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What is ART?


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#1    pantodragon

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:32 PM

This is an old question which is posed at the front of almost every book on Art, and the answers, rather than actually elucidating the concept, serve to add to the mystique of Art.

Actually it is really very simple: art is pictures and sculptures and all the rest.  The Mona Lisa is just a picture.  The works of Picasso are just pictures.  Tracey Emin just makes pictures or tableaux or whatever.  And what are known as Great Art are not even good pictures.  I mean, you would not want to hang any of them in your house, and most of them are getting really dirty and unpleasant, like anything that is ‘preserved’ for too long.  But that is not the worst of it.  The worst of it is that these are what one might call ‘prostitution’.  They were not created by the artist for the artist, but to please a patron, to be impressive and to make a name, and hopefully a fortune, for the artist.  The real face of the artist is, therefore, hidden behind a ‘painted mask’.

Art experts, academics and curators and the like, intellectualise these pictures: they are supposedly conveying ideas and concepts, altering our perspective on the world, or altering the way we see the world etc etc, and they root out every little change of technique or process or composition or whatever and hail it as innovation.  But this is all really very trivial.

What they miss is that behind every work of art is a human being.  First and foremost, every work of art is an expression of who that person is, and if people were left to get on with it, instead of being taught what is the ‘right way’ to be creative, what makes good art and so on, then every single picture would be as unique and rich as the person who created it.  Every picture would communicate who that person was, would express their spirit and so on, and that would make a far richer and more sophisticated world of art than exists today.

We have been so brainwashed by the academic world that we all (there may be a few exceptions, but they are very, very few) accept that the pictures that are hung in galleries are better than the ones we might produce ourselves, and yet this is a very pernicious idea.  It causes all sorts of bad practices that lead to all sorts of damage to the individual.

In the first place, we all need to do art, to be creative, to express ourselves, but if we think that the art in galleries is the best, then that gets into our psyche and, whether consciously or not, it causes us to undervalue our own work and to try and emulate the masters.  This has the effect of detracting from any sense of achievement, and of de-motivating us from actually doing art.

In the second place, we should all be living in environments that enhance our own spirits, and that is not done by putting other people’s art on our walls; it is done by putting our own art on our own walls.  Quite literally, when you live in a house with other people’s art on the walls you become ‘dispirited’.  When one says that one feels ‘dispirited’ it means one feels a loss of motivation, one feels disinclined to do anything – in fact, it is just a step above becoming properly depressed.

That depression is so prevalent in our society is in no small measure down to the fact that people are being dispirited by being deprived of the proper use of art—and the same goes for poetry, fiction, music and all the other arts.

And one final problem: people who do not use art properly will never understand art.  This is the case in our society.  There is no understanding of art, not of any of the arts.  The result of this is that instead of artistic ability, great artists display nothing more than great skill.  It is as though they have been turned into computers.  Computers too can produce works of great skill, but they understand nothing about art.  Or one might liken it to learning to ‘use’ words: one could, for example, learn all the words in a foreign language, learn the rules for constructing sentences, learn the nouns and verbs and so on, and thus be able to construct correct sentences without knowing the meaning of a single word.  This is the situation with all the arts: artists know all the words and can construct grammatically correct sentences, but they do not know the meaning, and since there are none who know the meaning, so long as the grammar remains correct, they can get away with constructing grammatically correct sentences that, nevertheless, speak nonsense.  So most of our Great Art is, in truth, nonsense.


#2    StarMountainKid

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:03 PM

I would agree that everyone needs to create their own art and that we are intimidated by "great art", and consider our own creativity inferior. This is a shame as everyone is creative in their own way.

I think in more primitive societies everyone was an artist, perhaps there were no professional artists. In this sense there are no "artists" and no "art" at all. There are just expressions of people's natural creative inclinations.

I like the "art" children create, because they are spontaneous and innocent and not motivated by intellectual ideas.

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#3    ascendant606

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:51 AM

In higher levels of school, children are often times not taught art, making most people left side brained (Analytical thinking) rather than right side brained (creative thinking)
The reasons why this is:

1) Like you mentioned before, people often belive that "great art" is best, and there own is not. Art is essentially expressing yourself, so the art that is most beautiful to you should be your own, but children are raised to belive this is not so.

2) People don't see art as particularly pratical or useful. I think this is incorrect though, as art fills a void in one's life and lets you express emotions in ways that words cannot.

