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  #1  
Old 03-21-2006, 09:54 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Is bodycasting really art?

Recently, as a result of my graduate studies, I have become interested in what other sculptors think in regard to the technique of bodycasting. My main interest, and the reason I am attending NYAA, is to develop my understanding and ability to render the human form to a high level...with my reference point being reality.....and expressly to do it with my own skills and talent. That puts me at the opposite end of the spectrum from this technique and firmly in the camp of bodycasting not rising to the level of Art. (Well, maybe art with a lowercase "a".)

That being said, I will say that there are some sculptors that use bodycasting as a preliminary to a further process and I wouldn't consider them as true bodycasting sculptors. The best example that comes to mind of this type of sculptor would be Antony Gormley. His work does not bear the image of the person being cast rather it is a rough framework for him to build upon and manipulate. His figures are worked beyond this technique and have meaning in their own right as a result. ( To see what I am refering to go to http://www.antonygormley.com )

Those who follow in the footsteps of the grandfather of bodycasting, George Segal, however, are, in my opinion, creating something, but it isn't Art. Their work is dependent upon the likeness drawn from the bodycast to give their work legitimacy. Herein is the problem I have. The likeness has nothing to do with their ability or skill. How they may compose or patinate the figures is the extent of their artistic effort. This in and of itself, I think, does not rise to the level of sculpture or art. A very good example of this type of sculptor is Marc Quinn with his "sculpture" of Alison Lapper in Trafalgar Square. Not only did he rely upon a bodycast of his subject as the positive for his work, he then had other artisans transfer and carve it in marble. You can go to http://www.marcquinn.com/ to see the above mentioned work.

I am interested in hearing what other sculptors, figurative and non-figurative might think about this and why. By all means try and convince me otherwise if you are in favor of bodycasting. I by no means have a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

A point, my interest is in a dialogue not a brawl. Please keep posts on topic.
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:34 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Jason:

is body casting really taxidermy
or
is masturbation really sex?
or
why not just phone it in?

the practice of sculpture has to do with developing the ability to see and the attendant skills in service of an aesthetic

maybe it really boils down to ones goals

'tain't fer me

rod
sculptor
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  #3  
Old 03-22-2006, 01:40 AM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

George Segal's work seems more about creating situations with the groupings of figures and environments rather than being about the figure itself. If one is just using the cast figure as a point of departure for a larger idea then the casting is just another means of getting there. One might claim that George Segal is not skilled at sculpting the figure, but is difficult to support the claim that he is not an artist.

I guess a comparison in the world of painting would be the realist painters who project photographs onto the canvas to paint. Many famous and successful artist do this. How about when they use grids or other methods to assist them in drawing? What about when an artist looks at a photo of a figure instead of sculpting or painting from a live model? Is it still art when an artist only makes a small model and has a foundry sculp the larger size ect.. If you take a stance on the use of aids in art, the question is where.

I believe the idea holds importance over the method. This all relates to the thread on tallent vs hard work. Skill vs creativity. ...

Last edited by daaub : 03-22-2006 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 03-22-2006, 08:14 AM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

This is a very large topic, and unfortunately it's caught me still in the process of running back and forth some 75 miles between my Katrina - flood battered home in New Orleans and a temporary location further north. I'll have to get back with more cogent thoughts, but here is my first reaction:

Art is an expression of emotion and intellect, abstracted beyond the moment. That is true in sculpture, painting, music, writing - in any art form. Specifically in sculpture, I think bodycasting can be art, depending on its truth to my initial statement.

You've overlooked Duane Hanson, whose works are much closer to "taxidery" than George Segal's. And, yes, I accept Duane Hanson as a substantial artist.
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:24 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Daaub,
I realize that this topic seemingly presents a lot of "grey" area and would be willing to make George Segal fall on the other side of the line because of his texturization and excellent use of the figures to create meaningful compositions...and..... mostly because he did it first as a mode of expression that was meant to stand on its own merits. We could give him the pass of "first use", much as Jackson Pollock would have for his spatterings or Marcel Duchamp for his satirical use of found objects. As I said in my first post, I really look to those that follow in Segal's footsteps as the "sculptors" that have much to answer for.

