New Blog Series: MAKERS- An Examination of Process in 2016, by Brittany M. Hudak
Shortly after leaving his graduate painting program in 1966, Bruce Nauman had an epiphany: “If I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art. At this point art became more of an activity and less of a product.”
When artists in the late 1960s such as Nauman, Lynda Benglis, Robert Morris, and Keith Sonnier turned their back on the cool perfection of modernism, they did more than ‘make modernism messy’ – they pulled the curtain back on their practice, putting an emphasis on craft, on making, on “the journey, rather than the destination.” Some historians have dubbed this Process Art – but whatever you call it, their emphasis on the process of creation rather than the final product became hugely influential.
It’s difficult to talk about process in the 21st century when new techniques for making art seem to pop up by the second, but I think we should. In the high digital age, “process” has new, multivalent meanings that it never could have had back in the 1960s, and despite this constant evolution there seems to be a new celebration of process brewing. The fashionable term “making” or “makers” is frequently used today, and has huge currency, as Cleveland’s various fleas, nightmarkets, and craft fairs are brimming with artist-made goods, that vendors sell to eager crowds.
For this new monthly series on the CAN Blog, I will take a close look at process – framed through the lens of North-East Ohio artists and artisans. I hope that this will encourage a dialogue about making art in the 21st Century, but it will also give an unprecedented look into the studios of local artists, and what process means to them.