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  #76  
Old 11-15-2006, 10:58 AM
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jOe~ jOe~ is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Cantab, I wonder how you feel about Thatch's comment:
Quote:
Making something that has no meaning, yet can mean everything (or anything)
Do prefer work that has specific tradition related readings? Agree to that and we'll have more fun. LOL

jOe~
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  #77  
Old 11-15-2006, 12:53 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

I notice that the language thing has been picked up on in the context of this thread and seperatly so maybe I was on the right track. I like the looking vs seeing aspect of the discussion but don't know if I agree in the way it was presented.

We are social animals and are conditioned from birth to a societal view of the world. An infant might well see a ball when looking at it. An infant might see 2 different balls when looking at them but not understand ball the way a socially conditioned person that is showing them the balls does. When the infant reaches epiphany and looks at the balls and understands the ballness in the context of society, adds the word ball to the equation, understands ball to mean any and all balls, they have got the ball lesson and know how to look at a ball and know it is a ball. The ability to actually see the ball might however be buried by the societal context of looking at the ball.

An artist looks at the world and the objects in it in a different fashion than people that are not artists but they still look through eyes that have accepted ball. Training yourself to draw might or might not help you to make better sculpture, but it certainly helps train you to look at things better than without the training. Drawing can be a very usefull problem solving tool to guide the sculptor around some mistakes they would have made without doing the drawing. It doesn't help you SEE. The more you train to look the farther from seeing you get because you are only extending the epiphany of ball past the observation of most ball lookers.

I have mentioned in the past that I am an audio nut. I have built tube amplifiers, built speaker cabinets, braided special wire for cables and all kinds of weird things in pursuit of better sound replication in my living space. Once I was given a fairly special speaker cabinet and a great triax driver to use in a mono system but I needed to cut a new baffle for the cabinet. Later when I returned the cabinet to the owner he looked at the placement of the driver on the baffle and said "You used the Golden Ratio when you cut that out." I didn't have a clue as to what he was talking about and proceeded to learn more than I wanted to know about it. Pretty interesting thing the Golden Ratio. Those of us who make art, if it is any good, make use of design funtion as a matter of course. If asked about it we can usually explain about angles, repetition, flow, eye movement and all that stuff but chances are when we designed and built or carved what we did it was without concious use of any of these design elements that makes or breaks how good a piece of art is. (language) We know when something doesn't look right and either fix it or move on to something else. I do make use of the Golden Ratio but not on purpose.

[To the extent that classical buildings or their elements are proportioned according to the golden ratio, this might indicate that their architects were aware of the golden ratio and consciously employed it in their designs. Alternatively, it is possible that the architects used their own sense of good proportion, and that this led to some proportions that closely approximate the golden ratio. In either event, the existence of golden ratios in these buildings, by design or not, supports the proposition that the golden ratio is a pleasing proportion] That was taken from here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio

Art is a language that must have some basic elements in it in order to function. In painting Cezanne deconstructed the landscape and later Picasso, Braque and Duchamp-Villions did it to the human figure and to still lifes. Then Boccioni did it in sculpture and Brancussi did it with movement. Archipenko's Walking Woman 1912 and later Lipschitz's Reclining Woman With Guitar 1928 had negative space that was near as important as the positive space which later Henry Moore expanded on. Naum Gabo did wonderful things with spatial relations and the use of planes and lines in sculpture. These artists did things that had not been done before but they never stopped using the basic elements that have always been used, like the Golden Ratio. I don't care what you do or how you do it there is no escaping certain fundamentals if it is to be recognized as art. The fact that bounderies have been pushed and recognized before now is a great thing because it frees us to create things that can mean nothing or anything.

About the ball. Consider a red rubber ball like those used in dodge ball in grade school. A sculptor might look at how close it is to being perfectly round, a painter the color, a structural engineer how much air pressure to keep it inflated, an athlete how fast he can throw it, a school kid how much it hurts to get hit with it, an audiologist the sound it makes when it hits the kid..............all ways of looking at the ball and probably none see it as an infant does.

Thatch
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  #78  
Old 11-15-2006, 01:01 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
About the ball.
Hmmm? What about the basket ball in the fish tank?

