This is an homage to and a critique of the brilliant, and often annoying, art theoreticians that were required reading for anyone in the art world of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. While they varied wildly in their approach, subject matter, and writing style, they were consistent in observing carefully the roiling edges of the art world. They seem to have consistently championed what at the time was considered outrageous and/or uninteresting and/or beneath the dignity of a real art critic but soon became mainstream: Pop Art, AE, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, etc., etc. A veritable catalog of what is now considered the most significant art of the second half of the 20th century.
For this project, I simply scanned my bookshelf for material. The tree trunks are not from a forest or a wilderness, but are the most mundane, generic trees found (and mostly ignored) in the urban environment. In a way, this reflects where each of the critics worked. Each tree is sized and aligned with a letter of the theoretician’s name. After all, they told us not only what to look at, but how to look at it.
The tone of the type is chosen, purposefully dark, to remind us that they are all still here, influential, yet almost invisible. These names seem to have faded over the last few decades, but their present is still felt in any significant artwork produced today.