To be honest I didn’t find much substance to discuss in either of these articles. One was very short (which I was thankful for since I was swamped with homework) and the other seemed more focused on statistics and facts about the Guerrilla Girls. I found the in-class discussion more interesting and thought-provoking. One thing in particular caught my attention – one of my questions answered another. I had asked why accessibility was important in the effectiveness of protest art, and also asked what artists can do to prevent “preaching to the converted.” In our seminar, we brought up how making the art accessible to a large, nonspecific audience prevents that.
Another concept I found interesting was the idea that “it’s not always about form and aesthetic, but about the purpose and effectiveness of an object.” To me, that is no longer art. In the seminar, others mentioned that as long as it was created with the intention of being art, then it is still art. To me, though, if it isn’t at all about form and aesthetic but is just about function, then that isn’t art anymore, it’s a tool. The example mentioned in the article was inflatable cobblestones by a group called Tools for Action (not art for action?) to turn violent objects into protection. I guess some would say that’s art because it’s making some sort of statement, but that’s not what the protest was about. (Also, not everything that makes a statement is necessarily art.) I don’t know, the premise of this whole article seemed a bit weird to me.
The Guerrilla Girls article, though it was full of statistics, did mention some interesting insight. (Not to dismiss the statistics – I just don’t want to comment on them here.) The author said that the more people are informed of an issue, the more they will want to act on it “(hopefully.)” This is another thing we mentioned in class. Protest art may be helpful for spreading awareness, but it’s hard to see any direct effects of it. I also questioned its importance in my curiosity page this quarter. However, I feel that the Guerrilla Girls are a unique case, since, like in the author’s case, many people were not aware or conscious of the problem the artists addressed. I feel like a lot of protest art protests things that many people know are wrong, but the Guerrilla Girls really brought a new issue to light. I think that this, in addition to their angry attitude, is what makes them an effective group.
Kristin Hines - Student artist at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School