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  1. #11
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Lorimer
    Value judgements can, and should be made about all things all the time."
    Interesting. Why???
    Why not???? To not even consider value judgments about most things would therefore make most things value-less, wouldn't it? And unfortunately, with todays post-modern slant on art, where everything is simply open to any interpretation, isn't that what we've got? Valueless art?
    We make choices all of the time about inherent qualities in things that make them 'better' than other things - and why not??? [/quote]

    Do you actually think that I hold so much power that my refusal to make "value" judgements will "drag" down the value of any piece of art to the point where ALL art is valueless?

    There is a *reason* that I will NOT judge art to a scale of values ... I cannot think of a way that is coherent. I *could* "go with the flow"... what parameters would appear to be best to you? The work follows "accepted rules of composition"? What about "Fine grain, with lots of tonal separation? "... Possibly, "Everything in sharp focus"?

    What "judging criteria" do you suggest? ... that is uniformly applicable, that is completely objective (or should we allow foir the vagaries of human frailty and bias - but wouldn't that destroy coherence?).

    One aternative is even more frightening ... we mindlessly accept the judgement of "those who are well versed in art".., BUT -- those are the only ones that fit the mold of the ELITE.

    Speaking of "coherence" ... I recently entered a "juried competition? ... the judge wrote the reason for selecting the photograph that won ... brace yourself ... "This photograph was easily `best' because it did not lose much detail in enlarging." Somehow, I, and a few of the others, were not exactly heartbroken...

    How on earth can anyone, in good conscience, claim that a photograph by Ansel Adams had a higher value that one by Phillipe Halsman, or Cartier-Bresson, or Imogene Cunningham? We could go to the price records of the market ... but, to me, that is the worst imaginable "judging system", by far.

    So, no ... I will open myself to the photograph - or any other art... and without any concern for dollar value, experience the work. I wil not feel any guilt over the fact that my action will "derag the work down". It won't.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  2. #12

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    Hi to Ed, and all of the others that have made the last couple of days fascinating and thought-provoking...

    First, just let me say I'm getting kinda confused about who said what, which quote comes from where, and what I've supposedly said in my postings on this topic.

    I don't think that at any stage have I said that only critics know what they are talking about, and we should all simply agree with them without any consideration for how a work makes us personally feel. Maybe I did infere this at some stage - and if I did, then I'm sorry - I didn't mean it (honest!).

    We've all got horror stories about critics we've disgreed with, judges who didn't know an f stop from a full stop, and artists who have languished too long in oblivion just because some idiot panned them in a review.

    I totally agree with you Ed, when you said that...
    How on earth can anyone, in good conscience, claim that a photograph by Ansel Adams had a higher value that one by Phillipe Halsman, or Cartier-Bresson, or Imogene Cunningham? We could go to the price records of the market ... but, to me, that is the worst imaginable "judging system", by far.

    Couldn't agree more. But you've picked some pretty high powered names there to group together. What about claimimg a higher value for a Cartier-Bresson photo against, say... one of mine!?!

    A similar thread in a criticism posting encouraged the writer to critique others work. There were numerous examples of teachers telling students there work was horrible, pointing out numerous mistakes, and the students learning from these comments to become better photographers.

    What scares me with the whole "there's no good ar bad" art thing, is the inherent implication that anything is just as good as anything else. That my images are just as good as Cartier-Bressons, simply bacause I say they are. In this scenario, the teacher simply wouldn't bother to point out the flaws within a students work (and I'm sorry, but yes, students do have flaws) - and the student, for their part, simply would not learn.

    Am I getting off of the point again? Probably.

    I still, however, want to maintain a stance that advocates value judgments about art and photography, that allows for critics (especially the good ones - and we tend to know who the bad one's are), and that places certain canonical works and artists above the rest. These also, you will find, tend to be 'Universally accepted' canons (you've mentioned some pretty good ones yourself in the photography realm Ed), and I can't for the life of me see what is elitist about that?

  3. #13

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    As someone who has always wanted to own a quality velvet Elvis painting, my observation is that even the best of the velvet painters have not exploited the medium for all of its potential. There is no intrinsic reason (that I can think of) that a velvet Elvis painting could not be as enigmatic, meaningful, or classic as the Mona Lisa.

    I know that while there is only one Mona Lisa there are thousands of velvet Elvis paintings. However, one would also have to acknowledge that there are thousands of oil paint medium portraits of women - but only one Mona Lisa.

