follow @ArtConfessional on Instagram to see the new and evolving virtual body of this work
“What do you think about this painting?” …. “I just don’t get it”
Step into the Art Confessional during this interactive performance installation and feel safe exposing just how much you ‘don’t get’ the work on display. But be warned! The Art Priestess inside can’t see the work that you can, so she may have to ask you to describe it to her…Read just how much people have been ‘getting’ and join in the public discussion of artworks and their impacts by following the Art Confession on Instagram: @ArtConfessional
Does art make a difference? As an artist I am convinced that it does. But how can I substantiate that view? This is what intrigues me about my work in the Art Confessional project. I’m interested in finding an impact metric for art and a way of making arts impact more visible. The Art Confessional performance experience is about about sharing arts affect and giving people space to realize their own expertise in their experience with art. By leveraging the social media sphere that has taken over the public conversation on almost all fronts but art, I open up a visible and interactive discourse on how art is viewed and what thoughts different artwork prompts. This to intervene in the status quo of art being relegated to nice background content for selfies and the occasional cameo but little to no critical commentary or even cursory review of artwork accompanying its digital media presence. The authenticity of the states separate them from the gallerist’s write ups, critic’s reviews, or curator’s commentary. The Art Confessional is about the public voice and experience with individual works of art and making the space in front of art one of guidance and empowerment of voice rather than suppressive and instructive education on someone else’s experience or intent with work. In serving my role in the performance as the Art Priestess I experience art through other people’s eyes and they become aware of how art is creating thoughts for them, spurring questions, stirring inquiries, and visually exciting them. It’s a practice that amplifies art’s impact in the world, one piece and one viewer at a time.
The Art Experience Confession was first conceived and performed at Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Italy by Wester as part of a team working with gallery staff in collaboration with Italia Innovation in July of 2016.
The Art Confessional is a performative piece involving gallery goers, specifically targeting the inexperienced Contemporary Art viewer.
In the first iteration of this project a low-fi ‘confessional’ experience was worn by the ‘art therapist’ (that remained anonymous during the experience) while patrons of the work entered the semi-private speaking ‘room’ one by one (attached) and described the art being observed.
The outcome of this process was a clear expression of one’s impression and experience of a piece of artwork; the impression that otherwise would have remained unrecognized due to internal insecurity about the ability to read art and misconceptions about who can and can’t comment, critique, and understand art in today’s society.
This performance was repeated in and out of the gallery and in multiple sessions across a few days. Commentary included:
“This is what the museum experience needs! This is what I need!”
“This would make me want to go to art museums”
THE APPLICATION OF THE ART CONFESSIONAL GIVES PROMISE TO CONTEMPORARY ART’S FIGHT FOR SOCIAL IMPACT RECOGNITION.
This project seeks to give new insight into the experiences of art viewers. With this wealth of new information on how people of many different backgrounds and interests are consuming works of art, new metrics on the impact, sharing, and discussion of issues in relation to art projects, presentations, and promotions can be constructed and tracked. Reliable social impact metrics for the arts would aide in garnishing funding for the arts, dispelling the stigma on arts and art museums that they are elitist or unattainable, and empower people to discuss arts and culture in a more meaningful manner. All of these benefits enrich the culture and engage the community in conversations that otherwise may be avoided.
Sharing of ideas and experiences is at the crux of an educated, innovative, and impactful society. Arts have long been a method of communication that can transcend language barriers and literary abilities. Therefore, if there is any media prime to take stage and reinvigorate social and cultural conversation, it is the arts.