Flash Points

Some Thoughts on Art + Transformation + Pop Culture


Kara Walker, "You Do" (1993-94). Cut Paper on canvas, 55 x 49 in. (140 x 124.5 cm). Collections of Peter Norton and Eileen Harris Norton. Photography courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Kara Walker, "You Do" (1993-94). Cut Paper on canvas, 55 x 49 in. (140 x 124.5 cm). Coll. of Peter Norton & Eileen Harris Norton. Photo courtesy artist & Sikkema Jenkins & Co., NYC

Our latest reflection on the theme of art + transformation comes from two popular Philadelphia-based art bloggers, Roberta Fallon & Libby Rosof. The founders of TheArtBlog.org, the pair shared some thoughts on the transformative relationship between pop culture & art:

There’s a constant conversation going on between art and pop culture. Each seems to transform the other for better and for worse. iPod advertisements quote Kara Walker‘s (Season 2) black on white silhouettes. Cai Guo-Qiang‘s (Season 3) firework explosions transform the ultimate pop culture “ooh” and “aah” experience into a commentary on light and space–but also exploding bombs.

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Everything is fodder in Ryan Trecartin’s through the looking glass world. People are transformed with face paint and audio is distorted to the verge of incomprehensibility. And the values of the corporate world and the family world are inverted so that there is no good/bad dichotomy and everything is a crazy jumble. The transformation allows the artist room to comment on how crazy and immoral the real world is.

That ability to transform has magic powers, and the ancients understood that when they donned masks and swallowed peyote buttons. Art is not peyote. It won’t get you through the doors of perception literally. But good art does open up doors of perspective that help us revise our understanding of the world around us.

– Roberta Fallon & Libby Rosof

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