Saturday, January 13, 2007

Don't You Ever Just Feel Like Making Some Eggs And Coffee And Staying Up All Night?

Check this out; an introspective post about art in 300 words or less. Now that's an accomplishment!


So I've been thinking about art lately. What started it was, I was reading this art book my parents got me for xmas. It's called The Power of Art and it opened up with some really pretentious observation about how "Art is not comfortable" and about how art was the be-all and end-all of all things. I just thought, "you know, that kind of thing really bugs the hell out of me. I'm sick of these blowhards competing to see who can appreciate art the most, who can ascribe the most power and meaning and emotion to a picture, no matter how meaningless it may be. Have I ever really looked at a painting and felt all the emotions these people ascribe to them? Has anyone, really? Or is it all just a myth created by these snobs to perpetuate their own snobbery and make others feel inferior due to their substandard art appreciation abilities?"

But just as I was ready to dismiss art entirely and join some iconoclast facebook groups and start a little bonfire of the vanities in my kitchen sink, I realized what an egotistical motherfucker I was being. So thousands of educated people have been fooled by the clever ruse of these paint-smearing pricks, and only good ol' Max Kuehn has the insight to see the truth? Doesn't seem real likely. Sure, some art invites commentary which it doesn't warrant, but that's the fault of the critic, not the art itself. I think part of learning about art is learning to distiguish between the genuine meaning found within a work and forced, false meaning which others project onto it.

In other words, I think I'm gonna stick with the art history plan for now.That said, if you ever hear me making grandiose statements about the power of art, possibly while wearing a green and white scarf and a sweeping black coat, go ahead and sign me up for some heavy machinery operation class.

The fact that I posted this picture: sign of healthier attitude towards art?
The fact that I worry about my own attitude towards art: or a cry for help? Discuss.

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28 Comments:

At 3:43 AM, January 13, 2007, Blogger Samwalkertron said...

I think part of learning about art is learning to distiguish between the genuine meaning found within a work and forced, false meaning which others project onto it.

Does the fact that a meaning is projected onto it by others make it invalid, if it is really meaningful?

 
At 11:59 AM, January 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck you max.

 
At 1:01 PM, January 13, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

yuck yuck yuck


and sam, I don't think I understand your question. Most art has inherent meaning, and it always will, but people tend to project thier own meanings onto them. The projected meanings are false, and the real ones are real. Is this what you meant?

 
At 1:48 PM, January 13, 2007, Blogger Samwalkertron said...

Why are the projected meanings false? If an outside observer (a critic/analysts/whatever) can make an art piece more meanigful to someone, why is it a false meaning?

 
At 2:03 PM, January 13, 2007, Blogger Jules said...

does an artist create art for the public, or for him/herself?

if the point of art is to be understood by all, screw art. that said, art is possibly my favorite thing on this planet. i think people relate to different kinds or art, and maybe you just have to appreciate the skill (or criticize the lack of) the ones you don't relate to.

 
At 3:21 PM, January 13, 2007, Blogger matt said...

duchamp is a piece of shit. im just throwing that out there.

 
At 4:52 PM, January 13, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

I guess I just feel that a lot of the meanings ascribed to art are unwarrented. I need to make sure that my dislike for critics who pile on significance for the sake of showing off their erudition (look at me, I'm a big fancy art critic who uses words erudition, I can appreciate this art soooo much better than you can) like doesn't prevent me from writing off a work entirely.

But Sam I can answer your question with another question: if an observer adds meaning to art, what makes it a true meaning?

and now begins the debate over whether meaning is inherent/in the eye of the beholder blah blah blah.


and yeah, duchamp was a total goo-gobbler.

 
At 6:15 PM, January 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"beauty is in the eye of the beholder"
this means that generally, art is relative and open to different interpretations. however, there is some art that is absolute i.e. if a critic fails to find anything worthy in the art, chances are that the critic is impotent and worthless.
this becomes more apprent when we broaden the scope of art to include books and other media as well. it may well be that shakespeare's work will be interpreted differently, but anyone calling shakespeare a worthless author is not educated enough to understand literature.

 
At 8:51 PM, January 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed about Duchamp.

I can't say that I've ever been emotionally moved by a particular piece of art. Some of it projects different feelings, like Renoir's work tends to make me feel slightly happier, and the painting Abbey in an Oak Forest (don't remember the painter at the moment)brings on a melancholy reflective sort of mood. Different people probably feel differently about different art.

So, yeah, I agree with "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." There are certain works that should be respected for their technical skill and execution, but they don't necessarily need to evoke an emotional response.

 
At 9:22 PM, January 13, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

heh heh, tirth said "impotent."

 
At 3:08 AM, January 14, 2007, Blogger Houley said...

the fact that you misused that last colon: confusing and worries me?

 
At 3:11 AM, January 14, 2007, Blogger Houley said...

dada!

 
At 3:27 AM, January 14, 2007, Blogger Houley said...

