Saturday, February 27, 2010

If you are asking "is it art?" you are missing the point entirely - R.

My friend, an emerging artist, I'll call this person "R", made a provocative post online recently: "If you are asking 'is it art?' you are missing the point entirely." This has generated a lively dialogue amongst friends and colleagues in this artist's circle.

It received positive responses such as: "I LOVE THIS!"

Not everyone agreed. One of the response was: "Most art and literary critique does."

R responded: "I think good criticism realizes that this is such an irrelevant, anachronistic, naive way of approaching the world and goes beyond 'is it art' to ask what the implications of such a designation mean for the Art discourse, how the piece breaks with/relates/speaks to the Art historical canon, and even why a work has been accused of not being 'Art', etc. These questions are, of course, fairly broad but I think any good artist/critic should ask himself these questions when approaching a work."

More challenge: "Those are good questions for some artists, and def a good list for any critic. but certainly criticism isn't exclusively the objective of art and the best understanding or analysis of it is not always intellectual. art can and should exceed the realm of discourse, intellectualism, and even historical context, though i guess its all inherently connected to those things, whether the artist wants it, or is aware of it, or not."

In summary, R concluded: "I think elements of a work can supersede discourse and intellectualism but, in the end, can and *will* be intellectualized. Personally, I think no art can supersede its historical context because works always mean different things to different peoples of different areas and our perception of a work (which, when theorized about enough, becomes a concept in its own right) is filtered through a historical lens: the original intention and meanings, the original reactions, the original ideologies it supported/contested. I offer for study the Russian Avant-Gardes' (and Russian Revolutionary culture in general from 1915~1920) claims to existing in a suprahistorical reality. The simple fact that they were responding to previous art/political movements dooms them to historicity. And now, of course, we view them in a securely historical reality bounded in the discourse of art/history, not in some kind of transcendent, atemporal mythos. "

Brilliant discourse...

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