What is art?

Discussion in 'photography, graphics & art' started by Stanley Edwards, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    What do you value as art?

    I just went through Two very different conversations with artists. The first came from a guy who is technically brilliant. The light, colours, lines and everything is pure genius. However, his very precise work just sort of looks like precise copies of bad photographs. It is a skill I admire.

    Second guy bought a sketch from me. Invited me for a drink and showed me all his work on his phone. He describes himself as an 'anarchist artist'. Some of his work I understood. Most was bullshit. Very political with messages to understand, but nothing clicked my aesthetic appreciation. He is financially very successful, and is a very nice guy. The stuff he did which I liked was portraits painted on banana tree leaves using a 'chalk' made from cocaine. They are beautiful.

    Back to the guy who did fucking brilliant, photo-realist paintings from photos. For me, this is a far more valuable skill, and it is art.

    I will come back here another day and post examples of work by both.

    In the meantime...

    What is art to you?


    Yeah - we have done this thread before. Perhaps I should start a thread about gargoyles. Incredibly, it seems no-one has done gargoyles before.


    I am totally mind numbed on serious painkillers, booze and MJ :)
    Chilli.s likes this.
  2. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Photography I think can be art but it has to have a creative angle, I am not sure record photography is art, although I know some would disagree.
  3. Vintage Paw

    Vintage Paw dead stare and computer glare

    Art relies on context. Anything at all can be art in the right context. The context is subjective. Ergo, 'what is art' is a pointless and unanswerable question and mostly only asked in order to start an argument.
    kabbes, kittyP, RoyReed and 2 others like this.
  4. ice-is-forming

    ice-is-forming Well-Known Member

    a 'chalk' made from cocaine :eek: wtaf! :eek:
    Pickman's model likes this.
  5. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. No matter where; of comfort no man speak..

    Had to argue once against Gombrich’s view that, ‘’There is no such thing as art, only artists.’’

    I wondered why viewers of art cannot just accept the skill and beauty being presented without the need to dissect everything to please academics.

    As Vintage Paw says above, the question what is art is pointless.
    mauvais likes this.
  6. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    Like a styptic pencil
  7. JuanTwoThree

    JuanTwoThree Unintended gear-stick action

    Careful with too much Michael Jackson.

    Realism has its place in art. Technique is to admired. But I think Wilde got it right:

    “Art finds her own perfection within, and not outside of, herself. She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance. She is a veil, rather than a mirror. She has flowers that no forest knows of birds that no woodland possesses. She makes and unmakes many worlds, and can draw the moon from heaven with a scarlet thread. Hers are the forms more real than living man and hers the great archetypes of which things that have existence are but unfinished copies. Nature has, in her eyes, no laws, no uniformity. She can work miracles at her will, and when she calls monster from the deeps they come …. She has hawk-faced gods that worship her, and the centaurs gallop at her side."
  8. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    All art is quite useless
    --Oscar Wilde
  9. JuanTwoThree

    JuanTwoThree Unintended gear-stick action

    That of course was praise, not criticism.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  10. JimW

    JimW 支那暗杀团

    This is a really fascinating question and I'm surprised it's never been asked before. You would have thought artists and critics, general public even, might fancy a debate about it, but no, silence for centuries :confused:
  11. Chilli.s

    Chilli.s changed the little words

    In todays world art is whatever you want it to be.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  12. Borp

    Borp remember

    Yeah art is whatever someone says it is.

    For me it's partly about the effort and dedication someone is willing to put into their art. Whether that's learning a technique or dedicating their time to investigating an idea or whatever. You can usually tell when someone has invested their time/energy into it. And equally when they haven't.
  13. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I know it when I see it.

    Is that a shallow thing to say?

    Paintings almost always are art, as are drawings except engineering drawings, sculpture is also, photography sometimes, animations often.

    For me Tracy Emin's bed isn't art though I may be in a minority there, I think it was a triumph of hype over logic, the thought that whatever she did would be art.

    Do people here think Emin's bed is art?
  14. SheilaNaGig

    SheilaNaGig Struggling and striving

    Yes, definitely. I do.

    It says something very specific and particular about a certain experience. It's a very accurate depiction of a feeling, a mood, an emotional event in a persons life, and that moment can be recognised by anyone else who has also experienced something similar. I think it was courageous of her to take that moment in her own life - something that she was feeling internally, that was evidenced in the turmoil and mess and nastiness of her physical environment - and then just transplant it to a public place. She didn't write about it, or paint it, or photograph or draw it, she took the thing itself, the real actual material expression of her experience, and put it in a public place. That act alone came from a creative idea.
    RoyReed likes this.
  15. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Aha, but I thought it an unremarkable bed scene, you could have shown visitors into many twenty somethings bedrooms which would have looked the same. Yet no one is saying their bedrooms are art, hence my feeling that because Emin did it, and she is an artist, hence it must be art.
  16. SheilaNaGig

    SheilaNaGig Struggling and striving

    Well yes. One of the standard definitions of art is that the artist says that it's art.



    Art, because the artist says it’s art

    Can a toilet be a work of art? What about putting a bicycle on a stool? Is that art? Anyone can do it. What is art? Dada art makes people think.

    Bicycle wheel

    Dada was an art movement which was started by a group of artists during the First World War. The origin of the name Dada isn’t certain, but the objectives of the movement were clear: through art and literature they protested against the war and against conservative ideas. They rejected traditions and traditional art because for them, everything was boring. They wanted to start something new.

    Dada was sometimes fun, often provocative and always original and you can see all of these characteristics in the work of the French artist Marcel Duchamp. In his opinion, art was usually created for the eyes, but he wanted to create art for the mind.

