Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Christine Hill- The Working Artist

Christine Hill in Volksboutique

Christine Hill is an artist that challenges the ideas of quotidian objects as well as the role of commerce and business in our everyday lives. Her most famous work, Volksboutique, is essentially a thrift shop where participants can buy used clothes to take home with them. One might ask, what's the point? By setting up these fully functioning "stores" within a gallery or other non-traditional places, Hill forces the people who come across them to consider the act of buying in a different way. She wants us to think about why we buy material objects so often. Why do we need them? What do they do for us? What is the difference between an item that we collect and an item that we need? Her work also has a strong relational element to it, as much of it would not exist without the interaction between artist and "customer" or participant. To me she is one of the most relational artists we talked about in class because her work is so dependent on people. It is as if the medium itself is people, where as the other artists still utilize more traditional, tangible mediums such as photography.

Hill also questions the role of artist in commerce. Many of her works, such as Tourguide? revolve around the direct transaction of money between artist and participant (in Tourguide?'s case, $12, to be exact). Hill does indeed keep this money, and she uses it to make a living, along with grants she receives to continue making her art. By doing this, Hill changes the role of making money from something that she needs to do to survive to something that is art. I think she is actually a very brilliant artist, even though I think her work is lacking in emotion. Hill, who wanted to be a lawyer when she was growing up, proves that you don't need a business degree on top of your art degree to keep from starving in the "real world."


  1. I think you presented on Hill in a way that really made her art make sense, rather than it just being like, well what is the point? It's just a store. She really does merge commerce with art, though I do agree, her works are entirely emotionless. She does fit the relational aesthetics ideas very well, and I like how you wrote that it is almost as if the people who interact with her boutique etc. actually are her medium.

  2. When Julie presented the overview on Hill I honestly thought her concepts that link her to relational aesthetics were going to be ridiculous and upsetting. I think that relational aesthetics in it of itself is a notion that is hard to accept. However, after reading your brief explanation of her ideas I think her work is great. It made me think of the monetary system and our dependance on material objects, and I honestly do not know how I feel about it. In her micro-utopias she is aiming to transform this system into something more meaningful than just buying stuff we "need" for ephemeral and empty satisfaction.