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Author Topic: but it's art?  (Read 10987 times)
tony Rosca
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« on: October 23, 2008, 11:10:07 PM »
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Hi everybody,
I would like to hear your take about this think what bothers me
I went to an exhibit tonight and the juror gave a special recognition to this image which was a picture of another promotional/advertising picture for a product .The advertising  picture was on a bus but the picture from the exhibit was cropped very tide so you only can see the tires and a small portion of the windows and 90% of the frame was filled with the commercial shot ( which was well designed).  Can somebody consider something like that his own work?  I saw the same scenario few times already and I am wandering if it's only me thinking that it feels that you can't make somebody else work your own.
I appreciate your input..
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2008, 01:58:49 AM »
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No, it's not just you.

Mike.
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russell a
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2008, 01:55:02 PM »
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To worry about what someone calls "art" is pointless.  Marcel Duchamp is widely credited with pioneering "It's art if I say it is." with his "readymades" (urinal, bicycle tire, bottle rack).  Now it's whatever anyone says, with the price determined by a cabal of billionaire collectors, the top dealers, auction houses, and museums.  

It's not unusual for a curator or juror to come to the hinterlands and piss all over the locals by applying some fatuous bit of postmodern criteria to the available works, to demonstrate how hip they are - in the case of the above example it was likely the rubric of "appropriation".  

If you want to read an entertaining treatise on what makes the art market tick, read The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art By Don Thompson. Palgrave MacMillan, 256 pages, $24.95  

Remember this one fact - what the work is or looks like does not matter in the least.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2008, 02:00:21 PM by russell a » Logged
dkeyes
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2008, 04:36:05 PM »
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Quote from: tony Rosca
Hi everybody,
I would like to hear your take about this think what bothers me
I went to an exhibit tonight and the juror gave a special recognition to this image which was a picture of another promotional/advertising picture for a product .The advertising  picture was on a bus but the picture from the exhibit was cropped very tide so you only can see the tires and a small portion of the windows and 90% of the frame was filled with the commercial shot ( which was well designed).  Can somebody consider something like that his own work?  I saw the same scenario few times already and I am wandering if it's only me thinking that it feels that you can't make somebody else work your own.
I appreciate your input..
Of course it's art, but does it make you think or respond emotionally or otherwise? Sometimes the artist wants you to think about what isn't in the picture as much as what is. Sometimes it's a comment on the image/subject. Sometimes it's just plain derivitive and boring.

Have you ever taken a photo of an architectural detail? Photographed a park you didn't design or a sign you didn't paint or a car you didn't create? Unless you designed that detail/bldg., etc., you are appropriating to some extent. All art builds off the work of others either directly or indirectly. Photography is one of the most direct forms of copying, whether being influenced by the work of others and/or "capturing" what is already there. What you add as an artist is your point of view.

I always like to add that apparent effort, skill, technique, etc. don't make it more or less worthy of praise. It's usually the idea that is unique. Someone could have called a urinal art but didn't think to before Duchamp. Conversely, a billionaire collector can collect it but it won't make it important art. It may or may not drive up the price of that art but that is another discussion. For every person that likes Duchamp, there are probably thousands that think it's just a toilet.
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tony Rosca
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2008, 12:28:26 AM »
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Hi guys, thanks so much for your input,
Duchamp's images are objects what calls for a strong reaction they are not a flat copy of somebody else art. 3d objects ,buildings and parks,cars and whatever are easy to photograph from a different point of view because they have depth , you use the light to set the mood or it is a study on shapes and contrast . Most of the time we compose this images to give them a flow and a balance what make it more a personal view and try to communicate what we felt at that moment.
But I believe we have to add something in the mix to make it our own. Also  I saw many picture made by people who have no technical knowledge about photography , were the technique it is zero but the impact of the image it is amazing . I saw one of those were the guy incorporate an sexy add  and a priest looking at it but he created this duality and a tension on how the people react to the poster .
For me it is hard to accept that I can go to a gallery ,choose a picture what I like ,snap a shot , called Memories and pretend it is my own work
Also how you guys think photography should be judge : for the impact, for the technical skills, for being unique ,for composition and also how much the technical skills are important for considering a  picture worth to be hung in a gallery
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2008, 04:27:09 AM »
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One thing that shouldnīt be forgotten in all of this chat about when a urinal is more than a urinal is that artists have never been slow to wind up the public. In my opinion, what Duchamp did then Mr Hirst is doing now, and to great success. Pablo P was also a very competent artist long before he was into his more famous distortions, for thatīs all I see them to be. (Possibly just a measure of MY artistic failure, but at least I feel honest enough to admit it.)

