[meteorite-list] "Meteorite" Sculpture by Katie Paterson
From: Peter Davidson <P.Davidson_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 08:50:13 +0000
It is really good to hear from you again. Hopefully it won't be too long until we can get together for a wee chat.
I don't think Katie has set out to shock people with this work. Although I have to say when I first heard about this project way back in 2010, I was actually shocked or at least surprised. In the end, as a curator, I am appalled by the thought of any "original" work, be it an artefact or a natural object, being destroyed or cut up in this way for financial or artistic reasons. But as I thought more about it and actually spoke to Katie about her work, I felt more comfortable about it. Whatever Katie thought the reaction might be, and the mailings we have had on this list give some idea, she has certainly caused people in the meteorite collectors world to sit up and take notice. I myself only put out my original message as a way of defending an artist I know and whose work does really interest me, but I have found the responses to be quite stimulating and varied. We are often quick (too quick sometimes) to criticise artists and their work and, to be honest, it is sometimes well deserved. I would only urge peop
le to look at the entire corpus of an artist's work before you condemn it. Nevertheless, we all have a right, indeed a duty, to express our honest opinion(s) about any work of art whether it be painting, sculpture, writing or music. As an artist yourself, I am sure you would at least accept criticism if it was honestly and sincerely expressed, rather than say being criticised because you're not one of the "in crowd".
On Saturday, I attended a gallery talk in Edinburgh given by Katie and had the opportunity to see and handle the work for myself. To be fair, Katie has made no attempt to disguise the recast "meteorites" as real meteorites - they are clearly what they are. So they cannot be called reproductions as they not seeking to fool or mislead anyone into thinking that they are genuine.
You are right to say that as people interested in meteorites because of their science, we find it shocking and disconcerting to see an object like this reworked in this way. Yet, it happens all the time. When I visited Tucson in February, the city was also hosting an arts festival and near the hotel I was staying at there were a number of interesting sculptures made from old cars and pick-ups. Do vintage car enthusiasts feel the same way about the "re-imagining" of these vehicles when with a little bit of TLC, they could have been restored to their original state? To me, the old saying still holds true: "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". These amazing works, which illustrate both the inventiveness and the wastefulness of humans, were both beautiful and slightly disturbing - but I guess that is what the artist wanted us to feel.
Anyway I am going to stop rambling on now. Are you planning to visit Munich this year? The theme is meteorites and I am quite eager with anticipation about what will be on show.
Senior Curator of Minerals
National Museums Collection Centre
242 West Granton Road
00 44 131 247 4283
p.davidson at nms.ac.uk
From: Graham Ensor [mailto:graham.ensor at gmail.com]
Sent: 05 August 2014 20:40
To: Peter Davidson
Cc: Meteorite List (meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com)
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] "Meteorite" Sculpture by Katie Paterson
Hi Peter/allAs an artist myself working on more unusual projects with the Arts Council trying to find new ways of expressing ideas...trying to stretch the boundaries and asking "what is art?"...etc. I find this an interesting topic...I'm all for "art" doing what you say...but have a slight conflict here, being a meteorite collector and using much of what I know and see in meteoritics as inspiration for some of my own projects....there are so many at the moment just making/doing "art" to shock...and I don't really think that that is enough personally....and to be honest I'm not sure what she is doing is really very original...many artists have destroyed and rebuilt objects as themselves in the past in various ways....to me she is not making people think about the wonder of the object, where it comes from etc...it's more about herself....and her practice.
Now if she had prepared the meteorite in such a way to show off its wonder, or even just exhibited it in a gallery as is...rather than in a museum...then that would have asked far more questions about what art is, or what the object means...the recasting is not so much about the object...it is far more about the process and her own practice....I feel she has said far less by recasting it....but I suppose that's what art is about....it's more about the questions that a piece is asking than the answer.
Not sure what destroying something and remaking it in its own image and then sending it back to whence it came (partly) is really saying.....only those who are wise about meteorites actually understand what aspects of the object she has destroyed....most of the general public/other artists etc. will see the object as unchanged!
On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 3:35 PM, Peter Davidson via Meteorite-list <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com> wrote:
> Dear Lads and Lassies
> Thank you to those who replied to the e-mail I sent about the "meteorite" sculpture by Katie Paterson which has been sent into space. To be honest I didn't expect a positive response and that is exactly what I got. I attended a talk by Katie last Saturday (2nd August) and I actually got to handle several of the meteorites she has recast. An odd and slightly disconcerting experience I thought. We got to chatting about possible future collaborations but it remains to be seen what that might actually turn out to mean.
> I have always believed that it one of the purposes of art (among many other things) to challenge, shock and discomfort people and ideas by presenting the familiar in a new and unfamiliar way - to make people rethink their ideas and to challenge them to take stock of their old values. This particular project does seem to have raised a few eyebrows and rattled a few cages. I am mulling over the idea of asking Katie if I could present these items at Ensisheim one year.
> Peter Davidson
> Senior Curator of Minerals
> National Museums Collection Centre
> 242 West Granton Road
> EH5 1JA
> 00 44 131 247 4283
> p.davidson at nms.ac.uk
> Discover the treasures of China's Ming dynasty at the National Museum of Scotland.
> Ming: The Golden Empire, 27 June-19 October 2014, www.nms.ac.uk/ming
> National Museums Scotland, Scottish Charity, No. SC 011130 This
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Discover the treasures of China's Ming dynasty at the National Museum of Scotland.
Ming: The Golden Empire, 27 June-19 October 2014,
National Museums Scotland, Scottish Charity, No. SC 011130
This communication is intended for the addressee(s) only. If you are not the addressee please inform the sender and delete the email from your system. The statements and opinions expressed in this message are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of National Museums Scotland. This message is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. No liability is accepted for any harm that may be caused to your systems or data by this message.
Received on Thu 07 Aug 2014 04:50:13 AM PDT