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Does art get recreated by reality?


marieltrokan
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Does art get recreated by reality?

 

It gets recreated, at least partly, by the viewer. The artist may have a meaning in mind, but the viewer may see other meanings (instead or as well as the artists ideas).

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Tough question. I'd say that art is a process of communication.

 

Someone has some way of looking at some aspect of existence and attempts to communicate that to others. The trouble is the thing they are trying to communicate is so subtle and nuanced that everyday language fails, so they create some art to better convey the meaning. As with any communication the process is (at least) a two-way process - the artist puts something out there and we then take something from it. Whether we take what the artist intended or not matters less than that something new is stirred in the receiver.

 

I've heard it said that if you do not understand some art in the way the artist intended then you have missed the point, but i feel this is far too stringent. Can anyone really be sure they understand exactly what was the intention of the artist?

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The intention is important. I used to think it was important that art should be able to stand by itself - no prior knowledge needed. That changed when i found out a little more about Henry Fuseli's The Nightmare. I found out the horse was believed to have been taken from a painting of Death personified and that knowledge added a new flavour to how i saw the painting. With more study i'm sure i could get closer to what the artist intended to convey.

 

As for pop music: it's not art in that the makers aren't trying to communicate a way they perceive some aspect of existence - they're trying to make your feet tap and head bob. But there is a great deal of overlap and the category 'pop' is very diverse and ill-defined..

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Thanks for the link. There is relevance to your point about knowledge: for some time I perceived Halloween The Curse of Michael Myers in very particular ways, but through reading about its production history, that perception changed.

 

If reality recreates art, that suggests that art is meant to exist - which I suppose is the real question. Is art meant by God, if God exists?

Halloween 6. The Nightmare painting. Ridley Scott's Alien. The writings of Tolkien. The tv show Saved by the Bell. Are these things equal in that they're all meant by God?

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Saved by the Bell - there's a blast from the past.

 

I don't think we need to invoke any sort of god in order to explain art. If reality recreates art then that is just the process of humans affecting their surroundings - in this case its humans influencing other humans.

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And what do you think that is significant of, if anything - the very existence of influence?

Is influence in need of hierarchy, in effect meaning that not all life forms are equal? Eva Green's performance on Penny Dreadful is a reality for millions of people, as is the meaning of The Nightmare, or Scooby-Doo or Star Wars, but what about the conflict of shared realities being because of hierarchy?

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I'm completely lost with what the truth is surrounding the meaning of art.

 

 

Think of Art as a language. Which is a good way to think about it because that's all that it is.

 

The artist uses his choice medium in this particular language called Art in order to convey to you the viewer--or the listener or the reader--what he is trying to say.

 

Sometimes his methods of communicating are not especially discernible or even attractive in your personal eyes. Or ears. This is perfectly OK. Don't ever feel intimidated by art. Thinking that you just don't "get it." There is nothing to get. Other than how it strikes you personally. It's OK if you find a Vasilly Kandisnsky painting to look as if your 5 year-old spilled all his paints on the floor! LOL.

 

So the truth of art if that there is not really any, objectively speaking. Just like there may not be any REAL inherent truth in a Mozart violin concerto or the novel "Moby Dick." Rather, they are simply comprised by themes or ideas the artist had in his mind and wanted to share with you. Sure, sometimes an artist bases his work on real world experience, like Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" symphony or the painting "Guernica" on an air raid during the Spanish Civil War. But there not necessarily need by objective truth in the way he chooses to convey his notions or feelings on that true event.

 

And sometimes the subject of the artist's work is pure fantasy! Say, James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake" which is one of the most overrated novels in the history of the written world, IMHO. Or an abstract-impressionistic painting from Sal Dali--say that famous melting clocks one. This was a picture he decided on painting to convey some idea he had about the nature of time. Or maybe he just thought it looked cool in an aesthetic way. Who knows? Who cares? Maybe Art History Majors, that's about it.

 

Just enjoy art. Or don't. Never feel intimidated. Art is so subjective. There is no finite Truth, per so. I myself used to be intimidated and feel I didn't "get it" but then I married an MFA woman who taught me a whole lot about it, and I lost ALL that intimidation. I learned that some of it, a good deal of it, was simply self-indulgent crapola and not worthy of my striving or struggling to understand it. Same goes for you. Enjoy it! There is a lot of fabulous stuff out there. But never feel bad about maybe not "getting it." You don't feel bad if you don't understand your 6 year-old's finger painting, right?

 

Think of that next time you visit an art gallery or listen to a Dvorak flute concerto in E minor.

 

Hope this helps! Thanks.

Edited by Velocity_Boy
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Dali, not "Puicasso".

 

And it isn't abstract.