    I think it is more the perception of the viewer that they automatically categorize something (or make a value judgement) that a work is not as worthy of serious consideration ONLY because of its chosen execution medium (velvet painting), and its subject - a million times exploited pop icon visage.

    Andy Warhol made the banal meaningful - is it not possible for someone to make a velvet Elvis painting that is in every way equal to the Mona Lisa? If not - why not?

  4. #14

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    Ahhh, the guantlet has been cast...anyone want to buy a lot of LF and ULF stuff? My life is about to become simpler.

    My memory such as it is (declining by the moment) has memories of Elvis (fat and bloated) on his triumphant return tour. Mona Lisa's smile is the stuff of the unenlightened. Was that a blue or a white cape?
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  5. #15
    blansky's Avatar
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    Since almost everyone in this thread has referred to the Mona Lisa as the criteria for "art", my irreverent question is, what is so appealing in that painting that is setting everyone's standard. I'm sure everyone will say it is that smile. That perfect smile.

    Interesting. While learning portrait photography it was common knowledge that if you encouraged the subject to lift the corners of their mouth in a slight smile you would also, due to how facial muscles are constructed, also add a sparkle to the eyes. It seems that the same muscles that work the corners of the mouth also work the corners of the eyes. Hence a more pleasant portrait. Portrait Photography 101.

    So in a thread that is comparing Mona Lisa with Velvet Elvis with each one being a standard - art vs trailer trash art, my question is...

    What is your personal reason for thinking the Mona Lisa is the standard for all art. Has this not just been drummed into our collective heads by the art snobs from generations past. Personally I do not find the Mona Lisa to be all that she is advertised, even with the simple trick of lifting up the corners of her mouth.

    Just an opinion

    Michael McBlane

  6. #16

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    I think Steve is on track. The right artist could use flourescent paint and black velvet to produce a master piece. Or if he is a good networking smoozer like Andy Warhol he can convince the right people that this really is folk art and it has just been overlooked as flea market art all these years.

    I can just hear it now ..."this $50,000 piece is an early Dali found in the back of a garage. No, no dawling not Salvador Dali, I mean that great newly discovered velvet artist Sandra Dolly.




    Good question blansky. It is the standard because "they" say it is.

  7. #17

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    Right on blansky, I always thought "what is the big deal about this painting?" I am glad I am not alone. Personally I liked Rembrandt's painting better (although a different style) and Michel Angelo's sculpture. Of course there is no doubt that Da Vinci was also a genius, his anatomical drawings are amazing.

  8. #18

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    Suppose a photographer (like maybe HCB) was able to make a photograph with an evocative geometric arrangement of human forms doing everyday human stuff. That would be interesting. Suppose further the photographer was able to choose the moment so precisely as to capture especially evocative gestures and looks from said human forms. That would be (IMHO) impressive. Suppose further the photographer was able to do this over and over. That would be really impressive. Now suppose a whole bunch of humans decided independently of each other that this photographer's body of work really captured the feel of a particular era or people or whatever. Now that! Well that might get dangerously close to being Art. And for the record, I definitely think an Artist could produce a painting of Elvis on velvet that could qualify for the big "A".

    Steve Rowell

  9. #19
    fhovie's Avatar
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    Time to weigh in:

    What is hanging in my bathroom is decoration. It breaks up the wall and is seen and instantly forgotten. I don't think that is art. When I look at "Moonrise over Hernandez" I am captivated by it. I remember it, not because someone told me it is art but because it communicated to me and it captured my attention, my emotions and my imagination. I think if the viewer is captured by it and it communicates, then it is art to that person. If it communicates to a group of people, it is art - like a hot rod paint job. That is from someones heart and a communication. I will not rain on their parade if I don't see it. I do tend to dismiss cheap and gross as non-art. If the "artist" did not put effort in it - personal human spiritual best stuff and all - or if it is made from excrement or medical waste - DUDE - IT AINT ---

    A person takes 2 seconds for their digigizmo to warm up, they snap Ginger leaning against a pole and they download a capture to a printer. ---- nope - not art. Work of art = no work - no art. Now if a guy creates a background, lighting and does a lot of work forming a pose that speaks and then works it over in the 'puter for hours, then it is art, though not very permenant and not my cup of tea. But I can appreciate it.

    So - Elvis is art - It catches my attention because it is big and gaudy. It also makes me laugh and at least one of them was created from passion - So - simple - there you go

    ... isn't it easy now?? -Frank
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

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