ARTLURKER

A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Is It Art or Fart?

Is It Art or Fart? book opening at Family Bookstore, Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Adam Shopkorn.

The book entitled Is It Art or Fart? found its inception in a blog focusing on snapshots. These quickly taken images depicted objects or events that seemed to represent the artwork or experience of many contemporary artists. Participants began posting their fake art (fart) findings back and forth between the East and West coasts. Their various fart findings include a Robert Gober-esque drain, a Daniel Flavin-like fluorescent light, and some more imaginative findings such as a Damien Hirst-ish butterfly collage.

Is It Art or Fart? book opening at Family Bookstore, Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Adam Shopkorn.

The topic of mimesis as the inspiration for all artwork is ancient. Aristotle posited that mimesis was integral to the creative process. An ideal artist imitated reality in order to bring about a catharsis in the viewer, thereby completing the aesthetic circle of inspired maker and edified audience. Is It Art or Fart? attempts to explicate the mind of the aesthete who, once drawn into the mimetic practice of the artist, is empowered to create their own viewer-based artistic practice that re-makes the art imaginatively via observation of the quotidian. This re-animation of ordinariness is precisely what many artists strive for in their work. I believe John Dewey in his seminal book, Art as Experience said it best, “For to perceive, a beholder must create his own experience. And his creation must include relations comparable to those which the original producer underwent….Without an act of recreation the object is not perceived as a work of art.”

Is It Art or Fart? book opening at Family Bookstore, Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Adam Shopkorn.

Is It Art or Fart? book opening at Family Bookstore, Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Adam Shopkorn.

Is it Art or Fart?, aside from having a less than appealing title, has an earnestness rarely found in our jaded contemporary art community. The project possesses a genuine lack of cynicism, and a slightly naïve quality seemed pervasive in many of the fans who were involved in its authoring. I attended the book opening at Family Bookstore on Fairfax in Los Angeles and was pleasantly surprised by both the beauty of the store and the friendliness of its patrons. This is a new contemporary art fan base, one based on joyful interaction rather than judgmental pretense. I can’t recall ever attending an art event with a keg and a high school-quality Power Point presentation on the wall. But that is really what the whole book is about, revealing contemporary art’s ability to inspire — even in a society as invincibly flatulent as our own[.]

Is It Art or Fart? book opening at Family Bookstore, Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Adam Shopkorn.

Is it Art or Fart? is co-authored anonymously.

This post was contributed by Mary Anna Pomonis.

3 Comments

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Is It Art or Fart?