[-empyre-] self and others
ghh at thing.net
Fri Jan 15 00:35:33 EST 2010
gh comments below:
On Jan 13, 2010, at 2:15 PM, Christiane Robbins wrote:
> it seems that we always keep landing on this flea ridden canard –
> “what is art ?”
What is Art?
Flea ridden indeed! Analyze the question and you get the premise for
an avant-garde. No-one asks that question anymore everyone even
philistines know what art is and knows what they like. I'd pose the
question differently and ask what is the difference between art and
craft or maybe what is the difference between art and a theory of
art. Anyway, given the question I'd say that art making is part of
the human psyche or mental structure. It 's related to and may even
be the first shift to abstract thinking before the emergence of human
language around 30,000 years ago. There are of course painting
elephants but they've been taught by humans. They do really nice
Abstract Expressionist paintings but they don't paint portraits of
other elephants. My favorite quote or definition of art is from Magda
Sawon who says that an artist takes something and transforms it and
then transforms it again. The second time it turns into art.
I've said in other posts that the support system for art is what
defines art. There have always been artists in human society. Looking
at for example a tribal society you might get shamanistic masks or
maybe carved stone tablets of tribal laws and an arch to carry them
around in. It seems there's always cross over or cross reference or
commingling of art and religion.
Here's some more pertinent questions for the 21st century artist.
Who do you make your art for? What market are you trying to capture?
Is your art an extension of your life style? For example do you
believe in Art=Life? Do you need a college degree to be taken
seriously as an artist? Is there a path to professional advancement
as an artist? Do you think of your art making as a career? I could
go on but you get the point.
My observation is that the current art system and type of art being
made around the world except maybe in traditional or tribal societies
is supported by a series of small cults or interlocking rhizomatic
marketing systems. It reflects global capitalism. Each artist/
gallery/museum gathers supporters who are essentially their clients
or customers. The art that they exhibit is a variation on a number of
personal obsessions or life style choices. People who agree with that
lifestyle choice use the money exchange system to buy art that
reinforces their choice. It's like fetish masks but in this
instance art functions in a small tribal clique of consumers with
disposable income. This is the "patron" of the artist that I had
alluded to in an earlier post when I quoted Rimbaud. The other part
to this system is the theoretical or linguistic system that verifies
art and its value. It also certifies that an artist is indeed an
artists and that what they produce is art. This is of course the
University or Academic system that gives out diplomas and produces
many theorists and critics to write about art. This is the "poet"
Rimbaud refers to whom Rimbaud refers. So if you want to answer the
question what is art there are two answers. Art is anything that is
exhibited and sold in an art gallery and art is anything that a
critic or art theorist defines as art.
As an artist I try to operate outside this system or make proposals
that break apart the structures of art. I like to challenge the
precepts and principals of the existing structure. This doesn’t
garner me much support because I think of art as a liberation and
transformation of the psyche. It’s essentially an anti-marketing
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