Fun with Art
Jonathon Keats makes art that makes you think. How much is that worth?
Jonathon Keats makes art that makes you think. How much is that worth?The conceptual art career of Jonathon Keats started sometime before his sixth birthday. A bored Keats, marooned in the suburbs outside San Francisco, where his family had moved, began hawking stones. "I didn't know what else to do," he says. "So I set up a table outside, and I took some rocks off the ground, and I put the rocks on the table, and I just started to sell them." Had he later gone into business, the anecdote might have hinted at an early entrepreneurial savvy, but this enterprise was different. The 6-year-old Keats wasn't arguing that his rocks were more valuable than the many free rocks nearby. He was just arguing that they were for sale.The artist's adult projects have remained faithful to the spirit of his first venture. In 2000, Keats, then 29 and a newly published novelist, launched his art career as "a new way" of approaching philosophy, which had interested him since his college days. In an unusual performance piece at San Francisco's Refusalon gallery, he simply sat in a chair for 24 hours and thought. Since art shows must have art to sell, he offered the thoughts themselves (cards time-stamped with a few minutes' worth of ideas). And since art shows must feel like art shows, he was accompanied by a nude model and bad wine.Since then, his pieces have touched on everything from theology to the metric system to beekeeping, along with the occasional attempt to pin down God. He has lobbied the city of Berkeley to make "A = A" a local ordinance; devised a new system of measurement in which units are customized according to each person's heartbeat; and exploited the few sketchy details we have on God (He's older than everything else; He looks like a human being) to try placing Him in the taxonomic order. Most recently, Keats created a decidedly avant-garde entry to the burgeoning ring-tone market-a remix of John Cage's infamous silent composition, "4'33""-and he attempted what might be called apiarian choreography, arranging flower beds in such a way that pollinating honeybees will put on a ballet.
|Not knowing what movies plants would like, I ended up with pornography, which seemed the most obvious.|