In response to Kaprow

Though I fully understand the purpose of the Happenings was to destruct the traditional archetype of art/art viewing/art making relationships, this writing has left me with more than a few questions.
The first being, is this ever truly possible? The obvious flaws with involving others is that they are essentially always "outsiders." Not involved in the creative process from the beginning they are happenstance to whatever is asked of them, inevitably bringing their thoughts and interpretations (adding to the art in an unplanned but meaningful way) as well as their discomfort and embarrassment (which as the author states, "they quite rightly resented") For me, this seems to me no more artful than being called upon in a nightclub act; the idea of which the author seems to find utterly reprehensible.
In my interpretation, the author is suggesting that any activity, if planned out accordingly before hand can become a work of art. If I go to the deli counter, the dry cleaner, and the post office with no previous discourse of my days events, though a well planned course of action formed in my head; does that transform the days chores into a work of art? Or does it take the verbal communication of your intentions for these actions to become art? If so, doesn't the acknowledgment of intention create an audience? Even further creating the dynamic of artist/audience at the time in which these verbal cues are given? Is it indeed possible to eliminate the artist/audience relationship?
Finally, if all aspects of life can be viewed as artistic in nature, it is no longer art imitating life, but rather life becoming art? I find it an inspiring idea that all of life may be considered as art as long as it is lived with intention and purpose...

Collaborative partnerships and authoring...

As I began to think about collaborative art-making after last week's class, one of the first things that came to mind was a kind of two-person/artist collaboration that I have heard about several times in the past few months. This type of collaboration involves one artist beginning work on a piece and then sending it to the other artist to finish. I don't know how long this exact form of collaboration has been prevalent, but it certainly seems to have some popularity at the moment.
I visited a gallery this summer with a class I took, and one of the main exhibits was one such collaboration. It was called "Cross Country" and involved two artists working on opposite sides of the country. They would ship fairly large pieces back and forth in order to complete the artwork. While the show was interesting, a number of my classmates expressed their desire to know more about the process. They wanted to see some more evidence of the collaboration than just the final pieces (such as a picture after the first stage). I agreed that it was hard to understand where the artist's individual mark was made on the art (these pieces happened to be sculptures), but in the context of this class, I am beginning to wonder if revealing any more than just the sculptures themselves would go against the whole purpose and point of the collaboration and the "de-authoring" that can occur.
Certainly most exhibits do not include an illustration of the artistic process, so why then, should we expect to see an explanation of a collaborative artistic process? The more I think about this question, the more I see an argument for both sides. I am curious as to what others think? Should collaborative artwork always involve an element of de-authorization? Does it always involve this element? In the case of the exhibit I viewed this summer, I would argue that there was a significant authored presence, just split between two artists. In this case, I do think it was somewhat natural for viewers to wonder about the nature of the collaboration and the process the artists went through. Obviously this can be true for one type of collaborative work, and not so for others (such as the Happenings that Kaprow wrote about in this week's reading). Is anyone drawn to a certain form of collaboration?

Reflection on the Reading

Collaborative art-making can engage multiple persons. Collaborating with peers helps to develop a deeper understanding of one's art style and preference. By learning to effectively work with each other and to problem solve together, collaborative art-makers develop a life skill called teamwork. I agreed with the point in the article that all elements in the environment should be participating in the activity. After reading the article, I began to ponder the pros and cons of collaborative art-making. I asked myself several questions such as How has collaborative art-making influenced other cultures? What challenges may arise when a group of people of various ethnicity's, social class, age, religious preference and cultural barriers are asked to engage in collaborative art making? I believe that a cross-cultural collaborative art-making experience can build social skills, develop leadership qualities, and a healthy awareness of a diverse artistic community. ftaylor. 08

Collaborative art at the Olympics

When I first read the course description for this class and began to think of collaborative art I am familiar with, the first thing that popped into my mind (mostly because it was current) was the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. As I was watching the ceremony it had crossed my mind, that it seemed like a pretty interesting idea to have so many people involved in one large scale artwork; especially an art work that evolved over the course of the evening (the rising sun that was originally drawn, was eventually colored into a smiley face, telling a completely different story).

It seemed to me at the time that this piece of work enveloped many ideas of performance art and collaborative art. However, after having read the article by Kaprow, I find that maybe the collaboration used in the Olympics was not fine collaborative art nor was it a "Happening". While many, many people were involved in the creation of this piece of work (all Olympians for the stripes, and performers) the concept of the piece, as well as the performance of the creation, were conceived by one man. If it is one man who has a clear idea of exactly how the performance will happen and almost exactly the final appearance of the work itself is it still a collaboration, or a single author's work in which the people become the media?

Also, with an audience who is non paticipatory, does the performance become just a stage show? I tend to disagree with the idea that just because there is an audience present, this discounts the work as fine art. At some point a group of people must reflect on the art in order for it to have meaning, they become the audience - regardless of whether they were involved in the creation or not.


Collaborative intro

Over the last few years, I have been exploring fine art collaborations and several artist collectives. Justin Strom, my printmaking professor at the University of Maryland, introduced me to the concept of collaborative art making. He worked hard to keep his students up to date on fine art printmaking culture. The contemporary printmaking world offers a large amount of collaborations.

Printmaking is a uniquely community-based art form. While painters, drawers, and graphic designers work alone in an intentionally private space, printmakers constantly share equipment and information. Printmakers hold conferences several times a year to get together and share recently developed techniques. Printmakers truly believe two heads are better than one, and several hundred heads are better than two.

The communal tendencies of printmaking lead to many collaborations. Justin Strom, like several of his colleagues, participate in formal artist collectives. Justin's collective is Satan's Camaro. He partners with another artist, Lenore Thomas, to regularly produce and exhibit collaborative works. He and Lenore still also produce individual work.

Justin has exposed me to other printmaking collectives as well. Many of them member he met through working on printshop teams or attending informational printmaking conferences. These collectives include the Amazing Hancock Brothers, Drive by Press, and the Little Friends of Printmaking.

Inspired by the challenge of collaborate printmaking, another one of Justin's students and I started an informal collective. My partner's name is Ilan Gutin. We made our joint alias God's Cadillac in response to our instructor's Satan's Camaro. God's Cadillac began just to see if Ilan and I could successfully combine our two favorite subjects (nebulae and weapons) without killing each other. The challenge gave birth to our Guns in Space series. We agreed that the first project, Lightyear 1, was incredibly difficult and educational. We continued on to make other collaborative prints.

Given my history with collaborations, I am excited for this class. However, in the past my experience and knowledge has been contained within the realm of printmaking. I am curious to see how cross-media collaborations will progress.