“I hesitate to take a position that might impede the forward march of the new,” a friend told me last week in a discussion about Fluxus art. He was responding to my apathy about the movement and its place in art history. Known for making no distinction between life and practice, Fluxus artists expanded art's definition, helping to open up a myriad of new avenues for artistic exploration. Still, I can count the number of people I know on one hand interested in seeing another headstand Fluxus performance, and I'm fairly certain pushing the “What is art?” boundary in the age of “Whatever I tell you it is” has reached a few inevitable limits.
Beyond there no longer being much point in challenging the various forms art can take, one must also question the once implicit value of “the new.” I don't think anyone has any concrete answers, but Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker's collaborative efforts represent one of a growing number of artists who don't appear overly concerned with re-inventing the wheel.
This year's Venice Biennale included a Guyton/Walker room, with their now trademark stock images of oranges and banana peels on paint cans and crates. The brightly colored banana specifically evokes Warhol, its ubiquity underscoring the essential nature of the original silkscreens. Were it not for its edition number, it would be indistinguishable from anything else reproducible. Furthering Warhol's transformation of appropriated imagery into art, Guyton and Walker's use of pictorial forms not only functions as the art, but serves to obscure objects either used to make or protect it. As such, the artists successfully recast the popular question “What is art?” to read, “Where is art?”
To read the full piece click here.