How out of touch is the art world?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Robert Kennedy, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    A while back, in I think the NY Times, there was a blurb about an NYC "performance artist" who, looking to be the next "big thing", decided to sell herself for sex.

    She had a patron pay her something like $40k...it was a LARGE amount...and then she videotaped the whole thing and declared it art.

    Today I heard her heralded as a genius by an instructor.

    Which I guess means that streetwalkers are worthy of NEA grants now.

    This got me thinking....Thinking about how utterly out of touch the art world seems to be with anything close to reality.

    The person who made this remark about the Artist/Hooker (if ANYONE can tell me her name, I'd owe you one BTW), comes from a nice legacy family. Daddy is a high poobah in art education (oddly enough at the same school she teaches at now.... *cough cough*), and this instructor even did the whole legacy thing at school.

    Now, in any enclosed system, in any tight-knit group, you run the risk of becoming too insular. And I think this is the case here.

    The art world, seems a bit out of touch with the everyman. Even though they oft claim to be his champions. There is no common touch anymore in the world of fine art. Whereas Giotto or Rembrandt would create a work of art accessible to all, now art is made for artists by artists.

    Now, is thsi an accurate assesment, or am I the one who is out of touch?

    You tell me.
     
  2. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    If that burns you up my next piece will infuriate you. I have decided to declare myself as "Breaking into the art world", but I am not going to do anything, and then I'm going to call my inaction "art".

    Seriously though, I know what you mean. There was a controversy in NZ a month or so ago. They spent a small fortune flying a NZ artists piece overseas for a competition. We're talking taxpayer money. The piece was an outhouse that nieghed like a donkey ???

    I guess we are just clueless..
     
  3. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    just think what a future archeologist will think of when they dig that up. Most cultures are viewed through their artifacts and art work.
     
  4. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Sean, you are truly a Great Genius Artiste` for doing such an Unconventinal Work! Of course, you must break in in either NYC or San Franscisco. Such an unconventional work would surely bring in the Market in either of those two Great Metropolises of the Arts!
     
  5. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    I spent yesterday doing a big museum crawl through San francisco. I saw one exhibt at the Legion of Honor. there was one exhibition that we went to see that was both beautiful and disturbing at the same time. It was titled "The Child" by the artist Gottfried Helnwein. The show was showcasing his concept of the child as an innocent. His mediums were acrylic, watercolor, drawing and photography. Except for his drawings I had to get up within about 2 feet to see the minute brushstrokes to know it was not a photograph. It was amazing his absolute mastery of his mediums to be the best i have ever seen short of a fine photograph. What was disturbing was the way she portrayed the child as an innocent. Through gross deformities, death, and being in companionship with Nazi soldiers. I have not been able to shake the images. Toi contrast it, at another museum, at Fort Mason, they had a showing of supposed photographs. they were noting more than injet prints of magazine adds, that were half painted over and then decopauged. They were sloppy, indistinct, and you had to read about them to understand what the artist was trying to say. It had nothing to do with business. It was colages in happy colors. Ok I lost that meaning. What redeemed the gallery was the showcasing of holga pinhole photographs upstairs.

    I guess if I used the woman who filmed herself having sex, and called it art, I could called a preformance artist. I am expanding. My growth rate is a preformance.

    But I do need to share one bizarre coincidence. James Came all the way from New Zealand. His family orginally had all come from Scotland. His mother was the last to inhabit the ancesteral castle. to maintian its ever increasing costs, she sold off many of the pieces of art. The last James knew the painting of his great great grandfather was sold to an American collector. that was in the early 70's. The section of the impressionists was closed, so we started walking through the rooms looking for some of the dutch masters. James gasped and ran for one of the portraits. A man in a red military looking coat from about the early 1800's. It was the portrait of his great great grandfather. In fact James was the spitting image of the man. Talk about a total coincidence. What would be the odds of that ever happening? Of course we had to take pictures of it with him posed along side.
     
  6. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I'm trying to remember - who was the artist that said, "The most frightening thing I can imagine is to see things as they really are."

    Notwithstanding the challenge ... No, I don't think you are the one who is out of touch... but I would submit that "being out of touch" once in a while is a GOOD thing. That, to me is a description of an important part of fantasy, of imagination, of dreaming. None of those are reality, but they serve a function beyond value ... they offer temporary escape from the stark, harsh realities of this world (note 1).

    Art, all of it, in my humble opinion, is an escape ... through what we call "mystery" ... from our society, and to a great extent, our own cocoons of awareness. We ... or at least, I ... try to "see" art through the eyes of the human being that created - or captured (the jury is still out on that one) it.

