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Author Topic: Accidentally made a work of art?  (Read 50873 times)

Isaac

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2015, 03:39:56 PM »

Why 'art' is a word that people somehow feel they have a personal stake in defining is something of a mystery.

Obviously there are people who do have a personal stake in what the word 'art' is understood to mean: many call themselves artists; others - curators, dealers, institutions, art schools, collectors, … The Art World.

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"And of course probably one of the strongest reasons why you’d want your activity to be called art is economic because there’s an awful lot of money - 43 billion pounds last year - sloshing through the art market, so that’s quite a nice incentive to call what you do art.

That idea of what art is is still very, even in the 21st century age, is still very pertinent."

The Reith Lectures 2013 : Playing to the Gallery   (pp 4-5 in the transcript)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2015, 04:19:30 PM by Isaac »
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Alan Klein

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2015, 04:31:44 PM »

Is Art defined by what it does, or how it is made?...


The viewer cares about the effect on his mind and soul, the whole point of art.  Only critics care about how it was made.
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spidermike

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2015, 04:36:05 PM »



What about the artist who does care about success?
Or just the artist who does care about interacting with the viewers?
Again, if something has no value for someone that doesn't means it has no value whatsoever.

I totally agree with you Diego - but as you have not argued against my points you have reinforced my thinking that trying to design a global definition of art is futile - a definition must fit all cases or it is not a definition.
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amolitor

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2015, 04:41:06 PM »

The viewer cares about the effect on his mind and soul, the whole point of art.  Only critics care about how it was made.

This is certainly the modern viewpoint. It admits a surprising number of things as "Art" however.

Also, quite a lot of people think it can't be Art unless there's technical skill, intent, and effort involved. This was, indeed, the prevailing view prior to the early 20th century. It's relevant here because Photography as a form played a part in changing this conception. Photography is, obviously, Art. And yet, it requires none of these things.
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Isaac

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2015, 04:57:29 PM »

Photography is, obviously, Art.

"Next boundary marker: photography. Problematic."

pdf Lecture 2: Beating The Bounds
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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2015, 05:11:03 PM »

I totally agree with you Diego - but as you have not argued against my points you have reinforced my thinking that trying to design a global definition of art is futile - a definition must fit all cases or it is not a definition.

A global definition is impossible, but that doesn't mean that a personal definition is always futile: knowing what others consider art is a hint of their mind.

What this hint is good for it's up to the person getting it.
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Isaac

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2015, 12:30:36 PM »

… forced me to think about what I'm doing in relation to art and what exactly art is. … the discussion is irrelevant … drilling down into this philosophical notion of art is helpful in creating context for the work I do.

Sounds like the discussion is directly relevant to what you do ;-)

(Lest we forget, this part of the LuLa forum is titled "But is it Art? A free form forum for opinions on photography as an art form.")


Duchamp pretty much killed that definition dead.

And now … ?

"Now we are in a time of post-historical art, anything can be art but not everything is art. … We’re in a state now where anything goes. But the thing is I think there are boundaries still about what can and cannot be art, but the limits are softer, they’re fuzzier. … the boundaries of contemporary art. They are not formed by what art can be, but where, who or why."
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spidermike

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2015, 04:23:37 PM »

A global definition is impossible, but that doesn't mean that a personal definition is always futile: knowing what others consider art is a hint of their mind.

What this hint is good for it's up to the person getting it.

Surely even your own personal defintion of art must be all-encompassing otherwise those grey areas I commented on are undefinable.
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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2015, 04:44:37 PM »

Surely even your own personal defintion of art must be all-encompassing otherwise those grey areas I commented on are undefinable.
Newtonian theory of gravity doesn't  encompass relativistic situations and yet it's far from useless
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2015, 05:11:26 PM »

The OP referenced image is neither accidental, nor art, so why all the fuss?

Isaac

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2015, 06:30:01 PM »

… neither accidental …

'… [Rosenthal] confessed that its making was "largely accidental." … "I have often thought," he said a decade after making his famous photograph, "of the things that happened quite accidentally to give that picture its qualities."' p208
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2015, 06:42:49 PM »

The "things" might have been accidental, the photograph wasn't.

Isaac

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2015, 07:29:54 PM »

If the "things" that "give the picture its qualities" were accidental…

For anyone interested in the story of the photograph told by the photographer -- pdf "The Picture That Will Live Forever … What difference does it make who took the picture".
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Ray

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2015, 11:27:11 PM »

.. a definition must fit all cases or it is not a definition.

Surely even your own personal defintion of art must be all-encompassing otherwise those grey areas I commented on are undefinable.

You've hit the nail on the head, Mike. The problem as I see it is due to the prevalent paradigm in ordinary, everyday language of the binary state of mutual exclusion, that is, the duality of 'either/or'. Something must be 'either X or Y', but not 'both X and Y'. Something is either 'hot' or 'cold', but not both 'hot and cold'.

