Art is possible in any format and featured artist Ben Valentine demonstrates this through his unique and challenging conceptions of what emerging art is. He works in a wide variety of media including sculpture. photography, blogging, performance, and even dinner parties to explore themes such as community, personal history, and communication.
The work can be simultaneously fun and serious. One such example is a piece in which the artist drove an ordinary u-haul truck to an alley behindestablished art galleries and transformed it into an actual gallery where pictures were exhibited and sold. This rethinking of public space, and desire to provide unexpected experiences in unexpected places has an air of lighthearted performance but also speaks to his more serious concerns and critiques of the art world.
He also has some very personal modes of working that feel like a diary of sorts and include his blogs: one called contextualizingartoday
which he calls a "tool to decipher everything I am reading, blogging, talking about, making" and contemporaryartruck
, which is an ongoing chronicle of contemporary visual art.
This personal approach is also evident in a piece called Out of the Album
which was made by finding every picture he has been tagged in (on Facebook), printing them, and displaying them in a jumble atop an actual photo album.
His search for art and expression also includes works where he can ask questions and interact with a variety of people such as in the 2010 Art World Census. He will gather information in the census (you can participate by going to this link: http://2010artworldcensus.blogspot.com/
) and with the results, will construct a visual digram of the respondents thoughts.
He asks questions that can have any number of answers, while providing a sense of collaboration and community. His frankness in asking everyone what art is, and if a dinner party qualifies, is a large part of Valentine's art practice and begs the question, if you call it art, is it art? Are snapshots, dinner, and conversation art?
As Valentine works to define art for himself he works at (re) defining art in general and enlarging our sense of what emerging art currently is and what it can be.
Valentine lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. more info at: benjaminvalentine.com
and 11 questions with the artist
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