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brotherlouie
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Postby brotherlouie » 22 Mar 2006, 08:37

Penk is the Drug wrote:But he'd still have used his undeniable ability and given it some thought as to how best to do it. What kind of ability, and what kind of serious thought, does putting up a tent and writing "I shagged Insert Name Here" require?


You're falling into a tabloid trap here.

I'm not the world's greatest Emin fan or anything, but it's worth pointing out the following:

She embroidered the names of all the people she slept with onto the roof of a small tent. All the people she slept with, not just the ones she had sex with. It invcludes the brownie pack she was in as a kid. The embroidery is reflective of the way women's craft skills (knitting, crochet etc) tend to be ignored in serious debates about art. She's using a traditional technique to make a contemporary point.

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And I think it's rather attractive. It's decorative, well made and actually conforms to quite a lot of conventional ideas of craft and beauty. Her ability to think the project through makes it more interesting that just scribbling a "list of shag partners".

Oh, and Picasso was reviled for being crap when he started in much stronger terms than those expressed regarding the YBA's. Time seems to sort out the good from the bad.

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Postby PENK » 22 Mar 2006, 15:01

brotherlouie wrote:She's using a traditional technique to make a contemporary point.


Which is what? That knitting and crochet are ignored in debates about art? Yeah, she really tried to hammer that one home, didn't she? Seeing a big long list of people's names really made me think "oh yes, knitting is seriously undervalued as a form of artistic expression." I don't buy it. The point she was trying to make was "look at me, I'm doing something controversial", whether or not she'd actually had sex with all the people she listed. And even if she was trying to draw attention to knitting and crochet skills, just being able to sew a letter into a square of material doesn't really make much of a case for it, does it? I could do that when I was about five. It'd be more effective to knit something more pleasing, more impressive, that actually made people realise that it wasn't often you saw knitting in art.
Copehead wrote:I have met Gruff Rhys - although he claimed he wasn't and that he couldn't speak Welsh, as I spoke to him in Welsh, but it was him lying bastard.

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Postby brotherlouie » 22 Mar 2006, 15:21

If she wanted to do something controversial I don't think that piece would be the result. I don't want to defend her (or that piece particularly), rather show that there is a continuum of thought which goes back through (art) history and people tap into that. Helen Frankenthaller - an American painter - was keen to use non traditional (and typically "male") materials - oil paint, principally, in order to reference the painting debate in terms of women. It's probably a dated debate, but it showed that some artists think about the meanings of what they use, rather than blindly accepting everything. Often the materials used are an integral part of the meaning. We can thank Marshall McLuhan for that.

All of this is political and debates contemporary to the artist often provide a context for the artist. Einstein was discovering relativity and messing around with the nature of time while Picasso and Braque were paiting cubist 2-D representations of 3-D sets of objects and how if you move around them (ie adding a fourth dimension of time) they appear different. Often artists kick against generations before. Immediately before Emin et al was a generation of British Painters (Ken Kiff, Campbell, Wisnewski (sp) and she, along with others, rejected the convention of painting by using materials to hand.

If you don't like it, that's fine, but don't mix up a craft skill with artistic intention, however flawed or badly aimed.

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Postby PENK » 22 Mar 2006, 15:32

brotherlouie wrote:Immediately before Emin et al was a generation of British Painters (Ken Kiff, Campbell, Wisnewski (sp) and she, along with others, rejected the convention of painting by using materials to hand.


I have no problem with that, my problem is with the fact that they - Emin, specifically, in this case - don't use them to create something that I'd think should be considered art. She uses a tent and some wool to create a tent with some knitting in it. She doesn't use paint to create a depiction of an event, person, object or idea, which makes you either appreciate the skill that's gone into it and the beauty of the result, or the way in which the artist has used their skill and thought about how best to represent what it is they're trying to say. She uses a tent with some knitting in it to show that she can put up a tent and she's slept with some people. Big deal. That isn't art.
Copehead wrote:I have met Gruff Rhys - although he claimed he wasn't and that he couldn't speak Welsh, as I spoke to him in Welsh, but it was him lying bastard.

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Postby Bungo the Mungo » 22 Mar 2006, 15:47

Penk is the Drug wrote:
brotherlouie wrote:Immediately before Emin et al was a generation of British Painters (Ken Kiff, Campbell, Wisnewski (sp) and she, along with others, rejected the convention of painting by using materials to hand.


