Artists nowadays work hard to make their art long lasting. Archival paper is a must for illustrators. Oil paints that do not fade with time are preferred. Extreme temperatures, moisture, and corrosive materials are the accomplices of time on artwork. You may remember there was a time when photography at museums were not allowed because the flash damaged the paintings! However there is another kind of art that does not worry about acid free paper; Temporary art. It is not designed to last, and in this respect holds onto the excitement of the moment. I have chosen this art because I love the idea of art reflecting life in its movement. We cannot hold onto the day, and we cannot always hold onto this art.

Temporary art has become more popular since technology to document such art has become more accessible. Yet the first artist I would like to introduce has been continuing a tradition of temporary art that never needed modern technology to last forever.

The Wheel of Life, 2008

Kalachakra, 2008

Losang Samten was born in Chung Ribuce, Tibet in the early 1950s. He studied to become a Buddhist monk during the 60s at the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, India. During this time he also studied sand mandala art at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Art. He and his fellow monks created beautiful works of temporary art with just sand. Sand Mandalas are created from colored sand and are intended to purify, balance, and bless the surrounding area. It takes weeks of dutiful patience to create these works, and soon after their completion they are taken apart. Typically half of the sand is distributed to the audience, and the rest is put into a nearby body of water. The ritualistic disposal of the artwork is meant to symbolize the impermanence of life.

Na Hale 'o waiawi, 2003

Owache, 1999

The second artist in my little collection is the American Patrick Dougherty. In the 1980s he began to combine his love of carpentry and nature into art that he likes to call Stickworking. He takes branches, vines, and other greenery to create naturalistic sculptures and structures. Although his creations last longer than any other artwork in this collection, in time they do disappear. His whimsical creations are not always meant to last, and are often up for a few months before being turned into something else. The natural materials degrade and erode with the seasons.

Individuals, 1998

The Gypsy Magna, 2008

The last artist in my collection is actually one of my favorite artists. Vik Muniz is a visual artist from Sao Paolo, Brazil. Early in his life he was involved in an argument that ended with him getting shot. From the settlement money Muniz was able to come to America and start his career. Over the years he has used many temporary and permanent mediums to create his work. In fact he has used practically everything, from salt, to cotton, to ketchup. I have chosen three of my favorites. The first image is made of garbage, the second is made of chocolate syrup, and the third is the exhaust from a skywriter. The last image is my most favorite piece of modern art. The shape of the man made cloud is so childlike, it beams happiness…

Home Left, (early 2000s)


Although they are not made to last, because of photography I can learn about such creations. Yet there is something to be said about seeing such moving creations yourself, and not just looking at a photograph. Because of the ephemeral nature of this type of art, the creations feel more special. The hard work and dedication that go into these works serve their purpose immediately, and then vanish… that is, until someone takes a picture of them…

I have added the artist websites below: