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Does art get recreated by reality?


marieltrokan
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A week or 2 ago, someone dropped their glasses in an art gallery in an empty corner. They fell exactly parallel to the wall and floor pattern. People were crowding round them taking photos thinking that they were an art exhibit.

 

Did it become art because it was perceived as art? Personally I think 'yes'.

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Did it become art because it was perceived as art? Personally I think 'yes'.

 

I disagree, but largely on semantic grounds.

 

I think for it to be art it requires some intent in it's creation, which this did not.

 

That does not mean people cannot gain some insight from it. In a similar way people may gain some insight from a sunrise or waterfall: but we do not generally consider these as art.

 

I'm not willing to back my argument up too much though: people take from art what they will regardless of attempts to rationalise it.

 

 

 

 

By the way was this the story of someone who deliberately placed some glasses on the floor of an art gallery to make the point that people are pretentious enough to consider anything as art?

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I think for it to be art it requires some intent in it's creation, which this did not.

 

By the way was this the story of someone who deliberately placed some glasses on the floor of an art gallery to make the point that people are pretentious enough to consider anything as art?

This is what I mean by exploiting pareidolia; there is no intent as to a message other than, perhaps, "More fool you"

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I somehow skipped your post: i completely agree.

 

Just to add another scrap to the mess; there is work to get algorithms to appreciate and even create art (i don't actually like this particular piece, but i would not have thought it was computer generated).

 

Are we to say these are not art (even though they look/sound very similar to human created art) - or can we say that as a human created the algorithm then intent was inherent? Could we even one day say the algorithm does possess the intention to communicate something?

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It could have been that they were put there deliberately, it was a couple of weeks ago at least and I didn't give the story much attention... this thread bought it back to mind.

 

Maybe you are right, maybe the creator of the piece needs to actually intend it to be art - I am not sure.... In this mind though, is anything that is skilfully undertaken art? Was the deception and trickery of the person who tricked the people at the museum a work of art in itself? ;-)

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It could have been that they were put there deliberately, it was a couple of weeks ago at least and I didn't give the story much attention... this thread bought it back to mind.

 

Maybe you are right, maybe the creator of the piece needs to actually intend it to be art - I am not sure.... In this mind though, is anything that is skilfully undertaken art? Was the deception and trickery of the person who tricked the people at the museum a work of art in itself? ;-)

 

It could have been that they were put there deliberately, it was a couple of weeks ago at least and I didn't give the story much attention... this thread bought it back to mind.

 

Maybe you are right, maybe the creator of the piece needs to actually intend it to be art - I am not sure.... In this mind though, is anything that is skilfully undertaken art? Was the deception and trickery of the person who tricked the people at the museum a work of art in itself? ;-)

As long as that intent is clearly expressed at some point then, I think, it is valid. But if it gets done too many times it becomes passe.

It could have been that they were put there deliberately, it was a couple of weeks ago at least and I didn't give the story much attention... this thread bought it back to mind.

 

Maybe you are right, maybe the creator of the piece needs to actually intend it to be art - I am not sure.... In this mind though, is anything that is skilfully undertaken art? Was the deception and trickery of the person who tricked the people at the museum a work of art in itself? ;-)

Edited by StringJunky
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Someone not too far from this keyboard once went round a large London gallery named after a sugar brand with a selection of boards with printed names of works with made up artist names - the one next to a dehumidifying control unit stayed up for about three weeks. Photos exist of visitors crowding round to read the details

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Someone not too far from this keyboard once went round a large London gallery named after a sugar brand with a selection of boards with printed names of works with made up artist names - the one next to a dehumidifying control unit stayed up for about three weeks. Photos exist of visitors crowding round to read the details

It just goes to show the notion of 'art' is a flimsy one and people are easily suckered.

 

We see what we want to see and if it looks artistic then it is, in practice

 

Thinking about randomly placed objects or unintentional art that people see in their mind's eye: the skill of the true artist is to show or direct people to the message that he 'sees' in that random arrangement by the use of his skillset. He shouldn't have to verbally explain it; a title should suffice. As an example, although not of random objects, here's The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson. This picture illustrates the importance of choosing the right moment to take a picture; too early or too late then picture fails - it explains itself by example:

 

decisive-moment-henri-cartier-bresson-1.

