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Thread: "Art," more fartsy than artsy-video

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default "Art," more fartsy than artsy-video

    Hopefully this video link works. 1993 and its about art. Very relevant.
    http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsn...ews_player.swf

    If that link doesn't work, try this one
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?...4n&tag=embedFD

    instigating much?
    Last edited by clavichorder; Mar-31-2012 at 07:46.

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    Senior Member Iforgotmypassword's Avatar
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    Wow. I had forgotten how out there some of those artists were. Would you say that was more predominant in the 90s? I seem to recall more of that kind of mentality back then than I notice now.

    I don't see anything that meets that level of silliness within the musical world though. I guess that's just because I prefer the art of vibration to any others.

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iforgotmypassword View Post
    I seem to recall more of that kind of mentality back then than I notice now..
    Jeff Koons is apparently still active and in business. But you are probably right in that its not so much at the forefront anymore.

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    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    I despise art auctions, period. This video makes me want to become an artist though... iforgotmypassword, I think you found your calling!

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Jeff Koons is apparently still active and in business. But you are probably right in that its not so much at the forefront anymore.

    Jeff Koons is not only still alive and active, he's more successful than ever... and unfortunately, more influential than ever. The slew of so-called "Sh** Brits", Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Chris Ofili, etc... are also still active and able to demand outrageous sums of money. The problem is that the market has been absolutely dominated by a few major gallery dealers, and a few major collectors for years. These collectors, commonly billionaires, often serve on the boards of the major art museums and push for these museums to give major exhibitions to the very artists they collect, thus lending them a further illusion of legitimacy and increased worth. Can anyone say "conflict of interest"? At the same time there are few honest critics. Most critics work for the few major art periodicals that rely upon advertising from the few major galleries. How likely is it that a gallery dealer is going to continue advertising with a magazine where the critics trash the artists on their roster? Again, can anyone say "conflict of interest"? As Robert Hughes notoriously pointed out, the sale of art represents the second largest unregulated commodity sold in the United States and Europe... after illegal drugs. The major auction houses have been frequently found guilty of collusion, fraud, theft, false advertising, fixing prices, and tax evasion... and yet they are but slapped with a fine which is nothing compared to the billions they rake in each year. A majority of the art buyers are clueless and rely upon the opinions of dealers, who naturally promote those artists able to rapidly churn out a grossly overpriced product. One can't feel sorry for the collectors because in a great majority of instances they are only into collecting art as an investment and for the social status it lends. A good many no longer take to the time to even visit a gallery or look at the art, but rather depend on middlemen: art buyers or art scouts.

    The greatest shift of recent years has been wrought by the internet and the shift away from focusing upon the few major galleries in New York and London. Many have recognized for years that the Emperor Has No Clothes... but the game continues as long as the government allows the market to continue unregulated. Many have drawn an analogy between the current market jacks up prices for a can of artist's sh** or a vacuum cleaner on a pedestal to the levels of GNP of some small island nations and the Dutch Tulip Mania of the 17th century during which time wealthy investors, collectors, and speculators paid astronomical sums... equivalent to the yearly salaries of several dozen skilled craftsmen... for a single tulip bulb. Some rare tulip bulbs briefly became the most expensive objects in the world. Charles Mackay, the Scottish journalist, whose book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds explored the irrational behavior of crowds and included a chapter on the Tulip Mania, would have no doubt reveled in the art market.

    One of the best exposés of the current art market can be found in Robert Hughes' BBC production, The Mona Lisa Curse (which is broken into 5 parts on YouTube). As an artist myself, I watched the video with several artist friends and found myself absolutely depressed by the current state of the market.



    None of this should be misconstrued as to suggest that there are not some absolutely brilliant artists working today... some building upon the traditions of the past, and others at the cutting edge of new ideas and technology. As with contemporary music and contemporary art, however, you must do some work to discover them among the dregs. 95% of all art has always been mediocre at best... the challenge is to discover that %5... or 2%... or 1% that truly speaks to you.