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  #79  
Old 11-15-2006, 01:41 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Repent and you shall see as an infant of that your fathers have named ball.
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  #80  
Old 11-15-2006, 02:09 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
Originally Posted by jOe~
Hmmm? What about the basket ball in the fish tank?

jOe~

Thought that was a shark suspended in Blueberry Jello, but if it can make the down payment on a 3rd World country who am I to quibble?
Duck, you quack me up. I had a Super Ball in 1965. I shall not repent and as my fathers were miltary they named as ball, ammo.

Thatch
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  #81  
Old 11-15-2006, 02:59 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Sorry I'm wrong, you'll need to pony up three basket balls for that country you want to rule.

jOe~
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  #82  
Old 11-15-2006, 04:32 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

RFLMAO! Flence your balls St jOe~omew and we can call it art!


Thatch
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  #83  
Old 11-15-2006, 07:08 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Cantab: “Well, no, Fritchie. We can agree that all people live in a societal context and that this context shapes them accordingly. OK on that. I’m saying something more than that, though, and Eliot is too. I was expressing a certain weariness at the notion that art is a means of personal expression, and a vehicle for the individual to express their individuality. My experience of great art is that it is NOT born out of this, but rather out of a desire to contribute to a tradition. One’s identity as an artist, and one’s individuality as an artist, belongs to this public sphere of activity.”

Let me just say I don’t understand you on this point. An artist, or in fact, any individual, has identity only so far as he/she is NOT an animal in a pack, following the fashion of the moment. To get away from Einstein and use Picasso as example, he is Picasso because of how he differs from other artists of his day.

Cantab: “The private individual is something else, and if private individuals wish to create great art then they will have to establish a relationship with an artistic tradition. It will be in that relationship that an individual artistic identity is created, and then good art.”

Maybe this is the place to revisit the idea of artistic genius. The flip side of my comment above on Picasso is that he is who he is BECAUSE he, with others, started an artistic tradition or fashion. Maybe an artistic genius should be defined as “one who starts a successful, new artistic tradition”. If the poor guy can’t attract followers, he’s not a genius.

........
To shift gears somewhat, can I ask where you place “Naive Art”, as exemplified by Grandma Moses, for example. I’m not sure she was the first person recognized as within this category, but she is one of the best known. Can this ever be classified as Great Art, or is more sophistication or historical knowledge needed? Generally, if I see a classification associated with this field, it is something like “Minor Art”.
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  #84  
Old 11-15-2006, 10:55 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Kitsch, or shark in an aquarium art ought to do it.

Thatch
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  #85  
Old 11-16-2006, 12:24 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Sorry, the aquarium art comment was flippant. Kitsch, though seems to encompass everything other than High Art as defined by the Greeks so it covers a lot more ground than Naive, Folk, or Outsider Art(mostly crap from how I have seen that label used). Empirical perspective and bright colors can often be quite appealing as can be seen in old tapestries.

Thatch
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  #86  
Old 11-16-2006, 04:34 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Hi Joe – I agree with all that you say in post 75. You remind me that there is so much art that has less ‘meat’ but is still astonishing and affecting. With regard to new art movements: these can be very exciting, but they still have a basis in the tradition. I mentioned Picasso and his relation to Cezanne – Cubism appears to have been quite a shock, but it is clearly the result of a new analysis of the picture plane and the inherited rules of representation that had already started. Leaving parts of the canvas unpainted – Wow! Scraping paint on instead of attempting a fine painterly surface – Wow! Seeing the picture plane as primary (not the subject itself) - Wow! You can see all this being experimented with in Impressionism, then being taken on as major aesthetic issues by Cezanne and then the cubists. Picasso was also into some relevant philosophy/psychology of perception that was also current. Similarly, Brit Art. Not such a shock if you have been watching what has been going on since Dada, and have a good knowledge of 1960s art in particular. (Hirst’s debt to this era is fundamental, I’d say). You are also right that we need to be careful what we say. However, we are not writing scholarly essays here on the forum, so I presume the rules of conversational speech apply (rambling; imprecise; more emotive, etc).

With regard to making work that has no meaning (Thatch) – I’m quite interested in this myself, and am finishing a piece that I hope evades easy categorisation - See link. (Mind you, on reflection, it may be categorised as plain 'bad'!). Of course, arguably, there can be no such thing as art without meaning – we are ‘meaning-making’ creatures. However, I am constantly aware that nature is in itself something 'other', perhaps devoid of meaning, and I like work that tries to get to that. Cubism got close, and some Hepworth and Moore. Some minimalists too, and Hirst actually.

