The Thousand Year Rule

Artifacts | Christian Boltanski’s Bonfire of Humanity




| May 18, 2010, 6:15 pm <!– — Updated: 6:15 pm –>

No Man's Land
James Ewing/Courtesy Park Avenue Armory Christian Boltanski, “No Man’s Land,” 2010.

Clothes may perform as fashion statements but that’s hardly all they’re good for.

On a live body they also shelter and expose, enhance and diminish, challenge and flatter, instantly telegraphing taste, class, style and sense of self. Discarded garments tell another story — especially when 30 tons of them are tossed willy-nilly into a twenty-five-foot high, bonfire-like pyramid surrounded by a mass grave of 60,000 pieces of apparel in every size, shape and color. …

NY Times

I have a theory

about what is, and is not, art.
Actually, I have two.

The first is this:  If I can make it, it’s not art.

Pretty simple really.

I look at things like Michelangelo’s David, or DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, and I know I can’t match that talent.

Even Jackson Pollack’s brilliant use of color, I could not come anywhere close to.

The second rule takes a bit of imagination.

It’s the Thousand Year Rule, and it works like this-

We dig up stuff from one thousand years ago, and we know right away, what was a simple, useful tool, and what makes us stand in sheer, unadulterated awe at it’s beauty.

We look at things built one thousand years ago, like the Dom in Mainz, Germany and are left speechless at the magnificence of what  men and women accomplished in ages past.

So, if the archeologists of the long tomorrow dig it up, and know it is a thing of beauty, it’s art.

But, if they dig it up and say, ‘What the fuck is that?’, it ain’t art.


One Response to “The Thousand Year Rule”

  1. ksteeldd Says:

    ok, when i look at a pile of clothes like that, my first thought is NOT “what a piece of art”… but hey that would make one hell of a quilt!

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