    Is some of it bizarre? -- of course ... we are occasionally bizarre ourselves. Does some of it "Not make sense"? - Undoubtedly. I cannot describe the logical, true, "sense" of Sibelius' "Finlandia", but that doesn't lessen its worth.

    So, "Is the Art World out of touch"? I hope so, and I'll pray to my Creator that I get the chance to be "out of touch" occasionally myself. The art world can help there.

    BTW ... Unless I'm wrong, Rembrandt, El Greco, Giotto ... I don't think they were available to "everyman" - only the select few in the Royalty business.

    Note 1: (This time I didn't forget) "Temporary, occasionally, at times" ... NO, not ALL the time ... that would be a serious problem.
     
  7. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Recently? AFTER the whole 80's Annie Sprinkle thing, AFTER Koons and Cicciolina, etc? *yawn*

    Then again, art is whatever people say art is.

    Get over it, move on or get stuck. :smile:
     
  8. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    I had to talk about my last show to some year one photography students. I think my attitude to art in general is summed up in what I said when one asked me what I felt when people looked at my work. I said I was happiest when it got a reaction, if they either loved it or hated it I knew I was heading in the right direction. If they "liked it" I was less happy.

    I think we need to be contensous on occasion, try things out, they might work, they may be crap, but hell, push out the boat is what I say, society needs a challenge on occasion. And aren't artists ment to shake things up now and then?

    and boy I'm a great spellr...lol
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2004
  9. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Point #1 ... Yes, I agree.
    Point #2 ... Yes, I agree.
     
  10. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    I'll second that Ed, David.
     
  11. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Ed - El Greco, Remnbrandt et al, were not PHYSICALLY accessible by all (well, El Greco sort of was with some of his work), but they were CONCEPTUALLY accessible.

    Nobody needed a 5 page "statement" to understand what they were doing.

    My point is less with people being "out there" and more with people being "in their own world to the exclusion of all else."

    More to the point, if a $25.00 hooker went into a gallery and tried to sell video of her with a john, would she be recieved the same?

    Nope. Ten bucks says the words "whore, dirty, filthy, and stinking" would be used after she was brusquely marched out and told not to return.

    Yet her actions are none the different from what a garden variety hookers are.

    Yet SHE is the artist and the other person is firmly set up as an "outsider".


    And I am all for rocking the boat. My first piece was accepted at a small gallery in town and it is definately one to piss people off.

    But here is the thing....I made it in such a way as to INVITE disscussion. Not to ENFORCE it. Which is what I think the tendency of the insular art community runs towards. In fact the piece with the 5 page statement sits right next to mine.

    My nice, untitled piece which is constructed (I hope) in such a way as to let the viewer arrive at a "statement" instead of driving them to it with semiotic BS.

    Then again, maybe if I crapped on a plate and took a picture....
     
  12. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Robert, I have seen enough photo's that looked like someone crapped on a plate.........

    Good to hear you are exhibiting, keep it up!

    As to artists statements.... I use them sometimes if I feel they are appropriate for what I am doing, some work needs a context, but often I use a simple quote that relates to why I am doing what I am doing, but pages and pages of the stuff? nah, not a good look. I did see a show once where I thought the artists staement was better than the work.
     
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  13. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Sorry, this idea is taken, please see my "dog turd" project.....:smile:

    OTOH, since yours will be human feces, maybe we can do a two man show and call it "the evolution of sh!t". As someone suggested in my thread I am trainning my puppy to drop a load on command, I am sure if we took a good laxative you and I can provide the live art for the human feces part. I bet you we will be hailed as the next best thing since Pollock.
     
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  15. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    This hooker-artist would probably have made more financial gains if she had marketed the video as porn instead of art.
     
  16. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    But Francesco, then it wouldn't have been "Art"! :D

    Like everything else in the good ol' USA, the marketplace for "Art" has fragmented beyond our wildest dreams. This person's view of performance art is just one small sliver of an overall art market.

    If she can put one over on the Art World and get paid for her performance, then that's great. Another case of the Emperpor's New Clothes.
     
  17. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    After Adams...after Bresson...a lot of the stuff we (and other artists) are making are new that inventive, but it may still be art. And it may have some additional qualities we may not see...

    After all: We all have seen landscapes photographed before...but we still want to be called genius if we make something good...

    My pix are art when I say so...my pix are crap when I say it!
     
  18. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    WAIT,wasn't the artist having sex,video taping it and calling it art
    Paris Hilton?OH,I'm sorry I forgot she just has sex,video tapes it,puts it on
    the web then gets a TV show.Sorry for the mistake.
     