I have no problem with that, my problem is with the fact that they - Emin, specifically, in this case - don't use them to create something that I'd think should be considered art. She uses a tent and some wool to create a tent with some knitting in it. She doesn't use paint to create a depiction of an event, person, object or idea, which makes you either appreciate the skill that's gone into it and the beauty of the result, or the way in which the artist has used their skill and thought about how best to represent what it is they're trying to say. She uses a tent with some knitting in it to show that she can put up a tent and she's slept with some people. Big deal. That isn't art.


Interesting. So could you say that, by extension, all art you consider worthwhile shouldn't involve too much of its creator? does that mean it becomes exhibitionism?

All art should be attractive to you, too?

(these are genuine questions, Penk - reading back I've a feeling they may come across as sarcastic and this isn't the case....)

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Postby PENK » 22 Mar 2006, 16:13

John wrote:So could you say that, by extension, all art you consider worthwhile shouldn't involve too much of its creator? does that mean it becomes exhibitionism?


No, I don't think this is the case, but there are exceptions, as with Emin, where a combination of an absence of any technical ability and an absence of any real expression means the piece just becomes the sum of its parts, and as such is not art.

John wrote:All art should be attractive to you, too?


Again, this isn't entirely true but it should have some attractive qualities. As I've said before in this thread, if the only way you can express an idea is by creating something ugly and unattractive, then you may as well just write it down, because if anything it will become clearer what you're trying to say and it's less likely to become lost in translation as people are turned off, as it were, by the unpleasant nature of what you're exhibiting. And as I keep repeating, the one thing that above all separates art from, well, mundane existence really, is the evidence that its creator has some kind of ability - like I said, I have no time for 'art' that is just something that anyone could have done, because it holds no interest outside of an idea that could very well have been, as I say, written down or even just talked about, probably with more productive results.
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Postby andymacandy » 22 Mar 2006, 16:36

Penk is the Drug wrote:
John wrote:So could you say that, by extension, all art you consider worthwhile shouldn't involve too much of its creator? does that mean it becomes exhibitionism?


No, I don't think this is the case, but there are exceptions, as with Emin, where a combination of an absence of any technical ability and an absence of any real expression means the piece just becomes the sum of its parts, and as such is not art.

John wrote:All art should be attractive to you, too?


Again, this isn't entirely true but it should have some attractive qualities. As I've said before in this thread, if the only way you can express an idea is by creating something ugly and unattractive, then you may as well just write it down, because if anything it will become clearer what you're trying to say and it's less likely to become lost in translation as people are turned off, as it were, by the unpleasant nature of what you're exhibiting. And as I keep repeating, the one thing that above all separates art from, well, mundane existence really, is the evidence that its creator has some kind of ability - like I said, I have no time for 'art' that is just something that anyone could have done, because it holds no interest outside of an idea that could very well have been, as I say, written down or even just talked about, probably with more productive results.

I cant accept that.By your defenition, you are dismissing, say Giotto, on the basis that anybody could have done it.While I am the first to criticise much modern art as rubbish, it is indisputably art, just bad art.
The " I could have done that" arguement just doesnt work, the point is, you didnt.The "bricks" and "submarine made of tyres" were famous exhibits that aroused the public ire, and Mondrian and Pollock also made work that "anybody could have done",but you cant dismiss them.
There is as much "art" in the conception as there is in the execution.
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Postby PENK » 22 Mar 2006, 16:40

andymacandy wrote:
Penk is the Drug wrote:
John wrote:So could you say that, by extension, all art you consider worthwhile shouldn't involve too much of its creator? does that mean it becomes exhibitionism?


No, I don't think this is the case, but there are exceptions, as with Emin, where a combination of an absence of any technical ability and an absence of any real expression means the piece just becomes the sum of its parts, and as such is not art.

John wrote:All art should be attractive to you, too?


Again, this isn't entirely true but it should have some attractive qualities. As I've said before in this thread, if the only way you can express an idea is by creating something ugly and unattractive, then you may as well just write it down, because if anything it will become clearer what you're trying to say and it's less likely to become lost in translation as people are turned off, as it were, by the unpleasant nature of what you're exhibiting. And as I keep repeating, the one thing that above all separates art from, well, mundane existence really, is the evidence that its creator has some kind of ability - like I said, I have no time for 'art' that is just something that anyone could have done, because it holds no interest outside of an idea that could very well have been, as I say, written down or even just talked about, probably with more productive results.

I cant accept that.By your defenition, you are dismissing, say Giotto, on the basis that anybody could have done it.While I am the first to criticise much modern art as rubbish, it is indisputably art, just bad art.
The " I could have done that" arguement just doesnt work, the point is, you didnt.The "bricks" and "submarine made of tyres" were famous exhibits that aroused the public ire, and Mondrian and Pollock also made work that "anybody could have done",but you cant dismiss them.
There is as much "art" in the conception as there is in the execution.


