A cheap art revival

Not all art has to be expensive pieces hanging on the walls of a museum.The walls of the Flynndog gallery display paintings on coasters, matchboxes and pieces of cardboard.These pieces are part of an exhibit called “Cheap art isn’t dead, it just smells funny,” which focuses on inexpensive, innovative art.”We are … a loose association of people who feel that life without cheap art would just be too damn expensive,” a sign in the exhibit said.All of the pieces use inexpensive materials and are being sold for five dollars, but the exhibit at the Flynndog has a deeper meaning than to simply display inexpensive art.”[Cheap art] is a really central critique of the relationship between art and money,” Marc Estrin, who helped to inspire the exhibit at the Flynndog, said.Estrin has worked for with the Bread and Puppet Theater, a theater in Vermont committed to the philosophy of cheap art.Although the Bread and Puppet Theater is not directly affiliated with the exhibit, it is the connection between all of the artists from the exhibit.”The association we all have is a relationship with the Bread and Puppet Theater,” a sign in the exhibit said.Although a sign denies any overarching message to the exhibit, the exhibit does present an idea of art that is an alternative to the mainstream art world.”This commitment to easy and cheap materials is the best thread we have to tie all of this stuff together,” the sign said.Furthermore, almost all of the art in the exhibit is anonymous. “With the exception of one artist who doesn’t listen well, we chose to leave our names out of it,” another sign in the exhibit said. “This is just one of the many ways that we keep the cheap art cheap.”A painting on a tax claim form for college tuition credit deduction suggests that a student, perhaps even one from UVM, could be among the artists, but there is no way to know.”I love the idea of all the artists not putting their name on the art and making affordable, cheap art,” Burlington resident Lisa Lillibridge said. “It’s almost like a guerilla art statement.”By leaving names out of things, “Cheap art isn’t dead” removes the aspect of recognition from art.”[The exhibit seems to present the idea that] anyone can do art,” Burlington resident Andrew Silva said.”It’s a democratization of art,” Estrin said.