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Old 03-22-2006, 12:24 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: NYC
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Re: Is bodycasting really art?

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 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, 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 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.


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 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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