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#4    HDesiato

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:41 PM

Art is subjective.
The OP's statement is subjective.
But is it art?


#5    Sweetpumper

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:02 PM

art  

/ärt/
Noun
  • The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture,...: "the art of the Renaissance"
  • Works produced by such skill and imagination.
Synonyms
craft - skill - artifice - science - workmanship - knack

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#6    Frank Merton

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:15 PM

There is art and there is ART.  You have to put an adjective in front of ART to say what I mean -- a word like "real" or "good."  I do not consider the avatar of a blue fish that I use to be art, even though it might be interpreted as communicating something, or, at a minimum, representing my identity on this board.  It's also pretty.

The word comes cheaply, kinda like Vice Presidents at a certain company I know.  

Still, subjective as we like to say it is, there is something real about the idea.  Real ART hits you between the eyes, or maybe I should say between the ears in that gray stuff.  The real wonder is that such things tend to hit others the same way; there tends to be agreement on what we think is a subjective thing in such a way that I wonder if it is really as subjective as claimed.

Of course there are disagreements, and of course I think my views are good taste and different views aren't.  I doubt that any one else on this board at the moment is listening to Schumann, and I could listen for hours and do nothing else.  I doubt there is another Vietnamese in the whole of Vietnam listening to Schumann at the moment, although a few ex-pats may be.  So taste is also cultural, although not completely.

There were maybe fifty composers active in Europe in Schumann's day, and we celebrate only a handful.  What goes?  The plain fact is the others were not as good, in some way that we say is subjective but still history makes its verdict pretty hard to miss.  I've listened to many of the lesser-knowns, and I agree with history.

I'm rambling but I do have a message; the recognition of good art, and its appreciation is a mystery to me.  It's one of the reasons I'm not a materialist.


#7    krypter3

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:21 PM

What is art, oh god man you had to ask the question.

HD said art is suggestive, and I guess he is right.

So to answer your question.  My art is the art of words, being a writer and all.  Art for me, well for me it's about telling a story.  With the book I have been writing for almost eight years, a lot of people have called me cliché because it's a fantasy novel.  But what many don't understand that while it is fantasy, that is simply the backdrop into me telling a story.  There are rarely new idea's now days, so what makes you a good writer is if you can create a world, characters and story that enthral your reader.  You need you make yourself stand out from the crowd.

As a writer, the greatest joy for me is when my words illicit an emotional response from another.  It is the warmest and yet most humbling feeling, when someone is moved by the art you have created.  For me that is the pinnacle of my dreams.  I don't want to be famous, I don't want money for my art.  What I want most in the world is for people to read the stories I write, and feel something.  I want them to laugh, cry and cry out in anger.  

Art is emotion, the ability to take the most simplest of things and transform it into something that can affect a person profoundly and on a personal level.  

That for me, is what art is about.

I wish to make people feel.


Edited by krypter3, 08 March 2013 - 04:22 PM.


#8    glorybebe

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:22 PM

Art makes you feel, it could be anger, happiness-any emotion.  Once a medium is used to represent a thought or an interpretation, if it brings an emotional response from a viewer, then it is art.

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#9    krypter3

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:30 PM

View Postglorybebe, on 08 March 2013 - 04:22 PM, said:

Art makes you feel, it could be anger, happiness-any emotion.  Once a medium is used to represent a thought or an interpretation, if it brings an emotional response from a viewer, then it is art.

hahaha what she said.  She just summed up what I said in a far simpler and less rambling like manner :clap:

I tend to ramble >_>


#10    glorybebe

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:43 PM

View Postkrypter3, on 08 March 2013 - 04:30 PM, said:



hahaha what she said.  She just summed up what I said in a far simpler and less rambling like manner :clap:

I tend to ramble >_>
Lol.  I am a trained artist and this is what I was taught in my classes.

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#11    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:37 PM

Its funny, I think everybody has there own opinions on what is good or not when concerning art, I dont sleep well a night and often times Im up drawing while my girlfriend is snoozing away. I saw some incredible art in my high school art class.

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#12    pantodragon

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:57 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 08 March 2013 - 04:15 PM, said:

.  
Still, subjective as we like to say it is, there is something real about the idea.  Real ART hits you between the eyes, or maybe I should say between the ears in that gray stuff.  The real wonder is that such things tend to hit others the same way; there tends to be agreement on what we think is a subjective thing in such a way that I wonder if it is really as subjective as claimed.


