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catem
06-08-2007, 02:37 PM
Anyone can call himself an artist: THAT'S elitist bullshit..

Roger

Is it?

Why is it that 'art' is both revered and despised to the extent that it's 'bullshit' and 'elitist' to call yourself a practitioner? - Unless, that is, you are validated by financial success and/or critical acclaim?

Roger Hicks
06-08-2007, 02:44 PM
It is romantic to think that only time will tell, but having only time be the decider of what is art or who is an artist fails far too many tests. To have a word which can be defined but not used, or to have others tell you that "although you understand the word you are not allowed its use," simply can't be defended.

[Bold added for emphasis]

Which tests? And no-one is stopping anyone else using the word -- merely questioning the validity or perhaps durability of their usage.

Many who are today called 'artists' would almost certainly have been at least as happy with 'master craftsman' (a variant on 'artisan') in their own day.

Of course all this is conjecture as we are trying with a 21st century English vocabulary to describe unknowable (but guessable) attitudes prior to the Romantic Movement.

Cheers,

R

jd callow
06-08-2007, 03:06 PM
[Bold added for emphasis]

Which tests?


reread my prior post for examples.

Art requires context, if the context is lost for future people to measure the work, does that make the work not art?

What about art that falls in and out of favor over time? Is Mucha's work art of the early 20th, propaganda and an example of excess in the early mid 20th, graphic art in the late mid and art again at the beginning of the 21st?

History is not better at deciding what is art. Art need not be timeless to be art, unless it is physiological in nature and then it should work as well in its time as it does across time. Assuredly, time helps to better understand some art as the aggregate of opinion grows, but time is not essential to art’s identification.

Roger Hicks
06-08-2007, 03:18 PM
History is not better at deciding what is art. Art need not be timeless to be art, unless it is physiological in nature and then it should work as well in its time as it does across time. Assuredly, time helps to better understand some art as the aggregate of opinion grows, but time is not essential to art’s identification.

Sorry, still don't agree. Consider for example Alma-Tadema: very fashionable in his time, greatly discounted in the 1960s, now with a major following again. 'History' and 'fashion' are not the same thing.

The longer a reputation is appraised and re-appraised, the clearer consensus becomes on whether it is good art or not. Sure, anything can be art; anything can be fashionable; all I'm saying is that the longer a reputation is established, the greater the consensus (in time and space) about what is good art.

Cheers,

roger

Roger Hicks
06-08-2007, 03:21 PM
Is it?

Why is it that 'art' is both revered and despised to the extent that it's 'bullshit' and 'elitist' to call yourself a practitioner?

Because I can call myself a musician, despite being tone-deaf and someone that most people would pay not to sing.

By all means call yourself an artist. Or intellectual. Or diva. Just don't expect anyone else to take you at your word. (Not a personal attack, obviously).

Cheers,

Roger

jd callow
06-08-2007, 03:39 PM
The longer a reputation is appraised and re-appraised, the clearer consensus becomes on whether it is good art or not. Sure, anything can be art; anything can be fashionable; all I'm saying is that the longer a reputation is established, the greater the consensus (in time and space) about what is good art.



Only on art that 1) survives; 2) keeps context; and 3) mates well with current thought. Your example is like mine for Mucha, it shows how fickle time can be. History seems to suggest that Alma-Tadema, Mucha and countless others will suffer from the vagaries and whims of the context from which they are viewed.

I will agree that time can rescue an artist from his or her time, but it is more likely to miss understand or simply miss far more.

Art that is great in its time, but dismissed over time, does not lesson the value it had. We are not better today than we were yesterday, only different. To a large degree the malleable nature of a given artist’s reputation over time further depreciates the idea that art must be timeless or that only time can determine what is art – with or with out ‘good’ as a qualifier.

jstraw
06-08-2007, 03:42 PM
I hope you would not exclude all the work of past centuries that was done 'to order' so to speak, but is irrevocably 'Art' with a capital A. Of course the most famous among such people...like Bach, or Leonardo etc....are obvious examples, but I think there were legions of quotidian artisans whose sincerity and skill raised their products to a level of profoundly genuine art. It's only relatively recently that self conscious makers of music, photography, painting etc started to wonder whether they'd measure up. Their ancestors were too busily engaged in their craft to worry about it. 'Artist' or 'artisan' is not for us to decide....that can be determined by others at another time.


My description is in no way intended to exclude commissioned works, nor does it. It doesn't exclude Campell's Soup cans or urinals.

Unless it's underscoring a floor wax advert, a Bach Sonata is almost certainly being presented to excite the afore-mentioned emotional/intellectual/aesthetic purpose.

'Artist or artisan' is largely subjective and for any and all to determine.

Roger Hicks
06-08-2007, 03:44 PM
Art that is great in its time, but dismissed over time, does not lesson the value it had. We are not better today than we were yesterday, only different. To a large degree the malleable nature of a given artist’s reputation over time further depreciates the idea that art must be timeless or that only time can determine what is art – with or with out ‘good’ as a qualifier.

OK, fair enough -- though someone in another, similar thread pointed out that there are dead ends which need to be explored in order to see how and why they are dead ends. It may even have been you, though I don't think it was. I suspect that our world-pictures are a lot closer than they might appear to a third party reading this exchange.

Best of all, you've made me relax or at least reconsider some of my definitions. I hope I've done the same for you.

Cheers,

Roger

bjorke
06-08-2007, 03:47 PM
Isn't there some sort of charity organization for this sort of thing?

jstraw
06-08-2007, 03:48 PM
Surely the opposite, if anything. Anyone can call himself an artist: THAT'S elitist bullshit. Whether this evaluation is supported by others must necessarily be a matter of time.

