In defense of sculpture
I am amazed that a person who enjoys and profits from the process of creative open communication, would attempt to attack the entire field of creative communication that you call modern sculpture“ (Random Thoughts 2/25).
First of all, I agree with your general views on the faulty process that has been used in an attempt to place this particular piece of art in the Open Space. You have however made a couple of errors. It is my understanding that the $800,000 was an amount that included much more than the original price of the sculpture. Secondly, the advertisement on the Internet listed in 2006, estimates the value of the piece is as low as $50,000. The price is listed as Make an Offer.
Apparently nobody made an offer. It would seem that the sculpture has no monetary value. Apparently a decision was made to give it away.
As to your reflections on modern sculpture, according to your wording, I would assume that you mean non-representational, or non-objective sculpture. I am of course a sculptor. I have several large outdoor sculptures on display in several regional cities. Most people would say my sculptures look like machine parts. Some people are amazed with my work. Some people have compared it to ugly junk. Although I have a price on my sculptures that are reflective of the cost of materials, the hours of labor, and the 40% to 50% that galleries have to charge to cover their expenses, most of my work is worth absolutely nothing, as no one makes monetary offers for it.
Some of my best discussions about my work have been with individuals that are not impressed with modern sculpture. I generally ask, what kind of music do you enjoy? Do you enjoy instrumentals? In the discussion that follows, we usually agree that instrumental music is something that is appreciated. But instrumentals are a completely abstract form of communication. Sound patterns with varying pitch, meter and intensity.
If we can appreciate the abstract arrangement of sound, why do we not accept the abstract arrangement of form? We seem to have a need to link sculpture with representational images. Oh! That is what we do with music; an instrumental conjures up images in our minds of memories of our experiences.
As the discussion continues, I can generally have the person generate a narrative of what they think my sculpture is, and how those thoughts relate to their past. I always answer the same way. Yes, you are right. That is exactly what my sculpture represents. It is amazing that you understand what was in my mind. We part after sharing experiences from our past as ignited by observing the sculpture that they thought was valueless.
Of course, if I have the same discussion with 10 different individuals, I usually come up with 10 different scenerios. All are right as they relate to the person observing the sculpture. Many leave thinking that it is all a lot of nonsense. However, each person will have the image of my sculpture, and what it means to them, forever engraved in their mind.
The world would be a very boring place if everyone thought and saw things the same way. Modern sculpture allows each viewer to put something of themselvs in the art work that they are observing. Good or bad, it evokes a creative and unique response.
I think that your article may be misguided. It however, caused me to take the time to write this response. I would assume that my response might generate other responses. Just imagine a world of people thinking for themselves. People discussing what is important to them. It seems that we are both in the same business. You accomplish it with the written word. I do it with modern sculpture.
By the way, it seems that you give your product away at no charge. Apparently we share something else. Like this sculpture by John Piet, our work seems to have no monetary value.
Doug Gruizenga Interlochen