Edited by StringJunky
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Maybe you are right, maybe the creator of the piece needs to actually intend it to be art - I am not sure.... In this mind though, is anything that is skilfully undertaken art? Was the deception and trickery of the person who tricked the people at the museum a work of art in itself? ;-)

 

There is the famous example of Duchamp who entered a urinal for an art exhibition.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/duchamp-fountain-t07573/text-summary

 

Was he taking the, er, piss out of the art establishment? Was he getting us to look at an everyday object in a new way (see also Picasso's "Bull's Head")? Maybe both.

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Ha! Yea - I went to the Duchamp week in Herne Bay a couple of years back... There was much talk of the urinal.

 

"was he taking the piss or getting us to look at everyday objects in a different way.."?

 

Bit of both I reckon.

 

@Imat - That sounds like a fun prank! lol

 

Took my nan to the Tate a year or 2 ago before she passed away... she was hilarious! We were looking at an exhibition of the artist that done all of the squares (Rhodin?) - she was dissing and laughing at all of them. I could see her point entirely, but I have a number of friends that are also artists, and I can relate to their points too... Squares on a page... could anyone do it? - Yes... did they? No. He was the first (or first to become famous for it), so it was art when he did it... if his style is copied today and even improved upon, then the originality isn't there so it isn't as good, even if it is better... lol.

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Took my nan to the Tate a year or 2 ago before she passed away... she was hilarious! We were looking at an exhibition of the artist that done all of the squares (Rhodin?) - she was dissing and laughing at all of them.

 

At the risk of being branded an elitist again, Mondrian?

 

Rodin is the sculptor who does representational stuff - the thinker, the kiss, the gates of hell, etc. (When I saw The Kiss in real life, it is an incredibly powerful piece.)

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On Marcel Duchamp's Fountain - just as interest did you know that it has been used as a urinal by people jumping barriers and "creating pieces of radical performance art"

 

 

 

At the risk of being branded an elitist again, Mondrian?

 

Rodin is the sculptor who does representational stuff - the thinker, the kiss, the gates of hell, etc. (When I saw The Kiss in real life, it is an incredibly powerful piece.)

 

Piet Mondrian is one of my favourite artists - but then I am strange.

 

And agree about Rodin - first time I saw the Kiss in RL I blushed; there is something about it that speaks to the "inner-mind" and bypasses all the usual sensory censors. Similarly Louise Bourgeious' Maman (the spider thing that was outside the Tate Modern) - I saw children refusing to go close to the sculpture with their parents quite clearly both angry with them for fussing and agreeing with them cos they were also terrified. Canova's The Three Graces is another piece that just hard-wires into the psyche

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It just goes to show the notion of 'art' is a flimsy one and people are easily suckered.

 

We see what we want to see and if it looks artistic then it is, in practice

 

Thinking about randomly placed objects or unintentional art that people see in their mind's eye: the skill of the true artist is to show or direct people to the message that he 'sees' in that random arrangement by the use of his skillset. He shouldn't have to verbally explain it; a title should suffice. As an example, although not of random objects, here's The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson. This picture illustrates the importance of choosing the right moment to take a picture; too early or too late then picture fails - it explains itself by example:

 

I am sure you are aware of it, but while Cartier-Bresson popularized the decisive moment as an important element of photography, it was always always understood in the context of a carefully framed environment. For example, in the posted picture ("Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare") the eye is almost immediately drawn to the motion of the jumper, reinforced by motion blur. But if one starts exploring the image one notices the juxtaposition of the jumping silhouette with that of the acrobat on the poster in the background. Then the element of doubling (two posters, one broken and the reflection of the jumper, with the background homogeneity to match the composition of the poster). There are more elements to it, and it is easy to over interpret an image (such as the potential "Railowsky" pun), but then he has shown a consistent eye for incorporating even subtle elements in his pictures. Overall, it is capturing the decisive moment happening in a carefully laid out frame that elevates his pictures above a nicely timed snapshot, for example.

 

In this case I think the opposite of the following quote is true.

 

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.

