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Thread: Great read!

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Great read!

    Hey guys, long time lurker, semi-first time poster Just came across a great piece of writing on the net called "good art bad art" (http://www.artrenewal.com/articles/2..._good_art2.asp) and thought id share it since i found it to be right on with most of my feelings toward art today. It's kinda long, but if you read the whole thing, its very interesting.

    just some favorite quotes :

    "Prestige suggestion causes them to automatically assume that a work must be great if it's by any of the "big names" of modern art, so they at once start looking for reasons why it must be proclaimed great. Any failing to find greatness is not considered a failing in the art but in the intelligence and sensibilities of the viewer. Students operating under that kind of intimidating pressure, you can be sure, will find greatness - no matter what they are looking at."

    "Freedom of expression? Ironically, this so-called "freedom" as embodied in Modernism, rather than a form of "expression" in truth became a form of "suppression" and "oppression." Modernism as we know it, ultimately became the most oppressive and restrictive system of thought in all of art history."

    "Modern artists are told that they must create something totally original. Nothing about what they do can ever have been done before in any way shape or form, otherwise they risk being called "derivative". How utterly absurd."

    "No student in a school with this kind of dictatorial brain-washing will ever risk exploring or even listening to opposing views, for fear of being stigmatized from that point on, with some undesirable label and being universally despised ... sadly, a very effective deterrent to independent thought. Thus the visual experience of well-drawn representational elements is perceived as a negative, ad hominem, that proves with knee-jerk automaticity the presumed "badness" of the art and its creator."

    Id be interested in hearing what you guys think....

    -Rim


    P.S. sorry for the long post
    Even a blind squierrel finds a nut every now and again.


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  3. #2
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    Sorry guys i cant help myself, here's one more (In reference to a picasso painting) :

    You say, "his work shows a deeply sensitive artist," but I don't conclude any sensitivity whatsoever. What is there is the sensitivity of a bull in a china shop, who stomps around breaking all the beautiful porcelain, and then with an army of critics lined up with their nostrils flaring dares anyone to criticize the dump he j ust left in the your living room. "Either you love my turds or you are against freedom of expression." If you don't want it in your museum, you're the enemy of freedom of speech. Faced with such intimidation surely many would rather line up in support. But there is truly nothing there. It's a trick of words and intimidation. An Illusion of social pressure and fearful conformity.
    Even a blind squierrel finds a nut every now and again.

  4. #3
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    I like Art Renewal Center as a library of paintings, but I don't like their philosophy.

  5. #4
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    I've only read the excerpts you quoted - but I agree with many of the ideas behind those statements (though I am a fan of some of Picasso's work-regardless of critical aclaim).
    To me - it seems rare that anything truly original is born out of someone trying to do something "truly original." Seems like most great ideas are accidents - usually after a lot of hard work.
    Generally, people who try to create inside a vaccum are boring, because their ideas don't work outside of it.
    I cook like crisco, I pump the ill disco...
    http://www.theafter.net

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    Well i dont exactly agree with anyone who bashes someone elses work...but i do think that, in the case of some modern art, their meanings and "greatness" is invented by the viewer. Because your TOLD their great, you FIND a way that their great, weather its how you really feel or not. Maybe the article is a little extreme at times, but i would love to show it to my art prof.
    Even a blind squierrel finds a nut every now and again.

  7. #6
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    Does it affect you at all if people are making 'bad' art? Does it make you mad that not everyone accepts only what you think is good. This is just like racism only with art. Dont generalize and keep an open mind. It hurts you in no way. Write everything off and you might miss something.

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    its all subjective. i don't think it's good to hate a certain type of art, its better to look at it and study it and move on from it, with or without useful knowledge depending on what the art is.

    i also like Picasso's work, especially his early periods, and he is a great role model for productivity. when i went to the Tate Modern in London, I personally hated it, but I think it is going to be hard to move on from modernism cohesively. we have moved on, but now we have chaos.

    In today's contemperary world, it is hard to say what movements there are. There is not one single art movement going on right now that stands out as a giant. You could say digital art perhaps, but there are plenty of other niches out there to counter it.

    We live in a world of easy communication and a multitude of niches. Like concept art. All kinds of art is being made and more than ever before. I think thats great, though more bad art is being made than ever before too hey- whatever keeps the masses at peace.

