Last week Redux invited its members to a sneak preview of its new show, Everyone Is An Artist on Thursday night, and then on Friday, the exhibit opened to the public. Visitors were given the opportunity to meet the brains behind the exhibition, Tattfoo Tan, and witness performance art. But those expecting to sit back and watch a show were in for a surprise. Tan was the facilitator, not the creator of the art; he encouraged visitors to make their own pieces with instructions and materials that he supplied; when they made the art, those visitors became part of the performance.
Inspired in part by the credo of artist Joseph Beuys (“every human being is an artist”), Tan’s aim is to disassemble art’s “precious and high-handed” reputation by making it accessible to regular folk. He reinterprets ancient techniques so that they can be used with materials that can be found around the house or in the office: coffee filters, filo dough, food coloring. These easily recognizable tools and the clear instructions he gives encourage less confident participants to have a go. The adaptability of his work is key; Tan’s delighted when artists suggest different materials they could use, such as pastry instead of dough.
There are three different projects that visitors can work on, and the nature of the artwork is such that collaboration is pretty much inevitable. This is guaranteed the most fun you could have with fax paper, a hair dryer, and a hot glue gun. —Nick Smith
Everyone Is An Artist will be on exhibit at Redux Contemporary Art Center, 136 St. Philip St. through Nov. 10.