View Full Version : What is art?
11-06-2001, 09:09 PM
What is art? How can I identify it?
20 Ton Squirrel
11-06-2001, 11:17 PM
Art is anything aspiring artists create using exhorbant govenment grants. This includes, but isn't limited to -
Animal dung smeared on canvas.
Handing out the aforementioned grant money on the street to passers-by. Immortalize it by taking pictures with expensive cameras ("true" story).
Slapping garrish colors on a canvas creating the illusion that Tammy Fae Baker exploded.
A twist on the animal dung technique - smear it on a statue!
Mimes, mimes, mimes! Can't get enough of them thar mimes!
Velvet pictures of Elvis, Jesus, or dogs playing poker (my personal favorite).
Interpretive dance of dolphins caught in tuna nets.
Catching yourself on fire while you attempt to light an American flag up.
Those paintings of sad clowns your parents hung in your room.
Mimes again just because they RULE...
My list could go on and on!
Art can be identified by the little tag on the bottom that reads, "Made in Taiwan"
Art is perspective. One man's misery is another's delight. We better stop this now or it'll start sounding like a bad commercial detailing what "drama" is... next thing you know we'll have ole Whoopi here usurping Jesse's position as top poster. You people out there in Time Warner Cableland know what I'm talkin' bout!
11-06-2001, 11:30 PM
I'm a mime, do I need to get an exhorbitant government grant to be an artist or is my intimate knowledge of animal dung sufficient?
-Aspiring Artist (not PiXELWiT)
(Most assuredly not at) http://www.pixelwit.com
20 Ton Squirrel
11-06-2001, 11:30 PM
Art is a medium with which to communicate a concept, idea, or image through the use of sensory stimuli. This would include mediums such as visual, audio, tactile, and... uh... smelly stuff (like poop!).
Art is not necessarilly beautiful, nor is it always meaningful. It is a means of communication, a method to evoke emotions or thoughts in another.
Art is not always man-made. A comrade mentioned to me his humbling experience in the Grand Canyon that helped to give him perspective on life. That's art.
Graffitti on the highways is art, however crude or offensive it may be.
Art is not always tangible. I invite you to listen to Peter Murphy's song, Marlene Dietrich's Favourite Poem. I mention Murphy because much of his music is poetic in nature. That evoked emotion in me, so it's art by my reckoning. Might be crap to someone else, but that's irrelevant. If nothing else, it speaks of how a poem evoked tears in the eyes of a dying elderly woman. Art inspires and changes us, calls forth fearful and fond memories alike.
If it affects you, draws you in and tweaks your emotions, it is art. If it makes you laugh or cry, it is art. Whatever it may be.
And I'll still stick to that "Made in Taiwan" theory. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to let Whoopi have her turn at posting.
11-07-2001, 04:42 AM
Art is a big fat can of worms/mimes...
I tend to think that Art lies in process rather than objects or creations of any sort. A process of examination and expression (of self or otherwise).
A teacher of mine used to say about art "Relax, this is only the most important thing in the world to you".
Great Art is (to my narrow way of thinking):
Unique (and yet an extension of what has come before it)
Contemporary (connected to the world around it and not off on some rarified existential plane)
Communicative (has something to say and says it)
Uncompromising (will not be swayed by pettiness)
Generous (gives something to the world rather than takes away)
Few and Far Between...
Some great "works" of Art (to my narrow way of thinking)
- The Viet-Nam Memorial
- Jeff Koons' "Puppy"
- Mike Kelley's "All the Love in the World" ( I think that's the name of it)
- "Get on The Bus" by Spike Lee
- "Southern Rock Opera" by The Drive By Truckers (http://www.drivebytruckers.com) ( a truly incredible albumn)
chaching - that's my three cents
11-09-2001, 04:51 AM
Squirrel: Art is a medium with which to communicate a concept, idea, or image through the use of sensory stimuli. It is a means of communication, a method to evoke emotions or thoughts in another.
Anything that communicates is art? Is my cat art when it meows because it's hungry? Is it's meow itself art? Is the telemarketer that calls me art? I think this means everything is art. All things communicate in one way or another. Everything you perceive is compared to things from your past, creating an emotion or feeling.
Vilehelm: I tend to think that Art lies in process rather than objects or creations of any sort. A process of examination and expression (of self or otherwise).
I'm with ya there dude, but... how do I identify it. If I'm not mistaken, what you're saying is anything deemed by the creator to be art is art. If I paint a bull's-eye on a wall so I can throw darts at it, "not art". If I paint a bull's-eye on the same wall because it "needed" it, "art".
But when a viewer sees the bull's-eye, how are they to know if they should frame it or throw darts at it?