  9. #8
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    Besides doing more "technical" art like concept art or animation, I also make what people would term as "Modern Art" or "Post- Modern Art" to be more accurate. I make abstract paintings, non-repesentational works, Sculptures (Richard Serra and Brancusi are my favorites), even video art. Growing up as an artist I was first influenced by Peter Paul Rubens but I then became fascinated with Cubism then Dada then Abstract Expressionsim.

    Why do I do it? Like what Jackson Pollock said, we live in a time where certain things are in existence that I feel couldn't be expressed by the more "traditional" approach. How would I express the internet? genetic experimentations? AIDS?

    Sure, people may call modern art bullshit, or a cop-out. But then again my definition of art is "Anything and Everything that is useless." just my .02 cents

    cheers,
    --Isopod
    Currently in Pre-Production: M-Theory: Murder Theory an independent animation by Albert Antiquera.

  10. #9
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    (Art renewel center quotes)
    Hoboy...

    I just love it when people attempt to "correct past mistakes" by making new ones, or repeating old ones. Hey, it worked for Hitler, didn't it?

    I greatly the idea of advancing the appreciation and teaching of traditional and representational art and technique, but the art renewel center philosophy is equally as monumentally stupid as the traditional art-rejecting modernist strawmen they frequently bash.
    Art student
    ~Livin' large at Watts Atelier.

  11. #10
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    I cant say that im a fan of most modern art, but thats not to say that im against it....or anyone liking it. If you absolutely love something...great! I think its important to keep an open mind about things, but thats what i liked about the article, (even though it sounded hypocritical at times) it pointed out that even though people claim there all about freedome and expression, they can be completely oppressive by neglecting to see anything else as art (in this case its modernists, but i think that can be applied to anyone). Granted the writer was doing the same thing, but i still think he made some good points. People, or in my experience, students, often just say something is good due to peer pressure, or because they read that its good. In class you learn to look deeply into the art and come up with interpretations...but to me it all sounds very freudian. It just feels weird to me that you would have to learn why something is beautiful. Again if thats your thing...super...this is just my 2 cents.

    BTW thanks for posting your thoughts
    Even a blind squierrel finds a nut every now and again.

  12. #11
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    Just thought I'd take a crack at debunking some of the art renewel B.S.

    "Prestige suggestion causes them to automatically assume that a work must be great if it's by any of the "big names" of modern art, so they at once start looking for reasons why it must be proclaimed great."
    The same thing happens when we mentally attach big names like "Leonardo Da Vanci" and "Michaelangelo" to what are not exactly the most stellar pieces ever made or the greatest examples of representational art, not even during their time period.

    "Any failing to find greatness is not considered a failing in the art but in the intelligence and sensibilities of the viewer. Students operating under that kind of intimidating pressure, you can be sure, will find greatness - no matter what they are looking at."
    A strawman attack on modernists by the art renewel center guys? Gosh, I didn't see that coming.

    Also, the strength of some pieces of art may be that it sometimes LACKS greatness. Sometimes a very modest or minimalistic piece of work can be rather touching in its inept charm. If you measure art by "greatness" then you're effectively in an artistic penis-measuring competition over who can acheive the higher level of "greatness" which is a highly restrictive and often entirely arbitrary means of determining if something is "good." (But is just fine if you're trying to do something specific, and need a clear means of measuring yourself by.)

    For that matter, many of the most revered artists and pieces of art that are considered quote/unquote "great" on this funky planet arrived at their present position often by freak accident. Often they aren't even all that "great" at all...they just got popular for one reason or another. Meanwhile, many pieces or artists that could possibly be considered "greater" go unnoticed by the general public, and in many cases, are eternally overlooked by all but those dedicated few who recognize their worth...this happens in both representational AND modern art.

    "Freedom of expression? Ironically, this so-called "freedom" as embodied in Modernism, rather than a form of "expression" in truth became a form of "suppression" and "oppression." Modernism as we know it, ultimately became the most oppressive and restrictive system of thought in all of art history."
    Yeah, nevermind the systematic suppression of non-representational art by other cultures by the catholic church during the inquisition...or the Romans who pulled similar bullshit with Pagan art...

    ...Or the nasty stuff the soviet union did to those they labeled "subversive" such as surrealists and various other non-representational artists, to the point that just about the only art you were allowed to do was representational or propaganda stuff. Heck, that history is why russia to this day has such a strong background in representational art, since that was quite literally all pretty much anyone was allowed to do.

