Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Wyndham

Where Does Clay Stand In Fine Art

Recommended Posts

Wyndham    98

I have seen and been part of discussions about art and clay that have degenerated into mediocre slams on both sides.

I would like to open a discussion on what makes a clay pot more than the sum of it's parts. Is it an illusion that there are artist that rise above the production genre, that make pieces that even the untrained eye recognizes it's artistic merit?

With so much hype about emerging artist and the wish to leave the constraint of form and function for some new vision, where is the common sense line of design and art, or is there one?

Though I won't be able to go to this talk the information below might spark some interest and comments.

http://ncclayclub.blogspot.com/2014/07/alex-matisse-free-talk-at-bascom-in.html

 

 

Is the production potter destined, either by choice or chance, only to live in production.

Is the university trained potter, destined to live in an academic clay circle?

Are the prices the public is willing to pay either exclude or include either group?

 

I hope this elicits some deeper insights into where clay, as a expressive medium ,lives in the real day to day world.

Wyndham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyler Miller    331

I think clay is simply the medium, just like metal or glass.  A knife is just a knife if you're using it to chop onions, a glass is just a glass if it holds your orange juice, and a teapot...you get the idea.  But even these forms go over and above their purpose, a beautiful cut crystal goblet adds to the special occasion on which its used, and there's a reason your mom reserved the "good china" for special occasions--they add something to the context of their use, the same way wearing a fine suit makes you feel different than wearing mechanic's coveralls or a clay covered smock.  That is the art of "craft" I guess.  

 

Someone who works actively to cultivate those finer sensibilities in appreciating common wares has indeed transcended mundane production into something else. Perhaps artist?  The extent to which a person works to cultivate more complex feelings in relation to a piece determines what exactly that person is.  Those who work strictly in those feelings, with no regard to practicality are artists, I think. And those who work in a self-conscious, deliberate manner, creating a form of discourse with the feelings they produce with their work, those, I think, are high/fine artists--on par with fine literature and painting.  But whether someone can be that as well as a production potter, I have no idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wyndham    98

There is no "right or wrong" position but thoughts like yours that may help see where clay fits into the contemporary life of 2014.

Wyndham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think clay stands up to everything else in fine art but it is also used by many people who do not call themselves artists which is part of the problem.

 

I think people also see a difference between art that has a purely emotional response against art that is used. Like it is being degraded by using it.

 

I have never really liked fine art, I enjoy art and take my experience but all the waffle around it sends me crazy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pres    896

Media is media, tools are tools. What one does with them does not define "fine" or not. That is usually determined by a bunch of people that appreciate all art, and raise some art to fine levels. Some out there would say that the only form of photography accepted as fine from a darkroom in the old film and developer manner. Others would say it is the eye of the photographer and his use of tools that makes a photo fine. Others would say that photography cannot be considered fine art. Then there are those who "sell the Emperor's New Clothes" claiming something the next new thing to be had a any cost.

 

We can intellectualize/discuss/argue and declare all we want as groups or individuals, but in the end 300 years from now time and history will determine what is fine art or craft, or junk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patsu    17

It is so relevant of a question to pose.  I like Tyler's point and mention of "finer sensibilities in appreciating common wares", also agree with High Bridge; how can flowing clay through fingers & against gravity, not be art and artful, it is not so simple as pouring water from a pitcher, more the opposite, it is forming water into a pitcher, using dirt. It is a creative art and the creations are all of them art. True as Preston says that it is history's call in the end what become the Fine Art. & for myself I don't really know Fine Art because I'm not educated enough even to know what has been determined to be Fine Art. I'm good with that though :)


 


Contemporary life 2014, it seems, ah, errant.  & myself along with it, I hasten to add.  Somewhat unwillingly, but I am going along.  Like a painful fall down a staircase that keeps getting longer.  


