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What makes good art? (Read 162 times)

    I really don't know a whole lot about art, but when I was a little kid, and in a bad mood or sad or whatever when I was visiting my dad in DC, he would take me to the Hirshhorn, and I would laugh my ass off. That place was/is great. I thought "LA Co. Museum on Fire" was the funniest thing going. So, I like art that makes me smile, or makes me feel 7 again.

    Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
    We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes
    jimmyb


      Coincidentally, we took an out-of-towner (one we knew) to the local art museum yesterday, and we saw this:

       

      I was fascinated with how the sculptor created the illusion of a veil. Great art? Maybe, maybe not. But the skill cut right through any perception or belief I had about the piece. It stopped me in my tracks for 5 minutes. In essence, woke me up. Piqued (pronounced  pee-kayed) my interest.

       

      Then in the modern art section we saw this:

       

      The other two walls contained  4-sided colored shapes like these two. It's the only room in the museum that brought out my sarcasm as I dubbed it "The Skill Room".  Is this talent? It must be art, it's in a museum. So, I'll call it art.  But has an artist who has gained some traction in people's perceptions as "great artist" pulled  the wool over their eyes and just cut some shapes, painted them and stuck them on the wall and call it "Wedges and Squares On The Wall" , and because that person was a "great artist", people think it's genius?

       

      Maybe it's great art designed to make me feel sarcastic.

       

      Is skill required? Or can we just chew some gum, stick it on a canvass and call it art? Should there be a little more work involved than what we see in "The Skill Room", and like we see with the Veiled Lady?

      Log    PRs

        I'm not an artist, nor have I had any desire to learn art.  I have learned how to appreciate some forms of art though.

        My FIL began taking art classes at the university he teaches at while he was in his mid to late 50s.  He's an engineer.  He's now 65 or so.

        Over the past 7 or 8 years, he's been drawing art and building sculptures with most of his drawings being the face and the body.  He has some landscape and buildings in his portfolio, but mostly men and women that he draws after taking pictures of them.  He's actually very accomplished for taking up art late in his life.

         

        Funny story about this, though....

        About a year ago (Christmas), the entire family wen to visit them in Daytona Beach, Florida, and about 15 of us (artist and wife, 3 daughters and son in laws, and their grandchildren) went on a fishing excursion.  On the boat, there were maybe 50 people and you all drop your line off the side of the boat.  It was a 1/2 day tour.

        About an hour into the fishing trip, a lady in her 30s approached "Bob" the artist and asked him how she knew him.  Neither of them knew how she knew him.  "Are you a student at UCF?"... "Are you a member of this church?"... "Do you live in this community?"  Every answer was "no".
        A couple of minutes later, there was the "A-Ha" moment....  "Are you an artist?"  Her answer was "No, but I'm a model for artists".

        It turns out that she was a nude model at the art studio and the university that my father in law practices his art.  He's drawn her multiple times over the past few years, and didn't recognize her face.

        Awkward Smile


        The rest of the fishing trip was awkward since her fishing line was next to mine.  Her and her brother (fishing companion) ended out being really great people.

         

        I haven't gone back through his portfolio yet to see how well he drew her. Smile

        FWIW, "Bob" is a runner and logs his data on RunningAhead, but likely never reads these threads.  (This might be a thread he's be able to contribute to).  He never ran a day in his life until about 2 years ago, and last weekend, he ran his first 22+ mile run.

        2014 Goals:

        #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

        #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

         

          Incidentally, some months back I was in the Nelson-Atkins museum here in Kansas City helping my son with a class project (Euro History, I think) where he had to hunt down and get his picture taken with several pieces of art by various masters, and in the museum I came across this little statue of Mercury.  I found it inspiring, so I took a few pictures of it, edited in Picasa one of my best shots to make the background look like the sky (rather than the back of a display case) and made it my avatar here on RA.  Who says engineers cannot appreciate art?

           

          BTW, I forget the details of the piece exactly, but my recollection is that it was sculpted in the 14th or 15th century in Italy, but the exact artist is unknown.

          - Joe

          all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

            i'm about as cultured as a lump of shit, but can appreciate the detail of the Vermeer work (especially considering it was done c.1622-1624). thing is though, in these days of Blu-ray, HD, 4k and PS3/4 & x-box 360/one games, we're pretty bombarded with higher detailed images on a regular basis (possibly desensitised too). as to interpreting it's supposed meaning, life's too short; that's why i'd sooner look at a Banksy than a Boticelli:

             

            banksy

             

            p.s. Twombly's having a laff.

            My leg won't stop mooing.

             

            i think i've got a calf injury.

            jimmyb


              I do believe that piece depicted how Mercury was in love with his right armpit and would constantly bare it to the other gods. "Look at my gorgeous pit and its abundant hair."  I googled "engineers can't appreciate art" and apparently not many people write that phrase on the web, at least. So, it's not a leap to think that most of us aren't thinking that at all. I would gather most people are thinking "what do engineers do anyway?" and "you must have to be smart to be an engineer."  

               

               

              Incidentally, some months back I was in the Nelson-Atkins museum here in Kansas City helping my son with a class project (Euro History, I think) where he had to hunt down and get his picture taken with several pieces of art by various masters, and in the museum I came across this little statue of Mercury.  I found it inspiring, so I took a few pictures of it, edited in Picasa one of my best shots to make the background look like the sky (rather than the back of a display case) and made it my avatar here on RA.  Who says engineers cannot appreciate art?

