Quote Originally Posted by Fugazi Dave
There always seems to be a lot of debate on topics like whether a particular medium is art or not, about what it is to be an artist, etc. To me, though, a bigger issue is whether the concept of art itself has become so distorted, perverted, and so-forth and whether it has, in some way, become dangerous.
I'll be frank. I distrust most people who claim outright to be artists.
But I want to hear what others think about this. I obviously associate a lot of the problems in the art world with the pursuit of the idea of being an "artist" taking general precedence over the pursuit of creating things with meaning and significance that reflect ones passion and vision specifically *without* worrying about if others consider your work art, consider you an artist, etc. Do you agree? Disagree? Tangential rant come to mind? Thoughts please.
If art is "dangerous", just what are the dire consequences that we are in danger of enduring?

I view art as a living thing ... constantly changing, evolving, ... infinite .. as diverse as those in it.

I think, from what I read here, that the essence of your "rant" is directed towards what we former members of the "Beat" generation used to call "phonies". Over the years, I've learned to deal with them ... I hold no anger towards them, only compassion. It must be a terrible state to be in ... where one feels so worthless and depressed that they have to lie and posture to be able to survive.

I seem to have found one common characteristic among those we - or the raqged-assed-masses out there - choose to call "Great Photographers" - and that is an almost ... weird ... sense of modesty. I remember one "cocktail party' conversation where a gushing (and I mean GUSHING) Matron of the Arts approached one of the luminaries of photography:

"Oh, Mr. XXXX - I am so happy to meet the Worlds Greatest Photographer!!!"
That really startled him...
He answered: "Uh , well ... I take photographs ... I guess, once in a while, I get a good one."

I try to avoid being hung up on labels and titles. I can remember the opening of Psychology 101, where the class was trying to solve the burning question of "What is Psychology" - and the answer finally emerged - "Psychology is what Psychologists Study."
I'd propose something similar, if reversed: A "Photographer" is someone who does Photography; an "Artist" is someone who does "Art".
How well they do their work - whether or not they are "good" photographers or "artists" - is something else entirely.

I do not think "Art" itself is in danger from the phonies and poseurs ... they have been around since man decided to draw images of bisons on the walls of caves with charcoal. They haven't destrroyed Art yet.

If I go to a gallery, and see something (this is necessarily theoretical) that I think has been done by a "phony" --- something not worthy of being called "Art" - I always remember the words of one of the most "accomplished" photographers I've ever met ... "Oh, look! There is another photograph two feet to the right ...."

OK ... so much for MY rant.