The concept of a precise temperature is perhaps a good example to demonstrate the problem. Is 100 degrees Centigrade hot? Within a domestic situation in the kitchen, boiling water can scald your hands. It's definitely hot. What about 40 degrees? Is that hot? In the kitchen, water at 40 degrees is just warm. In the atmosphere outside, 40 degrees is bloody hot, almost unbearable. In a furnace designed to melt metal, 40 degrees is bloody cold.

The word 'art' falls into a similar category. There's a broad spectrum of artistic quality that every object can contain to some degree. The more 'pure' a form of art is, the less is its direct, practical purpose, as opposed to any indirect practical effect due to an emotional uplifting of the spirits.

A tool designed to serve a practical function is generally not considered to be a work of art. If its design, shape and form are influenced by artistic considerations, then it can become less practical, as in the example of a woman's high-heeled shoe, or many types of fashion clothing.

Photography, and specific photographs, can fall into the category of potentially being 'both a work of art and not a work of art'. Even a forensic photograph of a crime scene could have elements of artistic influence.

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Isaac

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2015, 03:32:01 PM »

… nor art …

-- "Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers."

-- "Mr. Rosenthal said would say he was lucky to catch the flag-raising at its most dramatic instant, producing a masterpiece of composition acclaimed as a work of art."

-- "Even more than half a century later, Rosenthal's picture retains its emotional power as a work of art as well as a patriotic icon."
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spidermike

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2015, 05:44:32 PM »

Newtonian theory of gravity doesn't  encompass relativistic situations and yet it's far from useless

More exactly, Newtonian physics does not contradict relativistic situations, but it is a good guide for all real-word situations most of us encounter. In the round, Newtonian physics is a subset of quantum mechanics and relativistic physics where gross assumptions are good enough for real applications - an architect does not have to calculate spin states in every atom in a building to know if it will be stable.

By contrast your 'definition' cannot be a subset of anything because your definition is exclusionary (if it doesn't meet my criteria it isn't art). 

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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2015, 06:15:15 PM »

More exactly, Newtonian physics does not contradict relativistic situations,
Nevertheless,  Newtonian physics does not encompass relativistic situations and yet is far from useless.
Any theory, even a wrong one, is much better than no theory at all.

This is true both for physics and for art.
How much better, is up to the use you're making of that theory

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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2015, 06:15:18 PM »

Isaac, let me clarify: it isn't accidental in the sense, as someone already mentioned, that he did not trip and pressed the shutter accidentally. It is not art (imho) in the sense it isn't a classical art. Just like a toilet bowl, or a white canvas, or a can of Campbell soup, etc., isn't art in the classical sense, a documentary photograph isn't either (again, imho). I am not trying to impose my definitions on anyone, just clarifying what I think, for what it's worth. That any of these objects can be ultimately elevated or acclaimed to the status of art is a domain of modern arts.

At the same time, I do not deny that you or others might see the "accidentallity" (if there is such a word) of the image stemming from the accidental arrangement of picture elements (the angle of the pole, wind-determined position of the flag, position of arms and torsos, etc.). Unless we are talking about a photographer-arranged still life or a fashion shoot, most of us photographers are working with accidental arrangement of picture elements all the time. That clouds form a particular shape, or that light falls at a particular angle, etc. is all accidental (or Nature's creativity, if you will. However, the ability to instinctively and instantly recognize when all those accidental elements align to create a powerful combination and press the shutter at the decisive moment, is what makes a photographer great and photography art. Even if that process of recognizing happen at a later stage, in culling or post-processing.

Isaac

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2015, 07:25:35 PM »

It is not art (imho) in the sense it isn't a classical art.

"The overlapping bodies recall the bonded brothers in Jacques-Louis David's neoclassical painting Oath of the Horatii of 1784, … redolent of sacrifice and resurrection because of its resemblance to scenes of Christ's martyrdom, particularly the bearing or erecting of the cross. … expertly synthesizes several prominent strands of form and meaning in the Western tradition."
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spidermike

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Re: Accidentally made a work of art?
« Reply #39 on: July 20, 2015, 03:42:23 AM »

Nevertheless,  Newtonian physics does not encompass relativistic situations and yet is far from useless.


Your analogy completely and utterly fails to describe what you think it does. Newtonian physics works within our knowledge of quantum/relativistic physics - and like all approximations it has its limits of usefulness. It breaks down under definable conditions and cannot be used beyond those conditions (at very small distances or very high speeds).


If you accept that you 'definition' of art breaks down under certain conditions, then where does  that leave your theory of what constitutes art?


I note you still have not responded specifically to the situations I described, but it is sounding like those grey areas are analagous to what you see as the difference between Newtonian and special relativity.
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