As to the analogy of painting...it doesn't really work. Painters, even those that project and trace from photos (another habit I am not thrilled with) must then use a great amount of skill to make those drawings become paintings. That calls for a great deal of artistic ability(perhaps not draftsmanship).....knowledge of color, how to use the paints in an illusionistic way, etc....it isn't in any way the same as bodycasting. And grids are only a tool for enlargement and don't replace any skill whatsoever. This isn't about using artistic aids...it is about the replacement of skill and ability with a technique that virtually anyone can do and end up with an almost finished piece of "sculpture". Dare I say that bodycasting would be an artistic "crutch"?

Yes, this is related to talent and hardwork. In my post in the thread on that subject I opted for talent. The greatest artists used their talents to create what they did. The greatest artists didn't use the camera obscura, they didn't point from a real person. Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Rubens, Bernini, Rembrandt....none of them did anything other than rely on the gifts/skills they had. While they may have used limited aids, they did not replace talent/skill with techniques that made those abilities unnecessary. (Despite the wildly erroneous generalizations Hockney might have made..poor deluded man...he never understood some people just have great talents...and hardwork made them even greater)

Rodin himself was accused of bodycasting when he showed the "Age of Bronze" because there were sculptors back then that would use bodycasting in the creation of their work.....but the difference was at that time it was considered to be a mark of a hack. Someone who couldn't do themselves what was needed to be considered a sculptor. That this accusation was leveled was a mark of Rodin's great ability to render, not the lack thereof which now days is most often the case. I don't agree that your intention or idea is more important than your abiliy to execute that idea in an artistic way. It is a balance of ability and creativity that makes an artist and art. But then I do not consider all expression art. This is a philosophical convention that has occured since the 19th century. "Art" that anyone one can do is not by my definition Art. It has become something else and though it has some elements/characteristics of art, it does not rise to that level.

Fritchie,

No, I have not overlooked our friend Duane. He is an interesting subject no doubt and one that has succeeded on novelty. (Sadly, more have followed in his footsteps) Many consider it sculpture, but I would say no. It lacks those elements that put it in what I would call the tradition of sculpture. His painting and dressing of the forms in a pseudo-lifelike way is akin to dressing a manikin...regardless of the "statement" he might be making. But you see, merely putting three dimensional objects in a space in my mind does not in and of itself constitue sculpture or art. This is a symptom of a much larger degradation and devaluation of what is special about art and those who create it. (I am not espousing elitisim though, just ability.) This is my opinion, however. I realize that most operate under a contemporary view/philosophy as is usual for those that subscribe to whatever the norm is. I prefer a macro view/philosophy that puts our overly self-important artistic period in proper perspective with all the other artistic periods.

Strange is it not that artists have striven to evolve artistically/technically/skillfully since the beginning of recorded history, at least in relation to their society and culture's needs, and we are now the first to devolve artistically/technically/skillfully in the interest of making art something anyone can do? (A case can be made that the middle ages do not fit into the former paradigm, but one only has to look at the evolution of Romanesque and Gothic architecture as well as the redevelopment of sculpture in the process to discount that argument.) Another argument would be that our current enlightened state enable us to see that art isn't just the ability to render or skillfully manipulate a medium...rather it is the expression of heartfelt ideas that transcends ability. Well, I may be simple, but I want my mechanic to be skilled in his profession as do I want the doctor I go to be proficient in his craft....why then do I drop my expectations of learning and ability and.....that rarer gift, talent, when I look to the artist? Perhaps it is egalitarianism run amock...whatever...it has made many who should not be artists....and bodycasting is only one cause.

Last edited by JasonGillespie : 03-22-2006 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 03-22-2006, 01:59 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Jason,

I would love to have the opportunity to study as you are...unfortunately, I have to struggle on my own...but I too like the inturpretation of the "hands on" approach to sculpting.

