LR dangerous minerals
Artists are intensely interested in their medium – how it works and what it does. Nonetheless, for reasons of health and safety, certain dangerous minerals should be used sparingly or avoided entirely. It is important to realize that these insidious substances can have deleterious psychotropic effects.

Formalite
Induces metaphor blindness.

Emotate
Dulls the faculty of taste.

Interventionide
Produces delusions that politicking, social engineering, and giving advice are actually art.

Conceptualine
Leads to severe dessication.

Careerblende
Sets off manic socializing, buttonholing, and paranoid thinking.

Aestheticlase
Aggravates the over-assessment of the precious.

Automataspar
Results in an intense interest in the appearance of one’s work while also feeling very little responsibility for that appearance.

Theoryte
Brings on fatigue, weakness, and nihilistic thinking.

Mimeseum
Generates art-object blindness.

Expressionane
Causes stupidity.

Please don’t misunderstand. Art does involve expression – that’s where futility comes in (a previous post).

Below is something which nods its head to Formalism but is definitely not lacking in metaphor – Tom Dean’s Floating Staircase from 1979. It haunted Toronto Harbour for two years. David Yerle’s blog mentions awe and Dean’s piece elicits awe.

01Dean-1979-680x410

“The Floating Staircase was a device of the imagination so awkward (5 tons, 24 ft. square, floating on 56 oil barrels) that it could not be appropriated by any aspect of our culture. What was explicit in the staircase is perhaps implicit in much of modern art — its uselessness and essential homelessness. Modern art has tended to express an anachronism. It does not serve a function so much as a kind of dysfunction. It exists as a white elephant, further aggrandized in the white elephant of the art gallery, and succeeds best in reflecting the white elephant inherent in culture. The Floating Staircase reflected the pretention and hope apparent in all our enterprise and culture, not to mock but to affirm its real nature as a monument laboriously, heroically and painfully achieved, immediately inert, and only redeemed by its falling to ashes. ” T. Dean (In 1981, the artist burnt it on the water.)

IMAGE – Steve Armstrong, Formalite, rubber stamp “print”, 1995
IMAGE – Tom Dean, Floating Staircase, 1978-9, along with quote, from Mercer Union.

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