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Author Topic: What Is Art?  (Read 6782 times)
ARD
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« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2009, 12:15:36 PM »
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I remember seeing a quote somewhere about Modern Art once

Is Modern Art actually Art, or is it Sh*t

As with everything, something that is Art to one person will not be Art to another.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2009, 12:23:06 PM »
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A few years ago I wrote this tongue-in-cheek blog entry on Appreciating Art. I have linked to it on this site before but I thought it was apt in this thread.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2009, 03:37:29 PM »
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This one is less tongue in cheek...  On the Art of Observing Gallery Viewers Observing Art

Mike.

P.S.

If you make a dumpster and over the years you paint it red and blue and green and you keep throwing garbage bags in it, does it become art?    

[attachment=16312:DSCF0992.jpg]
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John R
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« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2009, 03:54:04 PM »
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Sorry about original post I misunderstood the word trammel. So deleted my original comments.

JMR
« Last Edit: August 30, 2009, 04:11:27 PM by John R » Logged
bill t.
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« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2009, 04:17:38 PM »
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Quote from: wolfnowl
P.S.
If you make a dumpster and over the years you paint it red and blue and green and you keep throwing garbage bags in it, does it become art?  
Yes, as general rule that sort of process leads subconsciously to the creation of genuine art vibrant with the unmistakable impression of the creator's world view.

P.S.
OOH!  That's BEAUTIFUL, I saw some pictures just like that on the Internet!
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RSL
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« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2009, 08:40:44 PM »
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Quote from: alainbriot
First, art is not just about technique.  Good art implies good technique, but using good technique alone does not result in making art.  

Technical mastery results in making technically excellent photographs, but not in making art.

To be art a photograph has to be both technically excellent and artistically inspired and inspiring.  

Second, art cannot be documentation.  It has to be the expression of the artist's personality and inspiration.  In other words, the artist has to be "present" in the work by making his/her personality and style visible in the facture (rendering) of the piece.

Alain, Do you consider Cartier-Bresson's early work, which for the most part is not technically excellent, to be art?
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cmi
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« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2009, 04:10:11 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Alain, Do you consider Cartier-Bresson's early work, which for the most part is not technically excellent, to be art?

Sure, if a picture has a good idea or strong message it just works regardless of technique. So, also technically bad images can of course be art. Another exception, where the technically bad performance is part of the work, thats also valid. But nevertheless, exceptions aside, what Alain said holds true as a general statement for me. I could nitpick all sort of special cases, also come to the conclusion that no one can define anything, or the like, but the basic idea is pretty much straightforward.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2009, 06:35:32 AM by Christian Miersch » Logged
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« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2009, 11:52:53 AM »
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Quote from: Christian Miersch
Sure, if a picture has a good idea or strong message it just works regardless of technique. So, also technically bad images can of course be art. Another exception, where the technically bad performance is part of the work, thats also valid. But nevertheless, exceptions aside, what Alain said holds true as a general statement for me. I could nitpick all sort of special cases, also come to the conclusion that no one can define anything, or the like, but the basic idea is pretty much straightforward.

But Alain hasn't answered the question. What he said was: "To be art a photograph has to be both technically excellent and artistically inspired and inspiring." To me that means nothing that isn't technically excellent can be art.
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« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2009, 01:35:28 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
But Alain hasn't answered the question. What he said was: "To be art a photograph has to be both technically excellent and artistically inspired and inspiring." To me that means nothing that isn't technically excellent can be art.

Given the contemporary post-modern trend to emphasize concept over image (nudes with dead fish, small children with birds nest, party masks and, worst of all...text), I don't see how technical excellence is relevant. Much of this new works suffers greatly from technical inadequacies, yet it's not only called art, it's all the rage.

Don't get me wrong, I greatly dislike this contemporary drivel. However, there is no denying how popular it is within art circles.
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« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2009, 01:59:04 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
Given the contemporary post-modern trend to emphasize concept over image (nudes with dead fish, small children with birds nest, party masks and, worst of all...text), I don't see how technical excellence is relevant. Much of this new works suffers greatly from technical inadequacies, yet it's not only called art, it's all the rage.