I wonder though, the "pointingmachine" used long, long ago, and still today, to transfer a model to stone or other medium..isn't this just "connecting the dots?" The model could be a hand built clay or plaster---or a live model, if able to stand still long enough.

Couldn't body casting just be considered a product of technical advancement in materials allowing for rapid reproduction of a subject. Casts of anything can be made and turned into something called "ART." For example, Rachel Whiteread's works.

Just some thoughts...
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Old 03-22-2006, 03:43 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Oddist,
Your struggle is no different from my own. I had to work myself up to this point on my own. My undergraduate degree is in commercial art. In the end we are responsible for our education. School just makes certain ideas and concepts readily available that wouldn't be as easy to find. Still, the knowledge they are sharing is not gnostic. It is out there for anyone who would like to find it. The instructors do make a huge difference and I can't deny that, but they can not make me into the sculptor I want to become. That is my job and ultimately rests on me. Don't underestimate your ability to self-teach though.

The pointing machine is ideally for transfering information from an already fully conceived work to another medium or size. It doesn't or shouldn't remove the responsibility from the artist for having to have the skill/talent to create the work in the first place that is to be transfered. Could it be abused and used on people? I suppose it could, I suppose it has, but none of the great sculptors ever did and that is enough for me.

A good historical example is Carpeaux having his Ungolino transfered to marble. His plaster, which was also used for a bronze version, was pointed into a marble version that Italian artisans carved from those specifications...point by point. This scuplture was already fully realized though. The pointing was a means of transfering and nothing more. There is no detraction from Carpeaux's great talent in using it as a means of reproduction. The artisans' could not have carved the work they did without his plaster. The art resides in the original. Does it make the marble less valuable since he did not do it himself...to me, yes, definitely. That is in contrast to Michelangelo who was a stonecarver and had no need to point. Carpeaux,however, was a modeler and wouldn't have had the skill to turn out a marble version. At the academy we have many casts some of Michelangelo's works, most from Greek and Roman sculptures. These are from the originals and full sized. They aren't the actual works, but that fact does not change that they are exact duplicates of a fully realized work. It is the same with Carpeaux's marble Ungolino and the process of pointing....when properly used.

A technical advancement, in art, is meant to make creating that art easier...not take the place of ability. (I think) When you remove the ability of the artist fom the equation and have a technique that anyone that can read an instructional manual can do it stops being art. Then it becomes...perhaps a craft. I'm not sure. But I don't think of art as being trivial enough to be done by anyone willing to take the time to take a cast from a body. Just as I wouldn't assume to tell someone I am a great singer merely becuase I can force air through my throat and produce sound. There needs to be a line of demarcation so we don't wholly devalue art as an idea as well as a reality.
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Old 03-22-2006, 04:42 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Jason,

Oh, I don't underestimate the ability to self-teach...I just don't have the time. And that's my problem to deal with.

So, if pointing is an easy way of transferring information from an already conceived work to another medium, does "laser" scanning fall into the same category? I suppose so..

And isn't a living thing an already conceived work?

Maybe the needs of the artist should be taken into consideration. One might not need the satisfaction of direct, hands-on work...The end result maybe of greater creative importance to an individual...

There also may be the need for "immediate" results on the part of some..After all, we do live in an impatient, results oriented, striving for success society..
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:42 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

When I went to college as a non-trad and graduated w/BFA sculpture from Univ of South Dakota, bodycasting was taught as a means to an end, a technique to build from, not for it's realistic qualities. Very few used the technique.

After I studied Segal, Neri, KiKi Smith & Rodin, taking it all in, I've created my own body of work utilitizing bodycastings.

Just because I use it for this body of work, doesn't mean cannot create a figure with another medium.