 


So in production pottery, repeat ware that changes the paradigm a bit, that changes the beat, maybe that would be a worthwhile 'movement.'  Maybe that could inform, or remind, "Contemporary life 2014", that it needs also to be "meaningful life 2014", "worthy life 2014", or something.  Production pottery that is uniquely significant, or representative of, a call for change.  Because the artists that create it, feel that way about it and talk that way about it to their customers. We are the potters, we could do that.  And maybe we are, it is important to me personally to try to, I am trying to and willing to keep trying to. I wish I better understood why other potters do what they are currently doing, what they are trying to accomplish, what is their motivation and what is their goal.  Maybe that's what this thread is about.


 


In Ceramics Art, things seem beautiful lately, the pictures in Ceramics Monthly of many pieces seem strikingly blazingly, ahh... Well they are just bursting with, I don't know, they are  'there,' on the page, in a really profoundly and I suppose pretty way.  Good pictures too, really good.  I seem pensive in my appreciation only because I'm not sure that the pieces are actually helping anything, or even mattering at all, when I guess I sorta hope that they would.  Help, I mean. I'm unconvinced that they affect positive change, and that is important to me, the idea of Art's making a positive impact upon society sort of beyond the momentary observation of something 'pretty.'  Contemporary life 2014 is like, more beautiful THAN beautiful, you know, beautiful some more... The frustrating part is, that beautiful, don't really fix what's broke.  But, maybe something, some art could?  


 


It is worth working on, definitely worth talking about in a level-headed and purposeful way.  But I don't know what's going on though, because I'm not very well-connected or informed as to the current big happenings in Art.  I rather expect though, honestly, that there's really next to nothing going on.  Just a presumption, don't mean to be rude.  But it seems as though there really ought to be something going on, that affects society,something powerful and subversive that doesn't take an MFA degree and connection to the inner circle, to notice. And it seems like production pottery could be a path straight in, I mean people put it in their mouths!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JBaymore    1,432

Simple.  I don't acknowledge the distinction.  It is all art.  Some works of art are more successful than other works of art.... but it is all an art form.

 

best,

 

......................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyler Miller    331

The aesthetics of Hans-Georg Gadamer, in particular his essay "The Relevance of the Beautiful" has been particularly helpful in clearing up some of the mechanisms of how art impresses its meaning, and the nature of art itself.  I'm not entirely a fan of the more "mystical" aspects of his work, but I find it a very helpful start in understanding what makes art "art" and non-art not "art."

 

Stanford Philosophy's summary of Gadamer's Aesthetics is a helpful (and free) substitute for the essay:  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/gadamer-aesthetics/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patsu    17

I have a few more thoughts on this one. 

 

 

What makes a food safe clay pot more than the sum of its' parts, is the user. 

 

The user is only involved in functional clay pots; with art pots, there are no users, only viewers, maybe 'handlers'.  Though they probably shouldn't be handling pots that aren't food safe; I never really got that aspect of pottery. It is really the production potter who rises above the artist genre for they reach their users on multiple levels including the direct multiple experiences and sensations of functional use thereby surmounting those of the artist genre, whereas the artist genre has only viewers and handlers.  I understand that Gadamer might perceive what I am terming 'viewers' as also within the class 'users' but if so, I can't buy it because there are tangible and measurable physical differences between these experience types that must somehow be accounted for.  

 

The production potter always has choices;  even though generally speaking the common forms are the best suited for their function, if he can find room to safely deviate from these forms then he can create unusual and satisfying new experiences for users of his ware and that is huge.  And huge is hard to defend thus for the production potter any deviation from standard forms execution might risk his becoming alienated from the larger production community.  The best way to approach that would be to introduce a new line, while also retaining conventional products. 

 

The production potter enjoys a powerful advantage in reaching the person experiencing their piece, as compared to the art-for-art's-sake potter. It is again what I would descibe to be the difference in experience of a viewer, as compared to that of a user. You can physically reach and even enter a user of your pottery with your ware & there's an implicit requirement to be responsible and gentle about it.