The reason I didn't do it, or anything like it, is that I didn't think there was any point, because it has no artistic value. It's just a tent, a few bricks or whatever. Maybe as a one-off joke to annoy people and make them have a discussion like this one it would work but that's it. Why bother carrying on once you, or whoever first had the idea of sticking some random object in the middle of a gallery, has already made the point?
Copehead wrote:I have met Gruff Rhys - although he claimed he wasn't and that he couldn't speak Welsh, as I spoke to him in Welsh, but it was him lying bastard.

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Postby andymacandy » 22 Mar 2006, 16:47

Penk is the Drug wrote:
andymacandy wrote:
Penk is the Drug wrote:
John wrote:So could you say that, by extension, all art you consider worthwhile shouldn't involve too much of its creator? does that mean it becomes exhibitionism?


No, I don't think this is the case, but there are exceptions, as with Emin, where a combination of an absence of any technical ability and an absence of any real expression means the piece just becomes the sum of its parts, and as such is not art.

John wrote:All art should be attractive to you, too?


Again, this isn't entirely true but it should have some attractive qualities. As I've said before in this thread, if the only way you can express an idea is by creating something ugly and unattractive, then you may as well just write it down, because if anything it will become clearer what you're trying to say and it's less likely to become lost in translation as people are turned off, as it were, by the unpleasant nature of what you're exhibiting. And as I keep repeating, the one thing that above all separates art from, well, mundane existence really, is the evidence that its creator has some kind of ability - like I said, I have no time for 'art' that is just something that anyone could have done, because it holds no interest outside of an idea that could very well have been, as I say, written down or even just talked about, probably with more productive results.

I cant accept that.By your defenition, you are dismissing, say Giotto, on the basis that anybody could have done it.While I am the first to criticise much modern art as rubbish, it is indisputably art, just bad art.
The " I could have done that" arguement just doesnt work, the point is, you didnt.The "bricks" and "submarine made of tyres" were famous exhibits that aroused the public ire, and Mondrian and Pollock also made work that "anybody could have done",but you cant dismiss them.
There is as much "art" in the conception as there is in the execution.


The reason I didn't do it, or anything like it, is that I didn't think there was any point, because it has no artistic value. It's just a tent, a few bricks or whatever. Maybe as a one-off joke to annoy people and make them have a discussion like this one it would work but that's it. Why bother carrying on once you, or whoever first had the idea of sticking some random object in the middle of a gallery, has already made the point?

Because lots of other people do enjoy it, and do think that it qualifies.
Again, one of the central pillars of art, for me, is that the viewer/listener/taster/whatever takes a bit of themselves into the art.Thus, we all see it in our own terms.That means that your stance is acceptable in terms of judging its quality, but you cannot deny that it is art.
Equally, and mischieviously, my standard response to folks that put forward your arguement , is "go on then, try it".Clearly, regardless of your opinion of it, you would have to concede that a tidy number of "artists" are making a tidy living out of this (and I am in no way equating cost/value with merit here)If you think you could do it as effectivly, why not?
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Postby brotherlouie » 22 Mar 2006, 17:11

Penk is the Drug wrote:Why bother carrying on once you, or whoever first had the idea of sticking some random object in the middle of a gallery, has already made the point?


They're not random. They have thought about it. You may not like it, but they will have their reasons.

Going back to your idea about writing it down...many do use writing as a way of expressing themselves too.

It would be a sad world where blues artists could only write down "I'm pissed off", rather than marrythem to music. That's what art can be: a fusion of visual and literary references while creating something never seen before.

Sorry, I'm losing it a bit.

Andy seems to be making a good job of defending art though.

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Postby marios » 22 Mar 2006, 18:58

What is art?

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Postby PENK » 22 Mar 2006, 19:02

brotherlouie wrote:Going back to your idea about writing it down...many do use writing as a way of expressing themselves too.

It would be a sad world where blues artists could only write down "I'm pissed off", rather than marrythem to music. That's what art can be: a fusion of visual and literary references while creating something never seen before.


That's the thing though - singers marry it to music, to tunes and rhythms and structures and they use their voices to convey emotion. They don't expect you to look at a fucking tent and know exactly what they mean.
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Postby brotherlouie » 22 Mar 2006, 19:30

Penk is the Drug wrote:
brotherlouie wrote:Going back to your idea about writing it down...many do use writing as a way of expressing themselves too.