I invite you to see my website in connection with the SD Artists Network.
http://www.sdartists.net/members/dsundberg/index.php

Check it out, is it art or craft?
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Old 04-02-2006, 09:47 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Daylee - I looked at your site, and I think you use the technique very well. Your work definitely is in the "art" category for me. My main criterion, as I said earlier, is creativity or concept, well-executed.
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:51 AM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

All creative expression is art. Best, Kevro
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Old 07-05-2006, 03:46 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Now -- you've got me curious.

The ancient Romans made body-casts ?

Can anyone offer any more details on the phenomenon ?

(I've seen the life-casts that Vesuvius made in Pompeii and Herculenum -- but that's something different -- isn't it ??)
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:25 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

'In Rome, it was not the apotheosis of the deceased, the fusion with the gods that was celebrated as it was in Egypt, but his terrestrial grandeur, his virtues and his merits; only worth ensured immortality.

The imago was molded directly on the deceased's face, painted naturally by a specialized polinctor, adorned with embedded eyes and false hair. It was exhibited next to the body during the conclamatio, it accompanied the convoy to the tomb; in the Forum, it even substituted for the corpse, as the orator addressed his laudatio to it, as thought it were a separate being. Its final resting place was in the atrium among the ancestors, and a wooden tablet, the tabulinium, was devoted to it, on which was inscribed the text or the summary of the elegy. But the effigy's role was not limited to the glorification of the deceased; the imagines took part, as did all the household spirits, in the life of the people. During the funeral of one of the family members, they were taken from their reliquaries and were made part of the ceremonies.'
http://www.bergerfoundation.ch/Fayou...el_romain.html
http://www.geocities.com/regilifecaster/index.html

Lets begin here, then we can go to the Egyptians!
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:38 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

This has been a very interesting thread to follow...
I am a very new sculpture student. Mostly I am a suburban housewife who goes to museums on a reasonably regular basis without any background or education in art. And while I am embarrassed to admit this, it may go some way in supporting an aspect of Jason's argument- I have apparently seen figures that have been casted and thought them to be sculpted, as I remember being amazed at the virtuosity of sculpting in the pores and fine lines of the skin! So again, I admit to being a total rube, but now I also feel misled. I like seeing effort, skill AND creativity all wrapped up together. Art has a fairly tenuous position in modern society, it seems. While the boundaries keep getting pushed by artists they leave us rubes so far behind we just scratch our heads, because so much of it seems irrelevant and removed from our understanding. I'm not saying art has to hold our hands, stroke our hair and spell everything out, but I think artists have to understand that it will be harder and harder to find the money to support urine in a jar with a crucifix because average joe thinks it's either sacriligious or puerile. From the outside it appears to be a secret society where art is made for other artists and then we get to pay for the priviledge of it in our museums. Perhaps this is part of Jason's point, or at least part of what creates the desire to make a distinction. Anyway.... just two cents from the "rube" contingent.
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Old 07-06-2006, 09:15 PM
mountshang mountshang is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Wow -- thanks for the history lesson about ancient Rome.

Although I'm not sure how the ancient practice of death masking makes body-casting any more of an art -- i.e. requiring extensive skill, practice, training, finesse, knowledge etc. How long does it take to learn how to pour a good death mask ? Ten minutes ? How long does it take to learn how to carve a marble portrait to the level of the masterpieces of ancient Rome ? (it must take a very long time -- because I don't think anyone has done it since the 19th Century -- or even earlier - depending on your judgement)

So my suggestion that contemporary art schools teach body-casting instead of figure modeling/carving because it's oh-so-much easier still stands.

Teaching modeling is like teaching the violin --- there's a long period of unhappy, frustrating results -- and many people just never get the hang of it.

But teaching someone how to body cast ? That's like teaching someone how to spin records at a party.

My own experience in body casting was very memorable.

For some reason, a handsome and playful Iranian friend of mine back in the seventies (before the Revolution) had the notion of making a torso-cast. He had tried it with his girl friend -- and it was a disaster. She was burned by the plaster -- she lost her public hair -- she nearly suffocated -- the pieces had to be broken off of her with a chisel -- and she never spoke to him again.

So he ran a help-wanted ad and got a retired army sargent who couldn't wait to be punished.

