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  1. #1
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    Question Abstract art is not art?

    I never understood abstract art when I was younger; I always thought that it was a bunch of intelectual nonsense, that`s why I always prefered comics over fine art, art was boring, but when I started studying architecture; I was shown the meaning of abstract art, and I started to understand Cubism, Dada, Pop art, Suprematism and stuff; for me it didn`t become much more interesting but at least I understand the idea behind abstract art, and respect it.

    Now I read this article:

    Abstract Art is not Art:

    http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2...tract/Ross.php

    And, even though I pretty much have the same tastes in art as these guys (I prefer realism over abstract art); I`m not sure the person who wrote this article really understands abstract art, he makes a few valid points that got me thinking, but... I don`t know, even if I believe abstraction is WAY OVERRATED, I think it is an artform as valid as realism.

    What do you guys think?
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    I think all art is abstract.

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    I think photo-realist art is not art. Just kidding. I realize it is art, just like a photo is art. What I actually think is that it is completely pointless since a camera (OMG the rise of the machines) could have done that.

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    "Art" at it's core, is an abstraction produced by individuals for different reasons but only given meaning by a group dynamic-societal construct that develops a desire to impose meaning upon something that may have none. Putting meaning into something that is only a reflection of self when the idea of self is in and of itself, an abstraction.

    Now, putting the bs aside.

    Have you (OP) ever tried to create an abstract peice of art?

    No?

    Then I would not lend myself to pass judgment on an aspect of art you've never explored out of curiosity or having the slightest interest in.

    It's harder than the results brought about. Exploring different aspects of what "Art" is gives one a better sense of what you can do, what there is out there, what you really don't know.

    My two cents, euros, yens, rupees, francs, shillings, Dinars, reais, pesos, pounds, marks.
    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    ArtRenewal is about as intellectually unbiased as the Pope. Take that into consideration when you read anything that comes from that particular forum. The fact that they can't even accept the fact that ALL art IS and MUST BE by it's very nature ABSTRACT is more than a small problem, and try moving the discussion outside the realm of white western high-realism into other cultures just to see the mental acrobatics they have to go through to pretend to at least grudgingly accept whatever is discussed as "real" art.

    Tell me to accept only Abstract Expressionism as real art, and you're an asshole.

    Tell me to accept Frazetta and Stan Lee's output as the only real art, and you're an asshole.

    Tell me only the Byzantine Cultures produced real art, and you're an asshole.

    Please note that probably not one member of ArtRenewal would disagree with you if you repeated the three statements above, while they immediately tell you that the only "real" art is White Western High-Realism and its immediate "cousins.

    Have I offended anyone here? Gee, I'm really sorry for that, because unlike some people I know, that wasn't my intention...









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    Actually, I kind of see a lot of very well-rendered realism as kind of dishonest. After all, it's trying to tell the viewer it's something (reality) that it's actually not. It's purposefully trying to deceive.

    (That's not to say that I don't like it, I love a lot of western realist art, mostly stuff from the 19th century. But it's kind of like the unconditional love for a compulsive liar, haha.)

    I guess I just see "extremely representational" paintings made for the sake of BEING a PAINTING as trying to be something they're not, even if they're very beautiful. After all, it's just fabric or wood with ground up minerals on it. If you were to ask the average person whether they would consider flat, ground up minerals on a wall as beautiful, they would probably say no. The artist has to convince them of this by arranging those pigments in a certain way to "fool" people into thinking it's beautiful.

    But at the same time, I also see conceptual abstract art as equally guilty of "dishonesty". After all, it's trying to convince you that it's an idea, a concept you can't see or feel. I think most abstract paintings ALSO want you to forget that they're a painting.

    Representative, but nonrealistic, story-telling art (take tribal for example) is also guilty, but probably a little less so (since it's assumes you're aware that you're using your minds eye to interpret it, and you're treating it more like a language than reality or concept absent of physicality).

    So... when you really think about it, just about every kind of art, whether totally abstract or "realistic" is trying to be something it's not!

    So... maybe the best definition of art itself is-- lies. That's right, folks. Art = Lie.

    *bows*

    (Yes I realize this logic is kind of silly because it also suggests that every single form of human communication is also a lie. I guess it was just a very roundabout way of agreeing that basically all art is abstract.)


    But in all seriousness, from what I can recall, ARC's philosophy seems to define art more as conveying both beauty and narrative information. I don't remember it saying that non-european, non-representative art ISN'T art at all, more that it isn't as GOOD of art. And I think most people have opinions about what is "good" and what isn't, ARC is just more narrow about it.

