I am currently seeking private sponsorship to establish the Destroy Art Fund (DAF). As an organisation, the DAF would facilitate an art appreciation event which would be both a social experiment and a performative community celebration.
The project would begin with a call for submissions. Regional emerging artists would be asked to submit photo documentation of one unique artwork vulnerable to fire, crushing, cutting, or another destructive force. Submissions would be ranked according to artistic merit by a jury of mid-career and senior artists and curators. A short-list of ten candidates would be invited to participate in an exhibition held in Ottawa. The jury would select the most outstanding piece which would be purchased from the artist for a predetermined sum. Finally, the chosen work would be destroyed in a reverent and modest public performance at the closing night of the exhibition. We would only destroy the highest ranking piece, all other artworks would be spared.
Although the winning piece would indeed be obliterated, our collective memory of its “sacrifice” would ensure the work lives on, perhaps achieving greater recognition than would have otherwise been possible. A crutial theme of the DAF concept was articulated by Obi-Wan Kenobi at the moment of his demise: “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”.
To clarify, the DAF concept has no malicious intentions towards art, artists or existing support networks and funding mechanisms. This project is designed to elicit dialogue on the role of art in society: Where does artistic value reside - in the material object itself, or in immaterial concepts that manifest as a result of the object’s existence? How does the disappearance of an art object change its meaning and perceived value? How might unorthodox funding stimulate a community of ambitious artists?
If the DAF concept interests you, and you’ve got some cash to blow, please get in touch!