ARTH101: Discussion Topic 2, Defining Art


#1

How would you define art?
Art is something that makes one think, whether inside or outside of ones learned parameters. This can arrive from any of the arts as art is expression. We as viewers gain knowledge of ourselves when encountering a painting, sculpture, photograph, dance, poem, or play. Art is reflective. This is how I define art.

I paint with chalk. I like desert landscapes but have done many different ideas. Sometimes what I paint is for someone specific and the work is tailored to that person. My friends are my audience and those that I gift the pieces to.


#2

Do you agree with the definition for ‘art’ as it’s explained in the reading above? Why or why not? Can you add to the definition? Is your definition coming from a subjective or objective perspective?

I completely agree with the definition of art as it is given in your text. I specially love when it says that: " It takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary". I would only add that for me it is closely linked to aesthetics and that it is absolutely subjective: What I like you don´t have to like and vice versa.


#3

MEB-

THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY. I HAVE TO AGREE ABOUT THE SUBJECTIVE. REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS PERCEIVED IN ARTS, I FEEL ART IS SUBJECTIVE. HAVE STRUGGLED WITH THE IDEAL OF OBJECTIVE. HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE OBJECTIVE? HAVE ASKED CURATORS HOW THEY CURATE AND IT COMES DOWN TO AN ORDERING OF THE PIECES. I AM UNCERTAIN. I BELIEVE TO BE OBJECTIVE IS TO BE IN AWE AND NOT COGNIZANT WHICH ALLOWS THE PROCESS OF NEW DISCOVERY OF MIND IN BEING WITHIN ART. BUT THAT MEANS I HAVE BECOME SUBJECTIVE, NO? I THINK A REACTION, ALBEIT, POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE IS A…WELL A THOUGHT, THEREFORE, A SUBJECTIVE. WHAT DO YOU THINK? HELP

Thank you.

K


#4

Discussion Topic 2: Defining Art
Not completed: Discussion Topic 2: Defining Art. Select to mark as complete.
Reflect on the following discussion prompt.Do you agree with the definition for ‘art’ as it’s explained in the reading above? Why or why not? Can you add to the definition? Is your definition coming from a subjective or objective perspective?

Webster’s New Collegiate dictionary defines art as “The conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” Yet art is much more than a medium, or words on a page. It is the expression of our experience.
Art is uniquely human and tied directly to culture. It takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. It asks questions about who we are, what we value, the meaning of beauty and the human condition. As an expressive medium it allows us to experience sublime joy, deep sorrow, confusion and clarity. It tests our strengths, vulnerabilities and resolve. It gives voice to ideas and feelings, connects us to the past, reflects the present and anticipates the future. Along these lines, art history, combined with anthropology and literature, are three main sources in observing, recording and interpreting our human past. Visual art is a rich and complex subject whose definition is in flux as the culture around it changes. Because of this, how we define art is in essence a question of agreement. In this respect, we can look again to the dictionary’s definition for an understanding of exactly what to look for when we proclaim something as ‘art.’"

I disagree that art is “in essence a question of agreement.” Just because you and I agree that something is art does not make it art. Such a definition is wholly subjective and I see/understand an objective element in art. Let’s call it truth for a start. It is human and tied to culture and “gives voice.” Gives voice to what? My voice? Your voice? A conversation (voices) between humans? It “connects us” but to what? Whom? If it rises no higher than man we short-change ourselves. “Reflection” of ourselves is inadequate to reflect the spiritual side of life—a key aspect notably left out of the introductory paragraphs, above. If art is merely the myopic and subjective evaluations of people sipping wine in a gallery then I want to know what they are saying and hope that they don’t mind if I agree to disagree agreeably. I like much of what I see above and I would like to see it be enriched by greater inclusiveness.

I am a trained theologian who teaches in a high school. For the past 2 years I have been teaching an American History class as well. My son is studying sculpture to teach on the university level and I think that my view of art is parochial and uneducated. But a fair amount of what I see as “educated” art is either offensive to common sensibilities or incomprehensible. Must art always have to be explained? When I see the elementary students’ artwork displayed in our admin building hallway I find excuses to pass through and slow down to admire their efforts. I prefer that to a rock placed on a pedestal in a university alcove that cost several thousands of dollars to install. Let’s go back to truth. I think that there is / should be some correspondence between truth and our experience with the world around us. If there is no truth, no correlation to reality (truth) and art, then the ball of (sticky) Tak™ on my work computer is “art.” Funny, no one at work has noticed my masterpiece!

Actually defining art is a real challenge. I will be glad to see my educated definition when I finish this course.

23 May 2015
31 May 2015


#5

Q: Do you agree with the definition for ‘art’ as it’s explained in the reading above? Why or why not? Can you add to the definition? Is your definition coming from a subjective or objective perspective?

