Have you have heard of the Experientialist movement? Maybe you read the term on a press release, on a website or heard it spoken somewhere. But what is an Experientialist and what do they do? There is no manifesto and there has been nothing written to...
By ro / lu in art
Published: Friday, 23 October 09 - 11:34 AM (GMT -06:00)
Last Updated: Sunday, 25 October 09 - 08:04 PM (GMT -06:00)
momentary performance # 4 - lee walton
lee walton's momentary performances will take place around the twin cities from sept-nov. each performance is a simple action that in everyday life would be normally overlooked. by giving this action or performance a time, date, and location, walton's intention is to highlight the subtleties and beauties of everyday people and actions. -from the shows program
a couple months back after spending the afternoon at the walker art center in "the quick and the dead" exhibit, my friend david and i stood stunned in the underground parking garage talking about how overwhelming the show was. one of the museum guards told us about an an unlisted work in the show by the artist trisha donnelly, a car in the parking garage with california plates that read 666. we found it and we loved it. at about the same time, we noticed several large pipes running close to the ceiling that reached a spot where they were disconnected, so that any fluid running through them would've just spilled out. it almost looked like it could've been art. all it needed was some conceptual context to frame the disconnected pipes with. we talked about how, in the right frame of mind, almost anything can be art. we talked about how much we both love that idea.
lee walton's work often explores this concept. he's been on my radar for a couple years now via marisa olson and rhizome, the new media project at the new museum. he's currently got a solo show up here in minneapolis at the olson gallery called "momentary performances and things that last longer". if you're able, you have to go.
all the work in the show playfully explores how relatively minor changes to things, like relocating things, altering mundane things, and re-enacting things can become thought provoking and occasionally profoundly beautiful things.
from the video relocating (new york) - lee walton
after seeing the show i had a bunch of questions rolling around in my head and lee was kind enough to fill me in a bit:
me - i'm wondering about the word "experientialism". i've seen the term in relation to your work (and a few other artists i like). could you explain what this means to you? is it actually a movement? did you coin this term?
lee walton - this is a tough question really. I did coin the term. Back in 2001. It was more a negation of other terms, rather than anything else. I have been labeled performance artists, conceptual artists, or (the newest one) "Social Practice artist". All are good. and Its all connected. But I felt that if I latched on to one of these and accepted it fully, I would then be filling a role of some kind. I am more interested in an open-ended situation - such as being an Experientialist - whatever that is. Also, as a young artist, trying to coin a movement was the LAST thing you were ever supposed to do. So it seemed appropriate to do it right away.
There is a thrill when I see the term used to describe my work or others. Especially when its in an art paper or public press. Its like "sneaking" something into the vernacular and just seeing if it floats.
Experientialism... hmm... Experiential Practice? I still like it!
destination specific floor sculptures - lee walton
another element of the show that i really liked are the six large, colorful primary shape based "destination specific floor sculptures". each piece has instructions for its de-installation, the date and it's destination...
On Wednesday, November 11, drive this sculpture to Wisconsin and lean it against something.
On Tuesday, November 17th, take this sculpture and leave it at a bus stop on Snelling Ave. Walk away, never look back.
On Thursday, December 3rd, cut this sculpture into seven different pieces. Give each piece to a stranger.
me - i love the "destination specific floor sculptures". can you talk a bit about them? will the instructions actually be executed?
lee walton - As for the deinstallation of the plywood sculptures, they will definitely be executed. You can help if you want. note - rolu will be deinstalling and documenting some of the sculptures.
A funny thing happened as I was planning the show. At a certain point i realized that nothing in the show looked like ART. So, I had this inclination to create a set of large minimal Kelly, McCracken style sculptures. I have always wished i could do this sort of thing.
All the pieces were made by Caylon, a student at Bethel. We worked together over the phone and email. The goal was to make things that looked like ART. They also had to be just awkward enough that one person couldn't carry them alone.
When I called and asked Michelle (michelle westmark - the olson gallery curator) about them, I asked "do they look like ART?" She laughed. YES!
So, yes.. they will be discarded appropriately. I originally thought about discarding everyday objects, such as chairs, toasters, a pillow - things like that. But it seemed more fun to discard ART. Plus, the actual spectacle of seeing somebody carry this thing down the street will become another Momentary Performance of sorts. I like when the art bleeds into real life just enough.
charcoal chess tournament drawings - lee walton
the "charcoal chess tournament drawings" are chess games that actually occurred in the olson gallery. the minnesota chess club drew and erased games in charcoal on paper. you watch the games happening in a video and you realize... this is something that happens in every chess game but you normally don't see it. the results are actually beautiful.
charcoal chess tournament drawings - lee walton
i highly suggest looking into lee walton if you aren't familiar... and if you live here in the twin cities, make sure you get to the show.
here's more on Experientialism via art in general
lee walton's book "the experiential project" via amazon
2005 interview with lee walton via big red and shiny.
posted by matt olson