What is art?

sevag's picture

Dear All,

I'm a design student and today evening, while out with friends we had a discussion about fashion, graphic design, dance and whether this disciplines can be considered to be art and if so, then why? After all what is art? ¶A friend underlined that "everything around us is art"; while we are taught that a work of art not necessary has to have a function, nor it has to be understood. From another point of view can a gadget that was created for a specific task, without bearing aesthetics values be considered a work of art? Then again we have philosophers like David Hume who wrote that "beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them." ¶I'm in a dilemma and would like to know what are the attitudes of other creatives on this topic.

Yours,
SB

BeauW's picture

@ russellm

So then- what is the function of a work of art?
If you want a portrait of a loved one, you could just snap a picture- or you could hire a portrait photographer. What would the difference be? I am saying that there is a gap between what is needed and what is a work of art.

I have always self-identified as an artist, but I am paid to be a craftperson, so this issue has been quite pressing in my thoughts. If I am asked to provide the graphics for an ad with a fourty-five minute deadline- I will not be producing art, though what I provide will be servicable. Given a week, I might squeeze some art into the project. I think this distinction is important. Also, to make the point that art is not 'whatever I say is art', but some quality that transcends funtionality. Quality. I assert that insomuch as something is art, it has a quality that transcends its funtion.

BeauW's picture

Making a font legible is a craft.
Making a font beautiful is an art.

(and I am more and more interested in craft)

Nick Shinn's picture

Didn't we just have a thread about the importance of a professional (expert) distinction between the meaning of "font" and "typeface"?
This discussion is decidedly quaint and amateurish.
But you might say, should the views of only those with professional qualifications or experience in art be taken seriously?
I would say yes—that's how it is with other disciplines.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
And you might consider yourself an artist, even though you are not a professional artist.
Designers are not, de facto, artists (although a few are also artists).
When an artist says "this is art", and the art community recognizes it as such, it must be art.
It's absurd to argue otherwise—with abstract, philosophical generalizations about the veracity of "whatever I say is art, is art".

Arno Enslin's picture

When an artist says "this is art", and the art community recognizes it as such, it must be art.

Not really. There are many thousands of objects, that are called art by their creators and viewers, although they are banal. I just remember the guy with the doors on one of the last Documentas. Maybe his door construction was art (before it has crashed because of his inability and his defiance of statics), but it was banal. Maybe too banal for being art; it was pure shit, superfluous, a waste of material and a waste of energy for the transport. As I already said, if an artists explains, that he wants to symbolize anything, it is already suspicious. I am not interested, if someone wants to symbolize anything, but at most, if he symbolizes anything. On the other said – if you don’t know, whether a certain object is art, it is not necessarily art, because you don’t know, whether it is art. It is on you to classify the object, but not on a community. Art is not made for communities, but for the artist, although most artists want to have feedback. They don’t do it primary for you, but for themselves. Art is the deep need of artists, but not just pastime, in which you symbolize a bit, or a job. It is not a definition, if it requires other persons for the classification. The definition can not be “Ask somebody else”.

riccard0's picture

When an artist says "this is art"

And who’s saying “this is an artist”? Who/what is an artist, anyway?

Chris Dean's picture

See outsider art. By this definition, anyone can be an artist. And don’t forget about folk art.

William Berkson's picture

John, I think there's a problem in defining art as the non-useful part of something. Causing delight or enjoyment or interest makes something useful because we want those experiences. In economics "utility" would include aesthetic pleasures. I'm not saying I agree with the economists' way of looking at these things, but I think that shows there's a problem with your definition. I think more is needed in describing or distinguishing the aesthetic experience, if you're going to avoid a circular definition.

Nick Shinn's picture

@Arno: Not really.
@riccard0: …who’s saying “this is an artist”?…

A certain sector of society—economically and socially—is composed of artists and those involved with their work.