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    Art majors:

    What is the logic of Artistic creation? Who is the Popper of Aesthetics? And what is the criterion of demarcation between Art and Fart??

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Interesting post/article, StlukesguildOhio. My only interest in static visual art is the stuff that 'truly speaks' to me. And because my interest is not 'refined', what speaks to me is usually representational art with a singular difference - a cast of light, some aspect subtly exaggerated to attract my attention, something that could occur in life if I happened to be there to see it.

    I suppose I am about 400 years behind the times... so what else is new?
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that works some of us now love and deem masterpieces were similarly (and often more severely) mocked, whether it was Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Claude Monet, Renoir, Debussy, Webern, Stravinsky, etc.

    Well, here you've got a journalist who likes 'pictures' and probably has a hard time with a Mark Rothko or Jasper Johns piece, i.e. 'older garde' artists. In brief, he is a putz where 'art' is concerned, at least that is completely fair to say when it comes to art of his own time...

    This is, however, a perfect example of how we, as individuals, are more subject to hype across the board, whether the hype is extolling the virtues of cushioned-quilted and perfumed toilet paper, art, or 'your government.'

    It is a perfect demonstration of why it is more than necessary for an individual to take the responsibility to develop their own sense of discernment about 'that which is being hyped.'

    Among the pieces in that auction was a Cy Twombly canvas: that, to many a practiced eye, has 'great merit.'

    To the practiced eye who also knows a bit of art history, the urinals are just urinals with a 'title,' and are not to be compared with the "original" single urinal as installed upside down on a wall in a gallery by Marcel Duchamp.
    ~ There is only ONE urinal, "Fountaine," as installed by Duchamp -- not installed upright, it is outside its normal function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Duchamp_Fountaine.jpg
    ~ There is only ONE Meret Oppenheim fur-lined teacup, saucer and spoon.
    http://www.moma.org/collection/brows...1&sort_order=1
    Accept no imposters or substitutions!

    Similarly, we have to sort out all things 'contemporary' about us:

    I've been looking into 'Post-classical' ElectroAcoustic music, often made by an instrumentalist-composer, with electronics, ala Peter Gregson, Julia Wolfe (both 'Cellists). Two others within that genre are Max Richter and Jóhann Jóhannsson, both of whose music, to me, is far less interesting -- more 'movie score' effect and with that 'cheaper' sensibility often heard in filmscores -- than the music by either Gregson or Wolfe. All four are 'up there' in popularity on the alternate new music scene. I'm sure there are many more: some have great merit while others do not.

    Like the physical art at auction in the link you posted, some of the music has great value, some has far less innate value which will not 'last' a great length of time: some of it is merely seriously pretentious garbage by someone with a level of training and a bunch of good, and expensive (my envy comes out a bit at the ownership of...) electronic toys, more toys than taste....

    Sorting out the good from the bad in this "Postclassical" music genre is parallel to sorting out the sundry works of visual art on sale at that auction.

    All this points to a lot of necessary effort on the part of an individual - an effort far greater than the yearningly hoped-for easy measure of criteria to rate 'great / good / bad / terrible' art.

    You've seen enough simplistic solutions suggested in this forum:
    Music theory proffered as the only way to judge a piece of music (as if color theory would evaluate great or terrible art, LOL.) The somewhat plebeian notion that if a piece 'floats your boat' and humors 'how you want to feel,' it is good (an accelerated sinking to the lowest common denominator would result). Etc.

    What anyone needs to do to sort this stuff out is consume A LOT of it! There is a need then to define 'art' by looking into it beyond brief dictionary squibs or simplistic 'rating systems' -- 'systems' which do not account for even 5% of why something has merit -- and then think even further about it all until you can form a base of your own with enough criteria to allow your reasonable discernment about what you are looking at or listening to, including work(s) not to your personal taste. (This will necessarily include forming a general, and personal, aesthetic point of view.)

    Then re-view the works in this auction (or that era, period, or current style of popular or classical music you thought was "______,") and see what you think anew.