Do I prefer work that has specific tradition-related readings? That’s everything, I think. Sorry, an evasion there?

(I can't keep up with this thread - it's a page ahead of me all the time!).

Last edited by Cantab : 11-16-2006 at 05:12 AM.
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  #87  
Old 11-16-2006, 09:12 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
we are not writing scholarly essays here on the forum, so I presume the rules of conversational speech apply (rambling; imprecise; more emotive, etc).
Thank gawd(though we sometime act like it)! As much precision as possible is required to avoid casting more bait for nit pickers and the sorts of misunderstandings we all engage in.
Quote:
See link. (Mind you, on reflection, it may be categorised as plain 'bad'!).
Just plain very very good!
Quote:
there can be no such thing as art without meaning – we are ‘meaning-making’ creatures. However, I am constantly aware that nature is in itself something 'other', perhaps devoid of meaning,
Thus we get into touchy waters with the recent spate of animal sculptures seen on the forum. Nuff said?

jOe~
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  #88  
Old 11-16-2006, 09:53 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Cantab (Sam),
Nice work and there might be plenty of meaning. If I didn't say it correctly then what I meant was that DEPICTS nothing (or anything). What you are working on is a form in space that makes use of most of the classic design elements, has great function and is a thing of beauty. It, however, isn't anything but itself. It doesn't represent anything. It isn't a puppy or a kitty or a nightmare. It is not an abstraction of something else, it is an object in it's own right.

Something like this is really a step beyond Picasso. He took the human figure, tore it apart and put it back in a new context, but it was still an abstraction of a figure. This was also done with still lifes in painting and sculpture. However I think that sculptors were way ahead of painters in creating objects in their own right. Creating forms with no subject matter.

At the moment I have a figural work in progress that is giving me fits, have 2 non objective ones going and finished another non objective since I started the figural. For me the figural is basically the same as the non objectives except that the figure is a vehicle. Twice a vehicle actually. First it gave me a starting place, a reason for the form. After I am done it will give the viewer a touchstone, something to identify with when they look at it. What I am actually doing is making holes. I know that viewers are going to see the figure, but the reason for the figure is that the shape allows me to put more holes in the form and my main objective in this piece is to make interesting negative spaces. Now a painter uses negative space also, but has to use positive space to create it on. Canvas without paint would be negative space for a painter, blank paper for the printer but the sculptor gets to use actual space. This isn't the air between the folds of a robe but Horsescuptor gets it, it is the actual gaps in the hair of a horse's mane when the wind blows through it. How she manipulates the air will imply movement as much as the posture of the horse and it's muscle groups.

When I look at some of Arp's, Hepworh's and Moore's work I often think the negative space is as at least as important as the posotive space that gives it form. Archipenko did it to a certain degree back before WWI. A real pioneer.

Back when I was doing steel constructions I for the most part did modular wall pieces, some of which were quite large. I made them out of rod of different diameters some of which were in contact with the surface of the wall and some projecting into space. They were 99% negative space being little more than 3D line drawings and I had another dimension there to work with that most don't take advantage of, shadows. Shadows is something that your work in progress has going for it. It makes the hard edge harder. How that piece is lit will make a great difference on how much impact it has. Nice hunk of stone too. For me carving is by far the hardest way to make an object, but also the most rewarding.

I have been thinking about the role of the artist and I really don't have a way to describe it. I do have a certain thing in mind though about an example of the role of the artist. The role of the artist is illistrated by the pottery of the ancient Native Americans of New Mexico. The pottery had some beautiful decorative undeglazes, insizing, rubbings etc that had absolutly nothing to do with the function of the pot and it's ability to hold water, cook grain or what ever it's intended use was for. It doesn't look like most of the decoration was done for ceremonial or religious purposes but was put there to please the potter and whoever was going to use the pot. Maybe make it more attractive for trade or more attractive as an offering if it was destroyed in a ceremony (who knows if it specially made for that though?). The artist takes the ordinary and makes it extra ordinary. Ever see the custom coach works of some of the great cars of the 30s? Mechanical Engineers didn't do that. My wife collects the metal ware made by Chase that was designed by Russell Wright. He played an important role of the artist in Industrial Art (oximoron?) or at least Modern Design.

I don't know where I fit in, I like putting holes in things.

