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April 17, 2012


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Patrick S. O'Donnell

I don't expect this question to be addressed here, but I'm curious as to what qualifies this installation (or the other pieces I looked at online) as a work of "art?" What might be its "aesthetic properties." Or does this perhaps exemplify the "post-aesthetic character of art?" I see how the above could be construed as clever, novel, even a bit funny (a display of ironic wit), perhaps a striking exhibition of some kind of social commentary (protest art?), but I suppose I'm rather obtuse as to imagining it as something I would christen or appreciate as a work of art. Perhaps I lack sufficient artistic training or education, or maybe my aesthetic taste is boorish or unsophisticated. Does this "work of art" provide the individual spectator with "a privileged space of contemplation" wherein there's some measure of "reprieve and sanctuary from the barbaraism of the world?" (Donald Kuspit); or motivate a kind of "disinterested affection?" (William Gass); embody a joie de vivre (e.g., as in some Impressionist paintings); or incarnate some instance of emotional, existential, or spiritual alchemical experimentation or transformation?; or speak to us by way of its aesthetic properties and qualities as a work of art to that which participates in the True, the Good, or the Beautiful? If, after having seen this piece once, will I return again and again to consider or contemplate its virtues? Does this putative work of art bring us back, through sublimation or access to the unconscious, to a child-like innocence, spontaneity, or naivete? Are we witness here to an attempt to show us what is sacred or holy in the non-natural world? or what might be a secular path to salvation? or a transcendence of time? or a taste of real freedom? or a realm of spirit and spirituality beyond religion(s)?

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