There is interconnectedness with culture, art, and money. Although some of the most popular artists today are working with idea of what is trending in pop culture, this does not represent a “Pop Art” ideal.
The bourgeois notion that art is only attainable to the rich is an outdated one, but throughout art history, the patron, and the artist have always had an understanding that what one could create, was impossible for the other. In modern times, this has changed greatly, where the artist actually may have the means to create their own vision, based entirely out of the realm of the patron, or collector. This can be seen in works by Banksy, although realistically Banksy is one of the most famous artists of our time. He has taken an idea that can (and has) been executed for years without the concern of who is buying it because the artist can just do it by himself. Maybe it is his lack of need for the public to like it that makes the viewers actually put the artist on a pedestal away from the other starving artists spilling their deepest emotions into pieces that won’t sell.
Andy Warhol did this in a way that makes him hated and admired to this day. He found a way to execute art in which people had never seen before, but do it in a way that they could not replicate.
Today, artists have used this same idea to astound their audience. Holton Rower has the means to draw his audience through the pure spectacle of the pieces. Like Warhol, the process is just as interesting as the pieces. The idea that Warhol established a factory setting to produce his visions does not take away from the art, but adds more allure because of the vast importance of the work in the lives of more than just the artist. Rower has used the mechanism of New Media to show the world the same celebrity as Warhol once did.
Holton Rower released a video on YouTube last year which was quickly picked up, and went viral overnight. The difference in this viral video was that many quickly tried to copy the technique of the “Tall Pour Painting”, and most failed. This started an idea with those who saw the video that the medium was the work. The video shows the flow, the pouring by the young assistants, the large white rooms, the construction and some finished pieces behind the scene. The whole thing looks fun, but almost beyond the grasp of most. This is what makes those viewers want to see this in person. This video may have been one of the best career moves for the artist, who is now showing these pieces in some of the most notable galleries in the world.
In a recent opening at The Hole in the Bowery, Rower had an opening for the “Giant Pour Paintings”. Showing a number of works in this epic space seemed so appropriate for the display of not only the paintings recognizable from the video, but also new, larger flat work. The unease of the viewer when they step up to some of the fifteen foot works is obvious, as the understanding that a huge amount of paint goes into the making. The view is overwhelming, and is added to with a lack of title cards, to make an installation of giant objects.
These pieces are about the body, despite their abstract forms. They tread the line between sculpture and painting. Their creation seems purely physical, which is only appropriate because the paintings push into the space of the viewer. Not only do the color interactions insight emotions and joy, the viewer reads each piece as another form in the room with them. They can not ignore it. They are poetic and emotional, and this may be partially because the artist is self reliant. He has no need to beg for funding to create these fantastic pieces, he will make them anyway. Maybe the most talented artists are those who are not concerned with what other people are making or buying.
Holton Rower’s show at The Hole proves that the process of art may not only be just as important as the outcome, but it also may be the aspect of the work that informs the outcome most to the viewer. Playing hard to get often works.