 

The Art potter engages the mind, the production potter's work engages the mind and also the body physically, like a cog interacts in a clockwork mechanism. It integrates directly with a human being and is charged with the responsibility of delivering measurable energy into a human being's personal biome, body, bacteria, into everything that the user is, mentally and physically.  That is not the same as looking at something from a distance. Taking a drink from a cup, is engaging a tool with acute tactile senses that have previous memory impressions associated with the activity.  You change the nature of the cup, and you change the nature of the sense-impression.  The hand grips the exterior of the cup and raises the vessel.  The liquid pours into the mouth at a certain velocity and volume.  The lip of the vessel meets the human lip.  All of these things happen in realtime as they have countless times before, but if they happen in a trustable yet uniquely different way, the user will immediately notice this difference in the nature of their transferring energy from the cup into their body.  It will change everything, the perceived flavor of the liquid, the feeling of the condensation on the cup to the fingers, the user's impression of the TV show that they are watching, their impression of other people around them, their stream of conscious thought may derail, their whole way of being in the world could be affected.  All of that just from drinking out of a uniquely designed cup.  To say nothing of the whole visual experience that the cup might present.  That's powerful stuff right there and it is very real.  One could argue that nothing is real in the first place - that all of our experience, tactile and otherwise, amounts to the populating of an information sense-stream that we observe with our minds, therefore from that perspective drinking and looking at a thing can never be more than a subset of awareness of the constant realtime sensory stream, a.k.a. they amount to the same thing.  That's reaching pretty far though, further than most people care to delve.

 

As a potter, I go in three directions most of the time though not necessarily at the same time, not in any particular order and certainly not always successfully while in one instance never successfully.  My three directions are:  form is function, make money, save the world.  Anybody else have directions that they go in?  I can dig a paragraph into each one of these but I already know all about this from my perspective.  I wonder what directions other potter/ceramic artists have these days, and why they pursue these directions, maybe others would like to elaborate on what their directions are?  I think that it fits with the general thread of where does clay stand in fine art.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Benzine    610

I don't see how the work, of a production potter, is any less of an art piece, than anything else.  

They make multiple copies of the same thing; so do printmaking artists.  And with printmaking, the artist only made the original.  In some cases, they had apprentices and other such workers make the prints.  Despite this, Warhol's mass produced works from "The Factory" are still considered art.

 

So I don't think production matters either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JBaymore    1,432

I think that many people often tag the term "production potter" as some sort of a very distinct category that can be defined cleanly. I don't think it can. In some cases I think some people also use it as a sort of derogatory term....a put down ("Oh... he's a production potter." said with a lofty sneer). And many also use that term to identify the objects produced also as some sort of easily defined category. Again, I don't think the category can be made so cavilerily.

 

There's good pots, there's not so good pots, and there's some REALLY not so good pots.

 

There's good oil paintings, there's not so good oil paintings, and there's some REALLY not so good oil paintings.

 

There's good prints, there's not so good prints, and there's some REALLY not so good prints.

 

There's good music, there's not so good music, and there's some REALLY not so good music.

 

There's good movies, there's not so good movies, and there's some REALLY not so good movies.

 

There's good design work, there's not so good design work, and there's some REALLY not so good design work.

 

It's all art. There's good art work, there's not so good art work, and there's some REALLY not so good art work.

 

best,

 

...............john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wyndham    98

Limited as I am, I am a production potter. As Patsu mentioned, I find the tactile responses from my work by those who use them, is one of the most satisfying returns to me of my work.

Knowing that everyday folks enjoy my pottery, gives me the energy to return to the wheel.

Tony Clennell recently was a judge in a dinnerware show in Pa, I believe. In his blog, he mentioned the piece that he also purchased as one that gave him a comfortable form.

So are we, as potters, driven to make forms that satisfy our own nature, Tony Clennell seemed to express this in his blogs.

