Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Mechanical Turk Review of my Art # 17

This is a project where I pay workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to review my art and website and pay them $5 dollars for 500 words. This is the 17th review I've received:

Paul Shortt is a midwest-based Artist focusing primarily, at least according to his portfolio, on art that is based in performance, interaction and/or installation. His works cover a variety of mediums and experiences, engaging an incredibly diverse audience based upon the particular piece, location and nature of the art. He has certainly begun to amass a decently impressive portfolio, although some pieces definitely stand out above the rest. First up is his newest body of work, entitled “Please NO Photos.” This piece utilizes a “no photo” icon as an easily-moved installation piece. Shortt takes the sign around Illinois, installing it in a variety of locations and photographing it. The piece is not particularly engaging, and it seems that the quality of construction and creation is not as great as many of his other pieces. The piece has the potential, however, to spark some very interesting conversations about freedom, photography, art and more. 

Next up is the “Please Do Not Climb” piece. This piece consists of a bench, which appears to say “Please Climb Sculpture” from a distance but says “Please do not climb on the sculpture” when viewed up close. This piece is nicely constructed and sparks great conversation about the nature of sculpture and fine art. Corner Piece is another interactive piece, which instructs viewers to “Put your hands behind your back” and “Then put your head down.” This causes the viewer to essentially put themselves in a time out. Again, this piece is a great commentary on the state of the art world. Both pieces were shown in galleries but have an interactive feel that is often lacking in the world of fine arts. Shortt has several installation based pieces that are innovative and powerful. First up is the “Missed Connections” project. In this project, Shortt was able to utilize missed connection advertisements from Craigslist. He took the text of the ads and added it to objects such as cakes, cds and notes in books. The objects were then placed back into their natural environment, waiting to be discovered. The piece focused on the power of making new, human connections in the lonely world of online dating. The piece had a great message behind it and was well-installed. 

Another great installation piece was the pillory in the Market Place Mall. In this piece, Shortt created a mirrored pillory that he installed in the Market Place Mall. The piece was simple at first glance, but is heavy on further glances. When you watch whoever is in the pillory, you are distracted by the fact that your own reflection is clearly visible in the pillory. The piece sparks interesting thoughts and conversations about social interactions, perceptions and much more. Last but not least, Shortt places great emphasis upon performative pieces. One piece was entitled “Paul Shortt Shocks Chicago.” In this piece, at a gallery opening Shortt wandered around with a buzzer in hand. Every time he shook hands with someone he shocked them and then passed the buzzer along to “spread the buzz.” While it is hard to tell the true nature of a performance piece from a portfolio, this piece seems to be well thought out and planned. It seems fun and successful.