Artists, who have studied at art schools, sell their work in art galleries with the help of art dealers, exhibit at art museums, receive arts council grants, are discussed in art magazines and art blogs, declare themselves as artists on their passports and tax returns—and you say that what they do for a living is not art?

Arno Enslin's picture

and you say that what they do for a living is not art?

No, I say, that it is not necessarily art. You are talking about the market. I am talking about quality. And if the quality is on a very low level, it is not art. I remember, that I saw a chromed metal plate on the wall in a museum years ago. There were wholes in the plate, which looked like bullet impacts. What was the intention? I could and can only imagine one intention: There were no wholes in the origin work. And then a reviewer came and shot at the work, because it only was worth to shoot at it. But it neither was art before the shot nor it was after. It was simply expensive uncompostable bullshit. Bullshit cannot become an artwork, only someone claims, that it is art. Let’s assume now, my interpretation of the artwork is the same as the interpretation of the artist. In this case the intention is not less banal.

William Berkson's picture

Nick, I think that in theory people who come out of art school can be paid for being artists even if what they produce isn't actually art, or at least art of any aesthetic merit. I do agree with John that there is an aesthetic dimension of experience that doesn't depend on whether you fit into the bourgeois box of the market for art labeled as such.

People could mistake something for art and pay for it out of their confusion. I think there's a certain segment of the art market that is distorted by speculators, and that kind of thing can happen. As you have pointed out, part of modern art has been stretching the notion of what art is. I suspect that in some cases it has been been stretched beyond being of aesthetic value, and in retrospect the market will be seen as a speculative bubble that bursts. Has this already happened?

kentlew's picture

> And if the quality is on a very low level, it is not art.

It seems to me that many of the arguments and descriptions being bandied about (of which the quoted is only one example) seem intent on circumscribing Art in such a way that there can be no admittance of the concept of *bad* art.

With the exception of Nick's provocative definition.

Nick Shinn's picture

@Arno: You are talking about the market.

I am talking about society.

@Kent: Nick's provocative definition.

Provocative? This is the definition of the establishment, the status quo, the government: if it says on someone's college degree that they're an artist, and on their passport and their income tax return, then they are legally an artist, and what they do for a living is art.

One may think that their work is a sham and the quality is terrible, and one might not like what modern art has become, but it is still art.

froo's picture

When an "artist" says "this is art" - this is art.
When someone else says "this is art" - this is also art.
The rest is just art economy.

Someone told me a few days ago, that art isn't comfortable for the contemporary society, so he can see some kind of (unplanned) change of places between 'culture' and 'art'. It's like the culture used to be something that we used to be with, and meanwhile the art inspired. Now everything has to 'inspire us' and just the art seems to be 'that usual and expectable thing'.

riccard0's picture

"Science fiction is anything published as science fiction."
– Norman Spinrad

(paraphrased from John W. Campbell, I think)

fredo's picture

So far, I think Nick is closest to the truth. Hard to digest as it might be, one all encompassing theory (although not without its critics) is the institutional art theory, as formulated by George Dickie. Basically, an object can only be(come) art in the context of the institution known as "the artworld".
So anything can be art, as long as the context is legit. A typeface, a piece of poop.
That said I don't think it's particularly important for things I like/find beautiful and/or interesting to be art.

ƒ

kentlew's picture

Nick — Sorry, not “yours”, but the one you articulated; and “provocative” in the sense that it had been provoking reaction and objection in this thread, partly because it confronts those definitions that want to reserve the label Art as a value judgment.

John Hudson's picture

Bill: John, I think there's a problem in defining art as the non-useful part of something. Causing delight or enjoyment or interest makes something useful because we want those experiences. In economics "utility" would include aesthetic pleasures.

In some branches of economics, yes, but that is because capitalism requires constant expansion of commodification: hence any experience, no matter how intimate eventually becomes a subject of economic activity. This kind of 'aesthetic utility' -- the ‘usefulness’ of providing aesthetic pleasure -- explains one aspect of the market for art objects (much of the art market, especially at the higher end, is clearly speculative investment), but it doesn't explain what art is as something that all human beings invest in the making of things, which is what interests me.

