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Thread: What is Art?

  1. #1
    goros's Avatar
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    What is Art?

    I don’t know which forum would be the most adequate for this post, so it will be here.

    In another thread (Presentation & Marketing > Fine Art Photography???) I expressed my concerns about the fact that somebody’s work will be considered art only if an influential critic says so. It came to my mind something I read in Mike Johnston’s The Online Photographer blog. It happened in Flickr: a HC-B picture was anonymously posted for approval. It didn’t past the test.

    As a general comment, there were some people that realised who the author was, but the majority of “critics” don’t. OK, not everybody could have such a huge photographic culture as to see and remember all the famous pictures or to recognise the author of a picture just by the style. So many of the people who posted in that thread didn’t like the picture.

    And that is the point. I always have thought that why should I like a “piece of art” just because a critic says I have to? Why should I accept the critic’s opinion? The critic could be a very educated person, with art degrees, experience or whatever but at the end of the day, if I don’t like it, I don’t like it and I may not consider it as art, although I can accept that it could have some craftsmanship merits (but sometimes, not even that).

    Art, as well as society, is continuously evolving: what was crap yesterday, today it is beautiful and vice versa and anything would be considered, in a moment of History, as art. The Tate Gallery is having a yearly contest for new artist. There are several disciplines as paint, sculpture, etc. Some years ago, while the new Gallery wing was being built, an operator dumped his load of bricks on the grass and left for a new load. Meanwhile, the contest jury passed by the pile of bricks and, you guessed, it won that year sculpture first price. And like this one there are many examples. Is this art? Could we consider a natural beauty, let’s say the Grand Canyon or the Northern Light or a sunset, as art?

    Eventually, the HC-B picture didn’t pass mainly for reasons as “it is not sharp from front to back”, “it is blurred”, “I would use a faster shutter speed”, “autofocus didn’t work” and so on.


    Cheers
    Alfonso

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    Muihlinn's Avatar
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    "Art is a mystery, even to the artist -- that's why so much crap is sold as art."

    One of my favourite quotes about it. BTW, and as rule of thumb, art can be considered as a form of joy, as your knowlegde grows, more ways to understand or enjoy. On the other hand the statement "you don't have to like everything" will always remains true.

    Market of art - with its preachers and prophets - is another matter.
    Last edited by Muihlinn; 09-19-2006 at 03:03 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo
    Luis Miguel Castañeda Navas
    http://imaginarymagnitude.net/

  3. #3
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    My favorite answer to the question: "The invention of Art" by Larry Shiner, U of Chicago Press. Available at any good university library.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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    Quote Originally Posted by goros View Post
    Eventually, the HC-B picture didn’t pass mainly for reasons as “it is not sharp from front to back”, “it is blurred”, “I would use a faster shutter speed”, “autofocus didn’t work” and so on.
    Cheers
    I saw that thread. Sorry, all it proved to me was the inexperience (and narrow mindedness) of the posters of those comments.
    Cate

  5. #5
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Yes, it simply shows the idiocy of the new self appointed,self absorbed, (and incessantly marketed to) guardians of our art and craft. (yes, they think what they do is)

    More on topic-Why the constant desire to define art, or kinds of art? Is it because we wish to know we are making it? Do we wish to peshaw those who say they make art with a camera? Its kind of interesting, but in the end, how big is a rock?

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    Andy K's Avatar
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    Art is what you make it, or, to paraphrase Spike Milligan, 'Art is in the eye of the beholder, you can get it out with Optrex.'


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy K View Post
    'Art is in the eye of the beholder, you can get it out with Optrex.'
    I like that.

    Hey, guys, shall we leave it at that this time?

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    goros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer View Post
    I saw that thread. Sorry, all it proved to me was the inexperience (and narrow mindedness) of the posters of those comments.
    Cate
    Yes, you are right, they were quite narrow minds. I don't think a picture has to be evaluated in terms of sharpness, focus, tonal range or whatever, if it transmits something to the viewer.

    The thing is: Would they say the same if they knew the picture was from HC-B?

    I also agree with Andy and JBrunner. For me art is what I think is art, not what others say. And we will probably disagree in our different concepts of art.

    It looks like, in terms of art (and in terms of many other things, I don't want to add more salt in the wound) we must be like a herd of sheeps.

    And that makes me twist inside.

    Cheers
    Alfonso

  9. #9
    goros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer View Post
    I like that.

    Hey, guys, shall we leave it at that this time?
    It is OK for me. I have had enough but I needed to scream a bit.

    Cheers
    Alfonso

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    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Well ... again...,

    The best deinition I've heard so far, and I'm wondering it it is a definition at all:

    "The work on the wall (or wherever) is a encrypted window displaying the "being" of the artist on the other side".

    Notes:

    "Encrypted"
    - It has to be. It is a defense and insulation from the random foreign bodies and "slings and arrows" of sociey - mainly. The artist exhibits more of her/ himself than does the nude model. You are looking at the insides of a human being.

    "Being"
    - Best choice of word I could think of. Self-so-ness, soul, psyche, SPIRIT ... all close - very close.

    "The other side" - Well, yeah. I'm in here; the artist is not in here with me. Through the "work", though, closer than before.

    It should be noted that many definitions assume that the work has reached some sort of value plateau... sort of, "It is not art unless it is GOOD enough to be art." Interesting. If we accept that limit, there is ONLY "good" art ... "bad" art simply does not exist.

    I have given up struggling with "good" and "bad" and degrees in between.
    It is ALL "art" ... and to me, the "worth" of any piece is determined by the emotional effect it induces in ME.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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