I’ll be the first to admit that, if faced with the option of seeing pieces of design or artwork that is going to make me think in some way or going to see things that seem like they were just fun, silly things to do, I’ll take the later every time. Not that that is any big difference from anyone else. But faced with going to see someone’s cliched anti-Bush poster fair and the work of Netherland’s-based Helmut Smits is no contest.
I don’t know what art is supposed to be, nor design. I was a late-blooming English major for god’s sake. But I know what I like and I know that I love Helmut Smits. It’s that very rare conundrum you faced in any art classes you may have stumbled into in college (for you un-art majors), where you feel as though both you and the artist are getting away with something, because neither of you should be enjoying yourself that much. Take for example, Smits’ Paddling Pool Fountain or this year’s Territories. There’s meaning behind it, sure, but it’s first and foremost, fun. Or at least it is to me.