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 Post subject: When does Art become Art?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 6:12 pm 
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Walter made a few interesting observations and posed a couple of very good questions here (http://artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic. ... 0&start=30) recently that led me to think about bonsai becoming an art form and how this would need to be accomplished.
Thinking about this led me to consider "found art" objects which are found, like viewing stones or discarded objects that became art only after they were displayed as such. Researching this idea led me to the following conclusion.
Art is essentially form and to study this form allows us to glimpse the artist's mind. However, what we perceive is based on our own preconceptions, prejudices, and are subject to the vagaries of the means of presentation, contextualizing and environment. This is how Art becomes Art.
If we think about Warhol's Campbell Soup cans or Duchamp's Bike Wheel on a stool, both which consist of what could be defined as found objects, the question arises as to what made them Art?
What made them art was their insertion into a fine art environment. The items that make up the two works mentioned above would not have caught a second glance from us during a visit to a dump, none of us would have stopped and said, "wow, look at the art" but once put into a fine art environment they were accepted as art, but why?
Part of the reason is the location within a controlled environment that articulates difference as well as confirming the intrinsic worth of the objects that are being displayed. Another reason is that the public is content to see the art environment confirmed and not questioned. The objects are also displayed in such a manner that makes it both intelligent and meaningful.
So how do we raise bonsai to the level of fine art then?
The answer is really quite simple, by treating it as such, by displaying it as such, and of course by presenting it as such.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:18 pm 
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Walter's recent surprise announcement http://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/viewto ... 0&start=30 sheds new light upon the words above and his accomplishment will put bonsai into a fine art environment. I anxiously await news of the reception.


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 Post subject: Re: When does Art become Art?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:39 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, KS
Will Heath wrote:
Walter made a few interesting observations and posed a couple of very good questions here (http://artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic. ... 0&start=30) recently that led me to think about bonsai becoming an art form and how this would need to be accomplished.
Thinking about this led me to consider "found art" objects which are found, like viewing stones or discarded objects that became art only after they were displayed as such. Researching this idea led me to the following conclusion.
Art is essentially form and to study this form allows us to glimpse the artist's mind. However, what we perceive is based on our own preconceptions, prejudices, and are subject to the vagaries of the means of presentation, contextualizing and environment. This is how Art becomes Art.
If we think about Warhol's Campbell Soup cans or Duchamp's Bike Wheel on a stool, both which consist of what could be defined as found objects, the question arises as to what made them Art?
What made them art was their insertion into a fine art environment. The items that make up the two works mentioned above would not have caught a second glance from us during a visit to a dump, none of us would have stopped and said, "wow, look at the art" but once put into a fine art environment they were accepted as art, but why?
Part of the reason is the location within a controlled environment that articulates difference as well as confirming the intrinsic worth of the objects that are being displayed. Another reason is that the public is content to see the art environment confirmed and not questioned. The objects are also displayed in such a manner that makes it both intelligent and meaningful.
So how do we raise bonsai to the level of fine art then?
The answer is really quite simple, by treating it as such, by displaying it as such, and of course by presenting it as such.

I'm afraid I would have to disagree wholeheartedly with this explanation of how art becomes art. Perhaps an examination of the definition of art itself would be in order. This has been touched on only glancingly elsewhere in AoB, but I would think that this definition would be worthy of equal treatment with the definition of bonsai.
With regard to "found" art, inserting these things in an artistic environment did not make them art any more than inserting a pig into an opera house makes it a tenor. For example, a recent traveling exhibit of African-American handmade quilts was received to rave reviews around the country. Was it the display that made them art? I suggest that the minds and hands of the women who produced these beautiful and moving pieces made them art, long before they were removed from the family beds and inserted into an fine art environment.
I would also suggest that many found art objects, such as the bicycle wheel mentioned, and more famously, Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" (an unaltered and unadorned urinal) are not art. How are we to define art? Will we use a completely subjective definition that art is art because some expert says it is? Or will it be because it's in a nice place, like a bowel movement in a jar or "Piss Christ?"
One of the reasons that the most outrageous and outlandish claims can be made for art is the lack of an objective, working definition of the subject. Wikipedia claims that the most common definition, which came into use after 1750, is "skill used to produce an aesthetic result." Would any of the "found" items I have cited meet those two criteria?
But is that a satisfactory definition of art? Kenneth M. Lansing, PhD., retired professor in art and education at the University of Illinois, Champagne, has offered a more specific working definition:
Quote:
Visual art is the skillful presentation of concepts and/or emotions (ideas and feelings) in a form that is structurally (compositionally) satisfying and coherent.
--http://www.aristos.org/aris-04/lansing1.htm
Notice he did not say "pleasant," or "beautiful," but satifying and coherent. He holds on to the possibility that art can be ugly. Few people would call "Guernica" beautiful, but few would deny that it is art.
Relying on some "expert" to tell us what art is, or providing a completely subjective definition of art, is to dilute art to the point that anything can be called art simply because someone has the intention that it be art. One could even expect to see some nude artist on stage smearing themselves with chocolate, actually pretending that it is art! I think we need a more objective definition.