Art is like a beautiful Russian nesting doll. On the exterior, it is quite elegant and beautiful and enjoyable. But one who beholds and understands art removes the outer shells, finding more and more beautiful and delightful decorations on the dolls inside. Indeed, the joy art brings to man is not simply or even primarily the joy of beholding that which is beauty, but the joy of the work that understanding this beauty, and indeed the elegance of the whole set-up, inherently requires.

"it may well be that shakespeare's work will be interpreted differently, but anyone calling shakespeare a worthless author is not educated enough to understand literature."
What allows you to make this claim? Popular opinion? Your own opinion? What if I find deep meaning in Macbeth concerning the 2006-2007 Bowl Championship Series? Is this meaning valid simply because it assigns worth to the work? Is Revolution Number 9 art? Be warned: if you suggest it is not, I will have no other choice but to call you ignorant. True, it is a large sampling of sounds and various noises randomly slopped together. What meaning do you make of it? And how does the meaning you make of it relate to your level of education?

...

 
At 3:46 AM, January 14, 2007, Blogger Samwalkertron said...

But Sam I can answer your question with another question: if an observer adds meaning to art, what makes it a true meaning?

I neither know nor care what you mean here by "true meaning" (I only used it in the first place because you did), I'm simply saying that it is a valid meaning. And I don't see what matters beyonf that.

Also: all you losers who apparently cannot appreciate Duchamp are ignorant. If you are so opposed to pretention in the art community I would think you would embrace his Fountain, which is often interpreted as a direct attack on that.

 
At 9:28 AM, January 14, 2007, Blogger Josh said...

ahaha

 
At 12:34 PM, January 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if I find deep meaning in Macbeth concerning the 2006-2007 Bowl Championship Series? Is this meaning valid simply because it assigns worth to the work? Is Revolution Number 9 art? Be warned: if you suggest it is not, I will have no other choice but to call you ignorant. True, it is a large sampling of sounds and various noises randomly slopped together. What meaning do you make of it? And how does the meaning you make of it relate to your level of education?

If you want to find deeper meanings in the bowl championship series, by all means, go ahead. Why would I be bothered? Its your interpretation...

 
At 3:21 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger matt said...

i know that i am not as enlightened as you are and i am thankful that you allow the unworthy, such as myself, to bask in your glow. however, despite the fact that i do respect and appreciate the statement that duchamp is trying to make, that does not take away from the fact that i dislike his artwork and still think that he is a piece of shit. so excuse me, please, if my personal taste in art does not fall within your own personal canon of complete greatness.

 
At 5:05 PM, January 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are personal attacks really necessary, Sam? Disliking a certain artist makes us ignorant? Like Matt said, I appreciate the statement, but that doesn't mean I have to adore a urinal.

 
At 5:17 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger Samwalkertron said...

To interpet what I said as a personal attack is pretty dubious, but I think personal attacks would nonetheless be justified in response to the statement "he is a piece of shit."

 
At 6:02 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger Houley said...

Fountain is pretty sweet, folks.

Tirth, my question was about the misinterpretation of Macbeth, not the BCS. Is a critic's potency simply a measure of his ability to find worth in something, or should it be a measure of his ability to find a correct and deliberately meaningful worth?

 
At 7:45 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

fountain's pretty sweet? Maybe if you've got a full bladder, am I right, am I right?


and sam, you did start your statement with "all you losers who apparently cannot appreciate Duchamp are ignorant." That sounds kind of like a personal attack to me.

 
At 7:46 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

This was a pretty divisive post. Mission accomplished.

Methinks my next post will be about...pugs. Now there's somethign we can all agree on!

 
At 8:10 PM, January 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In answer to your question, Jason, a critic is a person who takes the pains to analyze something(usually a piece of art) and finds some deeper significance in what he analyzes. It doesn't matter what significance s/he draws, because the fact that s/he took the time to analyze and draw some significance is proof enough of the critic's potency.
When I talked about Shakespeare, I was trying to talk about something canonical. What I meant was this: although there are myraid interpretations of a piece of art, some pieces are canonical. Their value and excellence is beyond critique. So if someone comes up and says, "Shakespeare has problem", chances are that the critic himself has some problems with his research and/or his perceptions. I was merely trying to illustrate that there are certain canonical pieces in each genre that are beyond criticism.

 
At 8:38 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

Hell if someone comes up and says, "Shakespeare has problem", chances are that the critic himself has some problems with his grammar.


I'm still not sure if that html is going to work.

 
At 8:38 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

Yessssss

 
At 9:48 PM, January 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in a hurry!
I was trying to say "Shakespeare has a problem

 
At 10:53 PM, January 14, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

suuuuuuure you were

 
At 1:40 AM, January 15, 2007, Blogger Houley said...

But what makes Shakespeare canonical? By even using the term "canonical," you seem to be supporting the idea of a sort of universal, absolute truth, an undeniable interpretation; at the same time, by saying a critic's "potency" (and I'm not sure if I entirely understand what you mean by this) depends solely upon his ability to derive some meaning - any meaning - from an object or idea that he observes or considers, you seem to support a much more subjective view of value.

 

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