...but Is It Art?

macunaima

Trooper
MODERATOR ACTION: I split the discussion on art from the Now Admiring thread, because that thread was not meant to discuss "what art is", but to present our favourite works of art. The discussion on what art is can continue here. Thanks for listening. -Perun
macunaima's original post now follows.

[!--quoteo(post=133346:date=Mar 29 2006, 01:46 PM:name=Perun)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Perun @ Mar 29 2006, 01:46 PM) [snapback]133346[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
I saw that on Yahoo! and I decided it's not noteworthy [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/tongue.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\":p\" border=\"0\" alt=\"tongue.gif\" /]
[/quote]

Well, it is not news to anyone on this MB that you are more selective and judicious in artistic matters than I am. [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/tongue.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\":p\" border=\"0\" alt=\"tongue.gif\" /]

I don't know what the artist him/herself had in mind, but I find interesting about this sculpture is the it exposes the contradicitions of the ways in which public figures market themselves.

But then again, maybe I'm just easily amused.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[!--quoteo(post=133350:date=Mar 29 2006, 09:55 PM:name=macunaima)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(macunaima @ Mar 29 2006, 09:55 PM) [snapback]133350[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
I don't know what the artist him/herself had in mind, but I find interesting about this sculpture is the it exposes the contradicitions of the ways in which public figures market themselves.
[/quote]

Well, you have a good point there. But I still wonder how any why I should consider it as art? It's a sculpture of a nude pregnant woman, OK, but it was only made because that nude pregnant woman happens to be a celebrity... or so I think.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[!--quoteo(post=133351:date=Mar 29 2006, 10:03 PM:name=Perun)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Perun @ Mar 29 2006, 10:03 PM) [snapback]133351[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]OK, but it was only made because that nude pregnant woman happens to be a celebrity... or so I think.[/quote]And I think that this sculpture is tasteless, no matter what the reason was for its creation. And I also think that it exposes nothing but this woman's genitals (if at all, I haven't seen it from the other angle, and I don't really want to either).
 

macunaima

Trooper
[!--quoteo(post=133351:date=Mar 29 2006, 03:03 PM:name=Perun)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Perun @ Mar 29 2006, 03:03 PM) [snapback]133351[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Well, you have a good point there. But I still wonder how any why I should consider it as art? It's a sculpture of a nude pregnant woman, OK, but it was only made because that nude pregnant woman happens to be a celebrity... or so I think.
[/quote]


Hmm, what is your definition of 'art'? Or better, what is your definition of 'visual art'?

Is this art, for example?
fountain.jpg
 

Onhell

Infinite Dreamer
But Perun, can you not see our modern, disgusting, superficial, comsumer-driven society in that disgusting urinal? [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/biggrin.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\":D\" border=\"0\" alt=\"biggrin.gif\" /]
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Macunaima seems to be on a crusade to shock us. First that dubious pregnant woman showing off her bits, then this meaningless pissoir... Or is it that he's got a mind like a cesspit and wants to show it off here in the best exhibitionist fashion? ::
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[!--quoteo(post=133438:date=Mar 30 2006, 08:09 PM:name=Onhell)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Onhell @ Mar 30 2006, 08:09 PM) [snapback]133438[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
But Perun, can you not see our modern, disgusting, superficial, comsumer-driven society in that disgusting urinal? [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/biggrin.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\":D\" border=\"0\" alt=\"biggrin.gif\" /]
[/quote]

I see the remains of that going down in there [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/tongue.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\":p\" border=\"0\" alt=\"tongue.gif\" /]
 

macunaima

Trooper
[!--quoteo(post=133436:date=Mar 30 2006, 01:04 PM:name=Perun)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Perun @ Mar 30 2006, 01:04 PM) [snapback]133436[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
No, that is definitely *not* art. It's just disgusting.
[/quote]

Interesting. In case you didn't know, that picture is of a "sculpture" by Marcel Duchamp -- important french modernist artist from the early twentieth century.

Of course, just because he made something and called it 'art' doesn't mean you have to agree. But you still haven't told us what you take to be definitive of *art*. You said this is not art because it's disgusting. Does that mean that only something beautiful can be art? I think that is a very narrow definition. Duchamp himself criticized that conception of art, calling it "retinal art" -- art for the retinas, as opposed to art for teh mind and the intellect. And I must say I agree. I can't provide you with a definition of art, but I do think that the central characteristic of art is that it be provocative; that it challenges you to see things differently. A beautiful portrait of a person can certainly do that -- think of Rembrandt. A not so beautiful portrait of a person can also do that -- think of van Gogh. Duchamp was precisely trying to challenge people to look at art differently with his "sculpture." Maybe it isn't pretty, but it is certainly thought provoking; unless you are a conservative reactionary, it will make you see things differently -- it will at least force you to defend assumptions that you thought were safe and didn't need to be defended.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Well, that strange woman is the kind of sculpture that would only appeal to students in obstetrics -- or maybe to some sickos -- but it really doesn't do it for me.

As for the pissoir... I'll abstain to comment any further. [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/sleep.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\"-_-\" border=\"0\" alt=\"sleep.gif\" /]
 
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Anonymous

Guest
My definition of art?

Expression. Something that speaks to me and makes me think. No, it doesn't have to be beautiful. Certainly not.

An urinal doesn't do that. I go to it daily and have a piss in it. Should I stand in front of it and think "what does it say to me? I take a leak, but is that all there is to it?"