 

An analysis of the image enhances it as it only after a careful look it becomes clear why the timing had to be as it was. For example, you could have caught the moment precisely when he landed one foot in the puddle. It could have been striking, even forceful. But then the floating effect and the mimicking of the background image would have been lost. One may have intuitively caught the elements and find it pleasing as a whole, but I would argue that identifying elements contributing to the composition do not diminish it at all. I would also argue that a decent analysis does not look at at elements in isolation, which usually makes little sense, but always in the context of the whole work, or at least the part in which is embedded in.

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I am sure you are aware of it, but while Cartier-Bresson popularized the decisive moment as an important element of photography, it was always always understood in the context of a carefully framed environment. For example, in the posted picture ("Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare") the eye is almost immediately drawn to the motion of the jumper, reinforced by motion blur. But if one starts exploring the image one notices the juxtaposition of the jumping silhouette with that of the acrobat on the poster in the background. Then the element of doubling (two posters, one broken and the reflection of the jumper, with the background homogeneity to match the composition of the poster). There are more elements to it, and it is easy to over interpret an image (such as the potential "Railowsky" pun), but then he has shown a consistent eye for incorporating even subtle elements in his pictures. Overall, it is capturing the decisive moment happening in a carefully laid out frame that elevates his pictures above a nicely timed snapshot, for example.

Interesting description, I never noticed those element's. TBH this is the first time I've seen the whole picture; I've seen cropped images focusing on the jumper, hence, my narrower view of the intent.

 

 

 

 

An analysis of the image enhances it as it only after a careful look it becomes clear why the timing had to be as it was. For example, you could have caught the moment precisely when he landed one foot in the puddle. It could have been striking, even forceful. But then the floating effect and the mimicking of the background image would have been lost. One may have intuitively caught the elements and find it pleasing as a whole, but I would argue that identifying elements contributing to the composition do not diminish it at all. I would also argue that a decent analysis does not look at at elements in isolation, which usually makes little sense, but always in the context of the whole work, or at least the part in which is embedded in.

 

It depends on the work. It can clearly be done for the above picture.

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Funny bit about cropping, this is one of the few (or maybe only one) of the photos from Cartier-Bresson that got cropped before publishing. He was very peculiar about the composition of his images and workflow (including development) and hated it if editors altered the image in any way, as he felt that it would change the impact of the image. Focusing on the jumper only, for instance. But in this particular image he had to crop the left border as he took the image through a gap in a fence and his lens was too wide to fit through. So he had a black border from the fence on his image, which he cropped out.

 

While we are at it, I think ultimately art tries to evoke some kind of reaction or emotion in the viewer. The appreciation can vary vastly based on the background of the viewer and while there is art that is so obvious and/or visceral that it is expected to work the same way for many people. More common are pieces like this:

18-Fan-Ho-Hong-Kong-Memoir-yatzer.jpg

 

 

Here, we have the use of a lot empty space that is seemingly boring and has little to offer, but it results in the emphasis of the sign and the geometrically similar view of a private moment. Is it art only because the artists has consciously utilized and combined these elements? Would it still be if that was just a randomly well-framed snapshot?

Often art has to be filled by the viewer and sometimes the artist guides them to it.

 

Another example that heavily utilizes geometry:

0-Fan-Ho-Hong-Kong-Memoir-yatzer.jpg\

 

Here, one could casually interpret is a lady waiting for someone, although the framing is curious (and has a bit of an optical illusion quality to it). However, the artist (Fang Ho) named it "Approaching Shadow". With the information the geometry assumes a direction and, together with the pose it gets a potentially darker meaning. Does it change the impact on the viewer?

Edited by CharonY
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CharonY

 

I agree that arguing that something is or is not "art" as if something is either "beautiful" or it is not, is (Platonic) essentialism at its worse. However, we can use the word to denote the beliefs about what constitutes art held by those who try to appreciate such works.

 

Thus, we might define art as that which is crafted for the sole purpose of affecting some ones artistic sensibilities (e.g., to illustrate an idea in an appropriate manner where style echoes content). I throw this definition out there because I want to stress the idea that the general public often has to be persuaded that something is a work of art.

