Is art for galleries or for lived-in spaces?

A recent video on artplayer.tv calls for rethinking art and its purpose. We are so used to seeing artworks in galleries, in purpose-built exhibition spaces with white walls and high ceilings. It is interesting to note that for most of our cultural history the situation has been radically different and that galleries are only new inventions as ‘the idea of an object as the individual expression of an artist with no utilitarian function became accepted only in the eighteenth century’ (see Bonita Kolb 2000: 23 for more).

Indeed, why should art be locked away and not be part of the everyday in our homes? This idea is more acceptable when thinking about paintings, but the Contemporary Arts Society North show how contemporary art which is often spatial, not just visual, can be installed into homes and acquire a whole new meaning – and purpose as it becomes part of interior rather than being separately exhibited. The video below is very inspiring as it encourages not just rethinking art but rethinking homes. Our current dreams of ideal homes derive from interior design magazines and from people who make or market furniture, curtains, carpets. One of the core principles of interior design, just like architecture, is that everything has to be functional – innovative, beautiful, unusual – yes, but always functional. This functionality of items and solutions comes down to their practicality whereas the function of contemporary art installations in your home could be of a different order – they can offer aesthetic pleasure, intellectual engagement and of course varied reactions of your guests…

The project ‘Art in the Home’ brought artworks from Arcade and WORKS|PROJECTS to six homes belonging to members of Contemporary Arts Society North – here is your chance to see what effect it had to both art and homes, just click on the image to watch the video:

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text by Kati Jagel

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