Don't get me wrong, I greatly dislike this contemporary drivel. However, there is no denying how popular it is within art circles.
What about 'concepts' that are ultimately executed technically well .... just not by the 'conceiver', but his or her minions?

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« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2009, 09:07:54 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
Given the contemporary post-modern trend to emphasize concept over image (nudes with dead fish, small children with birds nest, party masks and, worst of all...text), I don't see how technical excellence is relevant. Much of this new works suffers greatly from technical inadequacies, yet it's not only called art, it's all the rage.

Don't get me wrong, I greatly dislike this contemporary drivel. However, there is no denying how popular it is within art circles.

Chuck, Does popularity define art or help to define art? For a long time I was involved with poetry both as a producer and as a consumer. But over the years I watched poetry transition from something that was generally popular and at least somewhat familiar to the majority -- at least of the people I knew -- to become the product of a secret society, coherent only to the initiated. If you ask someone deep in the poetry pit whether or not current poetry -- the kind of thing published nowadays in Poetry magazine, for instance -- is art, you'll get an earful about how advanced and wonderful it all is -- as long as it's produced by those with the proper credentials and background.

People from the same group buy fantastically expensive paintings of Campbell soup cans and believe they're high art because they're expensive and because people with the proper credentials tell them it's high art.

Seems to me that not only art but the very definition of art is in the eye of the beholder. There are those who believe art is art because it's unintelligible. There are those who believe art is art because it's expensive. There are those who believe art is art because someone with the proper credentials tells them it's art.

I'd suggest that certain works are accepted as art within the groups where they're popular, silly though the works may be. The rest of us just have to fend for ourselves. Nudes with dead fish? How about nudes posed uncomfortably on rocks, or nudes sinking uncomfortably into a swamp, or nudes knee deep in the ocean carrying umbrellas? Or nudes...

As I said in the initial post, I have no intention of trying to define art in this thread. I think I just proved that.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2009, 12:17:37 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Alain, Do you consider Cartier-Bresson's early work, which for the most part is not technically excellent, to be art?

Russ,

I don't think I'm familiar with it.  I would have to see some examples.  If you have a link that would be great.
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Alain Briot
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« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2009, 12:20:24 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
But Alain hasn't answered the question. What he said was: "To be art a photograph has to be both technically excellent and artistically inspired and inspiring." To me that means nothing that isn't technically excellent can be art.


Technical excellence has to be approached within the context of the movement that the artist is working in.  What that excellence entails will therefore vary.  For example, with reportage-type images, blur or movement is often part of the work and not considered a flaw.  On the other hand, with "f-64" type of images, total sharpness is expected.  Each type of images, each movement, calls for a specific approach.  What is a mistake in one art movement can be intentional in another art movement.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 10:49:56 AM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2009, 08:34:53 AM »
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Quote from: RSL
Chuck, Does popularity define art or help to define art?

If we're talking about specific groups, especially groups that purport to be the leaders in the art world (gallery owners, editors, etc) the answer is yes, popularity defines art, at least for their group and those that are influenced by it. It has always been so, whether we like it, or not.

I'm not talking about global popularity, but rather popularity WITHIN a particular group.

Shouldn't be like that, but IMHO it is exactly like that.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 08:57:11 AM by ckimmerle » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2009, 08:49:09 AM »
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Anyone who claims to have the definition of art is either naive, arrogant, delusional, is flogging an agenda, or some combination thereof.  It's perfectly fine for you to have a definition for your own purposes, just don't expect to line up the rest of us in agreement.  I'll drink my own Kool-Aid, thank you.  The best articulation of the problem is Thierry de Duve's Kant After Duchamp.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 08:51:41 AM by russell a » Logged
ckimmerle
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« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2009, 10:22:23 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
What about 'concepts' that are ultimately executed technically well .... just not by the 'conceiver', but his or her minions?

I never meant to imply that all conceptualized fine-art photos are technically poor, as that is not the case. However, poor technical quality is often excused or even <gasp> expected.

