One morning, I woke up with a phrase in mind: “inconvenient art.” I didn’t know what that meant, only that I was to explore it as a concept.
My earliest impression was that it meant art that conveyed an uncomfortable or unsettling message. I Googled it, and the results that came up were from architect Katerina Kamprani who designs deliberately uncomfortable objects, like a double-fluted champagne glass, a fork and knife that were chained closely together, a chair that would be nearly impossible to sit upon, a sideways broom, and so on. Useless by design. Reminded me of the “useless machine” in online videos whose sole purpose is to turn itself off when the switch was turned on. Good conversation pieces.
Perhaps inconvenient art is similar, in that its purpose is to get people talking to spread a message. And the message may be upsetting to some, so it’s subversive in some way. Perhaps any kind of native or folk art could be described as inconvenient art to the so-called dominant groups.
I thought of Canadian artist Sarah Anne Johnson’s exhibit I saw years ago that included a doll house of horrors based on her grandmother’s experience with mental illness and the traumatic methods of treatment for women in those times. A legacy of trauma. Inconvenient art.
Maybe spoken word or poetry. Or any of the change agents throughout history, the people tried for heresy in the past, or pointed to as witches. The artists with political messages, for sure. Activist artists. Their work might be considered by some to be Inconvenient Art.
Artwork from someone who is deceased, or an ex, or is for some other reason no longer in your life, also could be Inconvenient Art. Inconvenient in that it tends to have a mixed past, and feelings associated with it.
What might you consider to be "inconvenient art?"