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Monday, January 29, 2007

Crapture: No Influence

Some Influence is an exhibit of objects created by Deborah Fisher, showing at the Dangerous Curve experimental exhibition space in downtown Los Angeles from February 3 to March 10, 2007. Remodernists can’t even contemptuously refer to Fisher’s random sculptures as "crap," since the artist herself refers to her sculptural approach as "crapture." One is hard pressed to refer to what Fisher does as sculpture, since her goal is to "lose control over the form and allow the material to organize itself." That is somewhat analogous to lighting a candle and then proclaiming the subsequent pools of melted wax to be a work of art. If you think our criticism of Ms. Fisher too harsh, then perhaps her own words will properly describe her aesthetics:

"Craft is about right and wrong, preserving tradition, not reinventing the wheel. The teaching of craft in art school tends to create artist-technicians who so clearly know what is right and what is wrong that they will never do it the really fucked up/interesting/revolutionary way. Craft dulls the potential MakerThinker. It creates false security and throws up barriers to understanding. Craft is conservative."

Let us for a moment apply Fisher’s immature notion of craft to other artistic disciplines - writing, dance, music composition, and then try to imagine the results. Writers would possesses no understanding of language structure, Choreographers wouldn’t know a single sequence of classical dance steps and musicians would simply be unable to play their instruments. Even untrained amateurs possesses a notion of craft and they strive to refine and deepen it. The idea of craft is ever present in the actions of a working artist, it is in part what guides and directs the artist’s hand. While art making is an intellectual process, eliminating skill and craft from the practice doesn’t leave you with much - which in large part is precisely what is wrong with the type of art produced by postmodernists.

[ Crapture - "Craft is conservative." Deborah Fisher allows sculptural materials to "organize themselves." ]

While this article has focused upon Ms. Fisher’s exhibit, it is not meant to be disparaging of her work per se. Fisher’s art is indicative of what is continually shown at Dangerous Curve, an "experimental" art space we’ve had our eyes on for some time now. The good people who work and exhibit there will no doubt be pleased to hear that despite our scrutiny, we’ve found little proof of craft or skill being evident in the gallery’s past exhibits. Dangerous Curve promotes itself as a venue for "risky and intelligent work that’s ahead of the curve," which sounds like a reasonable enough mission statement - and easier to advance than "trendy, elitist and incomprehensible." The art space also offers "museum-quality" framing and archival printing, but we are left wondering - are these services also totally bereft of craft?