View Single Post
Old 03-06-2008, 08:59 AM
Ries's Avatar
Ries Ries is offline
Level 10 user
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Edison Washington
Posts: 1,154
Re: Oldenburg Sues/Everybody Sues/ Sculpture Sits

Evaldart, I, personally, am not that different from you.
I make everything myself- the only subs I use are for finishing- painting, or galvanizing, and the like.

I do have two employees in my shop- but I do the hard parts on every piece, I insist on personally getting my hands dirty and making the physical, as well as mental decisions, so I will make one of something, then tell them to make the next hundred.
I bend the critical curves, or forge the tricky parts, I draw all the patterns and I make em take stuff apart and redo it all the time if I dont like the way it sits.
Many of the tools in my shop only I can use properly, and many many aspects of my work I must do myself, for the very reasons you state.

So I am certainly sympathetic to your viewpoint.

But- I cant see how you can say Gutzon Borglum or Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi were not artists- by every measure, including the ones you just laid out, they were- they each did tons of what you call art. In their own studios, with their own hands.
They each did life size busts, slightly larger than life size full body sculptures, some painting and drawing, they each showed in galleries and have their work in museums, and, in almost every way, resembled all other artists.
And then, they each made one or more very large sculptures- and they used every single thing they had learned in their whole life of making art, the same techniques of drawing, and modelling, and removing material or making clay models, just exactly like their small sculptures- only bigger.

Are you saying just because the works are big, and more people helped, they crossed some invisible line, and now their work is no longer art?

I just dont see it, myself.

I think you are, for your own personal reasons, obsessed with and satisfied to do everything yourself. Which is just fine, for you. But many other people make art differently. Doesnt make em not artists- just makes em not you. Which is a good thing, I think, both for you and for them.

As you point out, and I totally agree, the thing which makes art interesting (I wont say "good", as I think thats a relative term) is the decisions the artist makes when making the piece.
And I would agree with you totally that sending a napkin sketch out to the fabricator means the fabricator makes most of those decisions, and, in most cases, that makes the work much weaker. So I feel it is absolutely essential for an artist to have an intimate understanding of the materials, from having worked with them for many years, and to make all important decisions themself.
Which, I think, both Borglum and Bartoldi did- each was 100% personally competent with their medium, and could, themselves, do every job better than any one of the tradesmen they hired. Each was present all along the way, making every important decision- Borglum lived at Mt. Rushmore for many years.
I would argue that to do this is much more important than to physically do every single task yourself.
If you control the outcome, its your art.
Been There.
Got in Trouble for that.
Reply With Quote