Thatch
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  #89  
Old 11-16-2006, 09:58 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

>>About the ball. Consider a red rubber ball like those used in dodge ball in grade school. A sculptor might look at how close it is to being perfectly round, a painter the color, a structural engineer how much air pressure to keep it inflated, an athlete how fast he can throw it, a school kid how much it hurts to get hit with it, an audiologist the sound it makes when it hits the kid..............all ways of looking at the ball and probably none see it as an infant does.<<

Thatch I didn’t mean to crack you up, I’ve been following this conversation and thought you got pretty close to something with the “Red Ball”, to see as an infant for me would require repentance, a change of consciousness. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repent

duck
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  #90  
Old 11-16-2006, 10:42 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Duck,
You got it. A change of conciousness. I believe that the way we percieve is taught and to function one must accept the world view. I don't know if we can really see things as they truly are since I have only one way to look at things. Surgeons during the Civil War didn't wash their hands because bacteria didn't exist for them. The results were there to see but it was beyond their comprehension and infection was part of the process.

A while back I exchanged a few messages with someone who is seeking self awareness. Maybe seeking isn't the right way to put it because it might not be possible to find it if it is actively looked for. The idea that really blew me away was that if someone attains complete enlightenment then the barriers of time and space disappear. In other words though everything dies, if you can get to that place even a moment before death then you can live forever. Yes, you will still die but if you can transend time and space a moment can be an eternity. I don't know if I am taking it the correct way but that is what I am getting from your use of repentence. To see the world would be to know everything about it at one time. My thought is that once a child accepts the way to look at things that maybe the ability to see is lost. Of course have accepted the world view myself I cannot know.

Thatch
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  #91  
Old 11-16-2006, 07:39 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatch
Sorry, the aquarium art comment was flippant. Kitsch, though seems to encompass everything other than High Art as defined by the Greeks so it covers a lot more ground than Naive, Folk, or Outsider Art(mostly crap from how I have seen that label used). Empirical perspective and bright colors can often be quite appealing as can be seen in old tapestries.

Thatch
The term "kitsch" always has bothered me, as I generally take it to mean "worthless", or "gaudy trash". Actually, the latter is almost exactly what my dictionary gives as the Germanic original meaning. I do like some of this stuff, though , and have collected a small number of African wood carvings over the years.
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  #92  
Old 11-16-2006, 07:55 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Cantab: “With regard to making work that has no meaning (Thatch) – I’m quite interested in this myself, and am finishing a piece that I hope evades easy categorisation - See link. ...”

I have to agree that your new sculpture is excellent, and though it may represent or depict nothing, it immediately reminded me of Jacob Epstein’s Oscar Wilde memorial in Paris. URL: http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/8889/wilde.htm

I just Googled the piece and found the above image for comparison. Mainly, I think the resemblance is in the strong end curve, together with all the rectilinear forms.
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  #93  
Old 11-17-2006, 06:41 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Thatch re: post 88. To quote you: “At the moment I have a figural work in progress that is giving me fits, have 2 non objective ones going and finished another non objective since I started the figural. For me the figural is basically the same as the non objectives except that the figure is a vehicle. Twice a vehicle actually. First it gave me a starting place, a reason for the form. After I am done it will give the viewer a touchstone, something to identify with when they look at it. What I am actually doing is making holes. I know that viewers are going to see the figure, but the reason for the figure is that the shape allows me to put more holes in the form and my main objective in this piece is to make interesting negative spaces. Now a painter uses negative space also, but has to use positive space to create it on. Canvas without paint would be negative space for a painter, blank paper for the printer but the sculptor gets to use actual space. This isn't the air between the folds of a robe but Horsescuptor gets it, it is the actual gaps in the hair of a horse's mane when the wind blows through it. How she manipulates the air will imply movement as much as the posture of the horse and it's muscle groups.”

This is fascinating stuff. Can you offer any pics?

The issue of no meaning. Thanks for your ideas on this. Two of my favourite sculptors are Anthony Caro and Donald Judd. No overt meanings here (See attachments), but still full of meaning. So, are there different types of meaning at play here? Say, OVERT meanings (symbolism; theme or issue) and IMPLICIT: the meanings that are inherent in the sets of forms and materials chosen? Do you find you choose forms for the ‘meanings’ that come with them? The piece I showed earlier was started in Italy, and I didn’t get very good reactions to it. In part I think this was because the forms were very structural and angular, maybe impersonal, whereas the sculptors I was working with were into flowing sensual forms. It also interests me what we are doing when we go ‘completely’ abstract (Perhaps a new thread?) and what we are doing when we use figures as a vehicle for abstraction.

