For SFMOMA’s Staff Art Show, Final Call, I chose to make a video work (created using digital images of works integral to SFMOMA’s permanent collection) that would be accessed through a framed QR code “portal.” This is my attempt to merge ideas surrounding art education/interpretation in the gallery, the contemporary evolution of art’s digital presence, plus the enormously complicated topic of Barthes’ “simulacrum,” or the reproduced copy of the original as a symbolic representation. What happens to works of art when they are not experienced physically? When works of art are recycled or creatively remixed, how do the original interpretations of the work come to inform the new embodiment?
“The simulacrum is intellect added to object,” (Barthes) or the representation the critical viewer makes of the “sensuous manifold” (experience) which is the object.
Also at play: the creative repurposing of the art object vs. the generic redistribution of formal components (taking the meaning of a Rothko and repurposing, vs. using the orange + blue colors of the Rothko within a work;;; what’s the difference?), as well as the iconic stigma attached to in-situ experiences of highly significant works of art. What does it mean to stand in front of a Picasso, Matisse, Rothko, Pollock…? Can the physical experience embody anything more than a formal perception? Where do the symbols of history and the ideas behind interpretation begin to enhance an emotional understanding of a painting?
If you feel compelled, please comment here with any thoughts you have on this piece, or the ideas I have only begun to unfold.
Without further ado: Modern Art in a Vacuum, 2012.
Portal destination (most likely to be experienced via smartphone):