It’s not what it is

2 11 2015

I was at a dear friend’s home recently. He was playing music that was completely out of character. It may have been doof-doof-like, if memory serves. I remarked how surprised I was by this. He explained it was by … erm, someone-or-other … collaborating with one of his most esteemed most favourite musicians. I protested, but still, it’s doof-doof-like, why listen to it. To which he proclaimed: “it’s not what it is, it’s who does it“.

Ooh, contentious.

Naturally I disagreed most heartily.

Then gave it more thought … if I do like a lot of the work of a particular artist (say), I’m probably more likely to give new (or previously unseen) work consideration (or leeway) that I may not give to an unknown artist if they produced the same object. Though I’m pretty sure it’d not make my opinion change from ‘not connecting with’ to ‘connecting with’.

I wonder if we could test the impact of this attitude in the jewellery (art) world … perhaps we could have a group exhibition with no artist names displayed on pieces? I’m imagining:

  • before you even enter the space you’re asked to fill in a questionnaire, ticking your most favourite two/three artists of those listed (the list being those in the show) … though this is a bit tricky, as it does ‘prime’ you (in psychology parlance); it would work best if the pieces are new or unusual in the artists’ oeuvre
  • then you enter the space, enjoying yourself, probably recognising pieces if they’re typical of the artists
  • after you’ve looked at all, you’re asked to identify the two/three pieces you most connected with
  • then the names of the artists are revealed
  • … how would this then impact your choice of favourites?
  • … would you revise that if you found there was a piece by your favourite artist that you didn’t recognise?




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