Perhaps it helps if I refine my definition like this: art is that quality of made things that appeals directly to the mental faculty for aesthetic engagement, and hence is extra-utile to any other functions that the things may have. The important point, for my perspective, is that art is an observable quality of what humans make, even if what is made is intended for quite quotidian purposes.

Nick Shinn's picture

I've been advocating the Institutional definition (thanks for the word, Fredo), not because it's my singularly held personal view, but because it disproves philosophical theorizing as the be all and end all of art defining.

I have always thought that there are many ways to do most things, including art and defining it.

John Hudson's picture

Shifting direction:

I'm thinking now about art in the sense of a class of made objects, as distinct from the aesthetic quality of human-made things in general. I suspect that this class contains too many sub-classes of both medium and genre to be easily defined other than in a nominalist way: art is everything that people choose to call art. Even so, I think this class of objects can be broadly considered in terms of the marriage of that aesthetic quality discussed above to a function of mental -- intellectual and/or emotional -- engagement. When I think about my own most intense experiences of works of art -- an afternoon spent at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, looking very carefully, for a long, long time at a small number of Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings -- what I am aware of is two things -- the aesthetic qualities (composition, colour, brushwork etc.) and the intellectual/emotional qualities (subject, sympathy) -- and then a third thing: the way in which these two are married in the object. Obviously, for different genres and media of art objects -- including literary and musical -- the particular qualities will vary in kind, but this sense of marriage of aesthetic and intellectual/emotional qualities remains, I think, one of the hallmarks of successful art. TS Eliot wrote of the moment, in writing poetry, when the poem came right with the sense of a box clicking shut, a perfectly manufactured fit of parts. I think a similar sense is enjoyed by the reader of the poem, or the viewer of a painting or the listener to a piece of music.

Nick Shinn's picture

John, what do you make of the "elegant" mathematical solution to a problem?
Or the goal scored by spinarama or scissors kick? The slam dunk?

Are these "made things" that may have an aesthetic appeal, and hence be art?

John Hudson's picture

Nick, the institutional definition appears to work neatly as a categorisation of the class of art objects. I think it is actually too narrow, in that it locates the definition of art within a particular econo-cultural phenomenon, ‘the artworld’, and ignores the many other contexts in which people all over the world, individually or collectively, call things art. The pure nominalist definition -- art is everything that people choose to call art -- seems to me both more generous and more accurate.

Again, though, these kinds of definitions work in terms of categorising art as a class of things; they don't contribute to an understanding of art as a quality that may be found in things that normally fall outside that class.

Arno Enslin's picture

@Arno: You are talking about the market.

I am talking about society.

You are talking about a society, that accumulates its values by examining the market, a society, in which the initiation rite is the driver license examination. It is ridiculous to believe, that you are an artist just because you went to an art school. We are living in times, in which dull bastards like George W. Bush can become president of the United States. In other words, there is absolute no logical relation between your roles in the society and your competence anymore. Are certificates really all you need for estimating people? I simply met too many dense academics. I want to see, hear, smell, taste and touch art, but not certificates.

John Hudson's picture

Nick, those are good questions. Note, however that I don't say that things are ‘art’ because they have aesthetic appeal; I say that art is that quality of things that has aesthetic appeal.

In the case of elegance in mathematics, I think there are two phenomena to consider: the elegance that is inherent in what the math describes, which is not something that the mathematician has made and hence not art -- it is, rather, like the aesthetic experience of nature --, and the elegance in the expression of the description, which I would say is art. Having spent some time working on mathematical typesetting and talking with mathematicians and scientists, I think there is very definitely an aesthetic awareness, even an aesthetic culture, that responds to the fittingness of expression to concept in the same way that one responds to the fittingness of expression to idea in e.g. painting.

