Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

Instant Art

So I was driving to Lodge this evening, and NPR had an article on an "Iron Artist" competition. Two sculptors face off, armed with a choice of tools, and are given a theme. They have 45 minutes to produce a sculpture on the theme, and are then judged on it. (The result was apparently a styrofoam snowman, hanging upside-down, expressing the theme "Love and Its Discontents".)

And it struck me that we seem to have a genuine meme going here: the notion of "Instant Art". I'm not exactly sure when this started -- the first major incarnations I really became aware of were Iron Chef and the 24 Hour Comic initiative, but the basic idea certainly goes back further. (Offhand, there's Harlan Ellison's Chocolate Alphabet; I don't know what further precursors there are.) But from Junkyard Wars to Iron Artist, it does seem to be an idea whose time has come.

Is this a simple fad, an expression of the current zeitgeist of "Hurry, Hurry", or a lasting new idea in art? It does seem to have value: the people who do the 24 Hour Comics seem to mostly feel that it's a useful creative exercise. That's likely to keep the concept around for a long time. What I'm less sure about is whether the idea of this phenomenon being entertainment in and of itself has legs, or whether it will fade in a few years...
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