We slathered him with vaseline and covered him with plaster from the waist up. So there he was -- eyes covered -- - breathing through two straws -- and staggering under the weight of all that plaster. I guess it was cruel of me to laugh -- but he sure looked funny stumbling around the studio until we pulled the mould off -- and presto -- a perfect reverse-image -- containing all his chest hair that had come off in the process. And wouldn't you know it -- he asked us if we might do it to him again.

Come to think of it -- making a full body mould with plaster -- that did require a certain touch -- because the mould had to be separated at the precise moment when the plaster was setting but not set. But making a death mask over a face ? I think that's on the same skill level as shining shoes.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:06 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Texstralian,

Having read your post I would say you are not the 'rube' that you think you are. You understand some basic human responses better than quite a few experienced artists do.


Tandigon,

The Romans used this form of 'bodycasting' in creation of an effigy that was used in funeral ceremonies specifically...not as a part of their creation of figurative statuary. The distinction may seem small, but it removes the usefulness from the parallel between them and our present culture's use of body casting as art.

I'll grant you that it does establish the age of the process though. It makes sense that man began early to experiment with 'duplicating' his own image in a more direct fashion. The use of skill to fashion classical sculptures, however, was the norm and not by using any casts from life. All the way down to Rodin's day, to be thought of as one who cast from life was to be considered a hack....less than an artist.

Last edited by JasonGillespie : 07-06-2006 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:31 AM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

I once read some apocryphal accounts of early Roman attempts at bronze casting. A slave would be covered in a mold and molten bronze poured. Possible / probable in the days of early experimentation. But the use of face death masks as a model for replication in bronze or marble seems to be factual.

We seem to be in a debate as to what is art and what is not, as also who is an artist and who is not. The repeated line of reasoning seems to be that art is a skill and artists are skilled. A multitude of viewers at art galleries wonder about the skill of Picasso or Henry Moore or Alexander Calder, or a M.F. Hussain. Whilst they have no problem admiring British or Euorpean equestrian art, the Last Supper, or the Pieta. While modern day collectors will spend a fortune for old masters for sheer investment value, they will decorate their corporate offices will modern art to impress that they are very much with the times. In other mediums, like photography, some pictures which hit the front page can make or break a nation, can create mass reaction, and can even cause grown ups to cry. During a trip to Vienna, Mozart uplifted me, as Bruckner caused me to wonder. At home my son freaks out on dark side of the moon. And then there is modern ballet, and musicals just as there was Shakespeare.

Pray tell what is art and who indeed is an artist.

"Tandi honey.." " Not now babe, I have an identity crisis"
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:42 AM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tandigon

Pray tell what is art and who indeed is an artist.


This topic is currently being discussed in another thread "Is contemporary art a fraud".

In contemporary art, the question "Is this practice an art?" (as if it were important to distinguish between art/non art) is presented simultaneously with the assertion that "any practice can be an art" --- and it's a position that I have claimed is fundamentally fraudulent -- and culturally catastrophic when accepted as the basis for education in the arts.
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:30 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonGillespie
Recently, as a result of my graduate studies, I have become interested in what other sculptors think in regard to the technique of bodycasting. My main interest, and the reason I am attending NYAA, is to develop my understanding and ability to render the human form to a high level...with my reference point being reality.....and expressly to do it with my own skills and talent. That puts me at the opposite end of the spectrum from this technique and firmly in the camp of bodycasting not rising to the level of Art. (Well, maybe art with a lowercase "a".)