"Art" seems to be a definition label imposed by others to satisfy some internal rational to a undefinable creative experience that they view but don't participate in, nothing wrong with that as well.

Some time ago I was watching an English cooking show where the fellow was using a bowl glazed with a white glaze that had crackled with age and decorated with simple cobalt blue "X's" along the rim, it was outstanding.

All of this and more has led me to explore the relationships of potter,consumer, critic, and  art from the gallery to everyday life.

Good discussion, I hope others with join in as well.

Wyndham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyler Miller    331

I think that many people often tag the term "production potter" as some sort of a very distinct category that can be defined cleanly. I don't think it can. In some cases I think some people also use it as a sort of derogatory term....a put down ("Oh... he's a production potter." said with a lofty sneer). And many also use that term to identify the objects produced also as some sort of easily defined category. Again, I don't think the category can be made so cavilerily.

 

There's good pots, there's not so good pots, and there's some REALLY not so good pots.

 

There's good oil paintings, there's not so good oil paintings, and there's some REALLY not so good oil paintings.

 

There's good prints, there's not so good prints, and there's some REALLY not so good prints.

 

There's good music, there's not so good music, and there's some REALLY not so good music.

 

There's good movies, there's not so good movies, and there's some REALLY not so good movies.

 

There's good design work, there's not so good design work, and there's some REALLY not so good design work.

 

It's all art. There's good art work, there's not so good art work, and there's some REALLY not so good art work.

 

best,

 

...............john

 

 

 

John, 

 

I think you may have passed over an important distinction in your parallel analogy  You are of course entitled to hold any opinion you want, but there's a distinction I think you're not making.  Much of modern art and literary criticism doesn't make this distinction and actively resists making it, but I feel it's one that needs to be made if art and design get their just due. 

 

Only two of those things can fairly compared, pots and design work.  You cannot drink from an oil painting, walk down music's corridors, or drive a movie to work.  Except maybe figuratively.

 

Art is at its very heart a non-purposive activity, it's play.  That isn't to say that art is trivial, it forms a vital and significant part of the human experience.  No other form of play is trivial either--we spend MILLIONS on sports around the world.  We just don't do it for any end.

 

Using sports for comparison--you can dig a ditch with your physicality, or you can make plays and tackles in football.  Both are highly physical and demanding, but only one of the two gives you an irrigation system at the end.  The same is true of illustrative drawing--you can draw technical diagrams of an automatic watering system or you can paint a landscape.  Only one gives you the plans for keeping your begonias healthy in the heat of the summer.

 

If we go back to your parallels of good, not so good, and really not so good, and we plug in my examples.  There's good ditch digging, etc. and there's good football plays, etc.  You can see that being a good football player doesn't get you anything, but being a bad ditch digger, means you get poor drainage.  The same is true of technical drawings and landscape paintings--doing the latter badly doesn't really matter to your begonias

 

This isn't to say there's no art in technical drawings or no sport in ditch digging, but it's not why we do it.  There is art grounded in those things, and how those drawings or diggings make use feel is the psychological groundwork for the non-purposive activities.  We can view those activities non-purposively as well, technical drawings can be emotionally evocative--Gray's Anatomy is stunningly executed.  On the other side of things, ever been to a competitive ploughing match?

 

So, to get to my point, a production mug isn't artless, but it doesn't need to be designed with art in mind to be a good mug.  A mug that causes its user to recoil in horror at its appearance and feel is not one worth using.  In order for a mug to be good, you have to want to use it and like doing so.  The attention the production potter gives to the emotions at work in use of his/her product is part of the potter's purposive activity.  When an artist works in ceramic, the goal is to work with the emotional aspects of interacting with a piece in a non-purposive way.

 

I don't feel production potters should be looked down on at all.  It takes a heck of a lot of discipline, instinct, and skill to make pots people enjoy using.  That could be called the "art" of production potting, but I think it should be rightly called the "skill" of production potting.

