What is art?

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

  1. SheilaNaGig

    SheilaNaGig Struggling and striving

    Yes yes...

    You are, of course, strictly speaking, absolutely correct in this. But as you well know (because you do know everything about everything) there is a distinction between random splashing and what is termed active painting, or drip painting, or gestural abstraction.

    So, at the risk of triggering more pedantry from you, I’ll rewrite the sentence thusly:

    Some people think that Pollock’s work is sublime while others think that, far from being in any way a form of art that one may call drip painting or gestural abstraction or active painting is, instead, only paint splashed about in an absolutely random fashion, with no deliberation or consideration or intent.
  2. Pickman's model

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

    i don't know everything. but i do know better than to conflate the method used with the quality of the art.
  3. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    Take the example of palaeolithic rock paintings. The current consensus (and I find it persuasive) is that it was not intended as art. It was not, the argument goes, created for aesthetic reasons, but as a way of participating in an interaction with other planes of existence (the "spirit world"). It was apparently created as a part of a shamanistic spirit quest, or as a record of one, or as a communal celebration of such endeavours. Or similar. (Or indeed all of these at different times or places). It was not considered art by its creators.

    It is now called Cave Art, or Rock Art, or Paleolithic Art. And is considered art by modern viewers.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  4. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    You might make a similar argument about large swathes of European painting, for example. Many works of art were created in order to convey a religious message or tell a story, and were not considered as objects to be admired for their own sake.
    SheilaNaGig likes this.
  5. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    It would not have been described by them as 'art' as they didn't have that category. So they also wouldn't have said 'this isn't art'. If you were able talk to them and put across to them some idea of what you think 'art' means (something along the lines of Spanglechick's definition, for instance, which is a good one, imo), they might quite easily say 'ah, you mean like our spirit drawings?'
    SheilaNaGig likes this.
  6. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    The (very slight) point I was making was that something not even intended as art might later be seen as art.

    However, I'm not sure that "large swathes" of European (religious) painting was not intended as art. It was mostly intended as art as well as devotional in some way. The closest you can get to the spiritual meaning suggested for paleolithic painting is with Orthodox achieropoieta, but even that isn't quite the same thing. I was pointing to ideas in Cognitive archaeology - Wikipedia which suggest that the pictures we see on cave walls (and as portable items) dating to the paleolithic period were not intended as art. Perhaps not even intended to be viewed after they were made. They were analogous to visions seen in altered states of consciousness, and were a communication with the spirit world. Which is why they're in (often difficult to access) dark caves. The images often overlay each other, and have other marks associated with them. This may not have been part of the aesthetic as was originally thought by some.

    I recommend The Mind in the Cave - Wikipedia . I don't necessarily agree with all of it, but it is closely argued and stimulating.
    spanglechick and JimW like this.
  7. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    Difficult to say what they'd say. I was only pointing out that their "spirit drawings" are now seen primarily in a way that they definitely weren't seen at the time.
  8. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Just picking up on this bullshit for starters. They are often found in dark caves because they haven't been exposed to wind, rain, sunlight and common abuse for Centuries. They have been preserved. Accidentally, or intentionally.

    There are plenty of other examples of 'art' from the same period which wasn't buried deep in caves.
  9. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    Read it again in the morning when you're more sober. You're assuming I'm claiming something other than what I said.

    Oh, and go and fuck yourself with that "just picking up on this bulkshit for starters".
    Pickman's model likes this.
  10. xenon

    xenon Sweep and cut

    Whether you like Action Painting, Karl Andrey's pile of bricks or Emin's bed is immaterial. They're all works of art.

    What about a painting that only the artist has seen, as it's not left the studio yet?
  11. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    I would say that as soon as it's left the studio (or indeed if someone popped in and looked at it while it was still being worked on) it would be instantly recognisable as a very conventional form of art, viz. a painting. So just by making something that is conventionally recognised as a work of art the artist has already done the job of making something that other people will agree is art.