11-09-2001, 02:41 PM
"If I paint a bull's-eye on a wall so I can throw darts at it, "not art". If I paint a bull's-eye on the same wall because it "needed" it, "art"
I didn't say it would always be good art...
Why would you want them to frame it? What I'm saying is that I think the art is you making your bullseye and throwing darts. The rest is residue. Set up a scenario where people are provoked to throw darts and that's art.
Honestly, I think these are great questions up to a certain point but to tell the truth...it really dosen't matter a whole lot. Just be creative and think and try to make other people think without being a jerk and don't worry about what IS or ISN'T art.
Art as we know it now is very different from the renaissance or the 1700's or the stone age. The Museum as we know it is really only a 100 years old or so. Before it was more like what the smithsonian might be today. 100 years before that you really didn't have art museums or galleries.
There's a school of thought that says the mona lisa can't be defined as art today. I tend to agree.
Hopefully art will continue to evolve into something else and Andy Warhol's Marilyn might not be considered art. (by the way Andy Warhol is my favorite artist of all time hands down and he would be kicking everybody's ass on the internet if he were alive today)
11-09-2001, 07:28 PM
Vilehelm: Honestly, I think these are great questions up to a certain point but to tell the truth...it really doesn't matter a whole lot. Just be creative and think and try to make other people think without being a jerk and don't worry about what IS or ISN'T art.
I'm trying very hard not to be a "jerk" here, but I feel more like telling you to realign your pompous self righteous views and stuff them somewhere (other than your Afro).
All I did was ask questions. There are always different views out there and I wanted to hear a few. I'm sorry if my questions made you think too hard or rubbed you the wrong way, it wasn't my intent.
I was trying to be:
UNIQUE: I rarely see threads/topics relating to this subject. I thought I'd be different and try to discuss something other than how to open a full screen browser window.
CONTEMPORARY: How many times have you heard the word art bandied around by designer types? So many people today talk about "art" without having a clue what the word even means.
COMMUNICATIVE: I'm trying to get people to stop and think. If I could get a message through, it would be to "question everything" The next message would be that Art is not what most people think it is.
UNCOMPROMISING: I will not be swayed in my quest for knowledge even though others may resort to such petty and trivial tactics as name calling.
GENEROUS: Although I will assuredly take something away from this discussion, I hope others reading this post will gain a greater understanding of the word "art" and the people that create it.
Maybe in the future I will perfect the art of being a jerk to such a point as to inflame you with the mere mention of the word "ART" until then I will have to hone my craft using only questions which on the surface appear to be harmless.
What is art and how do I identify it?
What was the purpose of Warhol's Soup Cans, if not to question the very concept of art?
11-09-2001, 08:01 PM
hmmm, i think that i was misunderstood there (certainly not the first time). I was really trying to make a point about "what art is". Art is something that thumbs it's nose at you when you try and define it.
I've met a LOT of artists, been an artist (quit), been in museum shows, galleries etcc...yadayadayada, taught art and still like art (Hate Galleries).
The one thing that i would say binds a lot of great artists is that they're rule breakers. They simply don't care what you say art is, they'll find a way around it. They have great big egos to help them accomplish this too because they know that they're right.
That's why I say it's a great question up to a point. You don't want to sit and keep defining art or you'll limit your options.
So go make some art! and forgive me slipping into teacher mode.
11-09-2001, 08:43 PM
I didn't ask "What is art" in order to confine it to some little box and put it away. I asked what art was in an attempt to get other people to remove it from the box and re-examine it.
On the other hand, I fail to see how a proper definition of the word "art" would hinder an artist's ability to create.
Just to clear the air a bit, I never said anybody was wrong. I liked where you guys were going but felt more clarification was in order.
Perhaps "art" should be a verb when you consider that it's more descriptive of a process rather than an object.
Just food for thought,
11-10-2001, 01:06 PM
Good food too, just one last thing about Andy Warhol that will illustrate my point...
"What was the purpose of Warhol's Soup Cans, if not to question the very concept of art?"
I never met Andy Warhol but know a lot of people who knew him and I'd say that the purpose of the Soup Cans and the majority of his work is that Andy really just thought they would look cool. People around Andy seemed to provide the real theoretical base for his work but I don't think it meant a whole lot to him one way or the other. He would still be doing the same work anyways.
And that's what I love about Andy Warhol.
11-12-2001, 01:48 AM
Now I'm confused.
Are the soup cans art or do they just look cool? Is being "cool" all it takes to be art?
Is art in the eye of the beholder? Is it in the eye of the creator? Both? Neither? Irrelevant?
In life there are certain secrets which when unraveled seem to lend a clearer understanding of "The Big Picture". For some reason I believe Art to be one of those secrets and I enjoy exploring its many aspects. Sometimes merely creating is not enough. Discussion can be a good thing.