'Making the ordinary extraordinary’. I think this is important too. I used to talk about ‘transcendence’ in this way. We are always seeking to transcend the ordinary circumstances of our lives (alcohol, drugs, religion, holidays abroad, shopping, TV, etc). Art does this too. Our motivations for producing art are worth exploring.

PS Thanks Joe, Fritchie,Thatch for your thoughts re. art work
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  #94  
Old 11-17-2006, 08:30 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

This thread is interesting. I am following some ideas raised by Cantab and followed up by others.

Beginning with quote about the artist as one who is "harassed by first principles", if we could successfully argue from first principles then all that follows from them should follow a reasonable logic. If we are making decisions we think are rational that are not clearly traced back to well founded first principles, we are most likely working on unargued assumptions, so called "common sense". A good artist then is charged with the mission of interrogating every aspect of his or her art practice to ferret out the un-argued assumptions, or as it's already been put here, "to take nothing for granted". This interrogation may reveal that what appears right is actually not well grounded in first principles and may in fact be an assertion of arbitrary power and nothing more, or simply arbitrary, but not random.

So how do we get a sense of what is working well? That would mean working within a practice of inquiry extended over time, including the work both of predecessors and those to come. This could be called a tradition. Outside such a context, such a practice, is nothing. It is actually impossible to be outside some kind of rational practice and be intelligible, e.g., "outside" or "above" tradition. The great myth of Modernity is the claim that such a thing is possible, but in fact any such claims contain un-argued assumptions that make such claims impossible to believe. Also, it's important to note that there are multiple traditions active at any one time, some unrelated to one another, some rivals. Some traditions run into problems and they stall and die, others find the resources to go on. Some view tradition as a static, unchanging thing, like the Greeks said of ancient Egyptian art. Nothing could be further from the truth, because a living tradition is a dynamic thing that develops and changes in response to challenges.

Consider the big modern art museum. Its goal is to be a giant encyclopedia of art, covering every kind of art from A-Z from every part of the globe and every location in history. It claims to display art so any rational person with the wherewithal to visit and study can understand the exhibits. Is this really true? Can any "rational" person go to the big art museum and visit the exhibit created by a distant culture both in time, history, and location and really understand it? Especially artifacts produced by cultures with no equivalent to our word for "art"? Especially artifacts extracted and isolated from the specific culture that produced them? In other words, look at them outside of tradition?

If this makes any sense then Duchamp's Fountain is very easy. What better joke to play on the pretensions of the encyclopedic museum than to turn the tables by looking around for something produced by a culture that would never call that something "art", and place it in the museum and call it "art"? Especially if that something is from your own culture?

The problem though is how does the mockery of the Fountain resist becoming the very same thing it mocks and critiques? Take the Fountain out of the museum and like Cinderella's carriage at midnight *poof* it turns back into what it was originally was, a plumbing fixture. In other words, it's a parasite, it needs the museum. There was a Dada show at MOMA recently, and I heard an artist describe the frames for the works on display as "little coffins", a telling remark that gets at what I mean here. Another problem of the Dada critique and all of its descendants is the question of further development of any kind. Can we see it? Or are we getting more of the same, just bigger and louder?

So we're stuck with the warring dualism of the encyclopedic museum, no matter how discredited but not replaced, and the mocking critiques that deflate the grand claims but must nonetheless draw succor from the institution and ultimately become it. Which leaves tradition, a practice extended over time and grounded in first principles as the last man standing and the true heir to the crown "post-modern". Working this out in art seems to me like the most interesting problem around. The reason I don't like the "what is art" question is because it's all about arguing about what belongs inside the encyclopedic museum, and as the Fountain teaches, it's a ridiculous question. You know you're in tradition when "what is art" becomes less important and "what is good" becomes the most important question and the best chance of creating something that looks like new development, the contribution to the tradition that Cantab mentioned earlier.