It would be a sad world where blues artists could only write down "I'm pissed off", rather than marrythem to music. That's what art can be: a fusion of visual and literary references while creating something never seen before.


That's the thing though - singers marry it to music, to tunes and rhythms and structures and they use their voices to convey emotion. They don't expect you to look at a fucking tent and know exactly what they mean.


But I think she's marrying her ideas to a non-verbal thing too. It's a different language, but it does speak to people.

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Postby PENK » 22 Mar 2006, 19:32

andymacandy wrote:Again, one of the central pillars of art, for me, is that the viewer/listener/taster/whatever takes a bit of themselves into the art.Thus, we all see it in our own terms.That means that your stance is acceptable in terms of judging its quality, but you cannot deny that it is art.


The problem here though is that with the kind of thing we're discussing, it seems to be leaving the viewer to do more or less all the work themselves. A tent in a room doesn't suggest anything other than that there's a tent in the room, and it's up to the you to decide for yourself what it means - basically, the artist is telling you to just think about stuff, and then give them credit it for it. No thanks.

andymacandy wrote:Equally, and mischieviously, my standard response to folks that put forward your arguement , is "go on then, try it".Clearly, regardless of your opinion of it, you would have to concede that a tidy number of "artists" are making a tidy living out of this (and I am in no way equating cost/value with merit here)If you think you could do it as effectivly, why not?


But equally, how do you judge the quality of one of these pieces? How do you judge what's worthier of attention, and more valuable? If it's just a method of communicating ideas, who's to say what ideas are best? I certainly don't like the idea of going to look at some art because it's based around an idea that's better than, say, my own. Once you strip away the technical talent that goes into making real art, what you're left with, this conceptual stuff, amounts to being told you're thick by someone who's probably a bit of a dickhead anyway.
And to answer the question of why some are more successful, I think the main reason some artists do better than others in this field is that they have the right contacts and they've studied in the right places and they have a better nose for business and publicity than others, or that they're more convincing when arguing their own case, or that they have at some point managed to come up with something genuinely new, whatever its nature.
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Postby PENK » 22 Mar 2006, 19:36

brotherlouie wrote:
Penk is the Drug wrote:
brotherlouie wrote:Going back to your idea about writing it down...many do use writing as a way of expressing themselves too.

It would be a sad world where blues artists could only write down "I'm pissed off", rather than marrythem to music. That's what art can be: a fusion of visual and literary references while creating something never seen before.


That's the thing though - singers marry it to music, to tunes and rhythms and structures and they use their voices to convey emotion. They don't expect you to look at a fucking tent and know exactly what they mean.


But I think she's marrying her ideas to a non-verbal thing too. It's a different language, but it does speak to people.


How, though? I don't see how anyone could go in and see it and actually know what it represented without prior knowledge.
Put it this way. If, having no idea who Tracey Emin was or what she'd done, you walked into a room, and saw a tent with some knitted names in it, what would you think?
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Postby andymacandy » 22 Mar 2006, 19:45

Penk is the Drug wrote:
andymacandy wrote:Again, one of the central pillars of art, for me, is that the viewer/listener/taster/whatever takes a bit of themselves into the art.Thus, we all see it in our own terms.That means that your stance is acceptable in terms of judging its quality, but you cannot deny that it is art.


The problem here though is that with the kind of thing we're discussing, it seems to be leaving the viewer to do more or less all the work themselves. A tent in a room doesn't suggest anything other than that there's a tent in the room, and it's up to the you to decide for yourself what it means - basically, the artist is telling you to just think about stuff, and then give them credit it for it. No thanks.

andymacandy wrote:Equally, and mischieviously, my standard response to folks that put forward your arguement , is "go on then, try it".Clearly, regardless of your opinion of it, you would have to concede that a tidy number of "artists" are making a tidy living out of this (and I am in no way equating cost/value with merit here)If you think you could do it as effectivly, why not?


But equally, how do you judge the quality of one of these pieces? How do you judge what's worthier of attention, and more valuable? If it's just a method of communicating ideas, who's to say what ideas are best? I certainly don't like the idea of going to look at some art because it's based around an idea that's better than, say, my own. Once you strip away the technical talent that goes into making real art, what you're left with, this conceptual stuff, amounts to being told you're thick by someone who's probably a bit of a dickhead anyway.
And to answer the question of why some are more successful, I think the main reason some artists do better than others in this field is that they have the right contacts and they've studied in the right places and they have a better nose for business and publicity than others, or that they're more convincing when arguing their own case, or that they have at some point managed to come up with something genuinely new, whatever its nature.

