Art musings, artists, Exhibitions

What is art for?

Old electricty generating station at Pigeon House , Dublin

Another question might be: Who is art for?  – I’ve been wondering about this conundrum since I went to see “I knOw yoU” at the Irish Museum of Modern Art recently.

According to the catalogue, that exhibition was examining the idea of cultural capital, and what it means to be European. The artists were graduates of the Städelschule Academy in Frankfurt, a leading centre for experimental art. Strange to say but last Thursday, when I visited the exhibition, there was nobody there!  Correction: I was there and then I saw one other visitor. And this exhibition was free to the public!

But then I was out at the Shelly Banks on Sunday, gorgeous day by the sea, and I went to see “Landing Place” at the old Pigeon House electricity generating station (above). It was a moving experience. Sven Anderson’s sound installation in particular, Fionnuala said that it evoked for her, echoes of Strumpet City.

So what is it about art?  I like the idea that ‘art makes things special’.  I got this from Ellen Dissanayake who writes about how art in primitive societies was important to everyone, not just to a small group of ‘art practitioners’. Art was used then to mark an occasion, to celebrate, ‘to make things special’. It wasn’t an elitist activity, largely ignored by the general public.

What do you think?  How important is art in your life?

More about the events at the Pigeon House at: http://www.commonagecallan.com/index.php?/upcoming/landing-place/

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