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 Post subject: Re: When does Art become Art?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:10 am 
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Chris Johnston wrote:
Kenneth M. Lansing, PhD., retired professor in art and education at the University of Illinois, Champagne, has offered a more specific working definition:
Quote:
Visual art is the skillful presentation of concepts and/or emotions (ideas and feelings) in a form that is structurally (compositionally) satisfying and coherent.

...
Relying on some "expert" to tell us what art is, or providing a completely subjective definition of art, is to dilute art to the point that anything can be called art simply because someone has the intention that it be art.

Chris,
I just couldn't resist to point out that you're doing so by quoting an expert and relying on that. Thou Kenneth M. Lansing is propably a good guy, to me he represents what you just called: some "expert". I, myself do not consider myself an artist, but still people consider some of my doings art. I rather call my drawings drawings, my compositions compositions and so on. And what I think of art and what it is, most of all it's hard work! To be more specific, it's a work in progress. It is an ongoing process with the artist him/herself which leads into action, and those actions lead into pieces of art, wether it be an oil painting or sperm in a blender.
Regards,
Sakari


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:07 am 
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Sakari,
Thank you for your reply. I understand your point. However, you could not have missed my point completely. I am not relying on an expert to tell me something is art. I am agreeing with his cogent and concise definition of what art is. This allows me to look at something, make a value judgment based on what I know to be reality, and decide whether it rises to the level of art.
You see, I would be ashamed to say, "I don't know what art is, but I know it when I see it." I would also be ashamed to say, "I don't know what art is, but so-and-so says it is art, so it must be."
The subjective definition of art that holds sway in the art world today, and that this forum is racing toward, brooks no value judgement based on objective criteria. A completely empty room is said to be art. I find that to be nonsense.
An object or work does not become art because an expert says it is. It does not become art because it is placed in an artistic setting.
I think, with many others, that some human skill must be employed, and that ideas and emotions must be presented for something to be defined as art. Compositionally satisfying? There is certainly room for personal taste!
I would refer you to the full article, "Why We Need a Definition of Art"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:03 pm 
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I'm afraid I will never understand what art is. I will always rely on some so called expert to tell me what it is and then I will be skeptical.
I will never understand how a red spot on an airplane wing can be a logo and that same red spot painted on canvas and framed can be considered art or how the the elegant beauty of an automobile isn't considered art because it was conceived by a professional design team, yet, the giant mural design by a Master but executed by a team of apprentices learning their skills is art. Why is the Madonna painted on black velvet considered tacky yet the same picture painted by the same artist on a black canvas is consider art?
To me art will always have only two definitions:
Art is in the heart of the artist and art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:04 pm 
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Chis,
You're right, I didn't miss the point, but rather wanted to ask, in my own way, wether you could stand behind your words or were the words just something you've heard or read and kept as your own. Thank you for your reply, it clearly tells me the words of Kenneth M. Lansing are just a compact way of putting some of your thoughts into one sentence. But it only speaks of visual art.
I'll take your thought of the empty room as an example of my way of digging deeper into this question of "when does art become art".
Assuming the empty room is an ordinary sized, painted with one color only, and assuming others aswell visualise the empty room white, visually it is not too interesting.
Next step. Step into it and listen. The sound in an empty room is different than in my living room. While you're listening to the humming of the air vent, look at the walls, there are always flaws which make shadows, patterns, etc. and while you move around, you see more and more of them, and.. you didn't stop listening did you? Your footsteps in the empty room are starting to fill the space more and more as they echo around. Every now and then a reflection of the sun from a passing by car sets a flash of light to the wall. So the empty room isn't as empty as it seemed?
But would that be called art of just plain lunacy, I am in no position of saying yes or no?
I'll try to keep my thoughts simple and plain.
It seems to me the definition of art, based on what I've seen and heard is more of a definition of what it should't be.
Art should not be too simple, or people will say: I could've done that!
Art should not be too complicated, or people will say: I don't get it?
In both cases people leave the exhibition with only one thought in their minds:
That was not even art.
This leads into a logical conclution:
Art, from the crowd's point of view, should be something understandable but difficult enough for one to create.
I promise to make an abstract of my thoughts here one day, but I'll have to make one for myself first.
Regards,
Sakari