 

But apart from that ... :)

 

 

Ahh....Salavadore Dali, thanks.

 

And yeah, I guess technically or artistically that painting is...what? Abstract Impressionism? Or Abstract Expressionism? Or Surrealism? One of the two. But to me anything that is not a intentionally accurate depiction of something, like Rembrandt's "Man in the Golden Helmet" or Blue Boy or whatever, consitutes a sort of abstraction. They will tell you this in art school, too.

 

But the point I was trying to make for the OP I think still stands, uncompromised by my gaff in naming the correct artist.

 

But hey, thanks for being the prototype pedantic art snob that so many people like the OP let intimidate them into thinking they need to "get" the art.

 

They don't. They just need to enjoy it if the want to. Or not.

 

Thanks.

In my mind, the message of the artist is important, but I understand that reality being freedom extends to how art should be interpreted; what's your perception of the contrast between a painting of a forest and pop music?

 

 

Really? My thoughts on how a forest painting and pop music differ? Or contrast?

 

Hmm...is this a test? LOL

 

Weill, I would say it depends first on what style of art the painter of the forest chose? Did he do is Realistically? Or Surrealistically? Or did he do it an Impressionistic or Expressionistic style? This sounds nit-picky but I would need to know the style before I could do the compare/contrast thing for you. I would also I think, need to know the specific pop song. Sorry. But as I have seen already, here and in the real world from attending Art Functions with my wife, there are a LOT of Art Snobs out there. And one of there primary (only?) joys in life is correcting somebody when they make an error in citing specific nuances and aspects of different pieces of art.

 

But overall both the music and the picture ARE a type of language the artist used to portray a feeling. This isn't the case all the time, though, in pop music. Some of the lamer stuff is just made simply to sell records. NO discernible purpose other than that or artistic meaning or message-trying-to-be-conveyed can be found anywhere in sight! LOL

Edited by Velocity_Boy
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I think artistic meaning doesn't exist. Not that the artist doesn't intend meaning, but that objectively art isn't real - reality is meaning, and therefore art as an expression of reality can't be real.

I've watched Scream all my life, and to me the movie's meaning has more power depending on how I exist. If I became a politician, and said that all people on Earth are the meaning of Scream, Scream would then have more power than some other movie which, while relative to its own artist had more meaning, is now less powerful.

Edited by marieltrokan
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But hey, thanks for being the prototype pedantic art snob that so many people like the OP let intimidate them into thinking they need to "get" the art.

 

 

I may be pedantic (about most things) but I don't think I am an art snob. I just happen to think that if you know something about a piece of art you can get more out of it than just "I like it" (or not). You might find out why you like it. (We had a copy of Guernica on the wall at school and I found it incredibly powerful; it wasn't until decades later that I found out when and why it was painted.)

 

And (personally) I think there is value knowing about the craft and technique involved. There are artists I don't like, but I have to admire their skill. Someone might think that Rothko or Pollock are not "real art" but knowing how much care and skill went into them might just change their opinion.

 

But each to his own.

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I may be pedantic (about most things) but I don't think I am an art snob. I just happen to think that if you know something about a piece of art you can get more out of it than just "I like it" (or not). You might find out why you like it. (We had a copy of Guernica on the wall at school and I found it incredibly powerful; it wasn't until decades later that I found out when and why it was painted.)

 

And (personally) I think there is value knowing about the craft and technique involved. There are artists I don't like, but I have to admire their skill. Someone might think that Rothko or Pollock are not "real art" but knowing how much care and skill went into them might just change their opinion.

 

But each to his own.

I think a good artist strips away the 'extraneous' visual elements that obscures their intent; a complete, faithful rendition of what lies before them is essentially a photograph or recording. It is a continuum between the two as to what constitutes art but I think there needs to be some sort of abstraction to guide the viewer through the artist's mind what they want you to see in your mind;s eye.

Edited by StringJunky
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I think artistic meaning doesn't exist. Not that the artist doesn't intend meaning, but that objectively art isn't real - reality is meaning, and therefore art as an expression of reality can't be real.

I've watched Scream all my life, and to me the movie's meaning has more power depending on how I exist. If I became a politician, and said that all people on Earth are the meaning of Scream, Scream would then have more power than some other movie which, while relative to its own artist had more meaning, is now less powerful.

So if I understand you correctly you're claiming that just because the artists attempt to give us their perceptions of reality through their art cannot be construed as objective and probably true perceptions, than their art is useless! And in fact does not even exist? Isn't real?

 

If this is indeed what you claim, and I apologize if I misunderstood, well, I could not disagree with you more.

 

Art is art. It's not a science equation or a philosophical dissertation on the meaning of life. Nor does it claim to be. Seems that you think unless it can answer all your questions on existentialism than its bogus. This is totally the wrong way to look at it.

