Back to THE HISTORY OF THE FUTUREFall 1999/ Winter 2000

Friday, November 12, 1999 Art History:
Guy de Cointet; Andrea Fraser "Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk."

Hush little baby don't you cry,
Momma's gonna paint you a big blue sky
If that big blue sky don't turn (you on)
Momma's gonna paint you a Grecian urn

The point of this song is that artists have recycled images and ideas endlessly since somebody outlined a hand on the wall of a cave 30,000 years ago. (One of my favorite netcasts from 1998-99, by Rae C. Wright, suggests that our notions of originality are a bunch of hooey and artists have always ripped off ideas from the generation before.) So it may not come as a surprise to know that performance artists have made reference to art history in their work. The Blue Man Group's show, Tubes, for example, sends up Dutch realist painting, Abstract Expressionism, spin painting, Jenny Holzer's use of LED signs, and most hilariously, the self-referential video work of the 70s when the artists appear (on pre-recorded videotape) to leave the theater. Guy de Cointet, a very important artist who is no longer alive, used actresses to describe identical paintings in completely different terms, suggesting that reality is comprised solely of one's perspective.


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