A: When it comes to art, definitions are purely academic. Certainly, there are parts of the definition I agree with, one or two I disagree with and some parts that need clarification. Ultimately, what art is to an individual is purely subjective.

One person looks at a painting and sees nothing more than colors randomly thrown at a canvass and yet another person looks and sees form and composition. Whether a person sees either of those things doesn’t tell us whether they consider it art, creative, beautiful, or if they even like it.


#6

Hi Goyo~

What is meant by “not completed” for discussion Topic 2 at the top of your transmission? Do you know how to complete and if so how does one complete?

Art is not about defined parameters. It simply cannot be. Webster’s definition establishes that art is aesthetically based. I agree that the idea that art is expression and that it is not a designated medium, but rather what one seeks from artistic application or creation of it. It is the experiences and how one incorporates those into daily life ideals that is “art”, no? It is rare to find another that agrees about beauty or how that might translate to human condition. The basic human condition factor does not employ art. You are exploring a deeper facet?

Our sociological infrastructures dictate and is tied within our immediate culture. I say this because I have many acquaintances around the world and some are not subjected to an American schooling ideal. Yes, art education moves an experience from the ordinary to a heightened level because art education allows for imagination to intervene a hardship. Without imagination, we are but automatons. Yep. without art knowledge we are subjected to a lack of emotional realization. Art allows to us to be subjective to an artistic object. The object can be from any mode of the arts, be it visual, audio, or kinetic. All of that depends on the individual. Everything changes everyday so all is subject to that. However, the base of an individual most likely will always strive towards that basic desire of experience. Each new generation realizes the cutting edge. Meaning, what was yesterday is not today nor tomorrow. It has nothing to do with agreement; it is born in the individual embracement of knowledge and desire for exploration.

Yep, I agree with you that just because I find something artistic, does not mean that other will. My mom and i disagreed on this readily. She, a perfectly realistic portrait artist, me a landscape artist. Picasso’s late period (I understand the movement?) I like, mom hated everything after his “red” period.

What I can say about disagreement, being an artist, if any reaction is obtained that it is good. Of course having everyone like the work is desired, but if someone hates a piece, it is a reaction, so noteworthy, no? The first time I encountered Pollack, He scared me and could not be in MOMAs gallery. I ran out. Yet, after study, I have found his ideal and he is no longer crazy angry to me. Does that make sense?

I believe that you are defining art as it speaks to you. It is obvious that you are a thinking person and that you are reaching out to experience on a deeper level. Keep after it, you will find your way. Your son will be a fountain of wisdom for you. Allow him that.

My askance is how to be objective towards art? I am not one to browse. I enjoy seeing. I try to bring in a meaning, is that wrong? Or, should I ask, how might I separate? Do you have suggestions?

Thank you for your reply, it is helpful.

Be well,

K


#7

Hey traveler 1972~

My answer:

Yes, i agree with many aspects of the discussion notes. But i art s all about expression, no? Pure and simple. it is a subjective medium. I agree with your analysis, but how does one find objectivity? Is it just an ordering of pieces to make some kind of sense for an exhibit?

I can view a piece that makes no sense to me and realize that I am reacting, is that not that point? Negative or positive. What is art you?


#8

Objectivity comes in a variety of ways. Whether or not something is beautiful or enjoyable is purely a subjective issue. However, whether something is art or not is less so. Two examples come to mind:

Piss Christ by Andres Serrano and The Holy Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili.

Piss Christ is a photograph of a plastic crucifix in a jar of the artist’s urine. By itself, the object is not all that artistic in my subjective opinion. I lacks creativity and in fact, it was composed for one reason - to be controversial and in that it succeeded. As photograph however, the composition has a lot of aesthetically artistic positives - principally, the angle of the photograph and the lighting. While I don’t like the image, I can see the artistic value.

The Holy Virgin Mary depicts the Virgin Mary from the perspective of African pagan cultures. Some of the media used in the work, again, are offensive to the Western Christian mind, but when the context is understood, it should to, an objective viewer, become less offensive. For instance, the Virgin Mary, though a virgin is seen as a symbol of fertility in many syncretic African cultures. With that context (syncretic African cultures) the media used (Elephant dung and pornographic images of female genitalia) begin to make sense. Then, looking at the aesthetic arrangement, one can appreciate the form of the work. At the end of the day, a person doesn’t have to like it (subjective), but taken in context, one can recognize the art (objective).


#9

Hello there,I liked the discussion and I would like to note in addition some of my thoughts, without claiming that I,m absolutely critical, and in brief.
First of all I believe that every human being owns a different artistic style and creative behaviour,even if he/she choose to follow a particular or specific movement which gives inspiration or gets that influence the artist from that style,or to go to school or not.School doesn’t make the artist in some exceptions.
Sometimes it happens accidently,an amateur artist to seem or look like that follows a movement.My first drawings had been criticized as contemporary and they thought that I am an artist,without knowing how to draw.

