Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Mechanical Turk Review of My Art #30

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 30th review I've received:

The artwork of Paul Shortt is a combination of humor, social commentary, and a small touch of the Conceptual Art movement of the 1960's. Shortt's work ranges from mediums to photography, installation, and performance art. Shortt's work is mostly reminiscent of the Fluxus art movement of the 1960s as well as the art "happenings" of Alan Kaprow. Shortt breaks down the fourth wall present in so many gallery installations today, and he heavily involves the audience, making them extremely integral to the works that he presents to the public. Examples of this are the piece "Three-Hour Tour" and "Paul Shortt Shocks Chicago," both of which require the active participation of the audience to ensure that the pieces are completed per his original vision. At the same time, both of these pieces involve a sense of humor in art not seen since either John Baldessari or even Andy Warhol. In "Paul Shortt Shocks Chicago," the artist shocks audience members with the age-old gag of the hand buzzer, but then also provide the audience member with their own buzzer, allowing them to become a part of the work and also part of the artist as well. However, while Shortt does use humor a great deal in his work, there are also pieces that show a human side to the artist, and allow audience members a glimpse into him as a person. 

In the piece "The Car My Father Gave Me," Shortt explores the similarities between his father's profession as a car mechanic, as well as his own profession as an artist. Shortt explores not only his interpersonal relationship with his father, but also the larger issue of the artist as a creator, manipulating pieces of every day to make a greater, better machine. As a whole, Shortt's works aim to analyze societal issues, either through the way we interact with each other as a society, or the rules that have been arbitrarily established and followed for what we call "polite social behavior." Shortt is constantly attempting to not only analyze these behaviors, but challenge them and their veracity, like he does in his piece "it's Simple, But Complicated" in which simple tasks with larger implications are performed by the artist. Also, the piece "Contemporary Farewells" is a good example of analyzing societal behaviors, in which the artist proposes new way to say farewell from social situations. These proposed methods are sometimes a simple commentary on society today (in which the two parties simple look at their cell phones and walk away) or a method called "The Shoulder Bow," which seems silly but could easily been used as a method to bid farewell fifty years from now. Overall, Paul Shortt presents the art world and the larger world as a whole with a humorous, gentle nudge to the ribs view of the way society carries itself. Shortt's sense of humor is kind enough to not be cruel or alienate the common man, making him one of the more accessible artists that is creating work today.