 

Production potters and "artists of ceramic" work in the exact same way with the exact same toolset, but to very different ends.  Production potters certainly don't deserve derision.  After all, I wouldn't want to eat off a Voulkos piece.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pres    896

If a piece of pottery as mundane as a mug, bowl or plate functions very well, is comfortable to use, begs to be held or used, and is beautiful to look at, is it not art?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JBaymore    1,432

 A mug that causes its user to recoil in horror at its appearance and feel is not one worth using.  In order for a mug to be good, you have to want to use it and like doing so.  The attention the production potter gives to the emotions at work in use of his/her product is part of the potter's purposive activity.  When an artist works in ceramic, the goal is to work with the emotional aspects of interacting with a piece in a non-purposive way.

 

I have a very good fired who has a favorite mug.  Aesthetically, it is very interesting.... you can get lost in it.  From every angle it presents a different vista.  Complex.

 

It is very difficult to drink out of due to the shape.  Ther are sharp places. It does not sit flat if you put it down.  I must be held if there is liquid in it.

 

He says it is his favorite because it causes him to slow down and contemplate the act of drinking.  To focus on the object in his hands.  it puts him "in the moment".

 

best,

 

................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyler Miller    331

 

 

This isn't to say there's no art in technical drawings or no sport in ditch digging, but it's not why we do it.  There is art grounded in those things, and how those drawings or diggings make use feel is the psychological groundwork for the non-purposive activities.  We can view those activities non-purposively as well, technical drawings can be emotionally evocative--Gray's Anatomy is stunningly executed.  On the other side of things, ever been to a competitive ploughing match?

 

 

John,

 

in light of the above quote, I'd call it non-purposive drinking, like enjoying a fine wine or tea.  You don't drink a fine old bottle of Haut-Medoc Bourdeaux to quench your thirst (or to get drunk) and $30 an ounce matcha isn't best suited for your morning commute pick-me-up.   And a mug like that's certainly not one for the morning commute, either-- certainly not a successful production piece, which was the point of my post, but perhaps a successful art piece.

 

Playing golf is the worst way to walk any distance, but you can get something emotionally gratifying from it.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patsu    17

 

I think that many people often tag the term "production potter" as some sort of a very distinct category that can be defined cleanly. I don't think it can. In some cases I think some people also use it as a sort of derogatory term....a put down ("Oh... he's a production potter." said with a lofty sneer). And many also use that term to identify the objects produced also as some sort of easily defined category. Again, I don't think the category can be made so cavilerily.

 

There's good pots, there's not so good pots, and there's some REALLY not so good pots.

 

There's good oil paintings, there's not so good oil paintings, and there's some REALLY not so good oil paintings.

 

There's good prints, there's not so good prints, and there's some REALLY not so good prints.

 

There's good music, there's not so good music, and there's some REALLY not so good music.

 

There's good movies, there's not so good movies, and there's some REALLY not so good movies.

 

There's good design work, there's not so good design work, and there's some REALLY not so good design work.

 

It's all art. There's good art work, there's not so good art work, and there's some REALLY not so good art work.

 

best,

 

...............john

 

 

 

John, 

 

I think you may have passed over an important distinction in your parallel analogy  You are of course entitled to hold any opinion you want, but there's a distinction I think you're not making.  Much of modern art and literary criticism doesn't make this distinction and actively resists making it, but I feel it's one that needs to be made if art and design get their just due. 

 

Only two of those things can fairly compared, pots and design work.  You cannot drink from an oil painting, walk down music's corridors, or drive a movie to work.  Except maybe figuratively.

 

Art is at its very heart a non-purposive activity, it's play.  That isn't to say that art is trivial, it forms a vital and significant part of the human experience.  No other form of play is trivial either--we spend MILLIONS on sports around the world.  We just don't do it for any end.