Everything has its own style even it belongs to the same movement and that is obvious if we check out American Impressionism and the original and famous French Impressionism which is a collection that the artworks look very familiar each other and related in such a way to have the opinion and the fact that those artists were making deliberately a revolution,and most of them were rejected from the salon and other galleries.The same happened with August Rodin a sculptor who never got accepted to attend the academy of fine arts.Finally he stayed in History as one of the best modern sculptors.He knew how to make realistic art.

It’s true that art’s needed to make a step forward but I prefer American Impresionism for the variety of landscapes,themes,portraits and of course we can see more pastel,more acrylics and a realistic manner diverted into this newer American Impressionistic style in contradiction with the French that looked also for me decorative for the intention of the artist to use colors that changed reality in form and shape.Many people would disagree for my opinion to believe that in American Impressionism the artist draws and paints better .Paul Cezzane is an exception,as a forerunner of cubism and also a sculptor he stayed as a benchmark in History and for many as post-impressionist.

In our modern world the good painter is rejected and he doesn’t make art.Can a sculptor who is collecting objects and create something can represent himself,herself a sculptor?Because sculpture is to dig.Even with clay you do that.You add,you dig,and you give forms.
Is it art to create a work that takes weeks,or one day,and what it serves?To know you the museums and for not to be an unprogressive artist(banal)?

Or everything serves the market?More different works,more money.“Banal” Artists have a style also,they dont copy a famous artwork from the museum.

Another example is the corruption in education.When I was studying sculpture my teacher wanted a modern copy from an ancient Greek mask.I wanted to make it similar like the original.Finally I found out that the teacher was a graduate in archaeology and not in sculpture!


#10

I agree. Art has more to do with expression of ideas and emotions. If this is not true, then someone please explain Jackson Pollock or Salvador Dali.


#11

Yes it does to do with expression and no one can impose others how to express themselves in how to create their art.But you have to be a good designer to understand forms and third dimension before you “fly”(adopt a style).
Personally I am well satisfied if I create a realistic portrait which can take days,because I want to express my creativity rather than to be productive and sell works that took me one or two hours to complete.

When you reach the step to understand three dimension then you will feel blessed.To create three dimensional artworks means that you think in that way also.You have the aspect and all the versions of an issue in your daily life.In other words you learn how to think in effective manner and with more critical thoughts.

Regarding abstract expressionism and Pollock, the course ARTH301 teaches that this movement was a form of political propaganda.Pollock probably was one of the first artists who create that kind of artworks in America and became famous,or he was a marionette.Many sources on the web claim that and not only this course.

To not be comfused I will show you a work of Picasso,Rothko, and a work of Dali to let you know what I mean.Does Picasso’s head 3dimensional in every point? or just the whole head?.Do you think its own aesthetic attractive or not?
Do you think the next Rothko’s painting is a piece of art?And if it is,if you paint your wall in your bedroom can it be as result a piece of art from a critic?Or Rothko was a part of the Abstract Expressionism?

Salvador Dali is a painter that has all the respect that he deserves,and the last decades should have much more.

There is no comparing between a giant artist and political dwarfs! because their simply destroying aesthetics in Art and simultaneously dont let space for the real artists to express themselves and create what they like.
To refer that Dali had gone with Franco,doesn’t change his art,and if it does why not to reject abstract expressionism?

No we can’t do that because the subsconscious or the unconscious will feel depressed?No more formal Art Therapy?No more market?No more Marx and Froyd?So much Monopoly :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Why Monopoly?Because Marx and Froyd are everywhere:English Literature,Art History,Economics,History,Psychology,everywhere!!.We need more freedom and real culture!Not a whole unit course.Many things have to change in future


#12

I agree with you. However, how do we as viewers distinguish between the subjective and objective? Have received many answers on this poser and believe that I have found some insight. Being subjective towards art is seeing and interpreting, therefore, owning. Objective viewing is looking? Realizing contrast, context and medium? But not venturing into a piece for understanding?

My first encounter as an adult with Pollack at MoMa scared me to death. I experienced such anger and disillusionment, I could not stay in that gallery. Now, I can see planes of mental structure within his pieces. I find Pollack’s works spell binding and twisting with emotion. Is that being objective or did I become subjective? I hope for the former. Cannot say that I understand Pollack, but am no longer afraid to take him in.

As for Dali, I find that he was all about grandeur and the iconological. How does one view him objectively? I cannot do it. He pulls me in with thoughts towards scientific ideals and the self possessed. His Mae West Lips sofas are a reproduce of fact, but also exhibits a form of desired femininity/sexuality, so he brings me into his emotional tie of vision. Hmmmm.

