Tuesday, September 11, 2007

part 2!

So, I thought Mario 64 was art. I thought games were art. They were the movies of the new century. Beyond this, I believed that there are things which are art and things that are not. This division was objective and could be argued using logic, and discussing said artwork. This developed in my mind over the years into what seems to be the common frame of criticism today, that is, artistic intent. If the intention of the creator of the piece was to create art, then it is art, and only then. If it is instead simply a craft, making something useful like a chair or a quilt, then it is no longer art, it is "simply" a craft. Obviously this is derogatory, even though when you are talking about it you don't mean it your language reveals your prejudice.

Now, this is directly related to the list below. Abstract art gains it's legitimacy because the artist intends to create art, therefor it is art. Then the discussion surrounds whether or not it is good art. The chair never enters this discussion, using this model, because it is not art, it is merely craft, it is not seeking to create something timeless, something mentally stimulating. And this really is the crux, because then you get art installations that feature nothing but text, that focus purely on concept and nothing on craft.

They can be viewed two ways, either they view the essence of what art is as being the concept and that the craft is simply window dressing or, they can be viewed from a context of art that is asking, "what is art"? Putting out a purely conceptual piece of art and asking, "is this art"? Obviously, using the model of intent, the answer is yes. And it seems to be the purest (read bestest) kind of art, art that is completely devoid of any practical use, and totally self-contained. It is art that talks about what art is in a totally conceptual way. There is no hint of dirty craft, nor any hint of common practicality. This leads to 1, 4 and 6 below.

(I hope this makes sense, it makes sense to me but I'm afraid that it may be too brief to be cohesive. This is stuff that developed slowly in my head over years of reading people's opinions and developing my own, so, taken out of that context it may be confusing.)

Why? because this sort of art requires allot of specialized education. You have to know your stuff, and be open, to be able to view one of these conceptual pieces and actually get anything out of it. People walk out confused at what they saw and they generally seem to have two reactions. It's over their head so, either they raise it on a pedestal and extol it's virtues in an attempt to look smart or they say it's useless and these "artists" have no skill and are charlatans. They're 8 year old kid could have done that. I don't blame them, you either have to be an artist, and therefore make it your business to know what's going on in the art world, or have more free time than the average working class person does and be able to educate yourself on something as "impractical" as art. This, I believe, is where allot of people's dislike of "art" and "artists" stems.

My opinion is that this sort of art is often a puzzle for the rich and affluent. Something they can do on weekends to show off they're knowledge in front of their friends. Of course, I think there is real art in it as well. I just think that it's sold to these people because they are the patrons, they pay the bills. It's a funny dynamic that the people making the art often hate the people paying for it.

So, to sum up this post, art is viewed as being based on artistic intent. This is an objective thing that can be judged based on what the artist says, their body of work, they're personal biography and what is happening in the art world at the time. This can very easily be argued and argued, factions are set up in defense of particular artistic intents. It's all a big game that people can play. They know the games of the past, they know the players and their stats, they know the grudges and the best players and they are excited to see who will come out on top tomorrow.

But art is not a sport. More to come.



Bekah said...

It seems like you're focusing only one...I don't know, gallery art? Such as paintings. Where does music come into this? I don't think it's controversial like carpentry or video games...music is a pretty accepted form of art, right? So do these same ideas in your post apply or is it different (in your opinion)?

Keep writing! This is interesting. :)

Jonathan said...

Um, yeah, i'm just covering visual art. I think, that in the end, what I'm sayign will apply to all arts but the conclusions that I have made were made along the lines of visual art.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think what I'm saying here can be applied to most of the other arts, music included. I don't really know music history all that well, but, there is a group of people who think that pop music isn't art, and the only worthwhile music is classical and opera. I just think that music is cheaper and more widely listened to than visual art and therefore people don't know as much about visual art?

But yeah, I don't know if there is a craft/art split in music. I think part of this is that music has no practical use like carpentry, except for elevator music, which i don't think most people would consider art.

Does that make sense?

Bekah said...

Yeah that makes sense :)