I’m not going to pretend I follow the art world close enough to have fully realized and educated opinion on the matter. They only realm I’m truly comfortable with is movies and TV. So take all this with a huge ass grain of salt. I simply pay relative attention on stuff on the internets, and I check out galleries from time to time; usually getting to see every other one of the major exhibitions at LACMA. I don’t really have a vested interest, just a passing interest. But I know what I like.
And Tim Hawkinson is my favorite artist.
His art has unfairly been categorized as being “grotesque”, which is not only a judgment made on a fraction of his work, but one that misses the absolute restraint and intent of that work. Remember at one time Picasso, was considered to be wholly grotesque too. And today’s definition of grotesque art has to goal to provoke the viewer, to shock and revolt. Those have never been qualities of Hawkinson. No, his bent on space and form is far, far more interesting because it’s always a matter of perspective. His work a remarkable amalgamation of installation and sculpture, formed with a rigid balance between an organic look (you can’t classify it is modern or cold), yet realized in its meticulous, detailed construction (like his tiny bird skeletons constructed from fingernails). The work is largely about balance. Not the concept of balance itself, but between the extremism of various forms.
Take his tree/man sculptures pictured above. They consume the space of the room. Each figure is fully realized and excruciatingly detailed. It is a remarkable sight in person (he actually made a much larger version for his exhibition at LACMA). But the best part of this piece is that it’s a functional percussion piece. Since I have no idea how he did it, I’ll just surmise it uses air, mechanics, and physics to create these steady beats and taps and clicks. It’s so peaceful and intriquing, a truly sensory experience. But more importantly it’s a complete experience. It balances technology, form, space, sensory experience, audio and detail. It’s everything I could want. And it’s a trait you see in all his work.
Check out a google search:
Meanwhile, I fully realize the significance of the effect that Banksy has had on the larger cultural audience. Contrary to the opinion of some, it’s a great sign of ability when an artist transcends “art popularity” into “actual popularity.” So his books show up in Urban Outfitters and hipster haircut places… so what? That’s only because even non-art people can recognize that his art is good stuff. And yes, Bansky is an artist. He’s big, bold, functional, crass, and never falls into the trap of shock art for shock art’s sake. He’s clever. He’s fun (yes, art can be a lot of fun). And most importantly, his crassness transcends mere political cartooning, to have a kind of delightful, if not slightly obvious, poignancy. And functional/logical poignancy is something I support in any form. I like to think he personifies the movie Fight-Club (both in terms of his sensibility and effect on culture) . And like that movie he’s probably a little overblown, a little misunderstood, something I don’t full agree with, a little bit dangerous, lots of fun, and in the end, completely significant.