Sunday, December 5, 2010

Walker blog Part 2--An art piece I don’t understand

Raymond Hains
posters on metal mounted on wood

This large rusted painting reminded me of a billboard or something I would see lying on the side of the road. It looked to be made out of old garbage or newspapers though there was something interesting about seeing something so old and dirty inside the white and pristine rooms of the Walker. Perhaps that was the initial reason I didn’t like it. In an art museum you expect to see art that is beautiful or at least somehow interesting or that caches your attention. Upon seeing this piece I just wanted to get away from it. Like an old newspaper you see on the side walk, it’s not something you want to touch or look at, its something you want to forget about, instead of wasting time wondering why people can’t be decent enough to recycle.

After doing some research on the piece, I don’t like it any more than I did when I first saw it, however I now have an appreciation for it and the ideas the artist was trying to express.

Raymond Hains (1926-2005) was a French artist. He started his career doing abstract Photography, using distorted mirror images that were inspired by Surrealism and Dadaism.

Hains was a founder of the Nouveau Realism or new realism movement, in early the 1960s. Artists of this movement liked to incorporate found or junk objects into their work to make ironic comments on modern life.

In 1949, Hains, with his colleague Jacques Villegle began collecting advertising and political propaganda posters from the streets of Paris. They claimed these posters as their own art and considered all the people who touched, graffited or tore the posters as collaborators. He used a putty knife to tear the posters further

As Hains described his art “My works existed before me, but nobody had seen them, because they were blindingly obvious.”

Hains used materials that would degrade over time. He used posters that were significant to him, so he possibly wanted to capture his culture as he saw it.

Although I still don’t think his piece is nice to look at I can apprecate his vision of capturing postwar paris in a work of art.


  1. You provided a lot of really interesting information on your artist! Although I had liked this piece to begin with, I know have a better understanding of it and enjoy it that much more. :)

  2. My initial reaction was that I loved the piece and I still do, but I totally get what you mean and I'm glad that you have a respect for the artist.