can art have “users”? [revisited]


One of my collectors, Tom LaPille just emailed me this- a photo of his “Quality” cube grenade, now safely hanging on his office wall.

Like I said back in April, it’s what the art DOES that’s interesting to me, more than what it IS per se.

We’ve always seen the Kine­tic Qua­lity wor­king in mar­ke­ting, wor­king with brands. “By buying Brand X, I feel hip­per, coo­ler, sexier, more secure, more in con­trol” etc etc. But what I’m fin­ding out is, this also works with art. To me, the inte­res­ting thing about art is not the usual “Heroic, absinthe-soaked, vision quest lone indi­vi­dual archety­pal artist crap”, but how the art is USED by the per­son who has it han­ging on the wall. What’s it actually there for? Deco­ra­tion? Sho­wing off? A con­ver­sa­tion star­ter? An ice brea­ker? A way of telling a story? Something to brigh­ten up the room? A sym­bol of social sta­tus? An expres­sion of indi­vi­dual world­view? An expres­sion of emo­tion? A totem to remind one­self of something ins­pi­ra­tio­nal and/or impor­tant? Perhaps a bit of all these?

So I’m seeing two worlds collide here: The inter­nal, soli­tary part of making the art, and the exter­nal social part of how the piece of art is actually used. Art? Used? Is art actually allo­wed to be “used”? Would the Art Police allow that? Ins­tead of calling them “Patrons”, can we call art buyers “Users” ins­tead? Would you be offen­ded if I called you that? There’s no wrong ans­wer…

Anyway, as always, I love it when y’all send in photos. Keep ‘em coming, Thanks! Rock on.

[Backs­tory: About Hugh. E-mail Hugh. Twit­ter. News­let­ter. Book. Inter­view One. Inter­view Two. EVIL PLANS. Limi­ted Edi­tion Prints. Pri­vate Com­mis­sions. Cube Gre­na­des.]

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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

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Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

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Former President, Babson College

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Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark