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entity
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Some of you seem to think that anything that anyone creates and calls art, IS Art.

Is that true? Is it so subjective?

Is paint slopped on a canvas by an elephant equal to Vincent's Starry Night?

Is a string of unconnected letters typed on a keyboard by a chimp equal to a novel by Victor Hugo?

When do we begin to decide what is truly Art and what is technique?

Part of the reason that I believe that Art (all art) needs to be shared with an audience and responded to before it can be confirmed as Art, is that Art is a form of communication. Therefore there is an objective way to determine if it works. If the audience gets it, if there are some objectively discernible qualities that speak to others, it is Art.

If it was never shown to anyone else, and burned in the fire with the Artist, it might have been just chimps typing. We'll never know, because it wasn't shared.

- entity
Dr Spektor
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All in context - the one person's junk is another's treasure concept springs to mind.

I am an interpretationist.
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
entity
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Just my point, Spektor. If you don't see it, how can you interpret? If it's not shared, how do we know if it speaks to anyone?

- entity
lumberjohn
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Communication by definition requires a sender and a receiver. So by defining art as communication, you are making your own point.

"Art," is of course a very difficult term to define. That task has generated volumes of words from philosophers far smarted than I. But I do not believe that art is necessarily a form of communication. I believe that art is an expression of thoughts, feelings, emotions, or other internal processes in an external form through some sort of medium. Its purpose can be communication, but is not necessarily. Sometimes, people just want to scream and don't care if anyone hears it. Sometimes, art is simply cartharsis.

But obviously, that definition is not complete. As you point out above, not just any expression constitutes art. The "artist" must possess skill in the medium of choice and an ability to channel one's innermost feelings into that medium in a recognizable form, so that it is possible to connect the piece to the "artist's" internal processes. The skill of the "artist" and the ability of others to see through the piece to what the artist was expressing creates distinctions between low and higher end art.

The problem I have, which I've discussed more above, is that however you define art, it must be created from the bottom up rather than the top down. By that, I mean that art must be a true and honest expression. If we attempt to create art by simply putting together what we think people want to see, then what we have created is not a genuine expression. It is false and phony and it will not advance our craft.
entity
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Lumberjohn: I don't believe that artists should present what people want to see; I think that we should present what we want people to see.

Quote:
On 2007-11-20 11:46, lumberjohn wrote:

I do not believe that art is necessarily a form of communication. I believe that art is an expression of thoughts, feelings, emotions, or other internal processes in an external form through some sort of medium. Its purpose can be communication, but is not necessarily. Sometimes, people just want to scream and don't care if anyone hears it. Sometimes, art is simply cartharsis.


Isn't a scream an effort to communicating something? Even in a primitive way, even if we are all alone when we scream, isn't it a way to express (send out) to the world what we feel inwardly?

- entity
gabelson
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Quote:
On 2007-11-20 11:11, entity wrote:
Just my point, Spektor. If you don't see it, how can you interpret? If it's not shared, how do we know if it speaks to anyone?

- entity


Well, let's get back to the house fire example. Even if the artist destroys his artwork, or in this case, sees it destroyed, one could argue that even if were not intended for a POTENTIAL audience, it already had an ACTUAL audience, namely the artist himself. For an artist is not only a creator; he is also the first audience for his artwork. Artistry requires that the artist play the role of audience member in order to proceed- in order to revise and correct their work. The artist must take up the role of spectator. Thus, once we remind ourselves that the artist is essentially an audience, we must conclude that the work already HAS an audience. A small trash can is not art. But the moment someone puts flowers in it and props it on their shelf, as they enjoy the "look" of it, and the feeling it generates in them, it is art, whether anyone ever visits their house, or not.
Dr Spektor
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Actually, the designer of the trash can you speak of may have thought it was quite artistic... just like so many mundane items of the past are now taking on "fashion" shapes... from computers to phones... to everything...
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
entity
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Exactly, Spektor.

Because the person who creates something is pleased with his creation, does that make it art? Or does it require more than that? I think it does.

Gableson, your most recent post seems to ignore the points that I made about subjectivism. What if the creator of the work is deranged/delusional? Are his decisions about his own art still valid? If he spill ketchup on a paper plate by accident and decides he likes the way it looks, and puts it on his wall, is it art?

- entity
lumberjohn
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I draw a distinction between communication and expression. Yes, we are expressing something when we scream - perhaps our anger or frustration. But we are not necessarily making an effort to communicate by doing so. We often don't care whether anyone hears our scream or correctly interprets it. In fact, I would suggest that most people prefer to scream in private where no one will hear them.