    As a member of the 'older' generation present on this board, I can tell you the criteria and your aesthetic will change over time, and that includes the need to consider new developments as they appear.

    A fully developed and thought-out aesthetic / critical facility will never be a 'tidy' or 'simple' rating system: tidy rating systems are for bureaucrats, polls, the Public Relations and Advertising industries, and the mentally lazy.

    I can guarantee you greater order in understanding or judging makes things a little less confusing, but I can also guarantee you that 'life' -- and 'art' -- no matter what any of us do, are going to remain forever 'messy.'
    Last edited by PetrB; Mar-31-2012 at 20:46.

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    I suppose I am about 400 years behind the times... so what else is new?

    Actually, the amount of representational art seen today is probably equal to if not greater to the amount of abstract art. Lucian Freud, who died late last year, was a hard-core "realist" painter... and yet also recognized by a great many as one of the greatest living artists until that point.



    Among living "realistic" or "representational" painters recognized as leading figures in contemporary painting, you would likely come across Chuck Close:



    Close' early works were rendered to a photographic degree of "realism". The works in person are absolutely stunning. This painting, for example, stands something like 8-feet high, from what I remember.

    His later works have been looser or more "expressionistic" is style... although still photographically derived... due to a stroke-like illness that seriously damaged his motor-skills:



    One of the leading British painters is Jenny Saville, whose works clearly owe much to Lucian Freud... but also to the explosive gestural painting of Willem DeKooning, Chaim Soutine, Van Gogh, and even Peter Paul Rubens:



    Among the leading figurative Post-Modernists there is Will Cotton, whose paintings combine the childhood "candyland" fantasies of cotton candy, chocolate rivers, and gingerbread houses with adult sexual fantasies:



    *****

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    One of the first Post-Modern realists was Eric Fischl, who built upon the dead-pan realism of Edward Hopper brought up to date in the wasteland of American suburbia:



    One of the most original and skillful of the early Post-Modernists was the Swedish painter Odd Nerdrum whose strange paintings are set in a Post-Apocalyptic, Mad Max-like world:



    Nerdrum employs all the technical skills of a Baroque master such as Caravaggio or Rembrandt, yet draws upon Modern elements including mannered and artificial poses. He then builds the surfaces of his paintings up until they appear weathered and encrusted and ancient. having been the target of hard-core Modernists in his youth, he embraced the derogatory term "kitsch" in the same manner as the Cubist, Fauves, and Impressionists embraced the terms intended as insults. He refers to himself as a "kitsch painter" and has written several "kitsch" manifestos proclaiming that if some of the conceptual art we now see in galleries and museums is "ART" then he would rather not be called an "ARTIST".



    Then there's Bo Bartlett, the heir apparent to Andrew Wyeth. Bartlett combines elements of Wyeth's stark views of rural America with aspects of Norman Rockwell infused with more contemporary American realities, including a far greater sense of eroticism:



    Having mentioned Andrew Wyeth, I should note that the two most famous artists in America from the late 1960s onward were certainly the two Andys: Warhol and Wyeth. They represented opposite sides of the spectrum, and while Wyeth was long dismissed by the so-called cognoscenti, at his death a few years back he was recognized as quite likely one of the two or three greatest living American painters.

    Last edited by StlukesguildOhio; Apr-01-2012 at 00:27.

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    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    Yes, its quite the myth that we hear about classical as well, that all the modern stuff is this off-the-wall conceptual avant-garde stuff with no content or form.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Certainly representational - but not subtle. (The last - Wyeth - link doesn't work.) Thanks for the tour though.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that works some of us now love and deem masterpieces were similarly (and often more severely) mocked, whether it was Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Claude Monet, Renoir, Debussy, Webern, Stravinsky, etc.

    This is the defense used in connection with any and all negative criticism applied to any work of art created over the last century. Artists, themselves employ it as a defense mechanism: "My work is unpopular and doesn't sell for the simple reason that it is too cutting edge and radical for the ignorant public to recognize for the genius it is."