Art, in the main, is a commercial endeavour with the artist struggling to come to terms with two monsters: his own desires and the marketplace. I have fought the same fight as a photographer and know painters doing exactly the same thing - you have to turn a buck or be born very very lucky.

But getting closer to the OP, a rip-off is always a rip-off and where the measure of any success in the new image derives mostly from the old, original subject you have stolen, then thatīs all it is: theft. A passing priest may or may not turn it into something else, but that would depend on how literally you represent the old in the new; if the presence of a priest is the greater part, then perhaps you have made something - social comment for sure but art? Hmmm...

An excellent set of illustrations of this point comes to mind: in my Doisneau tome, there is a sequence of seven photographs taken from within a gallery belonging to a certain M Romi, rue de Seine, in 1947. These are from a camera set within the gallery, looking outwards to the street and including a painting of a naughty lady within the gallery window. The sequence consists of various people on the pavement and their reactions to the painting as they view it from outside. In Doisneauīs case, there is no rip-off, but a very amusing new work. But hardly art.

Taking a photograph of a car, an example quoted, is not the same thing to me because it is just an inimate object (the car) however beautiful it may be; to make the photograph mean anything you have to know how to input your own dynamic, thus taking it from the catalogue to the artistic. Also, you have to have that dynamic in the first place. This might be disputed by those who form less than natural liaisons with their cars, but perhaps we shouldnīt go there. One might apply the same negative argument to landscape: you can only get whatīs already there, however much you might like to, or be able to manipulate. So is it only reportage, another found art belonging more to God than to the photographer?

But, and a big one at that, if all of this is just for fun, then more power to your collective elbow: there is little harm in finding pleasure where one may, just as long as it doesnīt mean stealing the pleasure from another.

Rob C
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tony Rosca
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2008, 10:59:36 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
One thing that shouldnīt be forgotten in all of this chat about when a urinal is more than a urinal is that artists have never been slow to wind up the public. In my opinion, what Duchamp did then Mr Hirst is doing now, and to great success. Pablo P was also a very competent artist long before he was into his more famous distortions, for thatīs all I see them to be. (Possibly just a measure of MY artistic failure, but at least I feel honest enough to admit it.)

Art, in the main, is a commercial endeavour with the artist struggling to come to terms with two monsters: his own desires and the marketplace. I have fought the same fight as a photographer and know painters doing exactly the same thing - you have to turn a buck or be born very very lucky.

But getting closer to the OP, a rip-off is always a rip-off and where the measure of any success in the new image derives mostly from the old, original subject you have stolen, then thatīs all it is: theft. A passing priest may or may not turn it into something else, but that would depend on how literally you represent the old in the new; if the presence of a priest is the greater part, then perhaps you have made something - social comment for sure but art? Hmmm...

An excellent set of illustrations of this point comes to mind: in my Doisneau tome, there is a sequence of seven photographs taken from within a gallery belonging to a certain M Romi, rue de Seine, in 1947. These are from a camera set within the gallery, looking outwards to the street and including a painting of a naughty lady within the gallery window. The sequence consists of various people on the pavement and their reactions to the painting as they view it from outside. In Doisneauīs case, there is no rip-off, but a very amusing new work. But hardly art.

