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Thread: What *IS* Art?

  1. #1
    Fifty Fifty Member Bacon_Barbarian's Avatar
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    What *IS* Art?

    I just had an absolutely brilliant art history class last semester, and it can honestly say it made me consider changing my majors from politics and art to art history and art. The professor was a medievalist, but due to the introductory nature of the class, we went from 800 BCE to the 1980s in a little over 30 hours of class. Not once in the class did we define what art is. We looked at paintings and sculptures and prints and architecture, but not once did we define art.

    Over the last month I have been working with the professor of the class to make "visual responses" (AKA: drawings) that correspond with the different units we went over in class (Classical Art, Medieval Art, The Renaissance and the Baroque, & Modern Art). Over the course of the project, something occurred to me. Historically, "fine art" was defined as the following: painting and drawing, sculpture, music, poetry, and architecture. This has since expanded to include film, photography, dance, drama, and printmaking.

    Now, what occurred to me is this. While work in all these different mediums may be considered art or artistic, it take real intellectual thought to make them works of art. My doodling in the margins on my notebook? Not art. Me actively taking the time to create a character whose every detail has been thought out and has meaning for being the way it is? Art. Drawings where I have themes and a process and have given explicit thought to the style as to try and convey something? Art.

    I assume this applies to other disciplines as well. Although, who am I to say? It is up to the individual to make that judgement, the idea art can be objectively defined is one I find ridiculous.

    Now discuss/debate/agree/disagree, whatever!
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    Three Trio Tres Member Taragon's Avatar
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    Reminds me of discussions about what "is" music or what "is" architecture.
    I'd be inclined to answer all of these with "Whatever was intended to be" although I don't think it fits entirely.

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    Ruler of the Seventh Empire GunZet's Avatar
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    Art is-- whatever you want it to be. It's so subjective that it can't really hold a true definition.

    Back in one of my art history classes, this little piece of gold came up.


    To some it's art. But to me, it's a damn toilet.

    So yea, trying to define what 'art' is in general is a pointless venture. But one general rule seems to apply: if something is not obviously presented as art, or an art form, it often isn't... until someone claims it to be.
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    Fifty Fifty Member Bacon_Barbarian's Avatar
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    I agree it's rather pointless, but I think it's a fun exercise regardless.

    And no love for Duchamp, eh, GunZ? Personally, I like "Fountain," but it has more to do with Duchamps play on words than anything else. R. Mutt, which he signed it as, sounds a lot like the German word "armut" which means poverty. And he would have definitely know this. I think he was making a statement. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. It's hard if not impossible to say.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taragon View Post
    Reminds me of discussions about what "is" music or what "is" architecture.
    I'd be inclined to answer all of these with "Whatever was intended to be" although I don't think it fits entirely.
    Mmmm. I believe in authorial intent as much as the next guy, but one man's trash is another man's treasure. The scraps of da Vinci'll probably always be better than my best work.
    Last edited by Bacon_Barbarian; 01-30-2014 at 05:21 PM.
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    ハリセン クラプ Ace Pitcher Hayashida's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GunZet View Post
    Back in one of my art history classes, this little piece of gold came up.


    To some it's art. But to me, it's a damn toilet.
    Well I think what Duchamp what trying to do was to force yourself to ask the question of this thread. What is art? Can it be anything anyone says is art? If you market something as art does that make it so? Some say marketing is one of the greatest forms of art of the 20th century and this, in a way, reinforces that.

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    Ruler of the Seventh Empire GunZet's Avatar
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    Yep, art at its essence is just whatever. Then comes the fun part: putting the art into a specific category.
    Last edited by GunZet; 01-30-2014 at 09:53 PM.
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    Fifty Fifty Member Evil_Cake's Avatar
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    art is the worst

  8. #8
    Fifty Fifty Member Bacon_Barbarian's Avatar
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    See, Cake. The wonderful--or terrible, depending on how you want to look at it--is that is entirely valid.
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    Queen of the Curve Linz's Avatar
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    Like most art forms, (music, architecture, painting, drawing, Makeup, fashion, interior design) it is mostly based on each individuals perception of what art is. While I might find art in some areas, one of you might not. What art is to each individual is based on a few things; experience, preference and influence. These three things are so closely related, but what it boils down to is your personal taste. Like music! I can sit and listen to EDM and Aggrotech for hours on end whereas someone else would want to kill themselves, but it doesn't make EDM or Industrial any less of an art form just because you don't like it.

    The traditional definition of art is as follows;
    Art
    noun
    1.
    the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
    "the art of the Renaissance"

    Some people may try and CREATE art but it may not end up BEING art. If we called everything we created 'Art' then it would quickly lose its meaning and power.

    Even if you don't like the 'art' someone has created, ask yourself whether it shows skill, creativity and imagination. Does it evoke powerful emotions? Does it tell a story?
    If the piece does most of that, then yes. It is Art.

  10. #10
    I'm an Adult! Member Seira's Avatar
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    That's funny, according to what Linz said, my drawings aren't art! (well, still not art). I don't have skill and certainly not creativity or imagination (duh, my drawings are all really plain/have an overused idea.) I get depressed whenever I think about that, and then I take a piece of paper and draw. Since there's no other way around it.

    I do agree, though, it's mostly subjective. I absolutely can't judge art objectively, and I'm not sure there are some people out there who can (If they do, I think they hide themselves in a cave). And, technically, you could say anything that someone created is art! The problem is that we end up with these weird paintings who sell for a few millions that consist of a few lines or dots onto a blank canvas. Seriously, are they buying that stuff for showing off?

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