“Art for Arts Sake”

By Geisha Bar

After a recent trip to the National Gallery in Canberra, I was somewhat dumbfounded by some of the modern art our tax dollars had gone to accrue. Blank canvasses purchased for tens of thousands of dollars and other seemingly childish works for similar money. But I was reminded that art is still good even if you hate it. The simple debate and interest is enough to satisfy the artist not just what it is worth.

The debate I shared with a friend revolved about the future of the modern form. What next? Soup cans and prints seem so far in the past now more likely to appear on a t-shirt than in a book. When the Australian government bought Jackson Pollock’s blue poles #11 in 1973 for what was then a record US$2mil it created so much controversy and stimulated much debate. Nowadays it is somewhat iconic.

Art continues to evolve as artists are enabled by changes in technology. With better sculpting tools, painting implements, musical instruments, to information and culture changes form globalisation, the artist can do what was before either not possible or not foreseen. So with more technological growth now, than at any other point in history, what lies on the horizon? What will be the next “Modern” Art?

It was at this point my friend Sara introduced me to an artist by the name of Bathsheba Grossman. The technology she uses enables her to sculpt impossible designs. Using computer design, 4 dimensional mathematics, molecular biology and 3-D printers which layer build a metallic figure (such as you may have seen in the movie the fifth element), she is able to sculpt straight from screen to creation and create perfect copies for sale.

An amazing use of technology I am sure but what will I see in a gallery?  An original?  A copy?  Surely what is in my home is the same. Has art been diminished by the number of pieces out there or just the value of it? Perhaps the only true original art is what is in the artist mind and everything produced from it is a copy. And with my throat sore from too longer debate I walked away wondering if the next technological leap would perhaps enable me to see that original.