Ed Rusha + craftspeople = kick ass
It sometimes seems like the contemporary art world is intent on spreading the word that hand work, craft & technique are not only beside the point of fine art, but actually stand in the way of it. Budding artists are often encouraged by their MFA’d mentors to either eschew the development of hand skill altogether or to look forward to employing assistants or craftspeople as executors or surrogates for their carefully nurtured concepts.
While artists like Warhol and Koons made themselves famous by advertising and celebrating their physical detachment from their work, others commission outside experts only when their ideas reach beyond the limits of their own native physical skills.
The artist Ed Rusha, who first gained art world cred in the 1960s his text paintings and artist books, combines high concept and high craft, hiring experts to take over when his projects demand it.
Check out the making of Ruscha’s 2002 artist book, Me and The, produced at USF Graphicstudio in Florida. The team was challenged to innovate contemporary adaptations of the ancient tradition of fore-edge painting to complete Ruscha’s book. Their attention to detail and the complexity of the process is pretty inspiring to watch.