Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What about neon?

I’m heading out to Lite Brite Neon today in Brooklyn to explore ways of transforming some of my text-based videos into three-dimensional objects. These folks seem very familiar with artist’s projects, as their website attests. They produce Glen Ligon’s neon work, including his new sign at the Studio Museum in Harlem (the image above).

I’m on the fence about neon as art. It all seemed to have started with Bruce Nauman’s The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, which borrowed what was then a purely commercial medium for art purposes. Part of his intention was for the piece to not look like art. Which at the time, it didn’t. Now that neon and signage is a common sight in exhibitions, I wonder what the point is in producing yet another statement or another example of language as art. Once this thought formulates in my mind, I’m almost immediately reminded that originality is mostly moot now. And then I remember I could have the same gripes about my “own” medium, video.

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