 

Using sports for comparison--you can dig a ditch with your physicality, or you can make plays and tackles in football.  Both are highly physical and demanding, but only one of the two gives you an irrigation system at the end.  The same is true of illustrative drawing--you can draw technical diagrams of an automatic watering system or you can paint a landscape.  Only one gives you the plans for keeping your begonias healthy in the heat of the summer.

 

If we go back to your parallels of good, not so good, and really not so good, and we plug in my examples.  There's good ditch digging, etc. and there's good football plays, etc.  You can see that being a good football player doesn't get you anything, but being a bad ditch digger, means you get poor drainage.  The same is true of technical drawings and landscape paintings--doing the latter badly doesn't really matter to your begonias

 

This isn't to say there's no art in technical drawings or no sport in ditch digging, but it's not why we do it.  There is art grounded in those things, and how those drawings or diggings make use feel is the psychological groundwork for the non-purposive activities.  We can view those activities non-purposively as well, technical drawings can be emotionally evocative--Gray's Anatomy is stunningly executed.  On the other side of things, ever been to a competitive ploughing match?

 

So, to get to my point, a production mug isn't artless, but it doesn't need to be designed with art in mind to be a good mug.  A mug that causes its user to recoil in horror at its appearance and feel is not one worth using.  In order for a mug to be good, you have to want to use it and like doing so.  The attention the production potter gives to the emotions at work in use of his/her product is part of the potter's purposive activity.  When an artist works in ceramic, the goal is to work with the emotional aspects of interacting with a piece in a non-purposive way.

 

I don't feel production potters should be looked down on at all.  It takes a heck of a lot of discipline, instinct, and skill to make pots people enjoy using.  That could be called the "art" of production potting, but I think it should be rightly called the "skill" of production potting.

 

Production potters and "artists of ceramic" work in the exact same way with the exact same toolset, but to very different ends.  Production potters certainly don't deserve derision.  After all, I wouldn't want to eat off a Voulkos piece.

 

Not that I necessarily disagree with it, but your premise is fairly clearly based on the reference of Gadamer's work, and Gadamer's philosophical classification of art.  Which solidly belongs in the discussion.  Gadamer was born in 1900.  Let's say he started reading existentialist philosophy at 10 years old; now we're at 1910.  Michelangelo was born in 1475, before existentialist philosophy and before Gadamer.  Does this mean that Michelangelo could not have understood what art was, because we only came to understand it as (arguably) we do now, a mere century ago?  

 

All I'm saying is that Gadamer's perspective, does not really define what art is; it presents a mental exercise that assists in gaining one philosophical perspective on art, while at the same time, there are others to consider.  And while I think that there is some merit in his thought out construct or perspective, I do not see it as a be-all & end-all as to what art is, was, or will become.

 

Also I would point out what some have explained to me, when I try to understand why they follow sports.  They tell me that sport, such as football, provides a release for primal 'warrior' energy (I am paraphrasing), that otherwise would cause significant issues within and to society.  Theres  is obviously flawed as a logical analysis however it does suggest that "sports" may be more than just "play,"  Sports may be fulfilling functions and art may be fulfilling functions. It is perspective-dependent. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JBaymore    1,432

Art fufills a function.... it is a communication vehicle.  It conveys information in a way that is not the "typical" communication routine.  For visual arts and certain types of music.... non-verbally.  For theatre and movies and some music, through context of the overall piece.  And so on.

 

If I could speak or write about what I am doing with clay as effectively as I can communicate with the clay, then there'd be no need FOR the clay.  The making is there becasue it MUST be there.

 

best,

 

..................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyler Miller    331

John, I'm afraid I'm not sure what you're getting at, since I in no way mean to call what you or any other artist does trivial.  Football players would likely say they NEED to play, painters need to paint, etc.  As I said in my post above, MILLIONS of dollars (more like billions) are spent on sport every year, art is no different.  It is culturally necessary and culturally appreciated--it does serve a function.  My only point is that purposive and non-purposive activities are different.  It would be foolish to say that the emotional satisfaction one gets from painting or viewing a landscape is the same as the benefit one received from designing an irrigation system or a high rise.  They're not the same.  They're obviously not the same.

