Can An Artist Be Removed From Their Own Work + Art vs. Artifact

I came across an article this morning from the Melbourne Times Weekly focusing on a debate centering around Keith Haring’s Collingwood mural.  On one side of the discussion is the Keith Haring Foundation wanting to repaint the fading mural, once again making it a vibrant part of the community.  The other side of the debate comes from Premier Ted Baillieu’s  government, who feel repainting could destroy the mural, and have decided conservation is the best solution.

Here is the link to the article:

This brings up an interesting debate.  Hannah Mathews, curator for the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, feels conservation essentially removes the artist from the work by going against the wishes of the foundation he himself began prior to his death.  Baillieu’s spokesman Simon Troeth said Arts Victoria, the Australian governmental body responsible for the arts and the Collingwood murals conservation, has assessed that repainting could ruin the original brushwork of Haring, which essentially would also remove the artist from the work as well.

As a subplot, Mathews said it best when she stated, “I fear the mural will become an artifact instead of an artwork.”  This brings up an interesting question as to arts place in the world.  Should something like the Collingwood mural, which was painted to be a piece of the communities appearance, be treated as an untouchable piece of fine art?  Or should the mural be revitalized in order to regain it’s place in community, risking the possibility of ruining Haring’s original brushwork?

What do you think?

Copyright © 2011 by Drew Kail


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