    I can also relate to the OP about studying a design-related field and getting a better appreciation of abstraction, only for me it was a history of industrial design class. And the debates raging over the centuries over what made something "good design" were interesting. (The issue about "dishonesty" was even more prominent in that field, about the idea that beauty in object design was defined by following its function as closely as possible, and whether things like the use of nonfunctional ornament was "dishonest".)
    Last edited by Zirngibism; January 30th, 2010 at 01:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    ArtRenewal is about as intellectually unbiased as the Pope. Take that into consideration when you read anything that comes from that particular forum. The fact that they can't even accept the fact that ALL art IS and MUST BE by it's very nature ABSTRACT is more than a small problem, and try moving the discussion outside the realm of white western high-realism into other cultures just to see the mental acrobatics they have to go through to pretend to at least grudgingly accept whatever is discussed as "real" art.
    I have an unfortunate morbid attraction to such utterly degenerate forums. Pardon me if I dont spend more than a minute of my time chuckling at their simian antics.

    EDIT: Having spent a few leisurely minutes glancing over their really rather vacuous but pretty site, I have come to a conclusion. These people are narrow minded elitist fools. I present the following quote as gruesome proof of their inability to comprehend the beauty in a simple smear of colour:

    At best they are craftsmen, with shoddy skills and unmethodical training. Ask yourself with an unbiased mind: What Rothko nebula or Pollock drip painting is more beautiful than a fine Persian rug, a Fabergé egg, or even a finely carved picture frame? The artificers of these three objects are craftsmen - but even they are not fine artists. Where do the legions of modernist smudgers, smearers, and splatterers rank?
    CRITIQUE AS YOU WOULD BE CRITIQUED
    http://conceptart.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=59
    THE ABOVE LINK IS ALL YOU NEED

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=200044 <- Sketchbook - filled with unhappy things.

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    Thumbs up

    That was truly the best article based on true art facts which I've ever read!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    That was truly the best article based on true art facts which I've ever read!

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    Art, by it's very nature, is abstraction of what is real. So really, every piece of art is abstract art. It's hard to be a good artist and simply shrug off the Jackson Pollocks and the Mondrians of the art world, because there is a lot their work can teach us about composition and color.
    Last edited by Dorkthrone; January 30th, 2010 at 01:01 PM.

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    The guy that writes the articles (Brian Yoder, I think) certainly has his mind made up about the definition of art. Hopefully soon he can make some definitive statements about life, death, love, etc.

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    Personally, when it comes to art, I prefer a convincing lie rather than an ill told one. I don't want to see the lie through. That sort of hampers the experience. I guess the worst form of lie is irony though. So I suppose all modern art is trying to be ironic. Even so much that it even stops trying to tell you something and let's you figure out what it is yourself.

    There are some things I'd prefer to call nonsense rather than art. But I guess I can't really be the judge of what gets to be called art and not. If some people want to make bad art, it's their own business.
    "I've got ham, but I'm not a hamster"

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    'real art is when a painter can take a flat canvas, and with paint and brushes create abstracted recreations of reality, shaped by consummate craftsmanship and a poetic soul. Real art communicates or expresses compelling stories about the odyssey of human life; all the leagues it has travelled, all the lands it has visited - some lands strange and exotic, others in our own gardens and fields.'


    pfew, that guy has a clear view. Its getting hard to keep an open mind if you are as sure of yourself as this guy is. Whats so difficult about accepting the art you like is a part of art, and not ' the art i like is the only art'
    not really worth talking about, i just hope people dont take it serious

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    Headline News:

    In their "factual" opinion, elitists deliver their opinion on what the ever-vague definition of art is and declare that anyone who disagrees is totally wrong.

    In related news various other elitist groups deliver their "factual" opinion that your religion is wrong, your politics are wrong, your sexuality is wrong, your skin is wrong, and generally everything about you is wrong.

    Also other elitists groups deliver their "factual" opinion that the other elitist groups' "factual" opinions are wrong.

    Semantics is serious business folks.
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  22. #15
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    Who cares? Honestly, just do your thing and let other people do theirs.

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    Who cares? Honestly, just do your thing and let other people do theirs.
    But we cant just brush off the topics, can we?
    I wonder what these people would deduce from a lyricless composition in music? what do they feel when they hear chopin play?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhanu View Post
    I wonder what these people would deduce from a lyricless composition in music? what do they feel when they hear chopin play?
    Nothing because Chopin doesn't produce "real" music and is not a "real" musician. At best he's just a audio craftsman who creates un-musical abstractions.