In the case of beautiful athletic achievements, on the whole I would say that yes, the aesthetic quality may be a kind of art on the basis of practice and training. If I were somehow to succeed in placing a football in the net by throwing my legs over my head, that would be luck, and if it managed to be beautiful in the execution -- most unlikely! -- that would also be luck and, hence, its beauty would be the beauty of accident, not of intentional creation. Now the beauty of accident may accompany the beauty of art, and happy discovery may accompany painstaking craft in the making of anything, but for the artist -- and for the athlete as artist -- it is difficult to separate the momentary act from the months or years of preparation and experience. What may seem spontaneous might be the result of many, many hours of practice and training. I have a piece of calligraphy on my wall that took Gabriel Martínez Meave about five minutes to create, but its beauty is obviously the result of many years of practice and experience, so art is obviously not something that happens just within the act of creating an individual thing, but is built up over time so that it may be expressed in that thing; similarly, I'd say that the beauty we see in an athletic achievement may be the expression of developed skill. The fact that not all goals scored are beautiful -- some are merely functional; some may be clumsy or due to an fumble by the goalkeeper -- makes it clear that there can be an extra-utile, aesthetic quality to a goal, and insofar as this is the result of training and practice to be able to score goals in that way, I'd say it shows a kind of art.

Nick Shinn's picture

Arno, the fact that culture and society are in the thrall of capital and corporations does not discount the Institutional definition of art.
We are social beings, and if our society says someone is an artist, that is the description we generally follow.
But if six, turned out to be nine, I don't mind.

It is ridiculous to believe, that you are an artist just because you went to an art school.

True, you also have to make a living at it.
However, it's not just art schools, but many other institutions in society.
You probably won't be considered a proper artist if you don't exhibit or sell your work—you will be considered an amateur.
If you have academic qualifications but struggle with a career, you are in a strange limbo.
But an education—in any field—is no guarantee of the classic job role. Many fine art graduates work in the art industry as non-artists, such as management, teaching, or curation. Or go into related fields such as fashion, film, or rock and roll. I went into advertising and design. If you apply for institutional grants, a certain kind of career trajectory will be expected, including peer recognition, i.e. exhibiting in peer-reviewed exhibitions.

William Berkson's picture

I think the point of the "What is Art?" question, at least in philosophy, is to try to describe what is distinctive about the aesthetic experience, and the process of creating things or experiences that have aesthetic merit.

So John's description of art in terms of aesthetic experience, while sound, doesn't get at the issue. Nick's definition, though I'm sure useful for some purposes, doesn't doesn't address the question of understanding this dimension of human experience.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Nick

Quoting Reynir: It's art if I say so.

The phrase is true for me, if I say it. And it is true for him, if he says it. The phrase summarizes, what I wrote about the dictatorship of evaluation of art. He was very right with that phrase. It is irrelevant, what the society says, because in my opinion there is nothing, where an own opinion is more important than in case of the evaluation of art. Really, it already begins, when I am turning on the TV and stumble in one of these superstar casting shows. And the next artist is … – you probably cannot imagine, how much all this rubbish makes me sick. That’s society. I give a **** on society with regard to the evaluation of art. Our society is a casting show.

Let me tell you, what has happened to my father round about ten years ago. I have grown up in an artist household. My father is sculptor since 45 years – with education at art academies (with a studentship) and education to stonemason. His works are classical, but with an archaic, in the later years often with an utopical touch. I cannot explain it better, especially not in English and partly, because I always was more interested in two-dimensional art and in music. But I can see the high quality of his work. (My relationship to my father is troubled. I don’t have contact to him anymore.) One reason is, that there never was anything as important for him as his art – inclusively me. But he is a total DAU with regard to management. It begins with the condition of his toilette, which is unsuitable for potential buyers, and it ends with the inability to handle non-artificial paperworks without help. And so he did sell nothing for years. But he has offset the materials for his works or his atelier against tax. And then the taxman wanted to have a payment of tax arrears. Ground: „Because you did not sell anything in the last time, you are a hobbyist, but not an artist.“ And he lost the lawsuit. **** taxmen, **** Babbitts define, what art is. I remember, how I wondered, that he was relatively calm with regard to this infamy. If this had happened to me, I could have cut this **** taxman into little pieces and feed them to my cats. (Unfortunately I don’t have cats.)

phrostbyte64's picture

Art is whatever anyone chooses to say it is. It is a muddy meaniless term in and of itself. Every application or dicipline has a different definition each valid in its own area of influence.