11-12-2001, 02:52 AM
I just think that often times the meaning and the real emphasis of the work lies in differnt places for different people. I'm not saying that Andy Warhol was clueless of what he was doing. I just get the feeling that it wasn't the main drive behind why he was doing what he was doing.
You have to enjoy what you're doing artwise to do it (at least i hope/pray that is true for most people). You have to get some pleasure out of it. I just don't see A.W. getting his rocks off creatively being deeply philisophical or strategic...however he did surround himself with a lot of people who did a lot of thinking about what he did and i'm sure that some of it soaked in.
I also like a lot of artists who were the opposite, very calculated. Duchamp, Peter Halley, Jeff Koons, Josef Beuys. They really thought/think about the continium. It's all good...
11-12-2001, 03:47 AM
I'm still no clearer on what you believe art to be. Do you think art depends on the creators enjoyment of the act?
So far I think the best definition for "art" I've come up with is that art is created by life and conveys a message about its creation.
It's not bulletproof by any means, I'm still looking for opinions.
P.S. Some day somebody will have to explain the "It's all good" statement to me. I just don't get it.
20 Ton Squirrel
11-12-2001, 12:36 PM
I've been playing at this thread for the fun of it and to explore what my own thoughts are on art... I'm self-centered enough not to give a rat's butt what anyone else thinks (just kidding, sheesh!).
You can put a definition or rule down and anyone can pick it apart with contengencies... freedom of speech is a battered example. I have the freedom to say what I want and when I want... but does that give me the right to shout "FIRE!" in a crowded building?
For gawd's sake that's a rhetorical question, don't hit the reply button yet.
Yes, communication is art. If one looks back far enough into any language's origins one can find that much of our sounds are imitations of what we found in nature.
So the cat's meow is a form of art in a sense... because other cats judge that cat by the tone and volume of the meow. A non-charasmatic cat is pimpslapped around by cats with more prescence. We judge music by the same rules, to an extent, pimpslapping the non-charasmatic artists into obscurity.
BUT... this is where I draw my line at defining a concept.
Because when you define something, quantify it by words or boundaries of "is" and "isn't" you limit it. That's when a concept sheds it's "mysticism" and becomes a science.
That's why I had a major be-otch with the Star Wars Episode One (sorry folks, don't start another thread on this... it's just an example). Look at what they did to the Force. In the first three movies it was a mystical energy that surrounded us and binded us, and in Episode One it could be measured with medichlorians in the blood?! What's up with that? Right then and there they quantified a mystical energy into units of measurement. It went from a religion to a science and it was a travesty. Anyhooo....
I tend to think that Vile is oft misunderstood. Like my wife, he has a specific way of stating "how it is" and people get inflamed by it. Heck, I've been close to offended on several occasions by him. But I take a step back and ask m'self what is REALLY the point of what he was saying?
To be honest, if Vile was going to insult you he'd do it flat out do it. He's that kind of fellow, blatently honest. He doesn't honey-coat his words, and to be honest I'm thankful for it. His words are to the point and often thought provoking. Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now, I've gotta go measure my Faith units to see if I can go to Heaven.
11-12-2001, 01:23 PM
It's amazing how acorn jokes can drive a squirrel over the edge.
Uh yes i do have a tendecy to make snappy, definitive comments especially about (but not limited to) art. Mostly because it's territory that i've been over a lot and my thoughts and beliefs are pretty cemented (in a fluid definition). And if anyone get's POed let's all remember what i said at the begining after a certain point definitions of art don't matter a whole hell of a lot. Art, like water will define it's own level (have no idea what that really means but it sounds good).
Here's another example: Mel Bochner a sculptor/painter/instillation type from the 60's, still alive teaches at Yale - he made math into art. He got fascinated how combining simple plus minus equations could create visual patterns and voila, he contextualized the whole thing into an expression. I'll leave it up to you (you all know who you are) as to how intresting, stupid, smart, great, dumb it is. It certainly is an early form of digital art.
i'm off to a very important meeting (no really this one is make or break) wish me luck.
i don't see art as an action or as any thing at all.
if someone gets some type of emotional response or reaction from creating what they believe is art, i don't call that art, i call that therapy.
likewise, what constitute good (or maybe i should say successfull) art can't be qualified because of the true nature of art.
art is perception... purely perception.
bout 10 years ago i had an old piano in my basement... taking up a bunch of room and i wanted to get rid of it without taking it up the stairs, so i took it apart; i used the case to make some funiture, and hauled the guts upstairs, sank some molly bolts into my living room wall and hung it there. i had one brother visit that week and asked my if he could bring over an old transmission and some other junk in his garage and leave it on my coffee table, since i was turning my living room into a junk yard. my other brother showed up about a month later and asked my where i got these great ideas from, and how i was always able to make stuff like the guts of a piano look good in my house.
same piano guts - different perception.
another example... go to any beach town anywhere and go into a "gallery" there. you will find just lots and lots of drift wood layin around for sale. some folks see this great stuff to set on their front porch, on an end table on a shelf, etc.etc. me, i just see some stuff that needs to be dragged out onto the beach and fired up for one hellatious dance party.
oh well, just a couple pennies.