An artist is a person that makes art. Art is a creative work intended to elicit certain kinds of experiences. No one needs to confer the status of 'artist'. I'm an artist. The propensity among makers of art to be coy about embracing the term 'artist' is cowardly.


An artisan may or may not be an artist, and an artist may or may not be an artisan.

I agree.

jstraw
06-08-2007, 03:53 PM
Because I can call myself a musician, despite being tone-deaf and someone that most people would pay not to sing.

By all means call yourself an artist. Or intellectual. Or diva. Just don't expect anyone else to take you at your word. (Not a personal attack, obviously).

Cheers,

Roger

If something has to be good to be art and if one must be making good art to be an artist, the implication is that there is therefore, no such thing as a bad artist...and by extension, no such thing as bad art. Two notions that are obviously ridiculous. "I reject that 'bad art' is oxymoronic.

Roger Hicks
06-08-2007, 03:54 PM
No one needs to confer the status of 'artist'. I'm an artist. The propensity among makers of art to be coy about embracing the term 'artist' is cowardly.


I agree completely, and as I said (perhaps elsewhere -- there are two or three similar threads running at the moment), we are all born artists.

My only disagreement is whether any self-styled 'artist's' description of himself or herself as such will be widely accepted, the more so as many are unwilling to include 'bad artist' or 'incompetent artist' or 'arrogant artist' in the overall category 'artist'.

You and I (and indeed jd callow) are more accommodating. As is jstraw [edit]. Though I admit a certain unwillingness to include 'bad art' in 'art'.

Cheers,

Roger

jstraw
06-08-2007, 03:55 PM
OK, fair enough -- though someone in another, similar thread pointed out that there are dead ends which need to be explored in order to see how and why they are dead ends. It may even have been you, though I don't think it was. I suspect that our world-pictures are a lot closer than they might appear to a third party reading this exchange.

Best of all, you've made me relax or at least reconsider some of my definitions. I hope I've done the same for you.

Cheers,

Roger

That was moi'. :)

Roger Hicks
06-08-2007, 03:57 PM
That was moi'. :)

My apologies for not giving credit where it was greatly due.

Cheers,

Roger

jstraw
06-08-2007, 04:03 PM
My apologies for not giving credit where it was greatly due.

Cheers,

Roger

No need to apologize. I may only think it was me.

jd callow
06-08-2007, 04:10 PM
OK, fair enough -- though someone in another, similar thread pointed out that there are dead ends which need to be explored in order to see how and why they are dead ends. It may even have been you, though I don't think it was. I suspect that our world-pictures are a lot closer than they might appear to a third party reading this exchange.

Best of all, you've made me relax or at least reconsider some of my definitions. I hope I've done the same for you.

Cheers,

Roger

My concern with judging work through the lens of time is how it tends to exclude work over time and more importantly it excludes people as participants of the work during the works time. I believe we should be exalting in *our* artists today as we do our sports/pop hero's. The world would be a far better place if we embraced the humanities and to do that we need bring down artificial barriers.

I agree about dead ends, stuff that is dead now may have been anything but in its time. I wonder how Warhol will be viewed after Marilyn and Campbell soup are no longer a memory?


For the record, I have always thought the great works of human kind required the benefit of time to fully appreciate -- I see this as yours and Jovo's point and one that was, in my mind, made badly because you put the onus on the lowly artist. My point is that the great works as well as a lot of the minor stuff are both art made by artists. Some of these folks are beat writers and others are Shakespeare.

Roger Hicks
06-08-2007, 04:16 PM
... I believe we should be exalting in *our* artists today as we do our sports/pop hero's. The world would be a far better place if we embraced the humanities...

Mmmmm.... But can't this deteriorate very quickly into celebrity worship of whoever is the media darling of the moment? Is not the artist reduced to the level of Paris Hilton (see Soap Box)? The media crave simplicty, black and white, heroes and villains. I think we'd agree that art ain't like that.

I fully (and gratefully) take your other points (especially the one about participation), but with your above statement we seem to be at an interesting crossover where absolutism and relativism are identical.

Cheers,

Roger

catem
06-08-2007, 04:31 PM
By all means call yourself an artist. Or intellectual. Or diva. Just don't expect anyone else to take you at your word. (Not a personal attack, obviously).

Cheers,

Roger

I'm not particularly interested in calling myself anything.

As for taking people at their word, by and large, I find it a constructive thing to do.

Roger Hicks
06-08-2007, 04:38 PM
As for taking people at their word, by and large, I find it a constructive thing to do.


Agreed. But I don't expect everyone to do it.

And of course I didn't mean it personally.

Cheers,

Roger

jd callow
06-08-2007, 04:51 PM
Mmmmm.... But can't this deteriorate very quickly into celebrity worship of whoever is the media darling of the moment? Is not the artist reduced to the level of Paris Hilton (see Soap Box)? The media crave simplicty, black and white, heroes and villains. I think we'd agree that art ain't like that.

I fully (and gratefully) take your other points (especially the one about participation), but with your above statement we seem to be at an interesting crossover where absolutism and relativism are identical.

Cheers,

Roger

Possibly.

I would hope that the level of sophistication needed to appreciate art, might also include a modicum of maturity. Even if it were to become as bad as Hilton or Spears I'd be ok with it. Imagine the chat rooms where teenage kids are debating the relevancy and transient nature of symbols and icons in modern society opposed to arguing over whether or not so and so had cosmetic surgery or if LBJ is better than MJ.