  19. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Robert, Jorge--I believe the feces project has already been completed. I remember reading of an artist "somewhere in the world" whose work was the canning of his own feces. The cans were then sold to one of the great institutions "somewhere in the world". (I can't remember the specifics) It gives new meaning to the term of "your art is crap".

    But, seriously, artists probably should be out-of-touch. We need the insanity, the whimsy and the audacity to keep things interesting. There were very likely artists in the past whose works, in their day, were the equivalent of videotaped sex acts or canned feces. We don't much hear about them today except maybe as a footnote in an art text. They likely kept things stirred up in their day. They may have even contributed to the works of the masters by opening minds to innovation.
     
  20. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Congratulations on your "acceptance"!!! It is not easy, to say the least, to find a small gallery here in Puritanville, Massachusetts that will even consider a "controversial" piece.

    I've got to confess ... I'm having a problem understanding "Conceptual" accessibility. I take it as something like the diametrical opposite of "Abstraction" ... ??? I'm not trying to be combative here ... I'm just trying to clarify.

    I don't recognize any level of "enforcement" in any of the galleries I've visited. I sense a suggestion of a form of "bullying" ... but I'm not very succeptable to being pushed around, as far as my perceptions of art - at least not now.

    Discussion ... I'm not in the least angered or offended by your post. I think I have a different viewpoint about the "Art World" ... and to some extent - "art" itself. Not much of a surprise - we are all different from each other - that's all.

    I guess my point is that I don't - and CAN'T prove that my views are "better" than yours or anyone elses.

    My Artists Statement: "My WORK is my statement."
     
  21. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I've been thinking ... The "Masters" WERE the out-of-touch (and to a great extent, pornographers) of their day. The one that comes to mind, immediately, is Toulouse-Lautrec. He was beaten to a pulp by the critics of his day for the lascivious content of his work. Add Alma-Tadema, who was (rumored) to have been knighted for painting a pornographic mural somewhere in Buckingham Palace; El Greco - "Naked Maja"; If anyone is interested, I have a copy of an (indelicate) etching by Rembrandt - delicately entitled "Woman Urinating".

    This could be a long list. A much shorter one would be those who were exclusively in the mainstream... not that they were less qualified, but, possibly for the fact that it is more difficult to be noticed there. Norman Rockwell would certainly head the list ... and ... and ...

    THis is an interesting subject. Can anyone think of a significant photographer who has NOT done nudes at one time or other? My first thought was Ansel Adams ... but no ... he had photographed a few - but simply decided that he was not "good" at that type of work.
     
  22. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Sorry Jorge, the idea was already taken and used in the Jules Pfeiffer movie: "Little Muders" from the '70s. Elliot Gould (I think it was) was developing a 'body of work' shooting dog turds with a macro lens. The movie was very wry and funny to New Yorkers especially, since it poked serious fun at the city's zeitgeist.

    I think the art world's biggest problem is its confusion regarding originality. Instead of understanding that originality can be strongly manifested by the force of an artists unique personality and vision in his/her work, the notion persists that 'original' only refers to something never seen before. Hence Eliot Porter's work is dismissed by some curators and gallery owners simply because it superficially may resemble calendar 'graphs.

    In a Chelsea art gallery, my wife and I encountered a 'piece' that consisted of linked columns of colored paper clips suspended from the ceiling. We both laughed so hard out lound that the proprietor made a glaring "get the fork outta here" look at us, but it was worth it!! Such originality....priceless!!
     
  23. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Remnbrandt was not accepted "Conceptually" during his time. A case in point is his painting "Night Watchmen" where he shocked everyone by not painting each individual person in sharp detail as if they were individual portraits. Not only did he p!ss off the sitters, but the "Art World" of his era in general. It was not acceptable to paint people that way.
    And El Greco's elongated figures were not looked upon kindly either.
    The vast majority of past artist we hold dear were not looked upon favorably by their contemporary society. The Impressionists are strong proof to that.

    Is this sex piece/performance art or not... I really don't care because I choose to ignore it.

    gene
     
  24. mark

    mark Member

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    I remember that. Didn't the gasses build up to a point where the bottles exploded during one of the exhibitions. They were placed in the sun or something for better detail.
     
  25. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Progress! From "Jack the Dripper" to "Jorge the Shi!!er" in only one generation.
     
  26. lee

    lee Member

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    I have spent some time with Google this AM trying to locate this Proformace Artist and nothing is turning up online. One would think that this sort of behavior would get some notice with the blog people and the real press.

    lee\c