The art of the debrief

A few weeks ago at my birthday cocktails, a few of us got into an interesting (some might say heated) discussion about art and the general question about whether art needs an audience. I’ll admit that I’m on the side that says that yes, art is made for an audience, even if the audience is only the art maker themselves. I do believe that art is made for some kind of viewing and not just purely for expression. Otherwise what’s the point of outputting that expression into some visual or tangible form, rather than just expressing away in our heads. Okay I see some points there that can be taken on, but I offer this in part to ruminate about why it is just so juicy and interesting to discuss art after we’ve seen it, experienced it. Whether it’s dance or television or a painting – there’s something inside us that wants to rush out the door and compare notes with our neighbor. Often it’s just a re-hashing or inquiry about what we just saw. But other times it does become a dynamic dialogue not only about the work, but about some larger issue either directly-related or inspired by what’s presented. For example I went to an interesting, lively debrief for Kitchen Sink PDX’s recent Step into my office art event. Maybe it’s not a fair example because this event was all about audience interaction (or was it?). There were certainly different levels of how artists expected visitors to engage with their work. And there was also a long discussion about the other major premise for the event – that of collaboration and the nature of how to collaborate. And of course a little tense talk about money and stuff. All in all, though, it was a good dialogue about the work. Well who knows if any of this makes sense. I’m just spitting stuff that’s been on my mind. Yo.

Some links to explore ArtLex is a kind of nutty sprawling index of all kinds of art terms. Click on “Art” for some relevant fodder. I’m a sucker for about.com so here’s a link to some easy articles touching on the subject art appreciation.

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