11-12-2001, 05:54 PM
man, and pixelwit thought i was vauge.
why did you hang the wire on your wall? do you think it's art? i hang potato chip bags on my wall because i like they design on some of them (until my girlfriend rips them down or the dog tries to eat them).
So i guess for you art lies in looking and percieving which means a tree/cloud/squirrel could be art. not to poke holes because i really don't care that much "it's all good" but that seems to imply that there are no artists. (not a bad idea but...)
I was looking at praystation today and thinking A. "what a nut" B. I wonder if he/she/they think this is art C. I wonder if they care. D. Hope not.
ps. meeting went very well
20 Ton Squirrel
11-12-2001, 06:15 PM
Looking at praystation I gotta agree... what the ferq? This reminds me of an article on Flashkit I saw long ago about something called flashturbation... the seemingly pointless and obscure use of Flash for self-gratification.
You know what I'm talk'n 'bout - those sites that have no discernable navigation or concept, and yet they are "cool" because they sho' do look spiffy! To think that there are companies out there that pay for that kind of stuff.
That's why when I DO get a my site in order enough to post, it won't be a bunch of pointless "Look What I Can Do" Flash snippets. Little Flash widgets and doo-ma-flodgits are neat, but what do they accomplish? How do they further the practical USE of Flash, which is my ultimate goal?
No siree, my site will not be an excercise in flashturbation.
And the thread becomes even more tangled...
glad to hear your meeting was aok.
that seems to imply that there are no artists. (not a bad idea but...)
see..., now i think it implys that EVERYONE is an artist.
and it wasn't a string i hung on the wall it was the whole hammer mechanizm + all the strings.... *shrug* it was a phaze, the guts are long gone now.
11-12-2001, 07:59 PM
Squirrel: "Because when you define something, quantify it by words or boundaries of "is" and "isn't" you limit it. That's when a concept sheds it's "mysticism" and becomes a science."
I still don't think I agree with you there. Is the word "infinity" any more limitless due to its definition?
Squirrel: "You can put a definition or rule down and anyone can pick it apart with contengencies... freedom of speech is a battered example. I have the freedom to say what I want and when I want... but does that give me the right to shout "FIRE!" in a crowded building?"
This is a good example of why I'm looking for a suitable definition. Freedom of speech should never have been referred to as "the freedom to say what I want and when I want" this is a poor definition and leads to confusion. Perhaps a better definition would be "the freedom to say as you choose as long as it doesn't affect people in a significantly negative fashion". A good definition doesn't truly limit a word, but it boils it down to it's essence. The word "Significant" leaves enough "mysticism"/room-for-interpretation that the topic can be debated by lawyers and judges for eternity yet it clearly states the main thrust of the concept.
Squirrel: "To be honest, if Vile was going to insult you he'd do it flat out do it. He's that kind of fellow, blatently honest."
Vile seems capable of speaking for himself. Re-examine this thread and see where the word "jerk" was first used. Ask why it was even used and who it was in reference to. The way I see it I had a right to be offended, but I do think it's cute how you two stick up for each other. <<<end petty jab here.
Vilehelm: "my thoughts and beliefs are pretty cemented (in a fluid definition).... Art, like water will define it's own level"
So you were a politician too? Sounds like double-talk and vagaries. Just for the record, a "fluid definition" would be a definition that is often changing; meaning it has past definitions and a "current definition". As if you couldn't guess, I'm interested in learning what you believe its "current definition" to be.
Another way of looking at this whole can of mimes is this... you (meaning Vilehelm) have referred to yourself as an "artist". What do you expect people to think when you say that particular word. Should we all just nod solemnly and say "Oh an artist" then leave it at that, gaining no more insight than if you had been silent or spoken gibberish? "My name is Vilehelm, I am/was an Arglmunklphimph". This goes against the whole concept of words conveying a message. Like it or not, words have meaning. If anyone truly believes "art" cannot be defined then they should strike the word from their vocabulary.
Contrary to what you may believe, I'm not trying to stir up trouble, I'm trying to gain clarity of vision. Eventually I would like to discuss what makes "good art" but I feel I must first understand what art truly means before I can even begin to judge/interpret/create it. One step at a time please.