Art is also whatever and "Artist" says it is, if he or she can convince a peanut gallery of rubes, that's even better.

I have a nasty feeling that I'm just restating something someone else said, you have my apologies. Honestly, this debate is much more fun with a room full of artists and other such visionaries.

Nick Shinn's picture

@Bill: I think the point of the "What is Art?" question, at least in philosophy, is to try to describe what is distinctive about the aesthetic experience, and the process of creating things or experiences that have aesthetic merit.

That may have been true 150 years ago, but then along came Ruskin with the idea of social purpose, and 50 years later, Duchamp:
"Whether Mr Mutt made the fountain with his own hands or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view—created a new thought for that object."
Duchamp removed aesthetics as a necessary quality of art. That was in 1917.
Many people felt that the cat should remain in the bag, but it was gone.

**

One of my favorite art theorist quotes (because of its typographic resonance) is by Hal Foster: "Each era is a palimpsest of emergent and residual forms."

John Hudson's picture

Bill: I think the point of the "What is Art?" question, at least in philosophy, is to try to describe what is distinctive about the aesthetic experience, and the process of creating things or experiences that have aesthetic merit.

I know philosophers who have written on and taught courses in Aesthetics, and as far as I can gather they don't bother with ‘What is Art?’ as a question. As one of them has said to me ‘Art is what artists make, and some of it is rubbish’, i.e. the question of what art is is independent of aesthetic merit. The philosophical question of Aesthetics is ‘What is beauty?’

So John's description of art in terms of aesthetic experience, while sound, doesn't get at the issue.

I talked about my personal experience, by way of example, when discussing art as a class of object, but I didn't use the term when describing what I think art is as a quality. I suppose we can only know that quality experientially, but I would have to consider that the quality of extra-utile beauty in a particular thing may be beyond my experience or, even, beyond the experience of anyone now living, but that such a quality may still be presumed and to have been experienced by the maker. Whenever we see evidently deliberately fashioned aspects of a thing that are not explained by utility, we must, I think, presume that they may constitute art, even if we do not find them aesthetically pleasing.

Nick's definition, though I'm sure useful for some purposes, doesn't address the question of understanding this dimension of human experience.

Nor does it, as he suggested, end or bypass philosophical debate: it just shifts the grounds of debate from aesthetics or categories to socio-economics.

John Hudson's picture

Nick: Duchamp removed aesthetics as a necessary quality of art.

I read the whole episode differently. It isn't necessary to have seen the famous urinal in order to experience the ‘new thought for that object’. The art is not the object, but Duchamp’s performance, including the exhibition of the object, the invention of the artist Mr Mutt and, not least, the critical commentary (probably not written by Duchamp, but clearly orchestrated as part of the performance) that purports to explain the meaning of event. Beautifully done.

Nick Shinn's picture

@John: Nor does it, as he suggested, end or bypass philosophical debate: it just shifts the grounds of debate from aesthetics or categories to socio-economics.

Socio-economics isn't philosophy.

@John: Beautifully done.

Curation as performance art?
I doubt that present day curators would like to be dragged down to that level.

William Berkson's picture

John, the only book I've read on aesthetics, is R.G. Collingwood's Principles of Art, which is organized around the question "What is Art?" I think his discussions of discussions of philosophical idealism are a waste of time, but what he writes about art is quite wonderful and thought provoking. I'm sure he doesn't get it quite right, but it's a very interesting book.

