We are moving in this episode from Modern (meaning the school of art called Modern) to modern (meaning contemporary). After the future, Jim Lambie This piece was created in 2016.
I was utterly delighted by this piece. The components of this piece are so mundane and accessible - potato sacks that have been painted a fantastic metallic color. They have then been stuffed and arranged into a grid like pattern and the museum tells me “the repurposed potato sacks hint at a dystopian future defined by scarcity of resources.”
This is the kind of art that people love to say, “My kid could have made that!” That’s one of the things I love about it. No part of it is unavailable to anyone - I could have made that, but I didn’t. I didn’t come up with the idea, nor did I execute it in a way that spoke to a collector. I could create one now (if I could figure out where to find potato sacks) but it wouldn’t be the same - it would not represent an original idea, and it would be tremendously less interesting. Okay - rant over!
What to say to the kids?
How can something be “after the future”? Isn’t the future always in front of us? What is the artist trying to get us to think about? Do you think this is hopeful or sad? Does it envision a future of abundance or scarcity? Why?
Many people think this looks like buildings. Why would they think that? Most buildings are not soft and poofy. What choices did the artist make that make people think of architecture?
How would this feel different if the pieces were made of metal? Wood? Why did the artist choose these materials?
I love how arranging many “like pieces” creates interesting compositions. If we were going to make a project out of this, I would find something equally everyday and sculptural. Perhaps you could turn individual potato chip bag inside out, stuff them and arrange them. Another option would be to paint a collection of boxes in one color and arrange them. Perhaps you might re-purpose some single socks. Another delightful project would be making a macaroni picture out of just one type of macaroni. Using repeated elements makes the artist focus on arrangement and interaction between the objects - to use them to tell a story.
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