Communication requires at least two people and an intention by both that their messages be received and understood by the other. If there is no understanding by the receiving party, there is no communication. Looked at another way, all communication involves expression, but not all expression involves communication.

And this gets to the point on which you and I differ. While art can be about communication, it is not necessarily so. But art must involve expression. Something remains art even if it is not effectively communicated, so long as it has been honestly expressed in a form that others would be capable of understanding on some level. It may take decades or centuries before something is recognized as art, but in such a case, in my opinion, it was art all along.
entity
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Quote:
On 2007-11-20 13:25, lumberjohn wrote:
Something remains art even if it is not effectively communicated, so long as it has been honestly expressed in a form that others would be capable of understanding on some level.


Is that not communication?

- entity
gabelson
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Quote:
On 2007-11-20 10:38, entity wrote:
Some of you seem to think that anything that anyone creates and calls art, IS Art.

Is that true? Is it so subjective?

Is paint slopped on a canvas by an elephant equal to Vincent's Starry Night?

Is a string of unconnected letters typed on a keyboard by a chimp equal to a novel by Victor Hugo?




Why not? By your definition, if the artist who used an elephant as his "brush" for expression and communication, finds an audience who appreciates this work, then it qualifies as "art". Look, the plain white urinal hanging on the wall, created by artist Marcel Duchamp, to me, is not art, I don't get it. It's not in the same league as "Starry Night". Yet Duchamp's urinal is not only one of the most famous pieces of modern art, but was recently named "the most influential modern art work of all time". (By the way, Picasso's "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon" came in second, and a work by Warhol, third.) So the urinal has most certainlly been "responded to". And yes, it IS that subjective.
Entity, you keep changing the ground rules. First, you say that to qualify as art, it must be shared with an audience and responded to. I maintain that the artist qualifies as audience, because he is the first (and may be the only) judge of his work.
Then, you say there IS an OBJECTIVE way to decide whether or not it is art. That the audience must "get it". Well, I don't "get" the urinal. And I'm sure I'm not alone. There are no doubt more people who DON'T get it, than do. So it's therefore NOT objective, it's SUBJECTIVE. But this doesn't jibe with your previous statement where you maintain that the only requirement of art, is that it must be shared.

And Doc- yes, I agree that the trash can manufacturer may have designed the bin in a way he thought aesthetically pleasing, but it is more likely it was built purely for utilitarian purpose. Therefore it does not become art, until the owner decides to put the flower in it, because it pleases THEM. At that point, it becomes all the audience necessary to qualify it as "art".
gabelson
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Quote:
On 2007-11-20 13:16, entity wrote:
Exactly, Spektor.

Because the person who creates something is pleased with his creation, does that make it art? Or does it require more than that? I think it does.

- entity


It does not. See above post about Marcel Duchamp as the ultimate example. I have been to the Museum of Modern Art and have stared at a painting of a simple black square on a white canvas. I look at it and think: "I could have EASILY done that, with some oil paints and a straight-edge. Then I see the painting is valued at 2-million dollars. Apparently, someone indeed sees it as great art- (more than one, for it is hanging in M.O.M.A., no easy feat). It has been appreciated, but remains entirely subjective. I cannot judge it objectively.
lumberjohn
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Regarding subjectivity, I believe that any time anyone attempts to express himself through an external medium in an abstract manner (as opposed to, for instance, writing "I want food"), it should be classified as something akin to art. For these purposes, I will propose just calling it "art." So even an elephant smearing paint on the wall could be considered an "artist" if we could determine that the elephant was capable of abstract thought and meant to express itself in this way. This might be one of the lowest forms of art, but it would still be art.

By this classification, the art increases in quality as the skill of the artist becomes greater, the complexity of the work grows, and the potential for people to navigate through that complexity to the expressed feelings or emotions of the artist increases. Many people choose an arbitrary point on this line and begin at that point defining things as "art." Then, they wonder why no one can agree on a definition. The problem is that no one can agree what that point is.

So I propose that we don't start calling things "art" only when they reach some arbitrary point of quality. Let's look at it all as art and confine our discussions to the quality of that art. That should make the definitional process far easier.
lumberjohn
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Quote:
On 2007-11-20 13:27, entity wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-11-20 13:25, lumberjohn wrote:
Something remains art even if it is not effectively communicated, so long as it has been honestly expressed in a form that others would be capable of understanding on some level.


Is that not communication?

