When I think of conceptual art, the first thing I picture is art students making molds of their genitalia, using bodily fluids as a medium or, in a worst case scenario, combining both in the same art piece. The third or fourth thing I think of is conceptual art that I actually like, such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres's "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross, in L.A.) or Song Dong's Stamping the Water.
The conceptual art pieces I enjoy and appreciate aren't about shocking an audience, nor is their entire purpose to pose the tired question "What is art?" Instead, they challenge norms, confront social injustices and cause the artist and audience to look at everyday life experiences in a new way.
This is my first foray into conceptual art, outside of school assignments:
More specifically, a pair of old flats I've covered in canvas - the kind most artists would stretch over a frame and paint on.
Here is the completed product:
Of course, the shoes themselves are not the art piece. The art piece is in the concept.
I'm interested in the smudges, the drips and dirt, that will inevitably wind up "painting" the shoes when I wear them on my daily excursions.
So far, I've worn the shoes twice: once to work and once to the Killer Pumpkin Festival in Portland, OR. They're already showing signs of use.
No pumpkin beer stains, but I do spy bike grease and mud.
While definitely not on the level of anything by Gonzalez-Torres or Song Dong, I'm hoping this piece turns out to be a little bit better? more interesting? less "surprising?" than a cast of a penis. Although, unfortunately, feces and urine might end up being part of the final product. I do live in a city.