Tuesday, January 6, 2015

the craft in art

trying to find out more about the location & fate of Michael Ayrton's golden honeycomb sculpture (above) seems to become less as I go on - from both Sir Edmund Hillary's son and from a long-time & experienced person in the art scene in New Zealand, the view is that Hillary's involvement in the matter is apocryphal, and further literature suggests that it was not Hillary who commissioned the work but another unnamed 'New Zealand patron' - it appears then that Guy Davenport has tripped on a false story (which I would expect to be very rare for him) - the picture above (with bees!) has been filched from an online story about the making of this sculpture & the centrality of a craftsman goldsmith (John Donald) who was mainly responsible for the prospect of being able to make the work at all (for the picture and the story alluded to, by Kenneth Blakemore, read this - 

Mr Blakemore also proposes 'Dedalus' as a real character, which is also problematic - and the place to check that out is Daidalos and the origins of Greek art, Sarah P Morris, Princeton University Press 1992 - in which she demonstrates that the term 'daidalos' was a range of adverbs & adverbial phrases meaning something like 'well-wrought' or 'decorated' or 'well made' long before the capital letter was introduced and a kind of proto-artist was postulated as the originator of the well-crafted object, 'a wonder to behold' etc - 

in any case, the artwork was made possible by the art of the craftsman, a goldsmith, and many book people will surely recognise in this pattern the situation where the work of a bookbinder has made someone's 'artist's book' possible, and in such a way as that the work of the binder is far more interesting and 'full of art' than the material between the covers -