The Art Sherpa


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The Art Sherpa has just taken her first step in guiding people through the maze of contemporary art by learning how to blog.

ArtinParts (the official blog of the Art Sherpa) will explore the contemporary art in the Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) in plain English (no artspeak allowed), using a framework that readers can adopt and apply when they are face to face with a confusing piece of contemporary art. .
The results of a very informal survey among family and friends was my inspiration for this blog. I posed the question: What do you want to know about contemporary art?

A few people asked me questions such as:
Why do artists expect the viewer to understand what they are doing in the artwork when no information (ie clues in the artwork itself, or external info such as title)?
What is Bansky’s real name? (My research has found a possible photo of the elusive artist, which I will include in a future post).
WTF is that sculpture of a man eating babies? (I have tracked this one down, and the answer will surprise you – so stay tuned).

The majority of people (85%) told me they never thought about art, let alone contemporary art. This broke my heart. I have a degree in Art History, have worked in the cultural sector most of my life. And if any art should be relevant – it is contemporary art because the artists of the here and now are exploring the issues facing our society now: the environment; identity; power structures, etc.

But art also has more than a didactic role – it can inspire us to take action; it can be a catalyst in examining objects, people and nature in new ways; it can open up new avenues to explore our hidden emotions (those that we keep locked away); it can enable us to develop periscopic vision on issues such as race, gender and violence.

Out of this simple survey the concept of a blog was created.

Sherpa’s are known as expert guides, helping climbers through the treacherous climbs so that they can reach the summit. I hope to act as an art Sherpa, guiding viewers though the confusing world of contemporary art so that they can gain deeper understanding of the world around them.

What do I do? It is much easier to tell you what I used to do – director of an art center. What I do now is focused on one thing – rebuilding my brain. A few years ago an infection attacked my brain, and not surprisingly caused damage – especially in writing and speaking. With the help of a great neuropsychologist and medical doctor I am now at the point of rehab that I can do simple writing. So I am really happy to be part of this course.