    Well, here you've got a journalist who likes 'pictures' and probably has a hard time with a Mark Rothko or Jasper Johns piece, i.e. 'older garde' artists. In brief, he is a putz where 'art' is concerned, at least that is completely fair to say when it comes to art of his own time...

    This may certainly be true of the old 60-Minutes op-ed piece, but it most certainly is not true of the Robert Hughes BBC film. Robert Hughes quite likely has seen more art... more Modern and Contemporary art than anyone on this forum. He has made a living writing about Modern/Contemporary art for some 50 years, and has published several books on Modern/Contemporary art, including the seminal The Shock of the New. Hughes, unlike most of the critics employed by Art News, Art in America, Art Forum, or the other major art periodicals worked for Time Magazine which was not dependent upon the advertising dollars of the big New York and London galleries, and as such was free to speak his mind. Hughes has actually been quite supportive of Rothko, Johns, and many other Modern and Contemporary artists.

    This is, however, a perfect example of how we, as individuals, are more subject to hype across the board, whether the hype is extolling the virtues of cushioned-quilted and perfumed toilet paper, art, or 'your government.'

    It is a perfect demonstration of why it is more than necessary for an individual to take the responsibility to develop their own sense of discernment about 'that which is being hyped.'


    I will agree to a certain extent. There are instances in which the uninformed will be of the same opinion as critics as astute and experienced as Hughes, Kuspit, etc... Yet delving deeper we will likely find that not only are they dismissive of art that is truly open to question, but they have no grasp or appreciation of anything that has transpired in the arts over the last 100 years... if not the last 500 years.

    Among the pieces in that auction was a Cy Twombly canvas: that, to many a practiced eye, has 'great merit.'

    To many other equally practiced eyes, Twombly was a lightweight painter whose reputation was greatly exaggerated for the simple reason that he was seen as the last of that great generation of American Abstract Expressionists, whose works his canvases were but a faint, ghostly shadow of.

    To the practiced eye who also knows a bit of art history, the urinals are just urinals with a 'title,' and are not to be compared with the "original" single urinal as installed upside down on a wall in a gallery by Marcel Duchamp.
    ~ There is only ONE urinal, "Fountaine," as installed by Duchamp -- not installed upright, it is outside its normal function.


    Actually, the original "fountain", which was not intended to be seen as an art work at all, but rather was part of an elaborate hoax... a performance by Duchamp intended to pose the question, "What is Art?"... was lost long ago. A vast body of critical commentary, beginning with several articles written by Duchamp himself under various pseudonyms, centered upon this work, eventually making it the foundation of Conceptual Art: art based based upon the idea with no concern for the aesthetic. Duchamp himself, authorized several replicas of the original, including miniature versions housed within a suitcase entitled La boîte-en-valise:



    Accept no imposters or substitutions!

    The problem here is that the art work is being valued not for any inherent aesthetic merit, but simply as an object stamped with the artist's signature... not unlike the fashion designer's name slapped on a pair of blue-jeans. This concept is what Andy Warhol, or rather his dealer, Leo Castelli picked up on. Warhol was creating images using the same mass-production means as any manufacturer of t-shirts or posters emblazoned with the name and logo of this or that rock band. Castelli, building upon the Duchampian notion that "context is everything" hit upon the notion of placing these images in the context of a fine art gallery and charging fine art prices for objects manufactured in the same manner as Hallmark manufactures their greeting cards. The artist didn't even need to touch the actual art work. He need only sign the work. Taking this to the height of cynicism, Warhol and Castelli began marketing toward specific markets in the same manner as the U.S. Post Office marketed special edition stamps. Are you concerned with the endangered animals. Warhol had an endangered species suite just for you. The Jews are domination the art market? Warhol churned out the suite, "Famous Jews in History."