    A "real" musician would produce realistic non-abstracted sounds as one would find in nature.

    Or...

    A "real" musician would produce idealistic sounds as per Plato's philosophy of ideal forms.

    Or some such.
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    Abstract is a meaningless term, but in this context it generally denotes non-representational art. I'm generally less suspicious of it when the artist has first demonstrated traditional, classical, figurative skills (as Picasso did). I heard a good quote earlier. It was along the lines that someone should prove they can write ordinary sentences before they try to be a poet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhanu View Post
    But we cant just brush off the topics, can we?
    I wonder what these people would deduce from a lyricless composition in music? what do they feel when they hear chopin play?
    Chopin is probably fine, but when you get to that degenerate mongrel jazz "music," that's another...
    Oh, I'm sorry, did I just Godwin the thread? Silly me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Chopin is probably fine, but when you get to that degenerate mongrel jazz "music," that's another...
    Oh, I'm sorry, did I just Godwin the thread? Silly me.
    Umm, you devil you.

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    Jackson Pollock purposefully created his work to not be "abstracted" from reality.
    At least Icarus tried!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    Tell me to accept only Abstract Expressionism as real art, and you're an asshole.

    Tell me to accept Frazetta and Stan Lee's output as the only real art, and you're an asshole.

    Tell me only the Byzantine Cultures produced real art, and you're an asshole.

    Please note that probably not one member of ArtRenewal would disagree with you if you repeated the three statements above, while they immediately tell you that the only "real" art is White Western High-Realism and its immediate "cousins.

    It's worse than that. There's plenty of "White Western High-Realism" that they don't approve of, such as the art of Odd Nerdrum. Their particular aesthetic apparently only allows pretty peasant girls and floating cherubs surrounded by classical Roman architecture as worthy subject matter. Oh, and fruit. (Not impressionistic landscapes, though, as that's where the decline in Western Art begins for them!)

    As a side note, it's funny to see that FOX News is one of their advertisers/sponsors. This is also a tad ironic, in light of the fact that Rupert Murdoch's daughter is related (by marriage) to Lucien Freud (Another realist artist they hate, due to subject matter).
    Last edited by jpacer; January 31st, 2010 at 02:53 AM.
    "Contrary to the belief of the layman, the essential of art is not to imitate nature, but under the guise of imitation to stir up excitement with pure plastic elements: measurements, directions, ornaments, lights, values, colors, substances, divided and organized according to the injunctions of natural laws. While so occupied, the artist never ceases to be subservient to nature, but instead of imitating the incidents in a paltry way, he imitates the laws."-Andre Lhote

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    Tried making abstract art.

    I failed.

    Therefore, abstract art is Art.

  31. #24
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    'White, western high-realism?' I don't know what the hell 'white' has to do with anything, as though critics are subliminally associating a preference for classical art with racism. There's no discrimination against black and Asian painters who also work in this style (such as Yuqi Wang or Han wu Shen). All western art was 'white' until relatively recently. It's irrelevant! There weren't many non-white Impressionists or Cubists either (and their borrowings from Japanese prints or African masks hardly made them multiculturalists).

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    Does it REALLY matter?
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    Doesn't art require a point of view? And by definition ones point of view is finite. So as long as you work to make the best and most meaningful art for yourself, who cares what other people think?
    Each age decides what their art is and that decision is constantly being evaluated by subsequent generations and cultures. What is art today is garbage tomorrow and on and on.

  34. #27
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    Glad to see you people are not close minded and intolerant as these people, I used to respect that site but now that I read this... I knew many people that think like that in real life, and I think they are wrong.

    But I ALSO think that this elitism from some realists exists as an oposition to the intolerance in the modern art circle towards realism.

    Don`t you think that realism is underrated in mainstream galleries and art schools? It seems to be that the only REAL MODERN ART is abstract art, for them realism is obsolete... Abstract art=GOOD, Realism=OLD and irrelevant.
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  35. #28
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    OOPS! double post.
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  36. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Saksida View Post
    But I ALSO think that this elitism from some realists exists as an oposition to the intolerance in the modern art circle towards realism.
    And it could be said that intolerance in the modern art circle was in opposition to the intolerance of the old Academic art circle towards abstraction.

    'Tis a funny world we live in. :)
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  38. #30
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    Good point, Chris! The strength of their standpoint makes more sense in the context of "retaliation" than "attack".

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