20 Ton Squirrel
11-12-2001, 08:23 PM
Petty jab... in... my duodenum... *sputter, sputter* Can't go... on...
Aw, heck, I'll defend just about anyone who shows me their merit. Vile has on several occasions. I'm glad you think it's cute, cuz I honestly think it's an good trait to take up the sword for those who you'd call friend... even if it's just on a mundane little forum like this.
I never once thought you brought the thread up to stir up trouble, but seems ta me if it has turned into an excuse to trade witty insults I'd rather take my leave.
In this instance, my abscence is my sword. See that? Poetic, it's art!
11-12-2001, 08:25 PM
Man I need to learn to type faster.
Hi TG, good to hear another voice.
Squirrel, as far as Praystation and the like (perhaps even pixelwit.com) being self serving Flashturbation goes... What isn't self serving? Tell me how your site will be different and not relate to you and your views how it will be all about anything but your perceptions or interpretations of the world. All people ever truly have to offer are themselves. I can't speak for Praystation, but my site isn't just to show what I can do, but it's meant to entertain people for a while as well.
Name one "artist" that doesn't proclaim, "Look at me and what I did". when they have made something they are proud of. Which raises another question, "If an artist paints in the woods and nobody sees it, is it art?"
11-12-2001, 09:19 PM
TG: "art is perception... purely perception."
To me that means "art" is in the eye of the beholder, which I would infer means art is anything the observer proclaims it to be. I'm following you. But what message is the observer conveying when they say, "I believe this to be art"? They are saying "I believe this to be ????*what*????"
Squirrel, I'm glad to see you'll be dropping the witty insults, hopefully you'll still voice your opinion.
20 Ton Squirrel
11-12-2001, 09:33 PM
Golly I sure am glad I'M dropping the insults, too... goodness knows my propensity to toss petty jabs is off the scale! Especially in this thread! Good thing you got the last word in on it or someone would continue to get offended!
Crap... that was petty of me! Oh, damn my eyes!
Wait, sarcasm... that's art!
But what message is the observer conveying when they say, "I believe this to be art"? They are saying "I believe this to be ????*what*????"
I am saying "I believe this to be ART!" it could be anything... i'm not saying anything about what the thing is, i am only giving an insight into who i am and what i am about. what i perceive to be art is really meaningless to anyone else except as a reflection of who i am. when i have talked to friends and strangers in the past about art, i don't think they really want to know what i think is or isn't art, i think they are just curious about me, my feelings and who i am.
11-12-2001, 10:54 PM
I actually don't call myself an artist, i used to, i found out that i hate a lot of stuff that goes on around art (like these sorts of circuitous conversations that don't get anywhere).
Fact is I've stated numerous times as clearly as I'm able, what i believe art to be. Don't like it? Think it's too slippery?...I can live with that.
Uh...don't know what else to say on this subject EXCEPT I have no idea why you want to know what ART is. Besides "Clarity of Vision" of course...
And for what it's worth I think my Jerk comment was not directed at anybody. That was just a sort of general "we should all conduct ourselves in an unexploitive manner" statement. What's wrong with that?
I think it was Lacan (or some other frenchman) who put forth the theory that a word, as a stand in for an thing, "ball" = ball, is incapabale of exactly expressing that thing it's standing in for. In other words I say "ball" to you and i have an image of a ball in my head, when you hear "ball" you get an image of ball in your head. Chances are those two balls are not exactly the same.
With that in mind, and i fully buy this idea, you can imagine what a can of mimes we all rest in trying to describe something like art.
Yes, i have learned to be a politican in my new line of work.
There was a time was when i would just say,
"If your not willing to go 'OK that's what this, this and this person think art is, cool' and instead go 'nu-unh you're wrong cause i don't understand/agree what you're saying' then kindly go screw and don't ask questions that you're not willing to accept answers to (regardless if you believe them or not) and just want to get into little pissing matches".
However, i'm older now and would never say that.
11-13-2001, 02:50 AM
Vilehelm: "I've met a LOT of artists, been an artist (quit), been in museum shows, galleries etcc...yadayadayada, taught art and still like art (Hate Galleries)."
This is why I said "...you tell people you are/were an artist..."
Vilehelm: "Uh...don't know what else to say on this subject EXCEPT I have no idea why you want to know what ART is. Besides "Clarity of Vision" of course... "
When I was a kid I always said, "I want to be an artist when I grow up" Now that I find myself with the time to pursue such an endeavor I'm trying to figure out just what it means to create "art".
Vilehelm: And for what it's worth I think my Jerk comment was not directed at anybody. That was just a sort of general "we should all conduct ourselves in an unexploitive manner" statement. What's wrong with that?
Nothing that I know of, but it didn't seem like that's how it was initially meant, but you of all people would know (they are your words). It's behind us anyway. Next topic.
