The Art World - I pit thee

I’m fine with a wide view of art, but for some reason there are a large number of people who will defend to the death the notion that “everything is art”. There are a couple of multi-page threads on it.

When I drove to work this morning there were a number of conscious decisions that had to be made: freeway or surface roads, get going in the right direction by going around the block or do a three-point turn, brake hard for the yellow light or continue through it. I guess I could consider my commute a work of art and deem myself an artist, but that is just wankery.

There is a distinction to be made between a snapshot and a photograph taken with with the intent of creating art, just as there is between writing a book of prose and filling out a check. There is no clear line that separates them, but neither is there a distinct boundary between blue and green. If we say “everything is blue” then we lose the power to distinguish colors.

Here is a great example of dick swinging art. Of course, if you look at it closely, you will notice that its not dick swinging at all. Its just a lot of bull. Actually, if you saw the real thing the first thing that would stand out is that its not a bull at all, its a steer.

Here’s what it looked like a couple of years ago.

I haven’t looked recently, so I don’t know if its still there or just covered by weeds. Good art is treasured, bad art gets forgotten and covered or put in the recycle bin.

Reminds me of this encounter in a bar back in about 1985(ish).

Guy with a really pretentious name I can’t remember, but it can’t have been the one he was born with. Complaining bitterly about some Art controversy of the time. Proclaims that only people who have been trained in Art, who know the full history of Art, should be allowed to have opinions about Art. :rolleyes: Gives me the whole arrogant contemptous dismissal treatment when I disagree.

About 10 minutes later, he’s complaining bitterly about Reagan and the government.

I say that perhaps only people with Political Science degrees, who have studied politics and who know the full history of politics should be allowed to criticize the government. :wink:

He stomps off in anger. :smiley:

It is common knowledge that the art world is mainly an incestuous little circle jerk. Seldom does anything of any real import or interest come from there. The worst thing about modern art is that it is boring. Many artist tries so hard to be edgy and provocative and all that. Mostly they are just soul killingly boring. Once in a while a little funny. Can’t remember ever being provoked by a modern art. Perhaps not surprising, since the core audience is middle aged women. It does provoke me a bit that I’m forced to fund their circle jerk, but there is so much public waste that it can’t really get me going. And then it is a bit irritating that my city has to be plastered with useless rubbish, but again there are so much of other kinds of rubbish that it hardly registers as a blib.

An artist takes a shot of a sunflower, here’s what he’s thinking:
With the sun in that direction, the best angle to get the shot is here. I’ll increase the aperture to reduce the depth of field. I’ll add a reflector here to increase the lighting from below. The center of the sunflower should be in the slight upper right of the frame to include these background images.
Fiendish Astronauts mum takes a shot, here’s what she’s thinking:
Whoa! Look at that whopping big sunflower! I gotta show Pop that thing when I get home, lemme get out the camera doohickey on my mobile. Oops, the shot’s a bit crooked, and I cut the top off, but who cares?

Can you guess which one is “art” and which one is just “capturing an image for future viewing”? When I’m taking pictures, it’s mostly the latter. Except for Christmas Card pictures, I try for the former, mostly by taking 100 shots and trying to find one that seems to be artistically interesting.

A lot of art is eisegesis. I’m glad someone’s getting something out of it, even if the artist didn’t intend for that interpretation. I am a little perturbed people are willing to spend more money on a ripped canvas than ending starvation, but hey, I doubt Rune would have it any other way.

Art is whatever you want to consider art to be, even a poorly-composed photo of a sunflower. It’s just that some of it is shit art.

I am aware of the existence of obnoxiously-pretentious art snobs but I tend to ignore them. Ultimately it’s up to you, the viewer, to decide whether a piece of art has merit. I’ve seen modern art that has blown my mind and modern art that made me want to break the artist’s fingers to prevent them from making any more. I’ve seen old art that I thought was tedious and dull and old art that was amazing and inspirational. If art doesn’t speak to you, move on and don’t fret about people who claim to own the “truth” about it.