 

In Derrière la Gare Saint-Lazare, for example, the artistic effect (or poignancy, if you like) is largely reliant on the presumption that the photo was not staged, but was a moment of everyday life that somehow transcended its mundanity because of the happy or fortuitous (co)incidences portrayed in the photo, e.g, (as pointed out) the background poster (also its reflection in the water) echoes the actions of the man (who doesn't realize, as does the viewer) that he is being something of an acrobat, or that the poster mimics his actions in a rather carnivalesque manner.....which makes the man's lack of awareness even that more comical, as he doesn't realize (as does the viewer) that he, all dressed up in his suit, is being so untypically (and 'unbusinesseylike') comical, perhaps to the amusement of the person in the background.

 

But yes, what a happy coincidence that the camera just happened to be there at the right place at the right moment to capture such almost transcendentally serendipitous event, as if it were an example of synchronicity....hence we are virtually in the realm of Jungian spirituality...some universal 'interconnectedness' that every so often brings people and things together in such a transcendentally coincidental and artistic way....or so the public might feel, even though they might not put it into such words. Indeed, Cartier-Bresson himself underscored this sense of unity and interconnectedness when he stated that, ""Photography is putting one's head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis. It's a way of life."

 

But again, the feeling that it is art would be vitiated, I think, were the artist to walk up to the viewer in a gallery and tell him or her that he staged the whole thing.

 

The public allows itself to be mesmerized by the artist's gift of meaningfulness, and ignores any sleight of hand tricks that went into wrapping it up in its magical trappings.

Edited by disarray
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I do not think that art has to reflect reality or be based on an artist's perception of reality. I am not sure the message has to be more than the 'face value'. As an example, what is the artist trying to say with this work? or indeed, is it art?

10370905_650033301789939_911212801189001

Edited by ajb
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I do not think that art has to reflect reality or be based on an artist's perception of reality. I am not sure the message has to be more than the 'face value'. As an example, what is the artist trying to say with this work? or indeed, is it art?

 

10370905_650033301789939_911212801189001

If that's a randomly generated image i would call it it 'accidental' art whereby the viewer may succumb to their pareidolic tendency to ascribe some sense or meaning to what is before them. At the end of the day, is that not where art comes from; from the hard-wired need to to assign patterns that make some sort of sense of the unfamiliar or to abstract the familiar, by design, to emphasise some aspect of our experience?

CharonY

 

I agree that arguing that something is or is not "art" as if something is either "beautiful" or it is not, is (Platonic) essentialism at its worse. However, we can use the word to denote the beliefs about what constitutes art held by those who try to appreciate such works.

 

Thus, we might define art as that which is crafted for the sole purpose of affecting some ones artistic sensibilities (e.g., to illustrate an idea in an appropriate manner where style echoes content). I throw this definition out there because I want to stress the idea that the general public often has to be persuaded that something is a work of art.

 

In Derrière la Gare Saint-Lazare, for example, the artistic effect (or poignancy, if you like) is largely reliant on the presumption that the photo was not staged, but was a moment of everyday life that somehow transcended its mundanity because of the happy or fortuitous (co)incidences portrayed in the photo, e.g, (as pointed out) the background poster (also its reflection in the water) echoes the actions of the man (who doesn't realize, as does the viewer) that he is being something of an acrobat, or that the poster mimics his actions in a rather carnivalesque manner.....which makes the man's lack of awareness even that more comical, as he doesn't realize (as does the viewer) that he, all dressed up in his suit, is being so untypically (and 'unbusinesseylike') comical, perhaps to the amusement of the person in the background.

 

But yes, what a happy coincidence that the camera just happened to be there at the right place at the right moment to capture such almost transcendentally serendipitous event, as if it were an example of synchronicity....hence we are virtually in the realm of Jungian spirituality...some universal 'interconnectedness' that every so often brings people and things together in such a transcendentally coincidental and artistic way....or so the public might feel, even though they might not put it into such words. Indeed, Cartier-Bresson himself underscored this sense of unity and interconnectedness when he stated that, ""Photography is putting one's head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis. It's a way of life."

 

But again, the feeling that it is art would be vitiated, I think, were the artist to walk up to the viewer in a gallery and tell him or her that he staged the whole thing.

 

The public allows itself to be mesmerized by the artist's gift of meaningfulness, and ignores any sleight of hand tricks that went into wrapping it up in its magical trappings.