Vilehelm: "If your not willing to go 'OK that's what this, this and this person think art is, cool' and instead go 'nu-unh you're wrong cause i don't understand/agree what you're saying' then kindly go screw and don't ask questions that you're not willing to accept answers to (regardless if you believe them or not) and just want to get into little pissing matches".
I never said anyone was wrong. All I have been doing is asking questions. I've accepted all the opinions submitted here for what they are, opinions. I wish others would accept my questions for what they are intended to be; a route to greater understanding. I'm hoping the pissing matches are over and we can all just get along.
Hey Tg, you're making me think. I'm having a hard time not mixing what you said with what Vile said about the "ball" thing. They seem very closely related, that's probably why he mentioned it. Anyway, let's see...
What sort of insight would I gain into the type of person you are by how you identify art? I would learn you're creative or bizarre or mundane, but among these things I would also learn what you consider to be (or not to be) art. Maybe you would call everything art, maybe nothing would be art or maybe only blue things would be art. We'd probably find certain rules/generalizations/common-factors that determine whether you call things art or not. This is what I'm searching for.
Maybe the word "definition" is all wrong. Let me try to put it this way. If you were trying to convey the meaning of art to a child, what words do you think "have" to be included and which ones do you think "should" be included.
must use: expression communication
should use: beneficial beauty creation life insight provocative
I hope I haven't pissed you off like everyone else. Maybe I'll hear from you.
11-13-2001, 03:46 AM
i've been at a bar all night watching the Absolutely Fabulous premiere so I'm not in any shape to respond (i reallly don't get that show but my girlfriend loves it) ... so i'll just ask Pixelwit what he thinks art is at this point. I have no intrest in poking holes in anybody's belief i just want to see some return on the investment of the 100's of lines of bull patootie that i've been spitting out.
11-13-2001, 04:02 AM
I had that show on in the background too. Not big on it either. Turned it off and learned another plane crashed (by accident this time). Ah life.
Anyway, a while back I said "So far I think the best definition for "art" I've come up with is that art is created by life and conveys a message about its creation. "
It by no means nails it to the wall, but that was never the point. I do think it provides a fairly good starting point for further refinement.
11-13-2001, 01:34 PM
Time to dive in and join the fray (do we get to throw mud at each other as well). :-)
My own personal opinion, trying to describe what art is, is the same as describing what beauty is. My boyfriend thinks I'm beautiful but that doesn't mean I am. Beauty and art can be in the eye of the beholder. I don't consider graffitti to be art but that doesn't mean it isn't, I just wouldn't characterise it as art.
The night sky is art to me. But that is me, I can actually see the stars at night :-)
Ask a thousand people and get a thousand and two answers (some people have multiple personalities)
Ok, what is music?
Is any noise music? If that is so is a dog howling at 2 in the morning music?
11-14-2001, 01:15 AM
Throw mud at me any day, i love to play in it.
I've had to curtail my posting because it was eating into a big chunk of the workday. But now I'm home and i have another question for Pixelwit: (the crowd groans) Actually this is something struggled with often, I've gone through it myself. It has to do with the second part of your definition "conveying meaning". I've looked at your site and seen the pattern work that you've done and I'm asuuming that's some of your art. How do you convey meaning through abstract symbology that isn't understood as a language? In other words a circle means all sorts of things so you/me/some other artist is just setting up a rorschack (sp?) test but can you convey something specific through abstract symbology? Other than writing etc...
It's a question that's been out there for a while and there are a lot of "abstract" artists who claim the painting references nothing but itself...then they would say "art is dead" etc...they're really making art about art. Self referential and hermetic. Is that conveying meaning?
Also what's the difference between something conveying meaning and something signifying something. In other words a turd in the middle of the side walk signifies possibly many things and might be able to conjure meaning but it seems there's a difference there. (no gi gi allen jokes please).
ps if anybody takes that as an insult it's not intended to be. it's actually an analogy that a teacher of mine used to use.
and lastly, if you say that "well people can take what they want from my art, i'm not really concerened about that" is that a morally ok stance? just a question...
11-14-2001, 01:17 AM
Oh yeah and Dlady (how do you pronounce that?) You say that your boyfriend says your beautiful but your not...well...reverse that. You say your not beautiful but your boyfriend says you are...so you are... right?
My girlfriend always hates it when i say that too but she is...
11-14-2001, 08:34 AM
Vilehelm it's not a matter of being right or wrong. Its a matter of opinion. Thats the point I was trying to make. People say Autumn is beautiful because of the different colours in the trees but I see the approach of winter and everything going dormant (or dying). Personally I prefer spring but thats my opinion and I don't really expect anyone to agree with me (will I try not to). Its really my association with Life, the Universe and Everything.
