101 Art Ideas


Mixed Media

Variable dimensions

Rob Pruitt’s 101 Art Ideas You Can Do Yourself could be described as a perfect illustration of the DIY (Do It Yourself) principle: the installation is nothing less than a literal application of his philosophy of democratisation and demystification of the creative act. Only 35 of its misleadingly haiku-like ideas were presented at the artist’s first solo exhibition at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York in 1999, but since then the Internet has ensured them wide circulation and they have sometimes been off ered to the public in the form of lists. Like a music score or a set of recipes, these ‘art statements’ invite interpretation; many artists have responded and the result is countless potential implementations of the ideas. And given that anyone can appropriate them in his own way, the very concepts of the artist, the uniqueness of the artwork and private property are radically undermined. In his characteristically satirical vein, Rob Pruitt suggests a series of real or imaginary acts combining the simple and the hilarious and focusing on the everyday domestic world in a way that reminds us of Robert Filliou’s celebrated maxim, ‘Art is what makes life more interesting than art.’ The basic principle of 101 Art Ideas clearly has its roots in the linguistic formulae hatched out via the performative, dematerialised activities of Fluxus and Conceptualism: we need only think of Yoko Ono’s Instruction Pieces, George Brecht’s Water Yam box and Lawrence Weiner’s Statements. In making explicit reference to earlier works, many of these pieces are like remixes or covers of some of the art world’s greatest hits since the 1960s. While utilising whatever comes to hand, Pruitt makes particular use of self-reflexiveness in suggesting the idea of a list, a compilation or a collection. Nor is it the least example of his facetious irony that Idea no. 80 includes the name of the installation’s current owner: ‘Invent a new colour and name it. François Pinot’ (sic).

Alexandre Quoi, extracted from the Exhibition Catalog "Art Lovers. Histoires d'art dans la Collection Pinault", Editions Liénart, 2014, p.190-191.