sculpture traps

An amazing post. Clear, inspiring, witty, and actually good to read! I think I am starting to get a glimpse of some of the things I shoulda learned (or at least been introduced to) in Grad School, via Deborah Fisher’s (yes, her again) Sculpture As Intellectual Burden, and Liz Craft as Deliverer and Victim of [...]

By Christopher Robbins

An amazing post. Clear, inspiring, witty, and actually good to read! I think I am starting to get a glimpse of some of the things I shoulda learned (or at least been introduced to) in Grad School, via Deborah Fisher’s (yes, her again) Sculpture As Intellectual Burden, and Liz Craft as Deliverer and Victim of Said Burden. This women has, in many ways, pegged me, except that I am still stuck Trying Too Hard to Romance the Blue Collar, dabbling in video and performance art, and killing my sculpture by trying to make it be alive.

But then, her last paragraph makes me feel better about what I am doing.

“If you’ve been to art school, you already know this. Sculpture has a lot of baggage as a medium. Even more than printmaking. There’s the Guy Thing (also known as the Romancing The Blueness Of My Collar Thing), the Monumentality Thing, the Bronze Thing, the Craft Thing, the Effort Thing, the Plaza Thing…

Pretty soon you are sitting in a dark room, listening to Charles Ray talk for hours about this tiny shape beneath the feet of an ancient greek sculpture at the Met that looks like a lima bean and represents space in this incredibly meaningful way. And even though your gut was screaming YES! the whole time you were listening to him talk, you will not be able to make sense of it even a week later, and this will discourage you. And half the time you make anything you are still winding up with either a lamp or an ashtray.

You start dabbling in video and performance art…

I literally cannot stop myself from blithering about the nature of what I do, even though every time I say something about what I am doing in my studio it winds up being untrue, winds up hindering actual understanding. My mouth is always coming up with systems, and the world is always smacking these systems out of my hand. And all I can say is that when I am good, I remember that my mouth is not very smart and I let the system go. When I am being a bad clingy intellectual, I work very hard to let the words and ideas win…

We live in a world where our insides–our image of what we want the world to be–has fucked reality up so badly that sculpture might actually become more than an intellectual playground for hamfisted, tonguetied bigbrains with dirty sneakers. It might become intellectually useful if it becomes more outward-looking.”

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