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Creative destruction performance art by Keyvan Shovir


Imagine five days before opening an art exhibition.curator is working with artists and perpetrators.gallery staff is sending invitations and advertising for the show. Suddenly BAM!!!

One of the three ceramic sculptures just fell on the floor and broke into pieces. Luckily the artist accidentally smashes the Art. And quickly, artist and curators started to see this installation with different new meanings with a slight edit in their art statement. Suddenly the gallery owner walks out from her office and says this work now is more powerful and meaning full. I like it this way!

This was the best-case scenario of an accident during installation. The accident becomes a part of “creative progress.”

But what if the artwork damaged by an art preparator or audience?

In this case, the preparators can lose their job if they drop the sculpture.

Imagine an art handler touches a print without white gloves and leaves the fingerprint mark on artwork.

Or imagine artist leaves fingerprint marks print or canvas. Perhaps it will become a way to Identify the originality of artwork, and it will add value to the work.

I worked as a preparator with most of the galleries and museums in the Bay area, and I always ask my supervisors that what happens if I drop the artwork or accidentally damage them. However, I never get a clear answer, and always this question freaking them out.

Although Some times, artwork can damage people, and in some cases, can kill people. A deadly artwork!

For instance, In November 1971, Richard Serra’s “Sculpture No. 3” killed 34-year-old Raymond Johnson at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The artwork crushed Raymond Johnson to death when a two-ton steel plate toppled over on him.

And his wife filed a lawsuit against the artist, the museum, and the piece’s fabricators.

Or In October 1989, another Preprator lost a leg while dismantling a 16-ton Serra sculpture at the Leo Castelli Gallery.

Sometimes the artist destroys his works intentionally.

And Destruction it became an act of producing Art. The artist can break the artwork, smash it, or burn it to ashes.

But if artwork burns to the ashes by accident, for example, if a museum or gallery burned in a fire accident, it is not a performance art anymore. It is just a Loss of Art also based on their insurance, and they have to pay the artists. But if the artists burn their work intentionally, They can not claim to the insurance company.

I made a performance piece during the quarantine when everything is still lock-down.

I ripped off my painting, a painting with Iranian calligraphy, mixed media on canvas.

What I discovered when I was studying my MFA in California College of Art was that language and accent can create a barrier or generate positive emotion. What I find out is monolingual Americans think that the British accent is sexy and intelligent, and they are skeptical about the Farsi language. I will dive more in-depth in a separate blog about politics behind the language and how it changed society and culture.

As you see in this performance, the artwork has been hung lower than the usual standard of galleries and museums.

Artwork doesn’t have any hanging hardware, and it is resting in a loose screw on the wall. Plus, when I ended my performance, the piece rests crookedly on the wall—nothing in here stands by galleries and museum standards. There are no rules in this piece. There are no standards. Even it is hard to distinguish what is the residual physical objects of the performance. Is it the painting by itself or scratches on the wall? Or utility knife that I broke in the middle of the performance?

in this work, that I performed in my studio in Oakland, I created artwork by destroying another work. But this is not the end of the painting, like the energy it changes the form because Art is energy.

It shifted the format from painting to video

Artist changed the format of the work from a physical object to video and pixels.

#preparator #Arthandler #video #performance

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