Does it matter if an artist does not to make their own art? Not according to Michael Petry, whose new book The Art of Not Making argues that modern artists are much more like film directors than the craftspeople of old.
The way artists now use artisans and industrial construction workers enables them to free their work from the method of production, he argues, meaning their art is limited only by what they can imagine.
Companies such as Mike Smith Studios, which made this mirrored Tardis, now specialise in realising artists' ideas, just as companies like Industrial Light and Magic do for films.
Much modern art is literally impossible for one artist to make, says Petry. Firetruck by Charles Ray, for example, is a plastic recreation of a toy fire engine at the scale of a real one, and requires a factory to produce.
And comparisons with artists of old are often difficult. These sculpted heads by Barry X Ball, for example, were made using computers which carved using lasers, allowing a level of detail impossible by hand.
But age-old artisan skills are also used, for example the glass blowers employed by artist Kiki Smith to realize her delicate work of art called Red Spill.
And artists often push artisans to create things they would never consider making. This chip box by Gavin Turk is actually cast in bronze - something that requires the technical skill and equipment of a foundry.
The dividing line is a difficult one though, and it is important, says Petry, for artists to properly credit those involved, just like the credits at the end of a film.
Making the point is this work: "Unique Mono-block Resin Chair. Built at Jio Zhi Studio Xiamen, China. Produced by Ye Xing You with Craftspeople Xu Fu Fa and Chen Zhong Liang. Kang Youteng, Project Manager and Liaison"
Since the artist Duchamp signed a urinal in 1917, this way of thinking about art has led to criticisms that artists no longer require any skill to be successful.
But Michael Petry is forthright in his defence of modern art. "Artists have a skill which is a directorial skill," he says. "You need to know how to get things done."
"Artists are involved, they just don't necessarily do the craft element of the making," he explains. "An architect doesn't plumb in the toilet, but it's still their building".
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