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  1. #91
    DrPablo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jovo View Post
    Clearly, in this thread, while there's no agreement, there certainly have been some strong assertions made. I guess 'art' and 'artist' will remain elusive terms indefinitely.
    I think that's what makes art (and the artist) so important. They are not definable, quantifiable concepts. And whatever they are, they contribute something to our society that is neither definable nor quantifiable. They encompass human emotion, experience, and ingenuity. They're so important to us as a society -- and yet not in a way that's as concrete as, say, food or electricity or sanitation, where you can rationally explain why they're important. If we could rigidly define those terms, we would probably be referring to something other than what we really mean.
    Paul

  2. #92
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    "Artist" is a word with the marrow sucked out of it. From my Canadian Oxford Dictionary;

    artist noun 1 a person who practises any of the fine arts, esp. painting, sculpting, etc. 2 a person who practises the performing arts. 3 a person who shows great skill and inspiration in a particular activity (a progammer who is a true artist) 4 a devotee; a habitual practiser of a specified (usu. reprehensible) activity (con artist; put-down artist) 5 recording artist.
    So by this measure, as soon as you practise any of the fine arts (at any skill level) you can be called an artist.

    Beware the "artiste" though;

    derogatory a person who cultivates a pretentiously artistic attitude or lifestyle.
    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  3. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by jovo View Post
    Exactly! I prefer to think of the word as a descriptor of perceived excellence...preferably by someone other than the person making the work. It's a little like everyone being 'special'.
    I don't see it like that, I see it above all as quite an ordinary word, about a way some people choose to communicate. Not in a pretentious way, which seems so often the damning descriptor, (no more pretentious than any other sphere of life). More usually because they don't know how to do it any other way. They just do it because they have to, because they can, and because it's the thing, to them, that makes most sense of being in this world and passing the time in this small life we have. Sometimes what they do makes equal sense to other people, sometimes it doesn't. That's life.

    For goodness sake lets take the 'rarity value' if not the 'ego' (and with it undue reverence/disparagement/superiority-inferiority complexes) a little out of 'artist'.
    Last edited by catem; 06-10-2007 at 12:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #94
    jd callow's Avatar
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    I agree whole heartedly.

    *

  5. #95

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    The side gallery of the Louvre is deserted on this Sunday afternoon. Not even a security guard in sight. I am not yet overwhelmed by the sheer size and quantity of the pictures, all executed with consummate skill, all remarked upon at the time of their creation, famous and valuable enough to have ended up here. I walk slowly through the rooms, the leather soles of my shoes making a hollow sound on the wooden floor, black with age. I enter yet another room, looking to my left, and stop, transfixed. Rembrandt's last self-portrait hangs on the left wall of the room, in the middle, the place of honour. I look to the right and there, directly opposite his last self-portrait, hangs his first self-portrait. The two Rembrandts look each other square in the eyes. A feeling wells up in me which is hard to describe. A tinge of fear, perhaps. Surprise. I didn't know these pictures were here, in what seems to be a forgotten side gallery. I didn't know they were hanging like this. Shaking a little, I walk over to Rembrandt as an old man. I don't want to go too close, at least not at first. I stand about seven feet away, leaning forward. He is dressed in a dirty grey smock, paint-splattered, frayed. A dirty grey cloth cap rests on his head. Beneath it, his white hair is long and disorderly. His head, face and upper body are illuminated by an unearthly, holy light. He is old. His worn face glows forth, looking at me in the eyes with an expression that is calm, accepting, unutterably sad. In his right hand, which he holds slightly behind in shadow, he grasps a palette and brush. He has lost his beloved wife Saskia. He has lost his beloved son Titus. He has lost his house and possessions. But he has not lost the one thing for which he has always lived -- his ability to make contact with other human beings through painting. He lives, in all his sadness and pain. He looks out at me, and I look back at him. Slowly, I go closer. Closer, closer. With my nose about a foot away from the painting's surface, I pore over the brush marks, the dabs of paint applied impasto, looking for the source of the miraculous light. I spot a bristle embedded in a thick swirl of paint. A bristle from his brush! With the close inspection, I see his failing eyesight and how he accepts it, building it into his technique, how he indicates form according to what he sees with total honesty. I am in the presence of greatness, and I am both shaken and elated. I draw back, and turn to his first self-portrait.