 

I would humbly ask you to read my first post to you in this thread. At the risk if sounding arrogant I think it nicely answered your original question and also summarized what art is and how it should be viewed. As well as how not to expect too many questions to be answered by it. I am almost tempted here to paraphrase Elvis Costello and say that talking about art is like dancing about architecture.

Edited by Velocity_Boy
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Couple of random comments:

 

Finnegan's Wake is the work of a great mind, and something of a grand cathedral made of cloying puns based upon Joyce's vast warehouse of knowledge...but not all that readable, and certainly not exactly suspenseful to say the least. Ulysses is less indulgent and more varied I think, but I think it overrated by those claiming it to be the best novel ever. Apparently Faulkner peered into a restaurant window at Joyce but felt so intimidated by his genius that he did not enter. But I personally see Faulkner's novels as having a greater ranger of artistic expression.

 

I agree with those who say that there is no such think as art....this is essentialism at its worst, that is, we say that there is such a thing as art, but it is, as Wilde I think said, purely a matter of taste as to what is art and what is not art. I have spent a lot of time in art galleries, and I think a lot of artists with a bit of a reputation have passed off sloppy work as if it were great art and charged thousands more than they should have, imo.

 

Whether a piece of art should stand on its own, as opposed to the artist's intention or the viewer's interpretations is the central dividing line between, say American 'New Criticism" and the post structuralist movement.

 

Indeed, there is a whole list of 'fallacies' in this regard that suggest that when trying to understand and appreciate or put a value on a work of art, one should not take into account the writer's life, his intentions, his fame, his artistic earnings, the work's emotional affect on the viewer, its subject matter, the work's subject matter, the price that the artist put's on it, the price someone pays for it, the artistic value of other artistic works by the same artist, the moral content of the work of art, the affect that the work of art has had on culture or history, etc.

 

But I think the more recent trend is that one can and should use every bit of information that one can find, particularly about the writers life, the conditions under which he created the work of art, and the purposes which he intentionally had, in an effort to appreciate and understand a work of art, including the interpretations of the critics.

 

For example, the great Robert Lowell said that he had read a critic's interpretation of the meaning of his poem, "Skunk Hour" and said that what the critic had said was not really what he had in mind himself when he wrote it, but nevertheless, he thought that the critic's take on the poem was coherent, made sense, and provided a very interesting interpretative journey.

 

Indeed, in some cases, a good critic's evaluation of a piece of art may be judged to be more artistic that than the art piece itself.

 

So yes, I think, contrary to much that has been written about it through the centuries, "art," however one defines it, is always subjective, and any given work has many versions in the minds of the artist(s), the reader(s) and the critic(s). Indeed, one can write a poem in the morning, rewrite it at noon, and then reinterpret the poem written at noon in a quite different way in the evening over a glass of wine.

 

Art is a protean vision that promises a glimpse of a higher reality, but elusively vanishes as soon as one tries to pin it down into a single descriptive thought or feeling.

Edited by disarray
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Art is a protean vision that promises a glimpse of a higher reality, but elusively vanishes as soon as one tries to pin it down into a single descriptive thought or feeling.

 

The act of analysis can destroy it. because art is often an emergent property of singular parts but that property disappears when one tries to see the parts in isolation, hence, defying analysis.

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String Junky: Yes, emergence is a possible explanation..one writer explained that emergence was the combined aroma of a Thanksgiving dinner which combined the aroma of all of the other dishes, but was not the aroma of any one particular dish.

 

But again, there is no one Platonic reality for a piece of art, be it Finnegan's Wake or the Mona Lisa, so i don't think one is destroying the totality by looking at the parts, because there is no one single, definitive totality. That is, what the total Thanksgiving smells like to you is not going to the same for me.

 

On the other hand, it is something of a cop out when an artist says he has nothing to say about his work because the work says it all.

 

I think that art criticism is always useful even though we cannot ever capture the meaning of a work of art... but hey, neither can science perfectly capture the reality of the things it attempts to describe.

 

Should we shut down all the art and literature classes that attempt to discuss and interpret works of art for fear of dispelling their mystery and aura?

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On the other hand, it is something of a cop out when an artist says he has nothing to say about his work because the work says it all.

Yes, I agree, and rather pretentious. It was probably an 'accidental' piece that just looks good but there was actually little or no premeditation in its construction or message. What they are probably doing is, disingenuously, forcing the viewer to ‘find' a message within the work by exploiting the human tendency towards pareidolia* in the absence of an obvious pattern or message.
* "Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists." (I might add WRT this discussion: or intended to exist) - Wiki
Edited by StringJunky
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