Noxious Sector Projects
312 S. Washington St.
Seattle WA 98104

Cedar Tavern Singers AKA Les Phonoréalistes

Art Is All Over

What if this were true? That art really was all over, everywhere, because we wanted it. What would become of this text piece by the Cedar Tavern Singers AKA Les Phonoréalistes!, a Canadian collective that has developed an interesting body of work spoofing on conceptual art and popular culture. What would become of all of us, reading it into existence, or rather reading it out of existence?

This work is a textual mash-up of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "War Is Over! (If You Want It)" billboard and poster campaign with Canadian conceptual artist Ian Baxter’s phrase "Art is all over." In this location Going out of Business signs are invoked to problematize audience experience and participation with contemporary art. Suggesting that Art is all over engages this street level discussion of consumerism and the holy grail of Main Street venues. Adding If you want it, implies a nod to the participatory nature of current art and cultural trends, the Just do it!, mentality of popular advertising slogans.

In this way the work sets up a conundrum of sorts, playing off of the art and life ethos of Alan Kaprow's Happenings of the 1960's, and the opening-up of audience participation in 1990's with relational art and interactive works of the 2000's. What role is the audience really meant to play within this composition of slogans, directions, mantras, store windows and consumer culture? Critic, participant, artist?

The poster is a funny play on the history of conceptual art's use of text as form, and the popular sloganism of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono quote. The two together create an interesting tension, that the future of art, a question that has engaged the art world over the last 100 years, is actually within reach, as tactile as the simple desire, to window shop the complex and philosophical quest of the age.

Wouldn't it be great if that were all that it took, to read a statement aloud? Taking the act of critic and participant into your own hands, and ending art, as we know it, everywhere!