That being said, I will say that there are some sculptors that use bodycasting as a preliminary to a further process and I wouldn't consider them as true bodycasting sculptors. The best example that comes to mind of this type of sculptor would be Antony Gormley. His work does not bear the image of the person being cast rather it is a rough framework for him to build upon and manipulate. His figures are worked beyond this technique and have meaning in their own right as a result. ( To see what I am refering to go to http://www.antonygormley.com )

Those who follow in the footsteps of the grandfather of bodycasting, George Segal, however, are, in my opinion, creating something, but it isn't Art. Their work is dependent upon the likeness drawn from the bodycast to give their work legitimacy. Herein is the problem I have. The likeness has nothing to do with their ability or skill. How they may compose or patinate the figures is the extent of their artistic effort. This in and of itself, I think, does not rise to the level of sculpture or art. A very good example of this type of sculptor is Marc Quinn with his "sculpture" of Alison Lapper in Trafalgar Square. Not only did he rely upon a bodycast of his subject as the positive for his work, he then had other artisans transfer and carve it in marble. You can go to http://www.marcquinn.com/ to see the above mentioned work.

I am interested in hearing what other sculptors, figurative and non-figurative might think about this and why. By all means try and convince me otherwise if you are in favor of bodycasting. I by no means have a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

A point, my interest is in a dialogue not a brawl. Please keep posts on topic.
Hi Jason.The bodycast is a tool.You can turn it in art .But it will cost more time and work .The bodycast is a shadow of complete object.So you have to make degenesis of the shape in order to inplant your art idea.Or use it as a contsept in modern art.Arnis
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Old 08-29-2006, 10:38 PM
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Tandigon,

When you said...
Quote:
What this forum is doing is discrediting a whole lot of individuals who don't meet their standards of what constitutes art, and this kind of attitude of intolerance is hardly what one expects from an art community.
I think you might have oversimplified the situation.

Art is defineable...it exists distinct from things that aren't art. The whole point in trying to discuss these sort of questions is to come to a better understanding of what art is. That there must be some standard is obvious...otherwise it wouldn't be art.

Now, if you advocate having no standards so everyone can be an artist your indictment might have validity, but it won't change the fact that there are some people who just can't create art...try as they might. I am not going to lower the bar so they can become artists. That is like going to college, making bad grades and still wanting a diploma...or asking to be made a doctor without ever having gone to medical school. You must meet some criteria before being considered an artist. It doesn't need to be academic or educational...but it should show in the work itself. In my opinion good intentions are not enough. Every other type of work/job has this same ethic.

As to your comment about intolerance....if you want to make having a standard of ability, having some sort of skill ...in whatever area of art....a case for intolerance, you are going to be stretching the meaning of the word a bit. Your expectation of the art community's tolerance seems to border on blind acceptance.....and that is something I would never expect from the art community.





Quote:
The bodycast is a tool.You can turn it in art .But it will cost more time and work .The bodycast is a shadow of complete object.So you have to make degenesis of the shape in order to inplant your art idea.Or use it as a contsept in modern art.
Arnis,
I do think that bodycasting is a tool and your reference about a shadow is a good one. I know some use it only as a tool to construct something that is wholly different from the original casting and the bodycasting is therefore a smaller part of a larger work of art....which no longer resembles the cast. (like Antony Gormley's great conceptual work)

But then there are those who use it as the means by which they create distinctly figurative works...works meant to supplant those modeled by hand....figurative works that they wouldn't otherwise be able to produce without this process. This is still a problem for me. The element of charlatanism about this kind of work is too strong for me to ignore or make peace with.

I appreciate your comments as well as the varied reasonings offered by others and have learned more than a little from the responses in this thread. The line between the above two ways of using the bodycasting technique is more definite for me now and I appreciate the clarification.
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  #21  
Old 08-29-2006, 11:46 PM
ironman ironman is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Hi, In the right hands, Segal (I forget his first name, I want to say George, but isn't he the Actor? Maybe they're both named George!) for instance made a career out of body casting and as far as I'm concerned, he did it very well.
Of course, It (in his case, at least) wasn't about the figure, but about the situation, alienation and loneliness that he put them in. A commentary on modern society, so to speak.
That's what makes them ART!
Have a great day,
Jeff
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  #22  
Old 08-30-2006, 12:40 AM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Ironman,

I concur about segal. He not only used it first as a form, he also did it in a very original way that was far removed from traditional sculpture. His figures were certainly about the idea first and foremost and as such did not worry themselves with the details normally associated with figurative works. While I don't like every work of his....there are some that are quite effective. The work below is, in my opinion, one of his best.
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  #23  
Old 08-30-2006, 01:50 PM
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Tandigon Tandigon is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Wow Jason, you took my wind!
First let's recap............

