Gradients: Eric Cahan vs Cory Arcangel
Over the summer I saw the Cory Arcangel exhibit at the Whitney Museum in New York City. Although I really enjoyed most of his work, I fell in love with the Photoshop Gradients series, mainly because of how simple the digital images were (both in aesthetics and in production). Then, I found Eric Cahan’s work, which are actually photographs as opposed to digitally created gradients, but share the same sort of simplicity. I tried to put the latter’s work in a sort of progression, from the smoothest to the harshest transition of the gradient. Arcangel’s work is less smooth, but more straightforward, in my opinion.
I find it interesting how explicit the titles/explanations of these works are. Both artists (much like the house artists I just posted about) chose to skip the intellectualization part of art and just tell it how it is. Arcangel’s gradients were complete with exact directions for how to recreate the gradients in the exhibit. Cahan’s gradients are named for the exact time and location that the photos were taken. Their similarly unambiguous approaches to naming and explaining their work is, I think, yet another sign of the democratization of art. It’s as if the artists are saying to the viewers, “Here it is. It’s an image. Nothing more; nothing less. And you can make one too!”
(HEY! That’s me!)