    Mona Lisa with moustache

    When he added a moustache to a copy of the Mona Lisa in 1919, it was an anti-art joke and with his Bicycle Wheel (1913) he was saying, ‘this is art because the artist says it’s art’. For Duchamp, everyday objects could be art. In 1917, he inverted a urinal, signed it with a false name, called it Fountain and sent it to an exhibition. It was rejected.


    In fact Dada works of art were rejected by most critics. Their everyday objects, which they called ‘readymades’, were completely di erent from the traditional world of paintings and sculptures. One critic said that Dada was the ‘sickest and most destructive thing’ invented by man.

    But opinions change and eighty-seven years later a group of ve hundred British critics voted Fountain ‘the most in uential work of modern art’. In fact, if you look at some of the stranger pieces of art today you can see the in uence of Dada. Thanks to Dada, everything can be art now. There are no rules.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018
    RoyReed likes this.
  17. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Interesting stuff.

    It doesn't matter what I think is or isn't art, because I am neither an artist, a critic or an art buyer and I may not even be an art consumer, assuming such an animal exists.

    I think there is a sort of art ecosystem that supports what it considers worthy and among which normal plebs like me rarely find themselves. Again, I don't know if that matters.

    That probably isn't a very good response to your post.
  18. SheilaNaGig

    SheilaNaGig Struggling and striving

    Well, if you're interested in art you can start learning about it, and then be a more discerning consumer. Or observer.

    You're into mechanics and engines, I think? Motorbikes? I know very little about motorbikes and engines, so if I came into your world, you'd be the expert; and if I started saying I like Moto Guzzis but not Harleys (or whatever) you'd no doubt find a lot of my opinions ill informed, naive, maybe even silly. I'm still allowed to have my opinions, and they're still valid. In the same way, what you say you think or like about art is valid too.

    The ecosystem you talk about: I reckon it exists around anything that can be bought and sold, and especially when there's some kind of discerned hierarchy of merit. Look at those audiophiles who spend extreme amounts of money on audio cables.
  19. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I probably should, but I find my free time filled with learning about photography. I am told that I could learn a lot about composition from looking at painting.
    My dad was a painter, he got a lot of pleasure out of it.

    I have heard it said that painting is about deciding on what to include while photography is about deciding what to exclude.

    I certainly was interested in such things a lot, less so these days.
    But yes, there are experts in most fields.

    I do have an idea of things that I find artistic, so for example, I have my own aesthetic taste, when looking at other people's photos I immediately can say 1) that I like or 2) that photo I wouldn't have bothered to take.

    There are two artists I know here, one is very successful and makes very beautiful objects which seem to be in high demand. The other paints abstract scenes for which they have also found a market. Artists have to eat, but I have often had my career derided because it is in marketing, a big evil, by the very same people who see nothing wrong with the art market.

    And yet, there are those stories of critics heaping praise on an apparent masterful abstract which was in fact painted by a 4 year old splashing paint onto a canvas. That bothers me.
  20. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Very good. I am rapidly beginning to ignore your posts. I mentioned in the OP that it has been discussed here previously, but hey - you know what? The World evolves. Things change. Unfortunately idiots like yourself get stuck in the mud and left behind.

    I will post photographs of the works that I saw tomorrow for comparison. I want to get permission from both artists firstly.
  21. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    It was actually a chalk dust made from the leaves of a coca plant (to keep it legal I assume). The cocaine connection was simply representative. Hopefully, I will see the guy tomorrow and ask him if he minds me discussing here. He won't of course, but it is simply polite to ask. He is a very interesting guy for all sorts of reasons. Angola born, now living in Zimbabwe, 'holidaying' in Lisbon Two months a year. Just returned from Colombia where he worked, before that making stuff in Berlin. He gets the money - I have no idea how!
  22. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    I don't think it's enough for someone to claim something is art. I think other people have to agree with them.
  23. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    I think that is very fair. Anybody can present art. Anybody can claim to be an artist, but recognition is the only real value. If you are not communicating effectively, you are doing it wrong.
  24. SheilaNaGig

    SheilaNaGig Struggling and striving

    But no one agreed with Duchamp in the first instance, and then they did. And art is so subjective, not everyone agrees with the artist, so who’s right? The one’s who agree or the ones who don’t? Some people think that Pollock’s work is sublime while others think it’s just paint splashed on a canvas.
    kittyP and Chemical needs like this.
  25. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Hoc vellum voluntater album mansum est

    So you add two words: some and eventually.

    It's not enough for the artist to think it's art: [some] other people have to agree [eventually].
    Chemical needs and SheilaNaGig like this.
  26. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    It is just paint splashed on a canvas. Unless there's something about his technique I'm missing...
  27. Vintage Paw

    Vintage Paw dead stare and computer glare

  28. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    I think art* must have the intention and capacity to communicate to, and create a change in, its audience. A change of emotion, thought, energy...

    Not everyone will feel that communication, though. Art is subjective.

    * of all kinds
    SheilaNaGig and kittyP like this.
  29. SheilaNaGig

    SheilaNaGig Struggling and striving

    So is it art while no one else thinks it is? Does it magically become art when people start to see it as art?

    And if more people think something is art, does that make it more truly art than something that people still can’t decide for certain is art?

    Like, is The Singing Butler more truly a piece of art than is Carl Andre’s Bricks?
    Vintage Paw likes this.
  30. SheilaNaGig

    SheilaNaGig Struggling and striving

    See also the Chapman Brothers’ drawing all over Goya’s etchings.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018

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