"I think you might have oversimplified the situation."

Really?

"Art is defineable...it exists distinct from things that aren't art."

Pray, tell us about that distinction and standards.

"Now, if you advocate having no standards so everyone can be an artist your indictment might have validity, but it won't change the fact that there are some people who just can't create art...try as they might. I am not going to lower the bar so they can become artists."

Jason, I am passed 60, but I don't suffer from dementia. So please point out to me where exactly I advocated having no standards. My point is that you are trying to judge the work of others by your standards.

"That is like going to college, making bad grades and still wanting a diploma...or asking to be made a doctor without ever having gone to medical school. You must meet some criteria before being considered an artist. It doesn't need to be academic or educational...but it should show in the work itself. In my opinion good intentions are not enough. Every other type of work/job has this same ethic."

As I said before, this kind of simplistic explanation is like talking down to a child. Let's raise the bar.

'As to your comment about intolerance....if you want to make having a standard of ability, having some sort of skill ...in whatever area of art....a case for intolerance, you are going to be stretching the meaning of the word a bit. Your expectation of the art community's tolerance seems to border on blind acceptance.....and that is something I would never expect from the art community."

Wow Jason, this is turning out to be a brawl. You seem to be reading whatever you want in my sentences. You sound so accusatory. Now thats intolerance of the point of view of others, if anything.

Some examples of intolerance:
bodycasting not rising to the level of Art. (Well, maybe art with a lowercase "a".)

Those who follow in the footsteps of the grandfather of bodycasting, George Segal, however, are, in my opinion, creating something, but it isn't Art


BUT:
I realize that this topic seemingly presents a lot of "grey" area and would be willing to make George Segal fall on the other side of the line because of his texturization and excellent use of the figures to create meaningful compositions...and..... mostly because he did it first as a mode of expression that was meant to stand on its own merits.

I actually like Segal's work. His pieces about societal alienation are very well done.

More intolerance:
Bodycasting is a technique which alleviates the "sculptor" from having to do the work themselves. In the past these people would have been considered charlatans and fakes. Today we give them a pass....worse we treat them as if they had actually created something. They may have fabricated something, but that is not the same as the act of creation.

Not so bodycasting. It is in no way an artistic element. By its very nature it can't be. It has no intrinsic artistic merit as an object


Finally:
I am interested in hearing what other sculptors, figurative and non-figurative might think about this and why. By all means try and convince me otherwise if you are in favor of bodycasting. I by no means have a comprehensive understanding of the subject.


Jason, I really do not care to convince you. For that matter I do not care to convince anyone. I do not need to. Art is a very wide topic with a total spectrum. You do not have to approve or like or agree for art to be. Art has no boundry, no standards, its open ended. My grandsons art is just as valid as yours. The true mark of artists would be creativity not skill. And finally from my personal experience, another characteristic of true artists is tolerance.

And hey, I would not hit below the belt.
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  #24  
Old 08-30-2006, 03:45 PM
Thatch Thatch is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

This is going to seem to be OT but bear with me it isn't.

I studied sculpture at university, had a career in fine wines, know how to cook as well as most professional chefs and do consider myself an audiophile. My ex is a stage actress and director.

All these things are subjective yet each and every one requires objectivity, training and a specialized vocabulary to be able to communicate about them. The key words here are subjective and objective. All people rely on their senses to create their reality. When you view, smell, taste and listen it causes a reaction that is subjective and personal.

To be able to communicate about our subjective perceptions we become objective and with specializations even create a vocabulary.

Since one persons subjectivity is not the same as anothers the emotional context created by viewing, smelling, tasting and listening is going to vary. We are each and every one the center of our universe and how we percieve it is personal. It is not possible or correct to assume that our objectivity based on our subjectivity is the only way to percieve things.