    But boy oh boy, once we eradicate countless other similar incidents all throughtout history from our collective historical memories, those modernists sure are the most oppressive group in art history, aren't they?
    (Well, maybe not even then, come to think of it. Medieval european attitudes regarding art during the dark ages were way way WAY far more oppressive, as a small example.)

    I do think that the shit went down in the sixties that trashed the U.S. campuses represenational art training faculties was pretty bad, but it wasn't all the fault of the modernists...there was a lot of economical shit that was going down that was at fault as well. Commercial art was also starting to rely heavily on lots and lots and lots of non-representaional work since it was so fast and cheap, so that had a pretty big influence as well...which is true to this day, in fact. (Although the massive market flooding of cheap Norman Rockwell ripoffs didn't help much either.) The rapid commercialization of our culture has an awful lot to do with the reduction of the overall celebration of craftsmanship in general.

    "Modern artists are told that they must create something totally original. Nothing about what they do can ever have been done before in any way shape or form, otherwise they risk being called "derivative". How utterly absurd."

    Andy Warhol would beg to differ on that.
    Andy Warhol would beg to differ on that.
    Andy Warhol would beg to differ on that.
    Andy Warhol would beg to differ on that.

    Again, this is another ridiculous strawman attack on the modernists. A large portion of modern art is about breaking shit down to its base components, fragmenting old things into a different perspective, or regurgitating the information overload that occcurs in modern society...and that barely even scratches the surface. Basically, most modern art has about as much to do with attempting to acheive originality as a paint bucket has to do with a harp seal.

    "No student in a school with this kind of dictatorial brain-washing will ever risk exploring or even listening to opposing views, for fear of being stigmatized from that point on, with some undesirable label and being universally despised ... sadly, a very effective deterrent to independent thought.
    I just love it when people argue from a position for which there is little or no room for a differing view, provide a complete misrepresentation of other potential viewpoints, then casually let the listener know that the opposing view is out to control their thoughts and brainwash them. Now that's what I call a Fair and Balanced(tm) brainwashing!

    Thus the visual experience of well-drawn representational elements is perceived as a negative, ad hominem, that proves with knee-jerk automaticity the presumed "badness" of the art and its creator."
    I agree that people who reject representational art are incredibly stupid and knee-jerkish.

    But of course, I also recognize that people who reject modern art are also incredibly stupid and knee-jerkish.


    For the record, I've seen lots of HORRIBLE pieces of representational art, and I've lots of HORRIBLE pieces of modern art. Stuff I don't like at all...
    But I've seen lots of pieces of modern art that moved or interested me, and lots of excellent and moving pieces of interesting representational art.

    I don't think anyone's stupid for not "getting" modern art; in many cases, it's an acquired taste, and no one can force you to "like" something that you don't care for. Some of it really IS "easy" for anyone to do, and that's the beauty of it. But some of it really is not something that just anyone can do, and I would hold some modern art out there on par with the best representational artists on the level of sheer skill of craftsmanship.
    Meanwhile, representational art tends to be more directly accessable to the viewing audience and the budding artist-in-training, but much more difficult to execute well.
    In general I like both modern and representational art for different AND similar reasons, as I can recognize roughly the strengths and weaknesses of the differing approaches and appreciate them.

    Also, despite what the art renewal jerks would lead you to believe, in ANY art, representational or otherwise, approach IS everything. There are at least a vast number of possible different approaches to represenational art alone for that matter. Who decides what is "good" and what is "bad" is entirely subjective to the taste and experience of the creator and his audience.

    Moreover, I have the utmost respect for artists who practice both abstract-modern and representational technique in their work, and manage to master them. Dave Mckean, for example, is one of the few artists I've become familiar with who commands such a mastery-of-all-trades.

    As for the art renewel center, as I've stated previously, I am all for the teaching, preservation, appreciation, and advancement of represenational art. But quite frankly, whenever they open their mouths to speak, I find myself rolling my eyes about as much as I do when reading about the "deep introspective meaning" behind the latest uberpretentious "shock art" exhibit.
    Last edited by DanSTC; February 4th, 2004 at 09:46 PM.
    Art student
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  13. #12
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    DanSTC - very interesting insight....All points well taken, thanks.

    Same goes to everyone else, i feel ive learned from your input, thanks
    Even a blind squierrel finds a nut every now and again.

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