>Duchamp removed aesthetics as a necessary quality of art.

Or did he succeed in selling something that wasn't art, but a statement about the politics and economics of the art market? Personally, such work has snob appeal and antiquarian value, but no artistic merit.

dezcom's picture

Art is something an artist compelled to make from notions within him/herself. That thing may be perceived as art or not by others. It may be a pile of donkey ßhit or or the most magnificently beautiful thing imaginable. It may be perceived as original or not. The REAL issue then is "What is an Artist"? First let's ask the Philosopher King. He will get back to you when he is done explaining himself.

Only Yogi Berra knows what art is. "It is what it is"

Chris Dean's picture

Urinals, amputations, starvation, and silence: Controversial art or just crap?

I don’t which I like better. The silent orchestra, or the people who sat through it.

Chris Dean's picture

And don’t forget about this guy.

John Hudson's picture

That guys is one of my heroes.

Té Rowan's picture

Sigh. Nobody can tell ya what art is, but everybody will.

Arno Enslin's picture

@ Nick

Duchamp removed aesthetics as a necessary quality of art.

Do you mess up aesthetics with beauty or picture and subject? Aesthetics are a necessary quality of art. If a self-appointed artist claims anything different, he only wants to cover his inaction and his vapidity.

Example:

It is taken from didierruef.photoshelter.com.

That’s probably more documentation than art, but with regard to the aesthetics it doesn’t matter. The image is beautiful, because it is very aesthetical. Because the photographer has taken the picture in that way. The image is very powerful and much more than beautiful. Assumed, it is not art – I am not sure, if it is – it doesn’t matter, because the effect would be exactly the same as if it would be art.

In contradiction to that, this …

… is pure beauty, although the event is likewise not beautiful. As beautiful it is, it already is decorative. Nothing against decoration, but art is more than decoration. The message amounts to nothing more than beauty. I think, art is always more than pure beauty.

I think, it is unimportant, whether an object really is art. It is much more important, whether it could be art. Why? Because art does not need manuals. Art is speaking for itself, although it naturally makes use of the experiences of the viewers – as everything. Objects of art, that need their creators for interpretation, are suspicious. It is not the artist, that is important, but only the result of his work. Art does not exist for worshiping the artists, but their work. Art, that is satisfying the vanities of the artist only, is suspicious, because vanities are a interference factor already during the creation. It is not important, what the artist wants to say, if he wants to say anything, but the effect to me is important. Often people call themselves artists, just because the term sounds ennobling in their simple minds. But there is absolute no duty to believe in the claim to be an artist.

dezcom's picture

People through out history have "made things" that later have been identified as being "Art". There has never been a Litmus test for any of these "designations" or a way to prove the authority of any of those people who made the anointed judgments. Some of these are collected in museums, others are in peoples homes, some have been condemned by powerful conservative politicians and banished from public funded politically correct museumdom. There have been lists made of "surely these are art" and "surely these are not art." If we confine ourselves to agreeing on objects that we consider art or not, we will never agree, even over time. The Sistine Chapel ceiling was, for many years, "dignified and deified" by having blue drapes painted over the naughty parts in Michaelangelo's original. Centuries later, at great cost and with some damage, they were removed.

I much prefer the original nonjudgmental method. Just "make stuff" and put it out in the world.

Those who can "make art" will, those that can't will judge, and those that hear the judgments will disagree or agree on their validity. After that, others will ponder the collection of judgments in search of the definitive Litmus test and fail. This will be repeated ad infinitum.

froo's picture

And as the Litmus test was discovered by medieval alchemists, it is still the domain of alchemy, this quest for Art. Meanwhile people do art, and reshape the meaning of art. I am deeply impressed by Santiago Sierra's works. His art is not only unaesthetic but also unethical. He uses managing skills to create total waste; and the more waste he makes to the artworld, the more the artworld admires him.

riccard0's picture

In his entire life, Vincent Van Gogh sold just one picture.