Of course, this raises the question as to what exactly defines "technical quality"? Are blown highlights indicative of bad technical quality? How about flat shadows or poor lighting? While I would think of them as extremely poor quality, a young post-modern photographer might say "so what?", they're not important to the message or the subject matter.

IMHO, those are nothing more than excuses, but I'm firmly rooted in the straight photography camp so my views are rather biased.

Still, I'm right
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"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2009, 11:56:10 AM »
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Quote from: alainbriot
Russ,

I don't think I'm familiar with it.  I would have to see some examples.  If you have a link that would be great.

Alain, Check http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx...rm&CT=Album. I'm always amazed when I run into  a photographer who's not familiar with Henri Cartier-Bresson. He's generally considered to have been the most influential photographer of the twentieth century, though, personally I think I'd award that distinction to Eugene Atget.

p.s. Henri also was French. (And so was Atget)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 01:37:02 PM by RSL » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2009, 01:34:20 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
I never meant to imply that all conceptualized fine-art photos are technically poor, as that is not the case. However, poor technical quality is often excused or even <gasp> expected.

Of course, this raises the question as to what exactly defines "technical quality"? Are blown highlights indicative of bad technical quality? How about flat shadows or poor lighting? While I would think of them as extremely poor quality, a young post-modern photographer might say "so what?", they're not important to the message or the subject matter.

IMHO, those are nothing more than excuses, but I'm firmly rooted in the straight photography camp so my views are rather biased.

Still, I'm right

Chuck, I agree. You're right! And you raised the question of what defines "technical quality," something that needs to be addressed. In the late 1800s The French Salon was rejecting the Impressionists' work mainly because of its subject matter, but also because of its "quality." The paintings weren't properly glazed and you actually could see individual brush strokes! Yet it wasn't long before being able to see individual brush strokes in a painting was considered an indication of quality.

I think most photographers consider "sharpness" to be the main test of technical excellence, though as Alain pointed out the need for extreme sharpness applies mostly to f/64 type images, which I'd take to be landscape and architectural photographs. And yet, if you've ever looked at B&W magazine, or lately, Color magazine, you'll see what I'll call "landscapy" photographs that look as if the photographer dropped his camera before shooting or used Lensbabies to make the shots. The people at B&W and Color obviously considered these blurry jumbles to have enough technical excellence to be included in the magazines.

Then, with color, there's the question of color balance and saturation. I'd consider, and I'm sure you'd consider a shot that's been given a green sky in post-processing to exhibit something less than technical excellence. Yet, you probably can go to your local museum and see a photograph in which colors have been shifted far enough that a green sky would more or less be a return to normality. Every time I go to an "art fair" I see booth after booth with photographs in which the color saturation has been pushed high enough to make the result look like a Marlboro ad. I'm sure I've already told this story, but I'll tell it again: I know a guy who displays at art fairs. A couple years ago when I went to the local fair where he was displaying I told him I thought he was pushing his saturation too far. He replied, "Yes, and my sales have doubled." So the buyers obviously consider Marlboro-ad color saturation to be technical excellence.

As far as I'm concerned if I look at a painting or a photograph and get an unexpected jolt to my heart that goes beyond ordinary experience, it doesn't matter whether or not the object was executed with technical excellence. It's art!
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cmi
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« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2009, 03:48:50 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
... as to what exactly defines "technical quality"?...

Common sense. Maybe someone other can state a general rule, I can't. I know it when I see it, very easy.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #39 on: September 01, 2009, 09:32:31 PM »
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I think that it should start with honnesty with oneself. I would personnally avoid posting:

- images that I am not happy about,
- images that work for me, but I don't know why,

I don't think that it is fair to request others to make choices in place of ourselves, my expectation of a comment is to understand how others value work that I personnally feel works pretty well. The difficult part there is to avoid telling somebody else how I would have shot myself, and to focus on the general value?

This is where peers review helps because we all end up being stuck with ourselves but why bother asking others if we already know that something is wrong?

Cheers,
Bernard
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