Regardless of whether 'the decisive moment' is contrived or spontaneously reactive the point is still eloquently and explicitly made. A photographer understanding this concept knows to wait for all the desired elements to fall into place or to put them there a la Cartier-Bresson. It taught me, when I was keen on it, to be 'in the moment' at the point of exposure and to do it at the right time.

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If that's a randomly generated image i would call it it 'accidental' art...

That image is not created using any random variables. It is a kind of Julia set.

 

It is also possible that random choices can lead to regular pattens - so 'accidental' is not a good word here :)

 

...whereby the viewer may succumb to their pareidolic tendency to ascribe some sense or meaning to what is before them.

Okay.

 

At the end of the day, is that not where art comes from; from the hard-wired need to to assign patterns that make some sort of sense of the unfamiliar or to abstract the familiar, by design, to emphasise some aspect of our experience?

So art is about finding pattens and making sense of them?

 

I have no idea ... I am not sure we can really define art very carefully.

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That image is not created using any random variables. It is a kind of Julia set.

Right OK. I had a feeling it was a mathematical construct. A better word would be discovered rather than random, but still accidental. Meaning is ascribed after the fact.

 

 

 

It is also possible that random choices can lead to regular pattens - so 'accidental' is not a good word here smile.png

If random choices lead to regular patterns, that we can see, then 'accidental' is the operative word because the pattern design was not premeditated. Again, meaning is ascribed after the fact. :)

 

 

 

So art is about finding pattens and making sense of them?

...or making them. Yes, I think so. I'm thinking on a really low level of mental operation here, not high level cognition. High level ideas emerge from basic components and I'm trying to get to the lowest level of human thought processes; the basic constructs where these high level ideas emerge from. if that makes sense.

Edited by StringJunky
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Yes, it seems this discussion is still focused on defining "art" and not whether reality recreates it (or what that is supposed to mean; Strange seemed to think that it meant that the viewer recreates it..p. 1).

The fiery pattern might be found at a student art exhibit and call it art, regardless of whether he used a computer to create it (which is not an unusual practice these days).

 

OR

One might find it on the floor of a some old Chicago dive, and a product of a tile craftsman with really bad taste in floor tiles.

 

That is why some people think that intentions matter (thought there is such a thing as the intentional fallacy).

 

Which brings me to the edge of the Grand Canyon...one might say, as some no doubt do, that God created it so beautiful in order to please humans (not to mention all the other beautiful things in nature. Though this is something of a fallacy for those not so religious or sentimental. For example, a scientific-minded person might point out that flowers aren't beautiful for our own pleasure (though we sometimes forget that), but rather to attract bees and the like.

 

In any case, it sounds like the original poster, marieltorkan, hasn't really formulated her question in her own mind very well, and indeed, her only opening comment was that

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

 

But this comment does narrow things down a little....it suggests that art should have meaning. My own view is that art should not necessarily have some sort of moral lesson to convey. On the other hand, it directs our attention towards something, if only the shiny porcelain of a urinal, as if things that deserve a "second take" are all around us (in reality). Indeed, according to Wiki, his biographer stated that, "it does not take much stretching of the imagination to see in the upside-down urinal's gently flowing curves the veiled head of a classic Renaissance madonna or a seated Buddha or, perhaps more to the point, one of Brancusi's"

 

But I think, the quality of "pleasing to the eye" alone merely reminds us of the fact that the human eye/mind naturally responds to certain gestalts, and thus might refer to "craft" as opposed to art, which for me is the quality of style appropriately echoing content. As for the urinal, I fail to see how the "gentle flowing curves" of the porcelain echoes the content (e.g., voiding ones bladder of fluid)...which leads me to think that Duchamp was either stating (if I may critique) that there is no such thing as art (and one can piss on anything that makes such a claim) or that anything can be art (even things one urinates on).

 

If the latter, I would suggest that the flowing curves of the urinal have nothing to do with urine, and Duchamp was perhaps making an allusion to the idea that people such as King Louis XIV could 'euphemistically' make everything seem lavish...as if creating a world that cosmeticizes even the

distasteful reality of urine. And indeed, that is what most if not all art tends to do...As G.B. Shaw remarked, ""Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable."

marieltrokan

 

Edited by disarray
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