               

              BTW, I forget the details of the piece exactly, but my recollection is that it was sculpted in the 14th or 15th century in Italy, but the exact artist is unknown.

              Log    PRs

                Hey Jeff, you didn't answer your second question. What makes something beautiful?

                  "Look at my gorgeous pit and its abundant hair."

                   

                  Ha!  LOL.  No, that quote wouldn't be Mercury.  It would, with no exaggeration, be my 13-year-old son, much to his mother's horror.  He has kept us informed of just about each one as it has come in.

                  - Joe

                  all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                    Hey Jeff, you didn't answer your second question. What makes something beautiful?

                     

                    I'm not sure I know the answer!

                     

                    I like Kant's notion that the experience of beauty is the experience of the mind being simultaneously stimulated to understanding but unable to apply a concept to the intuition experienced. It captures the idea that beauty is something grasped but not comprehended. The problem with that is that it puts beauty in relation to understanding, and it seems to me that beauty doesn't have much to do with understanding.

                     

                    I think that Dewey has a fuller notion of beauty as "culminating harmonious experience." He describes the beautiful experience as one of coherence and harmony but not stasis. I think you get closest to his idea of beauty through his description of what it is not: "The enemies of the esthetic are neither the practical nor the intellectual. They are the humdrum; slackness of loose ends; submission to convention in practice and intellectual procedure. Rigid abstinence, coerced submission, tightness on one side and dissipation, incoherence and aimless indulgence on the other are deviations in opposite directions from the unity of experience."

                     

                    We call an experienced thing or event beautiful when the experience it gives us is of the very fullness and richness that is possible but so often latent and untapped in experience.


                    Ostrich runner

                      To me, good art provokes a response. The nature of that response is subjective, but the best stuff will provoke a wide range of responses, and on different levels. I think it is fine for that response to be negative as well. That a piece disgusts some people is quite possibly a sign that it's good. That some people react negatively to what is vaguely described as "modern" certainly doesn't mean it is bad. I once had an interaction that left a friend annoyed with me. We were in a modern art museum, and he described many of the pieces as "stupid." I pointed out that it is a bit counterintuitive to not understand something, then describe it as such.

                       

                      All that said, many pieces lose their effect when looking at a reproduction - especially a reproduction on a computer screen. It's awfully difficult to know how an abstract piece will affect you in person by seeing it on a screen.

                      http://www.runningahead.com/groups/Indy/forum

                      mab411


                      Proboscis Colossus

                        i'm about as cultured as a lump of shit, but can appreciate the detail of the Vermeer work (especially considering it was done c.1622-1624). thing is though, in these days of Blu-ray, HD, 4k and PS3/4 & x-box 360/one games, we're pretty bombarded with higher detailed images on a regular basis (possibly desensitised too). as to interpreting it's supposed meaning, life's too short; that's why i'd sooner look at a Banksy than a Boticelli:

                         

                        banksy

                         

                        p.s. Twombly's having a laff.

                         

                        Funny you bring up Banksy...he came to mind earlier as an example of an artist whose work I find innovative, beautiful, fun, and relevant.

                        "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                          First of all, good art is not necessarily beautiful.

                           

                          Is beautiful art necessarily 'good'?  Maybe that's more reasonable.

                           

                          I mean, it's so hard to qualify beauty in the first place, and 'good' could mean anything.  It could mean 'sublime.'  It could mean 'of moral benefit.'

                           

                          'Good art' is certainly subjective and perhaps like truth, has to be defined by its viewers.  Of course, in an era when artists try to manipulate viewers in ways extraneous to the art... it gets confusing.

                           

                          Me, I'm old-school.  I get the biggest sense of the sublime and of beauty when I see art that has required an obvious depth of creativity, insight, and comprehension that you might call 'Godlike.'  That is, so creative and fascinating it's impossible to readily understand it as having come from a human being, yet it has.

                           

                          I hate most modern art, which is lazy, arch, and manipulative, and disgusts me.

                           

                          Your post resonates best with me.  I think the best art conveys something that would otherwise be beyond my appreciation or comprehension or ability to express. That is why the greatest art (music included) might seem godlike.  Bach immediately comes to mind.  Lesser art still conveys something to the observer beyond what s/he can experience by other means.

                           

                          I don't necessarily agree about modern art.  Give it a few centuries and the dreck will be weeded out of 21st century art.

                          Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

                          jimmyb


                            What makes something beautiful?

                             

                            Red lipstick

                            Log    PRs

                              It seems that Dewey and Kant both underpin their definitions of beauty with experience.  I would say that, like Truth, there is Beauty.  A thing may be beautiful (or ugly) whether or not a particular person experiences it so or not.  The experience may say more about the essential nature of the experiencer than the object.

                              - Joe

                              all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

                                 Funny you bring up Banksy...he came to mind earlier as an example of an artist whose work I find innovative, beautiful, fun, and relevant.

                                 

                                i did my degree in Bristol many moons ago (1989ish) and first exposure to his stuff was:

                                 

                                 

                                it's on the side of the Thekla (a floating nightclub), used to go there for Indie nights.

                                My leg won't stop mooing.

                                 

                                i think i've got a calf injury.

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