Arno Enslin's picture

His art is not only unaesthetic but also unethical.

And another one, who messes up beauty with aesthetics. With regard to ethics I would like to differentiate between a) the message, b) the material (inclusively beings capable of suffering) and c) the immediate tangible content / the first impression / the surface.

a) If the conscious projected message dominates the creation, I would call it grandstanding or political design, dependent from the content. If the creator additionally and consciously tries to get attention by shocking people, the probability, that his creative resources are limited, is very high. And as I already said, I am interested in art, but not in artists. I don’t want to know about the personal antinomies of the artist, because I am not a psychiatrist, but I am interested in new perspectives of the antinomies of life – in profound aestheticised perspectives. The life of the artist is only interesting, because it is the basic requirement for continuing with making art. If the artist tries to catch up on his anal or urethral or prostatal or uteral phase with the help of me, I am mainly bored. I am really not fascinated by urinals, independent from their location and indepent from their hygienic condition. As I already told in a former message, my father’s urinal is just a by-product of his creativity. He simply invests his time in making art instead of cleaning his closet.

b) If beings capable of suffering are misused, the creative process is immoral, but not necessarily the object of art.

c) If the portrayal of the violation of an tabu is superficial only without anything behind – if the violation of an tabu is the message, I am likewise bored or amused about the simplemindedness of the creator. But it is not immoral. The methods can be immoral, but not the artwork. The violation of tabus is often inevitable, but it is never the basic message of artworks. Creators with a message are suspicious, anyway. A message is already something, that is reflected, but I am not interested in the message of the creator, but in the impact of the creation. So, go and stick up your “message” to your ass, if your message amounts to nothing more than you. As Oscar Wilde wrote in the prologue of The Picture of Dorian Gray, “art is never morbid”. And I am very sure, that Oscar Wild was able to see the beauty in the colors and structures and subtlety of mould. He did know the difference between self purpose and artistic necessity.

Arno Enslin's picture

In his entire life, Vincent Van Gogh sold just one picture.

Yes. But that doesn’t evince (Lol!), that objects, which are unrecognized as art during the entire lives of their creators, are unrecognized, just because the time is not yet ripe. Sometimes they are simply shit. And sometimes shit is recognized as art.

froo's picture

And another one, who messes up beauty with aesthetics.
I don't, I just use common terms.

Works that "break tabu" are usually stupid, I agree. But anyway, tabu can be a medium, like painting or sculpture, so why not to work with it? Why to paint sunsets instead of breaking tabus? A well broken tabu can be much better than a landscape.

Arno Enslin's picture

Why to paint sunsets instead of breaking tabus? A well broken tabu can be much better than a landscape.

Tabus should not be broken just for dragging attention. Break a tabu, if you are driven to break it, or, if there is an artistic necessity to break it. But if you break it, skilfully break it. Don’t break it, if you only envision potential reactions, which are not yours. And don’t bore with banalities like masturbating or pissing in public. Don’t bore me with your boredom and your artlessness. Don’t mess up art with exhibitionism. The exhibition is only the platform, on which you get the feedback regarding to your creation. The quality of your creation does not depend from public (except the public is your material or an important part of the motor for a happening).

Paul Cutler's picture

> John Hudson - TS Eliot wrote of the moment, in writing poetry, when the poem came right with the sense of a box clicking shut, a perfectly manufactured fit of parts. I think a similar sense is enjoyed by the reader of the poem, or the viewer of a painting or the listener to a piece of music.

I agree with the first part of this - there is a moment of completion. But when someone reads something I've written I hope the opposite happens, that the box clicks open, and the reader can take his own journey. The same is true of the music I write. I try to leave a scent, not a bottle of perfume.

pbc

bowerbird's picture

christopher dean's 15 years at art college paid off,
as shown by his masterful escher meta-comment.

good artists borrow... great artists rip shit off...

-bowerbird

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