Taking a photograph of a car, an example quoted, is not the same thing to me because it is just an inimate object (the car) however beautiful it may be; to make the photograph mean anything you have to know how to input your own dynamic, thus taking it from the catalogue to the artistic. Also, you have to have that dynamic in the first place. This might be disputed by those who form less than natural liaisons with their cars, but perhaps we shouldnīt go there. One might apply the same negative argument to landscape: you can only get whatīs already there, however much you might like to, or be able to manipulate. So is it only reportage, another found art belonging more to God than to the photographer?

But, and a big one at that, if all of this is just for fun, then more power to your collective elbow: there is little harm in finding pleasure where one may, just as long as it doesnīt mean stealing the pleasure from another.

Rob C


Hi Rob,
Love your thoughts about the topic. I believe you point the finger in the right direction : what is art!  On the other hand for a photograph to be shown in an art gallery as Fine Art photography doesn't mean that image should show your skills in mastering the art of photography behind the image ?
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 07:30:56 AM »
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Quote from: tony Rosca
Hi Rob,
Love your thoughts about the topic. I believe you point the finger in the right direction : what is art!  On the other hand for a photograph to be shown in an art gallery as Fine Art photography doesn't mean that image should show your skills in mastering the art of photography behind the image ?


Tony, the problem here is the concatenation of three factors: photography, gallery and the word art.

I have always believed that insofar as photography is concerned, there is no place for the concept of naif photographer: either you know what youīre doing or you donīt. Results, other than the accidental happening/photo opportunity over which none has control, should at least be repeatable in the purely technical sense. Otherwise, it is but a lottery combined with the serious disadvantage that one has forgotten where the ticket was hidden.

Itīs all business or, more crudely, about money. A gallery has to pay rent, move the otherwise unmovable and make a profit. Hype rules, in art as in politics as in almost anything else you can think about.

However, plumbers and electricians can make a lot of money these days. Plumbing and electricianing (?).

Rob C
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tony Rosca
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2008, 10:10:16 AM »
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Ya' Rob you right,  I think somebody on this forum said that the difference between a pizza and an artist it is that a pizza can feed a family of 4 , which sadly it's true.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2008, 11:54:36 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I have always believed that insofar as photography is concerned, there is no place for the concept of naif photographer: either you know what youīre doing or you donīt. Results, other than the accidental happening/photo opportunity over which none has control, should at least be repeatable in the purely technical sense. Otherwise, it is but a lottery combined with the serious disadvantage that one has forgotten where the ticket was hidden.

Maybe. Probably. Well, maybe. I have quoted her before but I heard Margaret Atwood answer a questioner once about some imagery that they said they found in her work. She said, 'If you saw it, I'll take the credit for it.'

I think it can easily happen that the effect of a work of art can be quite different (and 'accidentally' so) from what the artist had in their mind at the time of creation. Looking back at that situation later, one could say that the photographer didn't know what they were doing because they didn't see what the viewer is seeing in the work now. That might be too tight a constraint.
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2008, 03:43:30 PM »
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Quote from: Robert Roaldi
I think it can easily happen that the effect of a work of art can be quite different (and 'accidentally' so) from what the artist had in their mind at the time of creation. Looking back at that situation later, one could say that the photographer didn't know what they were doing because they didn't see what the viewer is seeing in the work now. That might be too tight a constraint.




Hi Robert

I think you have taken a different meaning from my words than I had intended: I was thinking in terms of the photographer being technically competent enough to be able to re-shoot something to order - letīs say in a purely technical sense of re-shooting. In other words, he should know his mechanics before he can claim the kudos for a work. In effect, I believe one has to exclude the accidental exposure made by someone who doesnīt really understand how photographs are made, but has simply had the luck to have the right setting on the camera!

What the viewer is seeing post-event is out of the photographerīs control, I suppose. The real question I think you are asking is what about the situation when the author sees something in his work, later, other than he had intended at the moment of shooting. Maybe thatīs just a bonus?