    I laugh out loud. He is perhaps twenty-one, in the full flush of arrogant youth. He is dressed like a dandy. On his head rests a carmine cap loaded with feathers that dangle over his face, rudely glowing with health and vitality. He smiles, even smirks, over his golden, youthful beard. His eyes twinkle with the knowledge that he can paint circles around any contemporary who would be so foolish as to challenge him. Ha! He delights in the rich commissions he is beginning to receive. Wealth awaits him! Glory! Women! Wine! Song! The painting technique is sublime. Each stroke is executed with the greatest certainty and confidence. Each detail as sure-footed as a gazelle in flight. Already, one can see the sense of chiaroscuro and drama which will build to make him one of the greatest painters of biblical scenes. The colour is luxurious but not immodest. He is already far more than an Artist. He is a Master. He can do anything.

    I turn and look again at old Rembrandt across the room. How the mighty have fallen. And yet there is no pathos in the room. Gratitude is what I now feel. Gratitude that such a man lived, gratitude that his pictures have been preserved and kept safe by people who understood greatness, so that they now hang here for me to see.

  6. #96
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catem View Post
    I don't see it like that, I see it above all as quite an ordinary word, about a way some people choose to communicate. Not in a pretentious way, which seems so often the damning descriptor, (no more pretentious than any other sphere of life). More usually because they don't know how to do it any other way. They just do it because they have to, because they can, and because it's the thing, to them, that makes most sense of being in this world and passing the time in this small life we have. Sometimes what they do makes equal sense to other people, sometimes it doesn't. That's life.

    For goodness sake lets take the 'rarity value' if not the 'ego' (and with it undue reverence/disparagement/superiority-inferiority complexes) a little out of 'artist'.
    Precisely... which is why the "exactly" in response to my previous post is kind of amusing. Yes, I was talking about the need to be clear about distinction between a simple term describing someone that makes art and the honorific but I'm not at all for reserving it as an honor.
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. In velit arcu, consequat at, interdum sit amet, consequat in, quam.

  7. #97
    Bill Mobbs's Avatar
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    Svend Videbak,

    My assumption is that you are a photographer, perhaps even an artistic one, I know you are a very good writer! Thanks for your thoughts.

    Bill
    "Nobody is perfect! But even among those that are perfect, some are more perfect than others." Walt Sewell 1947

  8. #98
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington View Post
    In my view, as a post-modern genius and prophet who was among the first to understand the importance of fame, celebrity and self-promotion totally divorced from talent or content - using trash techniques and trash materials to make (possibly by accident) a profound statement about a trashy society.
    I'd give credit for that to R. Mutt.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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  9. #99
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPablo View Post
    So then you'd discount all the great artists who had some other primary profession?
    I said an important criterion, not the important criterion. I don't exclusde, say, Anton Chekov.

    I think the word "artist," like "art," is the sort of word best described as a fuzzy family of definitions -- read Wittgenstein or George Lakoff for a longer discussion of this idea (Wittgenstein famously described how difficult it is to define the word "game").

    I choose to restrict my definition because frankly I really don't have a lot of time and there's far too much Great Stuff for me to be wasting my time on wishful thinking. If my attention is to be invested, I expect good ROI.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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  10. #100
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington View Post
    In my view, as a post-modern genius and prophet who was among the first to understand the importance of fame, celebrity and self-promotion totally divorced from talent or content - using trash techniques and trash materials to make (possibly by accident) a profound statement about a trashy society.
    I suspect that his art work will have an entirely different meaning and impact to those who view it without an indepth knowledge of his time. Even those with knowledge of post wwii america will not see it as we do. Maybe because I'm from a slightly different era, I see Warhol a bit differently than you do.

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