I hope this doesn't come off as a major digression but I've been waiting for a thread to take the trajectory that this one has to allow the above to fit in. Incidentally, modern western science counts as a specific tradition of enquiry with its own history, rationality, and all the rest.
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  #95  
Old 11-17-2006, 01:00 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Fritchie,
I took the term Kitsch and used it here in the context of this thread, post #23. http://www.sculpture.net/community/s...9&page=1&pp=25
I always took Kitsch to be kind of trashy and remember the first time I heard it used. It was used to describe the strange things a grandmother might have on the walls and counters in the kitchen, cast iron trivits, replica milk cans to holf wooden spoons,etc and it was called Kitchen Kitsch. This was back around 73 or so and so I have always took it to mean the "crafty" end of the arts like hanging bascket macrame', sand candles, decopage or something like a water sprinkler that looks like a milk cow.

Cantab,
The piece I finished since I started the figural one is shown here: http://www.sculpture.net/community/s...ead.php?t=3842 I am in the finishing stages of one more and close to the finishing stage on another and will post pics after I get them sanded and oiled. The figural piece is not going very well and at this point I am just hoping to get something that I am not ashamed to say I made. I'll post pics reguardless but at this point I am far from pleased.

Ex,
Interesting observations. I can't speak for others though I know many work very much inside certain traditions, I just struggle with my medium and am glad that others before me have gotten the non objective sculpture as an accepted form of art so I can make what ever looks right at the time. I don't particularly spend a lot of time contemplating whether or not I am doing something new. I do spend a lot of time looking at the pieces I am working on to try and find ways for the form to look better. Art is not eternal and there is no way to know whether mine will last much longer than me. As far as that goes at this point I haven't signed anything (no rescent works) since the worthiness of a piece of art should not be based on the signature.

Thatch
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  #96  
Old 11-18-2006, 08:00 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

ExNihiloStudio: This thread is interesting. I am following some ideas raised by Cantab and followed up by others.

Beginning with quote about the artist as one who is "harassed by first principles", if we could successfully argue from first principles then all that follows from them should follow a reasonable logic. If we are making decisions we think are rational that are not clearly traced back to well founded first principles, we are most likely working on unargued assumptions, so called "common sense"

That is one of the points that bothered me when I saw the original post, and I gave a first response at that time. However, I just checked my dictionary after your post, and the word “principles” unfortunately is a rather complicated one, with many meanings. It is related to logic, and it is reasonable to say that principles should be explored through logic and the results should be self-consistent. However, again, there exist many forms of logic: verbal, which people should follow in exposition; mathematical, without strict obedience to which mathematical theory would fail; and in this case, visual, or strictly, three-dimensionally visual.

To get a little more precise with sculptural “logic”, it probably should involve materials and color as well as form. A sculpture hopefully would be fully logical in the sense of coherent form, materials that will hold their shape (or shifting shapes if fluid), and color/colors that integrate with the overall concept, and also are firm over time. I won’t pretend to say that’s what Martin Amis’ hypothetical artist had in mind, as the given piece is all of his work I have read, and I have to emphasize that logic in any of these fields basically means self-consistent. It places no other restriction on freedom of expression or content.

ExNihiloStudio: a living tradition is a dynamic thing that develops and changes in response to challenges.

Amen.

ExNihiloStudio: Can any "rational" person go to the big art museum and visit the exhibit created by a distant culture both in time, history, and location and really understand it? Especially artifacts produced by cultures with no equivalent to our word for "art"?

We’ll never understand such things the way a native would; we only can appreciate them for what we see, but historians of art, students of ethnicity, or anthropologists working with their own logic may, over time, increase what we can perceive.

I also like your reflections on DaDa.
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  #97  
Old 11-20-2006, 04:14 PM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quotation from post 94, by Mark - "If we are making decisions we think are rational that are not clearly traced back to well founded first principles, we are most likely working on unargued assumptions, so called "common sense". A good artist then is charged with the mission of interrogating every aspect of his or her art practice to ferret out the un-argued assumptions, or as it's already been put here, "to take nothing for granted". This interrogation may reveal that what appears right is actually not well grounded in first principles and may in fact be an assertion of arbitrary power and nothing more, or simply arbitrary, but not random.

So how do we get a sense of what is working well? That would mean working within a practice of inquiry extended over time, including the work both of predecessors and those to come. This could be called a tradition. Outside such a context, such a practice, is nothing. It is actually impossible to be outside some kind of rational practice and be intelligible, e.g., "outside" or "above" tradition. The great myth of Modernity is the claim that such a thing is possible, but in fact any such claims contain un-argued assumptions that make such claims impossible to believe. Also, it's important to note that there are multiple traditions active at any one time, some unrelated to one another, some rivals. Some traditions run into problems and they stall and die, others find the resources to go on."