    The reality is that Picasso, Matisse, Soutine, DeKooning, Rothko, Motherwell, and the contemporary Anselm Kiefer share more in common with the tradition of fine art... share more in common with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Titian, Rubens, Velazquez, etc... than Duchamp, Warhol, Koons, Damien Hirst, and a great majority of the whole of Conceptual Art shares in common with Picasso, Matisse, Soutine, DeKooning, etc... Modernism was seen by many as a great break with tradition... but it most certainly was not. It shook up the tradition... it opened the tradition up to new and alternative possibilities... but it was still firmly rooted in that tradition. Conceptualism or Post-Aesthetic "Art" has nothing to do with the tradition. In most cases it cannot even be seen as a break with the tradition, because the "artists" in question had no interest (or knowledge even) of the tradition to begin with.

    Like the physical art at auction in the link you posted, some of the music has great value, some has far less innate value which will not 'last' a great length of time: some of it is merely seriously pretentious garbage by someone with a level of training and a bunch of good, and expensive (my envy comes out a bit at the ownership of...) electronic toys, more toys than taste....

    Of course this is always the challenge. Discerning the glitzy crap that has the support of the very wealthy and very well-connected promoters, from art of real merit. Discerning the art that will last... that will eventually be recognized as having the greatest historical merit is a fools game at best, for this involves knowing what the future will value most.

    Sorting out the good from the bad in this "Postclassical" music genre is parallel to sorting out the sundry works of visual art on sale at that auction... You've seen enough simplistic solutions suggested in this forum:
    Music theory proffered as the only way to judge a piece of music (as if color theory would evaluate great or terrible art, LOL.) The somewhat plebeian notion that if a piece 'floats your boat' and humors 'how you want to feel,' it is good (an accelerated sinking to the lowest common denominator would result). Etc.


    Yes... but what is the alternative to supporting that which most resonates or gives you pleasure? The closest we can come to an objective opinion concerning art is a collective or shared opinion of those who are knowledgeable and experienced... Preferably after a period of time, when the hype and PR have faded and whatever the work of art has brought to the dialog that is truly new has had time to have been understood and absorbed.

    What anyone needs to do to sort this stuff out is consume A LOT of it! There is a need then to define 'art' by looking into it beyond brief dictionary squibs or simplistic 'rating systems'

    Certainly. But ultimately we are still dealing with opinions... which remain subjective. Some opinions are better than others... but they remain opinions.

    As a member of the 'older' generation present on this board, I can tell you the criteria and your aesthetic will change over time, and that includes the need to consider new developments as they appear.

    I don't doubt that the majority recognize that their own aesthetic opinions have changed over time and with experience... that they have changed from where they began. I think where many here at this forum have struggled... or rather rebelled... is against the notion that the opinions of some individuals... regardless of their experience... represent the last word when it comes to contemporary art... or music.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    I can't watch the video in my region.

    I like Damien Hirst. He's not my favourite or anything, but I like some of his work.

    A Thousand Years is one of his better conceptual pieces:



    I will say one thing about the sums of money being paid for art. It makes more sense to pay £50 million for a diamond encrusted platinum skull than some pigment on stretched cloth.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    I suppose I am about 400 years behind the times... so what else is new?

    Actually, the amount of representational art seen today is probably equal to if not greater to the amount of abstract art. Lucian Freud, who died late last year, was a hard-core "realist" painter... and yet also recognized by a great many as one of the greatest living artists until that point.



    Among living "realistic" or "representational" painters recognized as leading figures in contemporary painting, you would likely come across Chuck Close:



    Close' early works were rendered to a photographic degree of "realism". The works in person are absolutely stunning. This painting, for example, stands something like 8-feet high, from what I remember.

    His later works have been looser or more "expressionistic" is style... although still photographically derived... due to a stroke-like illness that seriously damaged his motor-skills:



    One of the leading British painters is Jenny Saville, whose works clearly owe much to Lucian Freud... but also to the explosive gestural painting of Willem DeKooning, Chaim Soutine, Van Gogh, and even Peter Paul Rubens:



    Among the leading figurative Post-Modernists there is Will Cotton, whose paintings combine the childhood "candyland" fantasies of cotton candy, chocolate rivers, and gingerbread houses with adult sexual fantasies:



    *****
    Where are the stunning representational works of Gerhard Richter? :-)

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