Monday, January 12, 2009


I want to thank Bernadette, Marion and Jan for their comments on yesterday's post. I found it interesting that as artists, we seem to have the same recurring thing we personally look for in art to make it art and that is the passion of the person that created it. I wish I could give credit to the maker of the collage I posted today; it is not mine and I found it so long ago. I have frequently used it as a visual stimulus because it seems to both sum up the eternal question and poke a bit of fun at it at the same time. I really, really like the rough background of newsprint and used binder paper; there is nothing here that requires a lot of highbrow interpretation. The work asks the question both with text and with the actual materials.
All three responses yesterday hit the nail on the head for me; evoking an emotional response or if the piece was cared about when made---and generally that is obvious in the finished product, crude or refined. Bernadette brought up the academics, who seem to determine what is *art* and my comment on that is a response I had recently to a show that travels Indiana and is the sine que non if you are an Indiana artist. If you are judged into it, you have "made it". (mizz B, you know which one I mean!) After viewing a portion of the show that travels, I was left with a feeling of.....NOT MUCH. All the work was technically good, realistic (overtly), precise. The mats, when used, were all the same white/cream color. Almost all the frames were the standard gold leafed, large types. In fact, even though there was talent represented, I felt BLAND. One piece really struck me and it, of course, had won nothing. One piece that was honored was a watercolor so precise and so cold (as in lack of emoting to me) that I just kept walking. Yet this is the organization that is supposed to recognize the best of this state's artists.
Hmmmmmm............slaving to reproduce work so it looks like a photograph is fine for school, to enhance ability, but after that, then what?
The most detrimental aspect of all this discussion is that artists then begin to BELIEVE that their work must follow specific guidelines set up by others or it has no value---this is the long round-about back to Bernadette's comment on the academic types.
And does art really NEED to be defined? Through out the ages, hasn't the work that survived been the work rejected for the most part during the artist's lifetime?
So I say Hurrah to the soul who had the guts and wisdom to make the NOT ART/ART collage.
Sort of sums it up...........


Laume said...

I have a couple thoughts on this percolating in my brain for a post over on my studio blog. I was going to try mention them briefly here but then I made the mistake of rereading the previous post as well, first, and now my head is swirling with so many thoughts on the subject that I can't pin any of them down. And, probably more importantly, I still haven't had a cup of coffee today. But, I'll take a stab at explaining the filter I use to ask myself if something is art - does it evoke an emotion. If something makes me cry, sigh, laugh, or steam under my color, I'm probably gonna define it as art. Even if it's just a strong annoyed "THAT'S not ART!!!" comment - well, that's an interesting way to rile people up, isn't it? But if I look at something and say "that looks like a tree alright" - that's a pretty lame response. There's such a huge gray area though that even for me to decide just for myself is often a challenge. As a culture I can't imagine us all agreeing on what's inside and what's outside the definition.

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