One learns to be wowed by things.  I just heard an interview with Germaine Greer on a classical music show where she talked of how involved she was in music in Australia, but when she came to the UK she got the opportunity to learn what Great Music was.  So what she thinks now is Great Music (and from the way she was talking this Great Music has a huge emotional effect on her) is not stuff that she ‘naturally’ liked but stuff that ‘experts’ told her was Great, and then she ‘learned’ to respond to it.



Quote

There were maybe fifty composers active in Europe in Schumann's day, and we celebrate only a handful. What goes? The plain fact is the others were not as good, in some way that we say is subjective but still history makes its verdict pretty hard to miss. I've listened to many of the lesser-knowns, and I agree with history.

I think the situation is a little more complicated.  For example, when I was young (1960s) Sibelius was considered to be a second rate composer.  Over the years his star has gone into the ascendant, and now one hears his 5th (?) symphony spoken of as possibly the greatest symphony of the 20th century.  But the really interesting thing is that as I have watched I have seen musical history being re-written: it is becoming ‘forgotten’ that Sibelius was ever thought 2nd rate and experts are all claiming that ‘they always knew he was great’.  Shostakovich has become admired now that Russia is no longer Communist.  Previously he was considered a lackey to Stalin and his music was despised.  It’s ‘little things’ like these that give the game away with Great Art: i.e. that it IS a game!


#13    pantodragon

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:59 PM

View Postkrypter3, on 08 March 2013 - 04:21 PM, said:

So to answer your question.  My art is the art of words, being a writer and all.  Art for me, well for me it's about telling a story.  With the book I have been writing for almost eight years, a lot of people have called me cliché because it's a fantasy novel.  But what many don't understand that while it is fantasy, that is simply the backdrop into me telling a story.  There are rarely new idea's now days, so what makes you a good writer is if you can create a world, characters and story that enthral your reader.  You need you make yourself stand out from the crowd.

This, to me, is precisely what art is NOT.  What you are saying is that you ‘design’ your writing so that it stands out from the crowd, which means that you are not writing what you like.  In other words, you are letting ‘the crowd’ dictate to you what you should be writing.  This, to me, is a travesty of what art should be: self-expression, stuff that is dictated to you by your own likes and dislikes, your own ‘tastes’, your own ideas about what is good, something that there is no point in doing unless you LIKE doing it – the kind of thing you are talking about is the kind of thing that professional writers usually do and it makes writing HARD WORK such that it becomes difficult to keep going.


Quote

As a writer, the greatest joy for me is when my words illicit an emotional response from another. It is the warmest and yet most humbling feeling, when someone is moved by the art you have created. For me that is the pinnacle of my dreams. I don't want to be famous, I don't want money for my art. What I want most in the world is for people to read the stories I write, and feel something. I want them to laugh, cry and cry out in anger.

This is anathema to me.  I’m not big on emotionalism.  This is really manipulation.  And again, it’s letting others dictate what you should be writing.

Edited by pantodragon, 14 March 2013 - 03:09 PM.


#14    pantodragon

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:10 PM

View Postglorybebe, on 08 March 2013 - 04:22 PM, said:

Art makes you feel, it could be anger, happiness-any emotion.  Once a medium is used to represent a thought or an interpretation, if it brings an emotional response from a viewer, then it is art.

Things that get an emotional response include: advertising, pornography, pictures of people being tortured, or that are victims of bombings etc, famine victims, nature photos showing ghastly things like bugs eating their way out of other bugs and all sorts of other horrors…..all of these could be said to represent a thought; would you call them all art?


#15    Frank Merton

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:05 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 14 March 2013 - 03:10 PM, said:

Things that get an emotional response include: advertising, pornography, pictures of people being tortured, or that are victims of bombings etc, famine victims, nature photos showing ghastly things like bugs eating their way out of other bugs and all sorts of other horrors…..all of these could be said to represent a thought; would you call them all art?
Good point.  That something moves us does not make it art.

We also know that because something is pretty does not make it art, that something is praised by the artists and critics does not make it art, nor even that it has stood the test of time.

But we all think we know art when we see it: it has an effect other than "moving us."  It has an artistic effect.  It stimulates our aesthetic gland.  That the idea is so persistent from culture to culture and through history testisfies that there is something to it, that it is not trivial or subjective, but something real, and something outside our ability to really talk much about.  It is something we experience that is part of our humanity.

I wonder what aliens will make or our concerts and museums and designs and films and novels and so on.  I also sometimes wonder what they will make of our jokes.





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