::
 

Kynisk Sokol

Ancient Mariner
[!--quoteo(post=133446:date=Mar 30 2006, 07:59 PM:name=Perun)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Perun @ Mar 30 2006, 07:59 PM) [snapback]133446[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]Should I stand in front of it and think "what does it say to me? I take a leak, but is that all there is to it?"
[/quote]

Heh, that's reminds me of these pretentious prats. See for yourself. Just a bit of humour for the topic that's all. [img src=\"style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/happy.gif\" style=\"vertical-align:middle\" emoid=\"^_^\" border=\"0\" alt=\"happy.gif\" /]
 

macunaima

Trooper
[!--quoteo(post=133446:date=Mar 30 2006, 01:59 PM:name=Perun)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Perun @ Mar 30 2006, 01:59 PM) [snapback]133446[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
My definition of art?

Expression. Something that speaks to me and makes me think. No, it doesn't have to be beautiful. Certainly not.

An urinal doesn't do that. I go to it daily and have a piss in it. Should I stand in front of it and think "what does it say to me? I take a leak, but is that all there is to it?"

[/quote]

Ok, what if it "speaks" to someone else and makes them think? Does it then count as art? What if the only reason it doesn't make you think is that you don't understand the context in which it was made and for which it was intended.

Urinals don't normally make me think either. But if I saw it in a museum right alongside other objets which -- by some uncontroversial standard -- are considered art, then I suspect it would make me think. Of course, I might be a lazy conservative and I might just call it disgusting and move on. But if not, I think such a piece would force me to think about my reaction to it. Why do I find it disgusting? Why is my first reaction to think that it doesn't belong in a museum? What do all the other objects have in common that this one doesn't? And if I manage to come up with a good answer to that question, then I should ask myself why it matters that this object lacks that common feature. Sure, maybe this object isn't "pretty", but it makes me think about the social practice of making art and displaying them in museums. It makes me think about what kind of person I am that I value a "pretty" object over a challenging one. Is that the kind of person you want to be?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hmmm... Is that what some people call philosophical diarrhoea? ::
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[!--quoteo(post=133453:date=Mar 30 2006, 09:34 PM:name=macunaima)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(macunaima @ Mar 30 2006, 09:34 PM) [snapback]133453[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Ok, what if it "speaks" to someone else and makes them think? Does it then count as art? What if the only reason it doesn't make you think is that you don't understand the context in which it was made and for which it was intended.
[/quote]


No. It only counts as art when it makes me think.


























::

Anything placed somewhere out of context makes people think, obviously. If I put a mobile craphouse into a barber's shop and set it on fire, most people would flee, probably, but some might stand outside and think "what the hell does this have to mean?"
But does that make it art???
 

macunaima

Trooper
[!--quoteo(post=133455:date=Mar 30 2006, 02:40 PM:name=Maverick)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Maverick @ Mar 30 2006, 02:40 PM) [snapback]133455[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
Hmmm... Is that what some people call philosophical diarrhoea? ::
[/quote]

:: ::

Is Maverick what some people call an anti-intellectual philistine?!


I can imagine him saying (10 times a day): "Gee, I don't understand any of othat (or I'm just too lazy to bother), it must be crap! Bring on the Heavy Metal! That's more to my intellectual standards!."


In response to Perun: The thought process I imagined a reflective person having upon seeing such an object placed in a museum is very different from the thought process someone would go through in the scenario you envision.

My case: What kind of a person am I? What kind of an institution is a museum?
Your case: I've gotta get out of here 'cause it smells like shit!

Of course, if Duchamp had placed a "mobile craphouse" in the museum instead of a urinal, I suspect it could served the same purpose. In which case, I suppose it would be "art" -- or if your are possessive of that word, it would belong in a museum and it should command our interest.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[!--quoteo(post=133457:date=Mar 30 2006, 09:45 PM:name=macunaima)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(macunaima @ Mar 30 2006, 09:45 PM) [snapback]133457[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]Is Maverick what some people call an anti-intellectual philistine?!
[/quote]
You haven't read much of the IMC, have you? ::

I simply don't particularly appreciate people who talk for the sake of talking, and who don't actually say anything. I try to waste as little time as possible on them, that's all.
 

macunaima

Trooper
[!--quoteo(post=133458:date=Mar 30 2006, 02:50 PM:name=Maverick)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Maverick @ Mar 30 2006, 02:50 PM) [snapback]133458[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
I simply don't particularly appreciate people who talk for the sake of talking, and who don't actually say anything. I try to waste as little time as possible on them, that's all.
[/quote]

I don't think I was "talking for the sake of talking." Perun and I were discussing the nature of art. If you have nothing to contribute, perhaps you should refrain from wasting our time.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[!--quoteo(post=133457:date=Mar 30 2006, 09:45 PM:name=macunaima)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(macunaima @ Mar 30 2006, 09:45 PM) [snapback]133457[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]
The thought process I imagined a reflective person having upon seeing such an object placed in a museum is very different from the thought process someone would go through in the scenario you envision. [/quote]

But art shouldn't be made purely for a museum! That's completely beside the point of art!

[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]Of course, if Duchamp had placed a "mobile craphouse" in the museum instead of a urinal, I suspect it could served the same purpose. In which case, I suppose it would be "art" -- or if your are possessive of that word, it would belong in a museum and it should command our interest.
[/quote]

Am I getting this right:

-You claim that putting a craphouse into a barbery and setting it on fire is not art
-You claim that putting a craphouse into a museum and setting it on fire is not art
-Unless it is done by a "professional" artist???

::
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[!--quoteo(post=133457:date=Mar 30 2006, 09:45 PM:name=macunaima)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(macunaima @ Mar 30 2006, 09:45 PM) [snapback]133457[/snapback][/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]My case: What kind of a person am I?
[/quote]
Yeah. We do wonder. ::
 
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