experience (in theory) + museum context (in reality) = art (in concept)
  17. Equation theory #2: concept + concept + concept = CONCEPT
  18. Ratio theory # 1: minimum materiality = maximum spirituality (this is not a new idea)
  19. Ration theory #2: minimum materiality = maximum art (this is apparently the new idea)
  20. Ratio theory #3: nothing = something (this is an obvious idea)
  21. I won a staring contest when I was a kid! Can I put that on my resume?
  22. I wonder…is she subtly commenting on the gallery-sitter profession?
  23. Wasn’t the myth of the starving artist tragic enough?
  24. The artist is so dedicated to her practice that she doesn’t eat while making art! The starving artist is the most dedicated artist of all!
  25. The artist is so dedicated to her practice that she holds it in while making art! I don’t suppose she had a catheter under her excessively long dress?
  26. I would cry too if I sat in line for hours to sit in front of someone sitting for hours
  27. Is making people cry an artistic accomplishment I should be aware of?
  28. If I don’t cry when the artist is present, does that make me aesthetically ignorant? Grossly insensitive? Hopelessly uneducated?
  29. Am I a bad person if I get nothing out of experiencing someone experiencing nothing?
  30. I cry out of sadness, happiness, shock, relief, ecstasy, boredom, and pain.
  31. Yet another example in art history of an exceptionally dumb idea becoming a huge popular success (remember The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living? No pun intended)
  32. This makes Damien Hirst’s dot paintings seem like a good idea
  33. This makes Damien Hirst’s dot paintings seem like something worth looking at (wouldn’t you rather see colorful dots painted by paid artist assistants than pay to see into the real eyes of a real artist?)
  34. Which is more artistic: 1,365 dots on canvas or 750 hours in a gallery? (at least a painting can kill two birds with one stone…)
  35. Decree Number One for the Validation of Performance Art as Art in Contemporary Art: the pinnacle of performance art is reached through exhibitionist feats of physical endurance (i.e. self-imposed suffering in the name of art; the greater the suffering, the greater the art)
  36. Who’s the better artist: Nitsch or Burden? Was Christ an artist?
  37. Christ complex, anyone?
  38. The martyrdom of the artist leads to the martyrdom of art
  39. The culmination of the cult of celebrity
  40. Who fucking cares that the artist is present the artist WAS present?