Sunday, September 4, 2011

Davis History Art (08)


I am sometimes intrigued by the idea of “Davis history art,” by which I mean art objects that display Davis history in some fashion.

>>  I use the term “art” in two ways, narrowly and broadly. Narrowly, “Art” with a capital a is about such objects as paintings, sculptures, photographs, short stories, poems, and other such productions labeled art by credible claimers.

More broadly, art is about “crafts,” or objects of ordinary life rendered especially well, as in pottery, apparel, and various other utilitarian or decorative objects.

>> Perhaps the most famous piece of Davis history art has been the mural of the Davis Arch painted on the side of the long-gone Terminal Hotel building, as shown in image 2.*

One of the most viewed pieces of Davis history art is the mural painted by Ted Puntillo Sr. on walls of the Davis Post Office. And, of course, a Davis history art painting hangs in the Community Chambers.

Some years ago, the Discoveries shop commissioned a throw (a small blanket) that featured a set of Davis icons (image 1). I think it illustrates Davis history art in the broader, “craft” sense.

3. Photograthers' Obsecession

>> At one point, I was so intrigued with the idea of Davis history art that I gave it a try.  Struck by the large number of photographs made of the Davis SP Station, I was moved to adopt the device of the photo collage as a way to treat those pictures artistically. That collage is reproduced here as image 3 and is titled “Photographers’ Obsession.”

A skeptical reader should ask: Is image 3 really art--Davis history art or not?

One answer is that art is whatever credible claimers say is art. So, to help answer the question of “Photographers’ Obsession” being art, I entered it in an art competition judged by people said to know art.

As seen in image 4, “Photographers’ Obsession” won an award in that competition, which I suppose makes it, by definition, art.

>> It might be an interesting to enumerate as many items of Davis history art as feasible and then to think about staging a public exhibition of some of them.

That exhibition might be at an art gallery or a history museum--I not sure which--or perhaps at both.
* Image 2 might itself be claimed to be an instance of Davis history art--or of at least book cover Davis history art. A person interested in intellectual vertigo might begin to enumerate the levels of meanings within meanings within meanings contained in and associated within image 2. Some claim such vertigo is very much what "true" are is about.