- entity


No. Just because something is capable of being understood doesn't mean it was intended to be understood. The aforementioned scream is an excellent example of this.
Stephen Long
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I don't think the artist's intentions have anything to do with defining art. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that what the artist 'intended' is almost irrelevant. It's how the individual interprets that shapes and defines art. That's what makes it such a fluid concept.
Hello.
John Nesbit
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Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gaugin used to have many heated arguments about similar perspectives within their craft, as to what was and wasn't good art. I live within walking distance to The Clark Art Institute and Williams College Museum of art. Both house some of the rarest collections of art in the world. And 3 miles from those, is the Mass. Museum of Contemporary Art. A whole different world altogether of what looks and feels like art. Opinions and beliefs vary as widely as do the appearance of the works contained in these three establishments. Just in the first one alone is a history of similar and conflicting schools of thought and, art.
Perhaps if one is to pose the question openly as to ask, just "what is art"? Then it would aptly follow that the question should be put forth as to "what is consciousness" ?
As far as animals and art, look at nature and the different works contained within it. The construction of a beaver's dam, the weaving of a bird's nest, the honeycomb design of a bees nest, or a spider's web. What of these ?
As far as urinals and art go, the opinions vary on that as well. A sign over a local business reads, Rapid Radiator Repair Service: "A great place to take a leak".
And, "That's what makes it such a fluid concept".

(Thank you Gabe and Stephen Long)
;)

John
gabelson
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Quote:
On 2007-11-20 14:00, Stephen Long wrote:
I don't think the artist's intentions have anything to do with defining art. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that what the artist 'intended' is almost irrelevant. It's how the individual interprets that shapes and defines art. That's what makes it such a fluid concept.


I'm with Entity on this one. No intention, no work of art. Even if the only audience is the artist himself. For objects and events with no art status might well be experienced and appreciated by an audience, or have a disposition to be experienced and appreciated by an audience, this does not make them "art". The concept of "non-intentional art" leaves us with no ways of distinguishing works of art from appreciable non-art. Without reference to an artist's INTENTION, it would be impossible to make that distinction.
entity
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Stephen: In an earlier post I defined art as the communication of the artist's imagination with that of his audience. For the artist to create a work and display it shows some sort of intent, doesn't it? Whatever the audience takes from his work is a measure of his intent in some ways, filtered through his imagination and then theirs. To say that the artist's intent has nothing to do with defining art seems illogical to me. Without the artist, his deciding to create the work, his desire to communicate the work to others, there would be nothing to define. Could you give an example of a work of art that isn't partly defined by the artist's intent?

Gableson: I'm not changing the ground rules at all. You choose to ignore some of my remarks at some points, and others at other times. I don't think that the artist can be relied upon as his only audience. It's like a person believing that they're a good lover because they successfully jerk off. They might be a great lover, but as long as they're doing it alone, they'll never know for sure.

As an artist, he may be delusional, or just plain bad at what he does. He can attempt to create art, but he doesn't know for sure it's art unless there's some communication with an audience. There must be intent on the part of the artist to communicate something. If the audience responds, HOWEVER they respond, using their own imaginations, then art has been achieved. What they "get" might not be what the artist originally intented, but the artist's intention to communicate SOMETHING personal is achieved, nonetheless. I'd go so far as to argue that it's seldom that the artist's original intent doesn't somehow colour the audience's reactions.

The Duchamp piece is an example of this. We imagine what the artist's message is in placing a urinal on the wall and calling it art. THAT'S the artist's intention. For those who study or judge modern art, THAT is one objective criteria with which to judge the piece. Obviously, Gableson, you are not the intended audience for that piece. There are those who DO get something from it, though. That's the audience, hence, art is achieved.

Re: Elephant paintings, garbage bin flower pots and things that please ourselves only, Id say that people sometimes confuse novelty and craftwork with Art.

- entity
lumberjohn
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Quote:
On 2007-11-20 14:36, entity wrote:

Re: Elephant paintings, garbage bin flower pots and things that please ourselves only, Id say that people sometimes confuse novelty and craftwork with Art.

- entity


Entity,

How do you distinguish these "novelt[ies] and craftwork" from Art? How much skill and competence is required before the piece rises to the level of Art? Is something else necessary?
entity
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It's all in my prior posts, Lumberjohn... artist's intent... sharing with an audience... an effort to communicate something with others... expression through imagination as a means of saying something to others...

etc.

Note to all readers: I'm not asking anyone else to think what I think. I'm just stating my own way of understanding these issues, and defending my position when questioned by others. I may be the only one who thinks this way, but just in case it's art, I'm sharing it here, with others.

- entity
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