Tolstoy Looks at Ann Hamilton’s tropos and Answers “Is it Art?”

November 16th, 2004 · No Comments · Education, Writing

Let us say that we, the perplexed spectators of Ann Hamilton’s 1993-94 installation, tropos, have both a time machine, and an inclination to see what Leo Tolstoy might think about the work in front of us. We are simple folks from across the river who have wandered into this Chelsea Gallery, and we are a bit mystified at the slightly undulating floor which is covered with bushels of horsehair, the shimmering light, and the person in the center of the room, who appears — by the smell of things — to be methodically burning each line of a book. All this amid the reverberating sound of a man who seems to be struggling to speak, but is unable to communicate anything at all.

What we want to know is: can this possibly be art? Perhaps Tolstoy can enlighten us. After all, he is the champion of making art understandable to the masses, and here we are, uneducated dockworkers from Brooklyn in the possession of a time machine.

[nobody asked to see this, but that’s the intro to my Western Art Theory (Mid-19th to Mid-20th c) paper]

Category: Education · Writing

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