Conceptual Art Is Misunderstod.

Those that support conceptual art (performance art, video art, social sculpture, happenings etc.) art are mocked by those that do not understand it…and the myth of disbelief, shock, and awe is perpetuated by popular media.

Mimicry is common BECAUSE there is a long history of conceptual art, even when it’s lost.

Shovel by bsabarnowl

Shovel by bsabarnowl

The concepts surrounding this type of art are not new…specifically Praxis’ work MONA: Museum of Non-Visible Art is based on its predecessors. They generated support for their museum in a contemporary way through Kickstarter with the video below:

Even the name Praxis is a lifted reference.

The history of conceptual art that James Franco tries to explain (the fellow on the Jimmy Kimmel Show) has strong roots in the Bay Area, as does video art. That’s why I chose to study for my MFA in New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute. The Bay Area boasts artists: Tony Labat, Linda Montano, Doug Hall (AntFarm), Sharon Grace, Paul Kos, David Ireland, Karen Finley, and many, many more.

The Museum of Conceptual Art was created by one of my mentors, Tom Marioni. Tom is a big fan of Marcel Duchamp and the Readymade. represents 12 years of conceptual art education and I’m constantly asked, what for?

Simply, as Cathy Malchiodi writes, the massively important restoring power of imagination.

The phrases “art heals” and “art saves” have become ubiquitous and will continue to circulate; like many catch-phrases, they are just too cool to go away. Like any popular slogans, they blur real meaning; in this case the actual purpose of art is often forgotten.

Cathy summarizes further synthesizes and interprets Ellen Dissanayake’s book What is Art For?

1) Makes life special.
2) Engages the senses.
3) Involves rituals.
4) Enhances community.

When was the last time you went to an art show and got an experience, a prize, a few bucks, and a great story and thought differently about the present moment you just experienced. Free Memory. Free Money. Free Ideas…and a 2 minute smile free from economic stress. Or was it referencing the financial collapse, throwing money in a hole, and making peons work for it doing crazy tasks that don’t mean anything by diverting their own lust for financial gain? Why did they follow the rules of the over arching system? The title of the piece of mine is “Free Money, Sticky Fingers” made at SomArts. Check out their open call for more art in the hole.

Sound like art?

Sound like MTV’s Jackass?

Sound like conceptual art?

Is everything art?

Is everyone an artist?

That’s why I can auction a crispy 100 bill and get $115.00 for it and be present in hundreds of people’s minds.

Thank you R. Mutt

When critiquing or defending artwork remember three core concepts: intent (what did the artist want to express), context (where, when, and who are they showing it to), and liability (will it put the artist or anyone else in danger, will it cost money from the artist or public, does it exclude anyone, does the artist take responsibility for the piece).

It all matters. Or maybe the medium is the message, or maybe the medium is the massage.

Pete Ippel Studio Thank You

This thank you goes out to everyone who sent me a message, gave me a thumbs up, shared their energy, drove me to the hospital, smiled, laughed, held me when I cried, cut my skull open, taught my class, wiped my ass, showered me, fed me, stuck needles in me, listened to my story attentively, put screws in my head, broke my nose, sucked out snot and puss with a vacuum, scraped infected bone out of my sinus, put cream on my bed sores, stacked pillows under my back, rubbed my feet, cleaned up my puke, gave me motor tests, PT, OT, Cog T, Psy T,and dealt with me freaking out in the MRI…I love you all, and I’m going to keep surprising everyone…even myself.

Pete Ippel Studio Thank You from Hypermodern – Pete Ippel on Vimeo.

And here’s the text from the video

I have a big enough studio to walk around like this.

I have a big enough studio to jump like this.

I have a crazy enough hairdo to make my sideburns laugh.

I have enough room to SPIN!

I have enough room to walk and talk and think and be PETE again.

There’s nothing that’s going to stop me from succeeding.

I’m going to be fluent and I’m going to be beautiful and I’m going to be successful.

…and be an an artist, and be an athlete, and be a lover, and a dad, and a friend…everything I ever wanted.