Thus is Art. It is emotion. It is subjective. No objective arguement can change that. To make an example of a unique artifact and state that it is or isn't art based only on personal subjectivity about the process used to create it is..............fill in the blank.

Thatch
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  #25  
Old 08-31-2006, 01:26 AM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

Tandigon,

I will beat this horse for one more post. You said
Quote:
What this forum is doing is discrediting a whole lot of individuals who don't meet their standards of what constitutes art, and this kind of attitude of intolerance is hardly what one expects from an art community.
I was responding to your accusation of 'intolerance' within this art community and your expectations that it is somehow not living up to.

The complaint you registered was about the standards that some are wanting to maintain in regard to art. If you notice, I never said you were advocating no standards...I said if you advocate having no standards because I was not sure. I am not talking about judging by my standards in this post...I am advocating having standards. At some level, however, we do make artistic judgments...it is a normal process that brings us to understand what is the difference between mediocrity and excellence. One does not get better with out judging oneself against those around and we must make judgements about who we think is a good influence on our work or what medium suits us best, etc....That is another discussion though.

What is and isn't art is a topic too large to try and address in this thread...it deserves its own space. Suffice it to say I do believe there are distinctions between the two and I am by no means alone in this belief.

I apologize if my analogies seemed as if I was talking down. I prefer simplifying ideas whenever possible.

There is no brawl...your original comments were quite pointed and I was giving my response and using questioning hypotheticals....without slinging mud. There was no name calling...or personal attacks. If you were to address all my points as I was trying to do yours....then we would be discussing.....the point of a forum in the first place.
Reread my post and notice I use words like I think, if you, seems...words that do not imply assumption....because I could be wrong. I used these words to preface my remarks regarding your post so you could clarify your comments or my understanding....which ever needed to happen.

You, my friend, are the one who made a broad generalization about this forum discrediting a whole lot of individuals and that this was...using the word you like to throw around...intolerant. I did not read anything into that remark of yours....you were not specific and did not give examples. If you don't see the oversimplification of this sort of statement...then we will agree to disagree.




One thing that needs clarification though...just because I say something that isn't embracing of all art...that doesn't make it intolerant. We all have the right to disagree or not like something and that doesn't mean we are intolerant. It seems you are misusing the word. Intolerance means you don't tolerate.....you do not put up with something. (see definitions below) My saying I don't think this or that is art.....isn't intolerance. If I was trying to stop others from creating art I didn't like or advocating that they stop....that would be intolerance. I may express my dismay at this or being disgruntled by that, but that does not constitute intolerance.

I don't mind if people want to create anything they want or think differently than me, but I have the right to say whether or not I like it. We all do.
Are you are trying to say just disliking or disagreeing with something is intolerant? I am unsure, but it seems that way almost.
The paradox there is....the meaning you seem to want to give the word intolerance....one person not agreeing with another person....would make you intolerant as well....because you very vehemently don't agree with me.

Anyway, don't convince me...that is fine and your right. Honestly, I'd rather discuss the topic at hand than respond to negative posts, but...I did it on behalf of the many fine people who I have met here whom I think you might have 'discredited' with your comments.


Just for FYI

Main Entry: in·tol·er·ant
Pronunciation: -r&nt
Function: adjective
1 : unable or unwilling to endure
2 a : unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters b : unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights : BIGOTED
3 : exhibiting physiological intolerance <lactose intolerant>


in·tol·er·ant (ĭn-tŏl'ər-ənt) pronunciation
adj.

Not tolerant, especially:

1. Unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions, practices, or beliefs, especially religious beliefs.
2. Opposed to the inclusion or participation of those different from oneself, especially those of a different racial, ethnic, or social background.
3. Unable or unwilling to endure or support: intolerant of interruptions; a community intolerant of crime.

Last edited by JasonGillespie : 08-31-2006 at 12:43 PM.
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