 

Patsu, I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at either.  The point of my post was to bring to light the fact that the "Everything is Art" school of thought has some theoretical deficiencies (to me) in certain areas.  Despite these deficiencies many people still uphold it.  I've brought Gadamer into the discussion because I think he brings a certain level of theoretical rigour.

 

To answer your point about Michelangelo, feelings existed before psychology, words had meaning before lexicography, and natural phenomena existed before science, however our understandings of these things has become more rigorous and thorough as time has gone on.  The Iliad shows no recognition of cognition as a human function--the Gods make everyone do everything.  But surely they felt and thought just as we did, they just explained it differently.  We still don't know what art is (we still don't really know what feelings are) and we only point at it with our models of understanding, but that doesn't mean that good art doesn't exist.

 

Gadamer's theory of aesthetics is just a theory, but a good one, I think.  So good, I thought it worth bringing up here.  The Derrida camp has some valid points to level against him, and I invite you to read them if you have the chance.

 

If I've stirred the pot too much, as I feel I have, I'm sorry.  I do hope I've added something, if only a challenge, to your understanding of art.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JBaymore    1,432

They're not the same.  They're obviously not the same.

 

No, they are not the same.... but they are tightly related in my mind.  One feeds the tummy...... the other feeds the soul.  Both are necessary.... and purposeful.  Just not the same purposeful.

 

best,

 

.................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patsu    17

I think that you are right though Tyler, all theories of art do seem to have deficiencies.  You definitely have added to my considerations as to what art is.  Keep stirring!  This is the conversation.  Gadamer is well worth bringing up.  I was thinking on bringing in R.D. Laing.  There are a myriad of perspectives to come at these things from, and from each perspective, each his own perceptions.  What I was getting at, is only that Gadamer's theory is a relatively recent philosophy that can blanket the past, but that to the mass of human awareness that lived previous to his work, his theory can't have relevance or be known to those who came before him though they too had valid perspectives and theories on art.  Gadamer's is seemingly more evolved.  Theories of art are great to learn of, and to ponder, but they can be difficult to discuss, is all.  Our understandings truly have become more rigorous but I do not think that necessarily validates Gadamer's perspective.  It's still a theory based on philosophical presumptions that are not logical analysis.  It's not testable or scientific or prove-able.  It may be a complicated theory, I may not understand it as you do yourself though still, I think that there is some validity to it.  I know that you think it a good theory, I do not disagree.  I think your answer re: Michelangelo is reasonable.  Sport isn't non-purposive if it makes money, art one could argue is purposive if it makes money.  It's a matter of how one comes at it & I think it's great fun to come at it all 6 ways from Sunday if at all possible...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patsu    17

Well so a guy has a painting.  He gets 'real' emotional satisfaction from it, but another person, received moneys for it.  To the other person, to the creator, the art fulfilled a measurable function - it gained money for the creator, who then bought rice and more art supplies with the money, and his survival continued.  To the guy with the painting, he gets emotional satisfaction, not the same as the money that the creator got, not purposive.  Yet paradoxically that guy who got emotional satisfaction, did not feel the urge to beat his wife, on that night.  Now it's purposive right?  But the next night he does beat his wife & she leaves him (whew).  No longer purposive.  Or is it?  She is now free from his tyranny! Purposive.  All a matter of perspectives of various individuals at various moments in time, so perhaps Art is a schroedinger's cat sort of equation, everything is in a quantum state of both being and not being art, and only in moments of observation & consideration, can it flip into one state or the other, for any specific individual observer...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wyndham    98

Ah, I love it. Art explains quantum physics, I can see that on several levels.