Iīm currently spending free time on a series of paintings - not representational - where Iīm trying to make something interesting out of drips and random spray. This is satisfying on several levels - the painting is fun and so is the quest for the final (?) framing of the colours within the available paint-job. I get the buzz from messing about with paint after having abandoned it in the 50s when photography seduced me for good; I also have the chance to work on a subject that doesnīt depend on model fees, willing amateurs (even they are rare in these parts) or anybody at all other than myself. The latter consideration is worth a hell of a lot, even if it does carry the burden of total responsibility for BOTH success and failure.

Then, once the work has been photographed, the canvas becomes the base for yet another bit of paintwork.

So the final result, the A3+ print, is just that: the final result. No painting is retained, all that there is is the file and the Hahnemuehle end product.

I like that.

Rob C
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Steven Draper
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2008, 11:18:42 AM »
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The point is that with many 'art' pieces the art isn't what you can see, but the feelings, communications and adventures you experience while in the presence of a piece. I've created a couple of images that more cultured viewers really like and tell of exciting journeys, while many others just look and say, what is it?

The big problem with art is that the true genius will be doing stuff way beyond the comprehension of every one else at the time, and the merits of what they are doing may only be understood later. Therefore when someone does something wacky /genius there is a potential for some observers to get very excited and claim genius even if they don't really know.

The concept of the work is key along with the context.
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spidermike
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2008, 07:53:49 AM »
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Quote from: Steven Draper
The point is that with many 'art' pieces the art isn't what you can see, but the feelings, communications and adventures you experience while in the presence of a piece. I've created a couple of images that more cultured viewers really like and tell of exciting journeys, while many others just look and say, what is it?

The big problem with art is that the true genius will be doing stuff way beyond the comprehension of every one else at the time, and the merits of what they are doing may only be understood later. Therefore when someone does something wacky /genius there is a potential for some observers to get very excited and claim genius even if they don't really know.

The concept of the work is key along with the context.

If the guy had painted a picture of the advert on the bus, it would definitely be called art, even if that painting was done to look as lifelike as possible. Why does taking a photo of it make it 'not art'? There could be a multitude of reasons working together.
Is this some sort of inferiority complex photographers have felt since the technique was born? Is it the Anglosaxon-protestant work ethic that suggests he did not 'work hard enough' to warrant people's admiration?
And there is certainly a dismissiveness that in the digital age virtually anyone can produce a fantastic picture after only a few hours with PS and a 'How to' book instead of spending years learning about mixing colours, or how to read light because if the negatvie was knackered there was nothing you could do, or learning to recognising the 'right moment' because you couldn't fire off a zillion frames and choose the best one? I am not saying anyone here thinks like that, but it is somtheing that still pervades digital photography.

OT slightly: it reminds me of a time in the 80s when a Renoir painting was ascribed not to have been painted by the great artist after all and the price plummeted from millions to virtually nothing. A pretentious contemporary at college said it was because the actual artist had not 'suffered' like the master had done so the picture could not represent those years of hard work and genius.  My view was 'Who the hell cares - a great painting is a great painting and the tribulations of the artisit should not matter a damn.'
Perhaps that is why my cellar is not packed with the things....    

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tony Rosca
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2008, 05:08:17 PM »
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Hi Spidermike
Would you like to have somebody else using your pictures like their own ? Duchamp painted a mustache on Mona Lisa , he did added something powerful enough to make the piece his own. But if i go there and snap a shot with Mona Lisa can I get the kudos ?  What it is the meaning of art if I can just go and shoot in galleries or adds on the side of the building.
And the painters vs photographers story I agree doesnt have sense. The painters do work hard to get the art done but so do us . For us it is the work before taking the picture like learning to work the camera,exposure, the post process and the leg work to be in the right place in the right time, but it doesnt matter how hard or how little you work . What did matter it is the final result.
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