In the previous post I revisited my complaint about Ellsworth Kelly, who is representative, who perhaps even exemplifies, the false art that has become a staple of contemporary museums and university art history programs. It has dawned on me over night that this topic brings with it the potential of a teachable moment. So, I have decided to launch a kind of anti-Ellsworth project here, which can begin with Ellsworth (a topic that brings many viewers to this blog) but which leads toward what I hope can be a more fulfilling and genuine encounter with a living, everyday art. Since I’ve always felt that one should begin wherever one finds oneself, I will begin this “tour” for the Ellsworth visitors with an Ellsworth Kelly-like idea. Perhaps other readers may find something fun and useful in it as well.
So. I was at Lowe’s hardward store this morning, and seeing the paint sample display I thought naturally enough about Ellsworth Kelly, my blog and my previous arguments. Having already told readers that they could do their own “Kelly” pictures quite as easy as pie using hardward store paint samples, I decided to grab a bunch and do it myself! Hardware stores are devoted to the “do-it-yourself” ethic, so it seemed entirely ripe and just and good to apply this ethic to art — even to the High Museum Art. Let the art world learn something from the world at large, I say.
Above is the first result. I took the squares and placed them side by side. You can compare them with the Kelly image that I first posted here. This one has fewer squares, they are all colored squares with no white or black spaces. I arranged them quickly in what struck me as a pleasing harmony. This pattern is more “raw” in comparison to Kelly’s chessboard-like image. But then, I was in a hurry and felt that spontaneity has its own virtues. Mine has shadows and messy elements of things not lining up perfectly. I think they lend it character.
You can do the same thing, obviously. In subsequent posts, I will complicate this project.