Now in the above example, the painting is simply a painting, everyone acting or reacting are outside the painting . Without interpretation or really translation, art is a hidden language known only to the artist. How many times have we all seen someone wax poetically over a painting, sculpture or other, only to learn the artist created it is an altered state, not connected to the viewers interpretation .

Did Jackson Pollack commit suicide because he saw his life's work as drivel, as a con game on himself?

If we go back to primitive ceramics, where group  survival  was dependent on function and quality, the potter also embellished  the forms for both personal pride and community cohesion.

It may well be when a society is not as affluent as ours and more interdependent on each other and the land, the art has a closer connection  to the people it serves.

Though I'm not that familiar with the Japanese tea ceremonies, there seems to be  a need to help tie generations and tradition together so an identity won't be lost.

Since we have such an affluent and diverse culture, the fragmentation of art seems a natural progression where movements/trends in art can be transitory.

Wyndham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyler Miller    331

 

They're not the same.  They're obviously not the same.

 

No, they are not the same.... but they are tightly related in my mind.  One feeds the tummy...... the other feeds the soul.  Both are necessary.... and purposeful.  Just not the same purposeful.

 

best,

 

.................john

 

 

 

I think we're using purposive in a different way here.  What I meant was that when you're fully engage in the "play" of art, sport, or a game, you're working toward a non-outcome.  If you win a football game, you don't really get anything for winning other than a good feeling.  The reasons you may play football do not align with the reasons you won.  The reasons you do art do not align with the internal logic of an artistic work.  That's what I mean by non-purposive.  I'm not saying art serves no purpose, far from it, I'm saying its purpose is apart from its internal logic.  Irrigation plans align with the logic of watering a garden or a farm.

 

Here's a question--is the necessity of art a categorical necessity (i.e. humans by definition are artistic and non artistic beings aren't human) or a conditional necessity (humans nourish themselves on art)?  I think it's the former.  I think the activity is innate to all people.  Humans (used to) hum and sing spontaneously (until the advent of portable music).  Drinking songs, work songs, songs just to pass the time.  My dad sings when washing the dishes, my mom doodles, I've caught my girlfriend dancing.  

 

I don't think humans need art to survive, but rather art is a product of human survival.  Like talking or moving.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
drmyrtle    51

Art fufills a function.... it is a communication vehicle.  It conveys information in a way that is not the "typical" communication routine. 

Yes. I think this exactly. Expand the definition of both "communication" and "function" and I believe there is a not too distant point where those concepts merge. Art is everything created by nature or human hand, and however we take the information/communication in, it 'speaks'. One may disagree that a sunrise is art, but when you gaze upon the fine art photo of a sunrise, isn't it still most relevant that the spectacular colors and shape are what occurred? Otherwise you'd be viewing a well processed piece of paper...

 

My other thought as I was reading this discussion blends in with something I've had to learn more about for work. Interception is the neurological process of being aware of the internal arousal process and condition of the 'inside'. For example, when you put that cup to your lips and sip, you receive a shower of internal sensory information, along with information relating whether the water is relieving your sense of thirst. As Patsu relates, experiencing the cup is a very intimate experience.

 

It occurs to me that people have all sorts of responses to intimate experiences, and this diversity of response may link to expressions of production vs fine art. Things that are by nature objectified (paintings, sculpture, etc... the handled things from above descriptions), are not experienced as easily on a visceral, interoceptive level. Since humans have a knack for distancing themselves cognitively, it makes some sense that, for some, the very experiential nature of drinking from a cup puts it into a realm of... less than art. For some, feeling something does make it mundane.

 

Those of us that revel in being covered in mud more often than not, are probably more on the scale side of enjoying or seeking the sensual experience of using and interacting with pottery, and have trained our eyes to see the sensual aspects of the creation that others with less experience can't see (so see art/communication through form or texture, etc. where others see a "cup").

 

This difference in perspective and value, cognitive distance vs. experiential interoception, is something that cultures have always, and probably always will, tussle with. Communication (nonverbal) still happens whether the receiver takes it in or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×