Life is Art, or is it a Promotional Gig?
Imagine if you lived in a 8-by-5-foot space in a restaurant window that faces a Main Street in a town in central America for a week. Would you consider your every move as art? Kentucky artist Lauren Argo is making an effort to prove that her daily life - as well as anyone's daily life, perhaps - is art, and her stint in 21C Museum Hotel's restaurant window in Louisville, KY ends this Saturday, 10 May. From the press release:
Nearly everything the 24-year-old installation artist does for the next five days can be viewed around the clock. From brushing her teeth, styling her hair and putting on makeup to creating art, acting, dancing or sleeping -- it's all on exhibit.
It might behoove the visitor on Louisville's Main Street, or the person who watches Argo from the Webcam at proofonmain.com, to know that this artistic move is also part of a publicity stunt. The idea for her exhibit came about after Argo's brother, an architect for the hotel museum, introduced his sister to 21C owners and developers Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown. After a quick hash-through on this idea over a dinner, Argo quickly prepared for her living-on-Main Street debut.
When my daughter and I came up on Argo's window early on Thursday morning at about 8:00 am. I thought, at first, that I was viewing a new second-hand clothing store until I saw movement on the floor. Argo was still asleep, albeit in a restless doze, on roll-out bedding in the store window. I wanted to stare, but my daughter averted her eyes and kept moving. I asked my daughter if she wanted to see Argo, and she replied, "Sure, but maybe after she's awake." Everyone else walked on by as well.
When we passed by Argo's window before lunch, Argo was up and seemingly wide awake. She was communicating with a little boy on the street through the glass - he with paper and pen, and Argo with erasable markers on the storefront window. I was most impressed that Argo had mastered the skill of printing her words and sentences very quickly on the window. Not that this is a stunning accomplishment, but Argo had to write backwards so that anyone on the other side of the glass could read her questions and answers.
We noted that Argo had rolled up her bedding, and that a box of Wheat Thins was prominently displayed on a rack along with some plastic bowls. She had a laptop, some red boots, and a few other accoutrements with her, but the space seemed stifling. When we met our friend for lunch, he reported that he had watched her on the Webcam earlier, and that she had covered up the window and camera so that she could dress for the day. He knows that she wears a red bra, as she picked one up off the floor the previous day...
You might want to read more about this "art project" in the press release and view the Webcam (tonight she was still busy writing backwards on the storefront window). And, then you might want to answer the question...is this project really art? Or is it a curiosity? Is it simply a promotion and is Argo the calling card? What do you think?
NOTE: Frankly, I think the woman has a creative bent, and that she's done something that I've never seen done in Chicago or New York, or even in London. Maybe it was done in Japan? Photograph by my unnamed-for-privacy daughter, 8 June 2006.