What do you think? Thank you for your thoughts. They really help!!


#13

I think I did this, but just in case.
I agree with you. However, how do we as viewers distinguish between the subjective and objective? Have received many answers on this poser and believe that I have found some insight. Being subjective towards art is seeing and interpreting, therefore, owning. Objective viewing is looking? Realizing contrast, context and medium? But not venturing into a piece for understanding?

My first encounter as an adult with Pollack at MoMa scared me to death. I experienced such anger and disillusionment, I could not stay in that gallery. Now, I can see planes of mental structure within his pieces. I find Pollack’s works spell binding and twisting with emotion. Is that being objective or did I become subjective? I hope for the former. Cannot say that I understand Pollack, but am no longer afraid to take him in.

As for Dali, I find that he was all about grandeur and the iconological. How does one view him objectively? I cannot do it. He pulls me in with thoughts towards scientific ideals and the self possessed. His Mae West Lips sofas are a reproduce of fact, but also exhibits a form of desired femininity/sexuality, so he brings me into his emotional tie of vision. Hmmmm.

What do you think? Thank you for your thoughts. They really help!!


#14

Hi Travler1972

Am still struggling with the objective, though your examples are informative of this. I am not fond of either example that you represent, however, can find the objectivity I am looking for.

The Piss Christ piece is a good one because it exhibits The lessening of the icon in modern times.

The Holy Virgin piece?Again brings modern mediums to light and use of an area.

All of which is, for me, an objective to the art. Thank you!!


#15

Hello Karen,I would like to note that Dali had stated "I think i am,in what i create,a rather mediocre painter.What I regard as brilliant is my own vision,not what i actually create,"
He was also a writer and a scenographer.Is it possible all that occupations presented him all about grandeur,or he was really a talented artist?

The critical aspects concerning his personal desires and being obvious through his exhibitions or other works,have changed a lot the last decade.I don’t know if a different methodology had been used by critics in past, or a different one they using now.
Another similar example is the sexuality of Alexander the Great! We having a different version the last decade than the one we had in the past.It seems that the new archaeologists are smarter and the older one not enough qualified?Don’t have good masters?

Regarding defining art and who makes it better,personally I detect it from the aesthetic.All movements having excellent works and bad works,and if everything is a piece of art(like today),then we don’t need critics,even in cinema.Many times I heard a good review for a movie which finally I didn’t like.
Everything comes when you are going to buy the artwork.Would you buy a work similar to Rothko’s for 2.000$? I wouldn’t! Yould you buy for 5.000$ an excellent oil painting copy of Dali?I would if I had the money.
I think that this is a good way for those who are simultaneously,studying Art History and being engaged with art,to understand that reflection.How much my artwork would cost and why.Do I have to make it only for the money,for art for art’s shake,or for the nirvana(art is more valuable).


#16

The text states, “Art is the expression of our experience.” I have to agree with this for like dreams, all art comes from within us. As we create art, the art reflects our feelings, thoughts, ideas, how we see and interpret the world within and around us.


#17

I think that the text definition defines “art” broadly. "It gives voice to ideas and feelings, connects us to the past, reflects the present and anticipates the future. " really resonated with me. Art gives us identity not only for artist, but also to the person viewing/bystander and to our culture as well. Art gives us a visual glimpse into the daily life of our forefathers, as well as leave artifacts for others to use in the future as well.

I feel that I agree with a more subective definition for art because art is not static, it is not only individually defined, but also culturally defined as well. It is more like the layers of an oinion where each peeled layer gives you something new to discover. Art can change meaning for the same viewer multiple times when viewed at different ages, stages of life and even daily as our interpretation of art is emotional and feeling driven.


#18

I think that art is defined infinitely and differently with each individual. I can’t say whether or not the definition above is correct because it’s all based on opinions. It’s purely subjective. I love music, dancing, drawing, painting, fashion, makeup, and so many other expressive things. So if you’re asking about how I define art, I can’t really tell you. Art is…everything. I guess…


#19

I like the idea that art is something that makes you think, but I also think one component of art is that it expresses an idea or opens a line of inquiry that cannot be expressed by words alone. Art can convey emotion, and it can connect with others on a non-verbal level. I think art can also be an expression of a deep part of our humanity, one that goes beyond words.


#20

Basically , when we talk of art , it is not only what we per sieve as the definition says but rather it is the way of life… how we think and act is all part of art. Imagine a particular work of art that for instance is presented to someone the first impression or reaction to that piece of art work would definitely be !!woow !! this is a very nice piece of art work … and afterward you believe that art piece could rather mean something different… so what I can add to the definition is “ART IS THE WAY YOU PERCEIVE IT”…Thanks