I can see your point, of course, but dare I suggest that the popularity of such work disproves your theory.Equally, its unpopularity also does.It raises an emotional reaction in the viewer-which may actually be all that Emin wanted anyway.I strongly suspect that there are artworks out there that were created purely to create a negative reaction.That doesnt make it any the less artistic.
I wont say that public approval makes it great art, but I disagree that its just down to contacts, and effectively,hype.Art exists in two planes, commercially, but also in the public mind.Many,many folks go to Tate Modern to see works that I personally dont really like.I dont think that makes it bad, I just think it means that Im not really compatible with it.
In that way, maybe, Ive answered your question about quality.It truley is down to the individual to gauge it.
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Postby the masked man » 22 Mar 2006, 20:52

I agree with a lot of what Andymacandy's saying here.

However, here's a theory of art that I've found persuasive. The theory states that art has no one meaning or definition, but instead refers to a network of related activities, not all of which need be present.

This theory notes that there is an analogy with sport here. We might consider that sport always involves physical exertion, has set rules, involves specialist equipment (bats, balls, skis etc) and is competitive. Yet there are non-physical sports (snooker and darts; some people have tried to suggest that chess, where the only exertion is mental, is a sport); there are forms of football played in the streets of English towns on bank holidays that have no rules as such; and running is a major sport that does not necessarily need any specialist equipment (expensive running shoes are not essential - there have been barefoot runners who have won titles). You might think, however that sport is always competitive, but there is a centuries-old Japanese form of football which is entirely non-competitive. Yet because it involves physical exertion, a precise set of rules and specialist equipment (a ball), I feel it has enough features to be considered a sport.

Likewise, with art, I think we should lose that the idea that a set of features is 100% necessary for an artifact to be considered as art. I would argue, however, that there are five main features that we might consider for works of art.

(a) Skill is an obvious one - we expect art to have some form of technique. Yet this is not entirely necessary. For Duchamp to draw a moustache on a print of the Mona Lisa, or to sign and exhibit a urinal involved no real skill at all, yet I am in no doubt that these are works of art. Also, the group of musicians who made "Anarchy In The UK" were far less skilled than those who made "Love Beach", yet hardly anyone would suggest the latter is a more important work of art.

(b) Ideas. Obviously, it was the ideas behind Duchamp's work that turned them into art. Yet many works of art are published with few ideas in evidence. I would cite Teenage Fanclub as talented craftsmen who have few real ideas of their own.

(c) Originality. Closely linked to ideas of course, but in truth only a minority of artistic works have ever attained this. We might use this as a guideline for defining how good a work of art is, but it is far from being a necessary criterion, or we'd be drawing the boundaries of 'what is art' far more strictly than any of us would be happy to do.

(d) Context. This is the tricky one. Someone claimed earlier that this thread is itself art. I would be be hesitant to say it is, simply because this is a discussion of a message board - it may provoke thought but no real aesthetic sensations. And yet there are ideas aplenty, some original thought and some skilled writing - are these not sufficient to grant this discussion a place at the artistic table? I don't know.

Here's another point about context. There are plenty of examples of design by medieval artisans, including tableware, pots, etc. These were created to be entirely functional - design was only present to create ease of use. Yet many of these artifacts are now displayed in museums and galleries alongside more obvious decorative work. Were these items always works of art, or did they only become so when they were publicly displayed to elicit an aesthetic response? I'm not sure of the answer - how important is context?

(e) Aesthetics. This seems an obvious factor, yet in the previous example the medieval design was created with no aesthetic concerns in mind. We only placed our own aesthetic concerns onto these items, like a grid, at a later date. Tricky, again.

Hmm, I grew less sure of this theory the more I explored it here. I still think there's something here, though.

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Postby PENK » 22 Mar 2006, 21:06

Incredibly interesting, the above, but I think I've come out of it being even more unclear as to what art is. So fuck it, just give me some nudie postcards and I'll be happy.
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Postby andymacandy » 22 Mar 2006, 21:39

Penk is the Drug wrote:Incredibly interesting, the above, but I think I've come out of it being even more unclear as to what art is. So fuck it, just give me some nudie postcards and I'll be happy.

I think the bottom line is to keep an open mind, and just enjoy what you can.
I try to challenge my own preconceptions about art, but am really, pretty conservative.
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Postby brotherlouie » 22 Mar 2006, 22:34

andymacandy wrote:But you know what they say..........Fuck art, lets dance...............


Dance is art.