Big Fat Deal has an interesting post about Georgia artist Mark Wentzel's big fat Eames chair. I should say here that my understanding of art is pretty crap. I know what I like and what I don't like and I like to page through The History of Art just like anyone else, but I'm not great at critique. Also, I have, on occassion, gotten the famed Eames chair mixed up with the Aeron chair, so I am obviously no expert on design. I saw the picture and my thought was "large chair" and maybe "heh" and it stopped at that.
Then I scrolled through the comments and started to think about what people were saying and attempted to think about what Wentzel was trying to say. For about 5 seconds. And then I Googled. Mainly to see if anyone else had reviewed the piece. I didn't find much.
My two cents. I wasn't outraged. I like the idea of a piece about overconsumption, and I equate overconsumption with gobbling up mass quantities of crap and "useless" stuff you don't need. Like fancy schmancy chairs? I dunno. I probably wouldn't have equated the overstuffed chair with fat, but it was the artist himself who said, "It gives the opportunity to a particular viewer to grab their stomach and say, 'Wow. That’s me.'" He steered the conversation toward the overconsumption of food/fat bellies equal overconsumption, blah blah blah.
I'm stealing this directly from the comments section, courtesy of someone named MizShrew, because it sums up nicely what I was thinking.
"First of all, he assumes that the “particular viewer” does not already know they are fat, such that seeing this chair would produce a “wow” moment? Please. Then, of course the viewer who is fat is fat only because of over-consumption, “obviously.” And, of course, there’s the title, “useless” which really limits any greater discussion of the work, doesn’t it? He boils it down for us – chair is fat, chair is useless. This approach shuts down what could otherwise be an compelling look at form and function in our society. But no, instead he goes for an elaborate fat joke and calls it art."
Are we overthinking? Or is this what good art is meant to do? Provoke interesting discussion? I admit to reading a bunch of the comments and being perplexed, but I was overall happy to engage some critical thinking skills today.
Things I am NOT commenting on today:
* The Yankees game last night.
* The fact that the Yankees and Red Sox are playing right now. We've declared a cease fire in the house for now.
* The number that the shitty committee in my head is doing on me regarding my weight right now.
* The fact that I like the running and the biking, but chafing? WTF? This qualifies as TMI AND commenting, but I apologize to my coworkers for not wearing underwear to work today.
* The fact that my birthday is a week away and I haven't really thought about it.
* The fact that work is going to be insane and crazy starting in September so I have to pretend that September is not starting very, very soon.
* That I really think these are really cute and I really, really want them, and I'm afraid that means that any sense of style I ever had is just gone, gone, gone.
* That I only have a day and a half left before vacation, and it's keeeeeeling me.