To clarify further (and go off the point even more), people in the States understand what Thanksgving is all about. To me it doesn't mean anything. From watching american tv shows I know what it is, but it doesn't evoke any emotional response. Nor does 4th July. I don't really care. To me they're not important. Doesn't mean they're not important to certain people but to most of the rest of the people in the world they aren't. I don't know if you get my point. Its really how you feel about something, whether or not it evokes a reaction from you. Same with art. I'm not saying everything that envokes a reaction from you is art, but if your opinion is that it is art, then to you it is. But not to other people necessarily. If you think something is important then to you it is, but not necessarily to others.
Talking about evoking a reaction, MS Windows makes me very emotional at times, does that mean its art?
Originally I used to go by DragonLady, but it got shortened in chat rooms at my old work so now its just DLady.
20 Ton Squirrel
11-14-2001, 03:22 PM
"I do not ask questions that cannot be answered, for that is the soul standing at the crossroads of vascillation. You seek enlightenment and achieve only stasis of will."
A horribly misquoted quote from someplace I can't remember...
What is art? Why not ask how big the universe is? Ah, but this is a different animal than that... a concept rather than a finite term of space.
My answers previous were a mere stab at the thought, and I think they were poor in comparison to some of the deep stuff that you guys have been debating.
But honestly, I prefer not to define art, for then I feel that I must conform to that definition. If I say art is all big eyes and speed lines (no offense Adam Warren), then anything I churn out will look like a poorly contrived Fox Kids cartoon (alas, Transformers, what have they done?!).
Pixelwit, you said you wanted to define it in an effort to take it out the box and examine it. To me it seems like you'd be taking it out of the box that you already have ordained only to put it into another one that is defined by other people's opinion. That would be a travesty.
I agree with our Lady of Dragons (ha, now we know your secret identity). We carry with us our own prejudices that define what art is or isn't. When you look at graffitti on the wall and feel revulsion, you think that isn't art - its vandalism. But the schmoe next to you may like those territorial pissings of the gangs.
When you were a baby you smeared paint all over a page (and the table, and yourself, and your mom). Back then it brought you joy and it was art. You didn't need someone standing over you to know intrinsically what to do, the urge to smear that stuff was innate.
Growing up, your opinions and your environment refined your concept of what art is. Why not trust your instinct and just create?
11-14-2001, 04:55 PM
Actually I don't care that much about being right or wrong I just reacted to that because my girlfriend does not take compliments well and ... well y'know ... I hate for someone to say they're not beautiful...although i guess i would hate it if people walked around talking about how beautiful they are...arggh caught in loop let's nix that and pretend like it never happened. I was trying to be light hearted.
My favorite peice of poetry ever:
(paraphrased i don't have it in front of me)
Do i contradict myself?
Very well then.
I am large, i contain multitudes
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself
(he did walk around talking about how beautiful/ugly he was but i still like him)
11-14-2001, 08:18 PM
Vilehelm: "I've looked at your site and seen the pattern work that you've done and I'm assuming that's some of your art."
They are my patterns for sure, but my "art"??? well... that's an awfully big can of mimes.
Vilehelm: "but can you convey something specific through abstract symbology? Other than writing etc..."
Funny you should mention that. I don't think writing even works. After rereading this thread a few times (talk about miscommunication) I've come up with this concept, "No word can be defined. No definite meaning can be assigned to any one concept. It's a miracle we communicate at all and the fact that we do... is "ART". To behold something and proclaim it to be art is to say, "I AM LISTENING." Not just hearing but "listening", not just looking but "seeing", not just touching but "feeling", not just tasting but "consuming", not just smelling but "breathing". To behold art is to FEEL." It's just a concept for now, not quite an entrenched belief.
Pixelwit: "art is created by life and conveys a message about its creation"
Vilehelm: "Also what's the difference between something conveying meaning and something signifying something"
I don't think there's much of a difference at all. Part of the reason I think my original definition was weak was precisely what you're getting at. A dog leaving a steamer on the sidewalk may not be trying to convey a message (territorial pissings excluded of course) but he is "speaking" none the less. If you were interested enough you could learn a lot about the dog from it's turd. So according to my first definition, a "natural" dog turd is art. So is the turd placed there (by an artist of course) to make a "statement". Therefore I probably ought to try to work the word "intent" in there. But that word bothers me because it places "art" in the hands of the creator rather than the observer as opposed to neither (which I prefer). I'm up for suggestions.
I also wanted to mention that when I first wrote my initial definition I was trying to allude to the concept that the meaning conveys a message about the creators "life", but the dog turd would still be art by this definition.
Vilehelm: ""well people can take what they want from my art, i'm not really concerened about that" is that a morally ok stance?"