    Conversely, if the artist were an avant-garde sculptor, and died, and then people went into her studio there might be a lot of objects that they could not definitively say were complete works of art, unfinished works, or just pieces of junk she had lying around for some other purpose.
  12. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    I'd say yes and no to that. Again, as per Spanglechick's definition of art, I'm not so sure how different their intentions or reactions are at a basic emotional level. The language they will use to talk and think about it may be different, but that is to a certain extent a surface difference. Comparing to, say, a bower bird, the bird won't have a concept like 'art' in his head as he collects and arranges his objects, but he most certainly has an aesthetic sense and is making an aesthetically pleasing arrangement, whether he knows that's what he's doing or not.
  13. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    I'm not arguing that Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens did not have an aesthetic sense. (Indeed, I'd argue aesthetics pre-date our species. Symmetrical hand axes, for example, pre-date our species, and seem to have been made at added cost for no immediately obvious practical reason - although Steven Mithen suggests sexual selection, not that that contradicts aesthetics as a reason. Perhaps the reverse). I'm arguing that the reason for climbing in the dark into the Shaft, the most inaccessible area at the Lascaux cave complex, to paint images was not for their general display. Therefore the cultural reasons for creating these inaccessible images was not what we today would understand as art. (And please note, people with reading comprehension problems, my saying that paintings were made in these places is not the same as my saying that paintings - or other portable, as opposed to parietal, images - were not made elsewhere).

    I should add that I think that aesthetic sense and, more fundamentally, music are at the very core of human culture, of what makes us human. I think this pre-dates our species. What I'm specifically saying here is that while we can call something art here and now, according to our cultural mores, the very fact that we do so is not evidence enough that those were the intentions when it was made. It seemed a slight and uncontroversial point.

    Having intended only to add two words to Santino's definition, and then defend my notion that something may be seen later as art which was not necessarily seen by its maker that way, I seem to have ended up having to defend my view that the Upper Palaeolithic possessed culture.
  14. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

  15. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    I'm not really sure how you would define 'predating our species'. But, let's not argue about that.

    Caves were very obviously inhabited as hidden retreats. Dark, grim places that would benefit from a bit of art. Just like a Two bed semi in Grinstead today. Cave art survives simply, because it was preserved in a hidden environment.

    Why wouldn't you cut a symmetrical hand axe? If it works one way, it may as well work the other. This has fuck all to do with aesthetics by design. It looked nice by accident. Possibly.

    You post this sort of bullshit, then you really have to accept an opposing discussion on a discussion board. If you can't accept that, then perhaps you should fuck off rather than telling me to fuck off?
  16. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Here is the FB page of Yonamine. Japanese name (he has no idea why), born in Angola, currently living in Zimbabwe. Well travelled, and a very nice guy IMO. He is getting the work, and making his money creating art.

  17. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    Then you should reconsider expressing an opinion on the paleolithic.

    You should read up on the topic before calling what I've posted "bullshit".
    Pickman's model likes this.
  18. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Pathetic crap.
  19. Pickman's model

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

    Your new tagline
  20. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    You probably hadn't noticed, but my points here are considered, and very valid. Much more valid than some broad sweep of bullshit from a hippy book ;)
  21. Pickman's model

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

    Right. And that explains why you can't rebut dlr
  22. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    Shit. You're so dull and boring. I'm off.

  23. Pickman's model

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

    Ta-ra then
  24. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Some people don't think graffiti is art... But theyve never been to Beckenham

    BAGS ......ANUS.....CLART....
    twentythreedom likes this.
  25. Vintage Paw

    Vintage Paw dead stare and computer glare

    This is art:

    spanglechick likes this.
  26. twentythreedom

    twentythreedom Patterdale Terrorist

    Istr reading somewhere that "art is anything that makes you feel something unexpected"

    In which case what you posted is art.

    Everything* is art, really, isn't it?

    (Thinking aloud here btw :oops: )

    Eta: *potentially
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
    Vintage Paw likes this.
  27. RainbowTown

    RainbowTown Well-Known Member

    Klee probably had it just about right: "Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see."
  28. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Do I have to know about art in order to produce it?
  29. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    But not every painting is art.
  30. starfish

    starfish No dialogue. Just plot.

    Art is whatever you want it to be.

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