Mark - this is SO good from my point of view. You clarify the issue of 'first principles' very well. In fact, Martin Amis also published a set of his essays called 'The War Against Cliche'. If you ever read his work you will see how hard he works to avoid 'pat' expressions, received cliched expressions and such like. He will try quite audacious turns of phrase in order to avoid what may be a cliche (and hence a piece of 'dead' language). It is, as you say, an issue of statements (verbal or visual) being 'well grounded' and by the inspection of the language we use, as artists, learning whether we are just rearranging our prejudices when we sculpt (all those 'dead' images that clog our artistic arteries) or really representing our vivid consciousness of the world, or whatever. I imagine this is what many artists are doing when they establish new means of expression, whether in media or in style.

Another quote from post 94: "It is actually impossible to be outside some kind of rational practice and be intelligible, e.g., "outside" or "above" tradition."
Yes, even when we don't think of ourselves as belonging to a tradition. I'd go so far as to say, if your work doesn't relate to some kind of tradition, it can't be art. In some other threads we have debated the issue of whether much modern art is art at all. Well, I'd argue that the artist's LIVING relationship to the tradition is what saves so may artists who get a lot of stick - Hirst and Emin, all those really f****d up Brits from the 1990s. They were trying to rework the language of art to make it possible for their 80s/90s Britheads to find a means of expression and a new impact on OUR minds too. That meant crashing out of cliche, disturbing everything, but not actually throwing out everything. That's why they are artists, and their work really is art - we can see what they are doing in relation to the inherited body of art practice, even as they are crashing it.

Last edited by Cantab : 11-21-2006 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:32 PM
Robert Mileha. Robert Mileha. is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

All that pretends to be Art has a creator and an end user.

Both creator and end user could be at a different end of the intelligence spectrum and or experience spectrum. They may live in different ages or cultures or traditions.

Both creator and end user could be close together in these terms, or far apart.

“Great art” is going to appeal to (nearly) everyone. If it doesn’t it is not “great art”, it is something the individual may like or not.

Art in educating, Art in informing, Art in propaganda, Art as an investment, Art that might hurt, these are the down sides, or even the dark sides of art.

For me Art should be to make life better for both creator and user, and as an Artist one will have achieved something if it is still loved but the majority a thousand years from now. One may also have had some fun.


No it is not that simple.

One might look at Goya’s picture of soldiers shooting prisoners known as May 3, 1808. Striking image, informing, shocking, propaganda, indeed not a work one is likely to forget but does it fit into my criteria as “great art”. Some would argue that it has been well painted in terms of use of colour, composition, dramatic use of light and clever technique of brush work. But is it great art?
http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/databa...e.asp?id=19803

It must be 600 hundred years since Michelangelo did that David. Hideous face for good looking King David, was it supposed to be Goliath at that size? As a work of art is it great? Considering the equipment used technically brilliant, may be. Would you have one outside your palace? Don’t forget all those other ones like “Rocky” have got to be fitted in some where!

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en...angelo&spell=1
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:10 AM
Duck Duck is offline
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Thatch I won’t remember exactly how Tommy Lee put it in the movie Men in Black but it went something like this, “ 1500 yrs. ago everyone was certain the world was flat, 15 minutes ago you new for sure humans were the most intelligent life on earth.
What’s interesting to me is watching my youngest granddaughter (10 mos.) get so excited when a simple melody is played on the piano, her feet wiggle and legs get to jumping her arms and hands waving, and just a few moments before all this she would be fusing and crying.
Set her in the middle of a room filled with the latest new toys and she’ll crawl to an old stinky sock wadded up that’s been mixed in with the toys. I’ve seen and done this with my children when they were infants and both grandchildren, what they see, hear and smell, I dunno.

It may be that Martin Amis was being harassed by his intellect, and yes my use of the word repent was in the traditional way not the popular A.D. version. Hells bells people, maybe the art geniuses weren’t geniuses at all, but maybe they just unlocked the language.

Last edited by Duck : 11-27-2006 at 08:33 AM.
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  #100  
Old 11-27-2006, 09:37 AM
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Re: The Role of the Artist

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duck
It may be that Martin Amis was being harassed by his intellect....
This sums up Amis exactly, and what makes him interesting!
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