Thursday, February 2, 2012

Breaking the Rules

Sometimes, someone says something that you have to write down so you'll remember it always.   If you're anything like me, those are the moments when you can't find the notebook you almost always carry in your purse.  So you write the thought on a scrap of paper, sure that you're going to pin it immediately on your inspiration wall the moment you return home.  And then you misplace the scrap of paper....

Well tonight I got into major clean-up and organize mode and found the scrap where I'd scribbled a quotation from the Alexander McQueen retrospective exhibition, "Savage Beauty" held at the Met this past summer.

You've got to know the rules to break them.  That's what I'm here for, to demolish the rules, but keep the tradition.  -- Alexander McQueen

Here's a beautiful example of this, scanned badly from a postcard I purchased in the gift shop:

Dress, Voss, Spring/Summer 2001
Red and black ostrich feathers and glass medical slides painted red
Alexander McQueen, 1969-2010
Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

Do you agree?  What rules should we, as artists, know, then break?  Are they the rules of traditional quilt making?  The rules of design such as composition, line, and color?  When do you feel you've learned enough of the rules? Do you care about rules?


Karen L R said...

"Demolish the rules, but keep the tradition"...I like that juxtaposition!

You (and Steve) have given me some food for thought.

This also reminds me of the saying, "Some rules were made to broken".

Karen L R said...

HA HA! I meant "Alexander", not "Steve"!!!!!!

Kristin L said...

I absolutely subscribe to needing to know the rules before you break them. I think that it results in work that looks and feels intentional rather than accidental. I see rules as the underlying structure of things, so in art quilting it would apply to craftsmanship, knowledge of materials, design principles, and the like. Then, if the concept requires rough edges, or a naive look, then it can be accomplished with the result that it looks like the artist meant to do it that way, rather than did it that way just because he or she couldn't do anything different.

norma said...

I was so sorry to have missed the exhibit. A broken toe made me cancel my date with a friend and then the exhibit was gone.
Yes, I think you should know the rules before breaking them. You still should have a basic concept of design and good workmanship. I think that Kristin said it very well.