I don't think an artist is morally obligated to be sure people "get it". However, If they are trying to convey a message, I think they would be concerned with trying to make it understood. But just to waffle some more, maybe they aren't trying to communicate with everybody and if you don't get it then it wasn't meant for you.
Squirrel: "To me it seems like you'd be taking it out of the box that you already have ordained only to put it into another one that is defined by other people's opinion. That would be a travesty."
Hey Squirrel, guess what, I disagree :-) I never really got around to sticking art in a box, at least not one that fits very well (hence this thread). I feel I need to learn what other people's opinions are because if I don't I'll be left all alone in the box with my art. To nearly quote a great mind, "what the ferq? This reminds me of an article on Flashkit I saw long ago about something called flashturbation... the seemingly pointless and obscure use of "*ART*" (edited to make a point) for self-gratification."
Dlady: "Talking about evoking a reaction, MS Windows makes me very emotional at times, does that mean its art?"
I'll go with "yes" on this one. Really bad art, but art none the less. Just like the dog turd could be art, so could Windows" But the "good" art VS. "bad" art is a whole other discussion/mudslinging-event.
11-14-2001, 09:35 PM
How about this?
"Art engages the mind."
I think I like this one.
11-14-2001, 09:41 PM
I lied, sometimes there are things that i want to be right about. It's just hard to know what right is sometimes.
That's why way back in the beginning i cited a spike lee film as (to my way of thinking) great art. (i said "Get on the Bus but...) "Do the Right Thing" is all about point of view. It's very polarizing and you see just how skewed your own feelings are one way or another about things when Lee gets in there and shakes the hornet's nest of racism.
My whole thing about morality and art is that no you shouldn't feel obliged to be anything but i'm dissapointed by the degree of (i think this might not be a word) self-refrentiallity that i see in some work (and used to make myself). It's turning your back on the world...that upsets me and I always think it's odd that some of the biggest movements in abstract art came during some of the most socially heated moments in at least the US if not the world. Same with impressionism...I guess you can't expect art to change anything but (and I speak here of "gallery/visual/museum type" art here) you could at least expect it to take notice... more thoughts but I'm still at work and breaking my self imposed ban from posting between 9-5
20 Ton Squirrel
11-14-2001, 09:47 PM
How dare you defy the edicts of...
*cues the dramatic orchestra hit*
THE NEW SQUIRREL ORDER
Let the streets run red with the blood of the non-believers!
"Art engages the mind."
Ummm... kinda summarizes everything that's been said here, yeah... if it works for you then cool.
This post is beginning to remind me of how corporate-types search for a "mission statement"... I can just feel the synergy!
11-14-2001, 10:39 PM
Squirrel: "THE NEW SQUIRREL ORDER"
Now that's funny. And it rhymes too, well, not "rhymes", but something like that.
Squirrel: "Ummm... kinda summarizes everything that's been said here, yeah... if it works for you then cool. "
It sure has been a learning experience.
Vilehelm: "It's turning your back on the world...that upsets me" and "i'm dissapointed by the degree of (i think this might not be a word) self-refrentiallity that i see in some work (and used to make myself). It's turning your back on the world...that upsets me"
If you know just one thing, be it this, "You will know nothing else." Yet the one thing you will know better than anyone else is yourself. Introspection is probably as close to truth as you can get. For that reason alone I think it holds a great value to society. Meaning expression of self is not an entirely selfish act.
At the very least I could pour my guts out onto a canvas, you could look at it and determine society has to change due to it's effects on people like me.
I'm not trying to put words in your mouth here, but are you saying something like "Art should make you want to make the world a better place"?
Just to be sure it doesn't get missed, I still like the "Art engages the mind" definition. Perhaps it engages the artists mind during creation, or perhaps it engages the observers mind when encountered. Is the dog turd on the sidewalk art? If it makes you think (considering putting the phrase "in abstraction" here), then yes. The way it engages your mind determines its level of art (better/worse/funny/enlightening/etc.).
11-15-2001, 03:32 AM
I've always been drawn to work that is very much about the self but with an awareness of how the self fits in with the other selves. That's what i'm talkin about.
Again back to my original list of great stuff. The Driveby Truckers just released a CD called "Southern Rock Opera" and it's about growing up in Alabama and the three huge icons of Alabama culture "Bear" Bryant, George Wallace and Lynard Skynard's Ronnie VanZant. Mostly it's about private experience and is VERY introspective but also addresses wider issues.
Mainly what I'm talking about are people who paint circles just like the first guy who painted circles and they say that this circle is actually a reference to that first circle painted by etc.. etc.. etc.. circutous arguments about nothing.
acorn lovers unite! (no, not like that).
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