Abstract


Making Art as Commercial Products: An Ongoing Challenge of Device Art

Machiko Kusahara

While paradigm of art changes as the society changes, it still seems to be a boundary between art to be shown for public and art to be sold to public. Designers produce products such as furniture, kitchen utilities or cell phones, with which design concept plays a major role if the product serves its function. Artists may produce gadgets-like objects that do not serve for particular functions, or have only funny functions. If they produce objects that could be commercially produced, which means that may sell as much as those design objects and feasible for mass production, can they be still regarded as artworks? Could artists be still regarded as artists, not designers?

With Device Art Projects, which has been carried in Japan with artists and researchers including internationally recognized names such as Nobumichi Tosa (Maywa Denki), Kazuhiko Hachiya, Sachiko Kodama, Ryota Kuwakubo and Hiroo Iwata, we examine and practice what it means for an artist to commercially produce an artwork. Some of the artists already have their works mass produced and commercially available, which required a very different process from showing a piece in a gallery or making limited number of pieces. Based on such experiences and further exploring what it means, the paper discusses both theoretical and practical issues behind the project.

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