If an artist sees a "Stop ahead" sign and paints a "No trespassing" sign, that's nobody's business but their own... (Unless they're working for the highway department...) But the general public doesn't get it. I mean cubism was bad enough, but art went on into Dadaism. I mean, how's a house spouse in Peoria supposed to relate to Man Ray's "Gift?"
Of course my response to Gift was Gift2, which was similar to this below, only the original was two GE irons, and this is two Black and Deckers.
Since Dadaism proclaimed the death of art, it's been all down hill for art as we know it. Abstract Expressionism: Ha! Andy Warhol: Ha Ha! Piet Mondrian HA HA HA! At the time I developed this essay, environmental art was getting big. Christo is this guy who likes to wrap things, like bridges and buildings and coastline. I mean, okay, we get the idea pretty quickly. So, I proposed this as Christo's last work...
So the trend the last hundred years or so has been towards the edge. Artists are now so esoteric that they don't understand themselves. I read in the paper where a dog won a fiber arts competition by chewing up a mitten. Of course the judges didn't know it was a dog, or they might have had some objection. I'm not sure what it would have been.
Then there was the performance artist in Canada who planned to squash a rat as an artwork, and pushed lots of different people's buttons with that one. But would you want to hang the results on your wall?
Because I objected to the commercialization of art (some missing slides include an actual ad from a newspaper selling "Sofa sized art at direct from-the-factory-to-you prices." and my parody, showing an artist cutting a painting in two to make it be the right sofa size), I also included a fake auction of some sculpture pieces, and then had some toughs in leather jackets come in and smash them (I think this represents the real world). And for fun, I got the head of the art department, John Maakestad, to pretend to paint one of his paintings by the number...
All in all, I'd say I was thoroughly misunderstood, which is the mark of great art and/or misguided miscreants. I mean artists didn't particularly like it, because I was being snippy about art. And people who weren't artists generally didn't have a clue about what I was talking about. But it was fun putting it together, and reminiscing about now.
Actually, at this point I'm reminded of Mark Twain's story of the Ram of Darby, that some old relative of his would tell. The relative, in relating how the ram of Darby was poised to butt someone in the pants, would invariably wander off the topic as to specifics, and never get around to telling whether the person got butted or not. That has always been my approach on the subject of Art as a Bourgeios Sham. Art probably is a sham because it became divorced from its original purpose with the age of photography. And when it became ludicrously profitable to collect art, it became a game of the rich.
Art remains political. Either the artist has the laissez-faire attitude accepting the status quo and thus produces innocuous decorator art, or the artist's work will be a commentary on the foibles and follies of society. As Frank Zappa said, "Everything you wear is a uniform..."