Art will only ever be worth what people think it’s worth. If enough people think it’s worth something, then maybe it gets put in a museum. And if you disagree, don’t look at it. But it’s still art.

There is every chance you composed the photo the way you did partly because of the line, even if you didn’t consciously decide to do so.

But I disagree that all photography is art - sometimes it’s more like documentation.

Absolutely. I’m all for people paying billions for balloon animals by Jeff Koons because otherwise the money would be spend on combating starvation which is cutting down on the number of nigger babies and there are already too many of those already. Or something. Actually it is a false dilemma. Money used on modern art is not taken from anywhere else, and I don’t mind people spending money on their hobbies. Other people are spending millions on stamp collection, old motor cars, Tour de France jerseys, fine French red wine, whatever. A single Rickey Lake show probably cost more than what most museums use on art in a year. Whatever makes people happy.

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::takes a picture of what landed on the floor::

“Hm. Looks kinda like cat vomit.”

::tacks picture to a wall and invites interpretation::


Great. It’s art. Now you just have to convince other people it’s good art.

I find the OP to be quite ironic. FA has work in an art gallery selling “art” to the public that he is willing to modify through Photoshop to please the individual consumer. His art is digital documentation of musical performers creating art themselves. Which is OK, but he then goes on to criticize the very system he is a part of. The OP seems to me to be the very thing he is pitting, the “I know what art is, you don’t” kind of thinking. I propose Fiendish Astronaut is the worst kind of dick waver.

Oh yeah? Well Rothco.

Yeah no… there are zero threads of that description.

Do you think Picasso’s work would have been seen as “good art” during the Renaissance? I do not think it would have. I think it would have been seen as rubbish and tossed into the fireplace.

I love Phillip Glass and treasure my copy of Satyagraha. But Phillip Glass would have been told to sit down somewhere with that repetitive shit if he had been trying to compete with Brahms or Mozart back in the day.

If someone took the two pictures of the sunflower and you couldn’t tell who photographed them, does it matter which one is “art”? ?

People have spent thousands of dollars to buy paintings done by elephants. I could recreate a painting that is comparable to their work, but I doubt anyone would even want to see it. But using your logic, I’m an artist and the elephant isn’t. I’m sure the elephant is really broken up over this.

“allowed” isn’t a sensible way of framing that argument with respect to art, but it’s certainly true that an in-depth knowledge of art history can deepen one’s understanding of contemporary works (and the same does apply, mutatis mutandis, to politics).

Art isn’t accidental.

If a tree falls over in a storm and you think it looks really cool, it isn’t art, it’s just a fallen tree that looks really cool. The storm isn’t suddenly an artist just because one of it’s works wound up interesting to look at.

If a person takes a random picture of a sunflower, and it happens to be excellently lit, properly framed and composed, it isn’t art, it’s just a good picture. That person didn’t suddenly become an artistic photographer just because one of his works wound up interesting to look at.

Elephant “art” isn’t interesting because of the paint that was applied to the canvas, it’s interesting because an elephant held a brush in its trunk. It’s not art any more than a cat walking on a piano is a sonata.

It would if every object had the same mass, which is what the statement, “All photos are art” is saying, Without distinguishing between good art and bad art, it as useful as saying everything has the same mass.

But the question of how you differentiate between that and art without being told remains. I was reading a magazine once that featured an article on one of America’s leading contemporary artist. The editorial section ran three photos of paintings. One by the artist, one by an elephant and one by the editor. The reader was invited to guess who painted what. Not being familiar with the artist in question, I was unable to. If the layperson is unable to differentiate the artist’s work from what is essentially scribbles by a non-artist, how can we say what art is? I propose the same test could be offered with the sunflower pics with the same result.

there’s a big leap between the second and third paragraph here.

And art is similarly quantifiable. Mom’s iPhone snaps contain comparatively very few artygrams of art compared to, say, The Raft of the Medusa.