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 Post subject: Re: When does Art become Art?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:20 pm 
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Location: South San Francisco, CA
Quote without comment:

"No great artist sees things as they really are
If he did he would cease to be an artist." Oscar Wilde


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 Post subject: Re: When does Art become Art?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:05 am 
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Will Heath wrote:
Walter made a few interesting observations and posed a couple of very good questions here (viewtopic.php?t=350&start=30) recently that led me to think about bonsai becoming an art form and how this would need to be accomplished.
Thinking about this led me to consider "found art" objects which are found, like viewing stones or discarded objects that became art only after they were displayed as such. Researching this idea led me to the following conclusion.
Art is essentially form and to study this form allows us to glimpse the artist's mind. However, what we perceive is based on our own preconceptions, prejudices, and are subject to the vagaries of the means of presentation, contextualizing and environment. This is how Art becomes Art.
If we think about Warhol's Campbell Soup cans or Duchamp's Bike Wheel on a stool, both which consist of what could be defined as found objects, the question arises as to what made them Art?
What made them art was their insertion into a fine art environment. The items that make up the two works mentioned above would not have caught a second glance from us during a visit to a dump, none of us would have stopped and said, "wow, look at the art" but once put into a fine art environment they were accepted as art, but why?
Part of the reason is the location within a controlled environment that articulates difference as well as confirming the intrinsic worth of the objects that are being displayed. Another reason is that the public is content to see the art environment confirmed and not questioned. The objects are also displayed in such a manner that makes it both intelligent and meaningful.
So how do we raise bonsai to the level of fine art then?
The answer is really quite simple, by treating it as such, by displaying it as such, and of course by presenting it as such.


I couldn't help but think of
this.


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 Post subject: Re: When does Art become Art?
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 9:20 pm 
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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Quote:
Will Heath:

So how do we raise bonsai to the level of fine art then?
The answer is really quite simple, by treating it as such, by displaying it as such, and of course by presenting it as such.



Art is completely subjective. Unfortunately, there just isn't any way around that. Debating objectively about what Art is, and what it isn't is an exercise in futility, at least I think so. And furthermore, I feel in doing so, we completely miss the point of creating art. Self expression.

When I draw something, the last thing I'm thinking about is whether or not what I'm creating is going to be accepted as Art. It's my art, that's all that matters to me. If I have an idea I want to express, I need no other reason to do so. If someone else likes it too, great. If not, too bad. Some would argue that this is just an excuse to get away with mediocrity. But really, what is mediocrity when pertaining to art? That's completely subjective too.

So why are we so concerned in elevating bonsai to the level of "fine art"? Maybe we should be more concerned with expressing ourselves through our trees and enriching our lives with them instead of worrying ourselves with all the silly politics of the "art community". The fact of the matter is, not everyone is going to appreciate bonsai as we do.

Quote:
Chris Johnston:

I would also suggest that many found art objects, such as the bicycle wheel mentioned, and more famously, Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" (an unaltered and unadorned urinal) are not art.


Again, completely subjective. But think of it this way. When he submitted the urinal to the Society of Independent Artists exhibit in 1917, he challenged the whole idea of what art was. I think that maybe he was trying to show that art was indeed subjective, and that the preconceived notions of what could be called art, and what couldn't was nothing more than a popular opinion. His entry was rejected, but we still talk about him.

Quote:
Chris Johnston:

The subjective definition of art that holds sway in the art world today, and that this forum is racing toward, brooks no value judgement based on objective criteria. A completely empty room is said to be art. I find that to be nonsense.


Sakari Matikka's explanation says enough about that. Maybe it isn't art to you, but to others it could be.

Quote:
Chris Johnston:

An object or work does not become art because an expert says it is. It does not become art because it is placed in an artistic setting.



Agreed.

Quote:
Larry Harris:

Art is in the heart of the artist and art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.


Precisely.


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 Post subject: Re: When does Art become Art?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:35 am 
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Location: South San Francisco, CA
ART IS THAT WHICH COMES FROM THE SOUL AND IS APPLIED TO THE ORDINARY WE SEE ALL ABOUT US.


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