And I’m going to do it because of people like you.

So thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.

I love you.


“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
-Martin Luther King

Material Property II

Material Property II from Hypermodern – Pete Ippel on Vimeo.

While I was in the process of opening my studio space for the April version of First Fridays Ventura, I did not notice an accidental shift in my art storage area. One of the corners of a framed drawing distorted the stretched Tyvek of an ink painting by pressing the face of the painting laterally about two inches.

Because Tyvek does not have the exact same properties of canvas or paper, I was unable to moisten the painting to make it tighten to the stretcher.

I began to shake the painting and noticed that it snapped when moved abruptly forward and in reverse. Free play, curiosity, exploration, and intuition are what drive the creative act. In this video you have a window into my art practice.

Free Money, Sticky Fingers

Earlier this month I participated in SOMArts Community Center’s show “MOMENTS (Bringing Back the Now)”. At the opening, Justin Hoover, the newly hired director of the gallery space, re-created the 100 Performances for the Hole that he formerly curated out of his Garage San Francisco’s Pacific Heights Neighborhood.

For 100 Performances for the Hole Take-Two, the dimensions of the hole were expanded, and moved from an automotive trench to a sand casting pit.

I issued four instructions to the group:

  • The hole is defined as the cut in the cement.
  • You may not get in the hole.
  • Any bill that lands outside of the hole must be kicked into the hole.
  • Any bills that you snatch with your sticky hand are yours, any bills left in the hole after the two minutes are mine.

Getting ready for "Free Money, Sticky Fingers" Pete Ippel, 03/06/10
“Free Money, Stick Fingers” involves the art market, memory of childhood games, issues of control, gift giving, and philanthropic aims.

A Day in San Francisco from Rossita Dove on Vimeo.

In addition, there is a cameo appearance of “Free Money, Sticky Fingers” toward the end of the short video “A Day in San Francisco” by Rossita Dove.

Check out the Photos and the press release (below) for more information about the exhibition.

100 Performances for the Hole – Take Two is the opening event (#1 of 3) of a month long exhibition called: MOMENTS (Bringing Back the Now). This show features a series of live art events that transform the gallery into a contemporary art laboratory exploring the intersection between visual mediums, performance art, and time-based sculpture.

Conceived of by SOMArts Curator and Gallery Director Justin Hoover, this exhibition examines the state of contemporary live art in the Bay Are by inviting the collaboration and participation of over 100 performance artists working in a variety of styles and methods. MOMENTS (Bringing Back The Now) is structured around three events examining performance art today: a series of 100 two-minute, site-specific performances performed one after another, a ballet with heavy machinery that was inspired by a previous performance choreographed by youth in a housing complex, and a series of time-based and mobile/ephemeral sculptures.

According to curator Justin Hoover “the lived moment is often greatly under-appreciated, in life and in the arts. Largely, in the mind of the public, fine art is relegated to objects and environments, and rarely is the emotionality and the nuance of a lived moment evidenced as an artwork. In the contemporary moment, art has long surpassed the realm of objecthood and some of the most innovative new forms reside i experience. By highlighting local performance artists and performative installations, SOMArts gives Bay Area artists and audiences a chance to exchange ideas and build attention around a developing form that rarely finds its way into a gallery. MOMENTS (Bring Back the Now) brings immediacy back to the experience of contemporary art viewership.”

Additionally, this exhibition will work in conjunction with the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) to upload this live program directly to cable television.

100 Performances for the Hole – Take Two breathes fresh life into a formerly disused part of the SOMArts Main Gallery, namely what remains of the mechanics pit from the building’s former life as the Union Machine Company. Through a simple hole and an open call for ephemeral performance artwork, 100 Performances highlighting the contemporary timescape of today and invigorates a wide swath of the performance art community, one that is vibrant, innovative, playful, and elusive. This tour-de-force of the ephemeral is juried by Kevin B. Chen, Peter Foucault, Justin Hoover, Jackie Im, Lex Leifheit, and Lucy Kalyani Lin.