Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => But is it Art? => Topic started by: Robert Roaldi on March 07, 2018, 08:52:58 PM

Title: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Robert Roaldi on March 07, 2018, 08:52:58 PM
From the director of the National Gallery in Ottawa: https://youtu.be/Sj80pBCDWsc (https://youtu.be/Sj80pBCDWsc).
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: tom b on March 08, 2018, 04:02:48 AM
Thanks for the post.

Cheers,
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: drmike on March 08, 2018, 01:22:27 PM
I agree, very interesting.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Ray Cox on March 08, 2018, 01:58:31 PM
Thank you for the post. Interesting!
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: RSL on March 08, 2018, 03:43:56 PM
Everyone should see this.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on March 08, 2018, 03:45:59 PM
He makes five excellent points.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Rob C on March 09, 2018, 06:28:32 AM
Struck me a somewhat facile, way over simplistic.

;-(
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Robert Roaldi on March 10, 2018, 04:12:10 PM
Struck me a somewhat facile, way over simplistic.

;-(

Well, there's only so much you can expect from a 5-6 min video meant for mass consumption.

But I'm a member there and I'll monitor the content. If he ever publishes a more in depth 5-hour version, I'll let you know.   ;)
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Rob C on March 10, 2018, 06:08:06 PM
Well, there's only so much you can expect from a 5-6 min video meant for mass consumption.

But I'm a member there and I'll monitor the content. If he ever publishes a more in depth 5-hour version, I'll let you know.   ;)


Hold on there! Sometimes I have only a five-minute mind.

Tonight I have suffered from one that spanned several hours of LuLa time, due to which I have not been able to partake of the dose of Sopranos I had been looking forward to all day.

Perhaps that may indicate that it's better to waste time in doing something instead of watching something. However, at the end of it, I feel just as exhausted.

Buenas noches!

;-(
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: cgarnerhome on March 12, 2018, 10:36:16 AM
For a short video, I thought it is was well done. I will share it with some of my friends who struggle appreciating art!  Thanks for the link.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Rob C on March 12, 2018, 03:55:08 PM
For a short video, I thought it is was well done. I will share it with some of my friends who struggle appreciating art!  Thanks for the link.


Man, if they were struggling before...

:-)
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: timo on March 28, 2018, 04:19:20 AM
From the director of the National Gallery in Ottawa: https://youtu.be/Sj80pBCDWsc (https://youtu.be/Sj80pBCDWsc).

Yes, well, in his job he had to say all that, otherwise much of the collection he's in charge of would be excluded from consideration.  He's too indulgent to the artist, I think.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: BobShaw on April 02, 2018, 09:57:25 PM
He's too indulgent to the artist, I think.
Telling artists that their work does not require skill (or much else) is indulgent to the artist?
I must say that at my next art group meeting. (:-)
Personally I think if he is the director of a national gallery he is probably fairly close.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: FataMorgana on April 11, 2018, 04:05:02 PM
Photography is different.

If you want a show, if you want to enter professional competitions, if you want a book, you need a Project.

Most every successful photographer today works on their own Projects.

Today's photography market is Project driven.

Everything you know about art is wrong (https://www.pavilionbooks.com/book/everything-you-know-about-art-is-wrong/)

John Berger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pDE4VX_9Kk

Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Ray on April 20, 2018, 10:09:01 AM
I find Marc Mayer's arguments fallacious. He's presenting some fallacious fallacies.
Let's consider each fallacy he mentions.

1. Art does not have to be beautiful.
What nonsense! Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. Who would buy a work of art that he/she considers to be ugly? Who would want to gaze at any piece of art on their wall if they considered it to be  meaningless, or ugly, or despicable or simply trash?
However, if Mark Mayer were to make the point that art does not have to conform to a conventional, average, or normal conception of beauty, then I would agree. What might not initially appear to be beautiful must later be considered by some people to be beautiful for the art work to be of any value.

2. Art does not require skill.
Another nonsense. All human activity requires some degree of skill. Even if an artist is throwing paint at the canvas, instead of meticulously using a brush, the process and the effects of throwing paint requires a lot of practice and examination of the results. Probably most results are rejected by the artist because they are simply not beautiful, according to his taste.

3. Art does not have to have a subject or be about something.
Again, a fallacious fallacy. If the art work is about pure sensation and emotional experience, then the subject is the viewer himself.

4. Art is not a matter of taste.

Another nonsense. Everything is a matter of taste, using taste in the broad sense of sensory perception and the appreciation of that sensory perception.
If a person thinks Van Gogh paintings are crap, then that person simply has a different taste to someone who thinks Van Gogh paintings are deeply meaningful and emotionally moving.

5. Art is not a luxury.
Of course art is a luxury. Art does not provide the essentials of a secure and healthy life, such as food, shelter, clothing, transport, and so on.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Rob C on April 22, 2018, 04:04:45 AM
I find Marc Mayer's arguments fallacious. He's presenting some fallacious fallacies.
Let's consider each fallacy he mentions.

1. Art does not have to be beautiful.
What nonsense! Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. Who would buy a work of art that he/she considers to be ugly? Who would want to gaze at any piece of art on their wall if they considered it to be  meaningless, or ugly, or despicable or simply trash?
However, if Mark Mayer were to make the point that art does not have to conform to a conventional, average, or normal conception of beauty, then I would agree. What might not initially appear to be beautiful must later be considered by some people to be beautiful for the art work to be of any value.

2. Art does not require skill.
Another nonsense. All human activity requires some degree of skill. Even if an artist is throwing paint at the canvas, instead of meticulously using a brush, the process and the effects of throwing paint requires a lot of practice and examination of the results. Probably most results are rejected by the artist because they are simply not beautiful, according to his taste.

3. Art does not have to have a subject or be about something.
Again, a fallacious fallacy. If the art work is about pure sensation and emotional experience, then the subject is the viewer himself.

4. Art is not a matter of taste.

Another nonsense. Everything is a matter of taste, using taste in the broad sense of sensory perception and the appreciation of that sensory perception.
If a person thinks Van Gogh paintings are crap, then that person simply has a different taste to someone who thinks Van Gogh paintings are deeply meaningful and emotionally moving.

5. Art is not a luxury.
Of course art is a luxury. Art does not provide the essentials of a secure and healthy life, such as food, shelter, clothing, transport, and so on.


I agree with you, but let's face it: we are dealing with the art establishment here, not artists.

Establishments exist to promote their own survival and success, using whatever means and whoever they can use, to keep on truckin' and turning a buck, probably a bigger buck than can the actual artist. It was ever so.

Rob
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Ray on April 22, 2018, 07:53:55 PM

I agree with you, but let's face it: we are dealing with the art establishment here, not artists.

Establishments exist to promote their own survival and success, using whatever means and whoever they can use, to keep on truckin' and turning a buck, probably a bigger buck than can the actual artist. It was ever so.

Rob

Very true, Rob. But doesn't the same principle apply to Climate Change Research Centres?

Oops! I'm in the wrong section of the forum.  ;D
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: opgr on April 23, 2018, 07:52:57 AM
I find Marc Mayer's arguments fallacious. He's presenting some fallacious fallacies.
Let's consider each fallacy he mentions.

1. Art does not have to be beautiful.
What nonsense! Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. Who would buy a work of art that he/she considers to be ugly? Who would want to gaze at any piece of art on their wall if they considered it to be  meaningless, or ugly, or despicable or simply trash?
However, if Mark Mayer were to make the point that art does not have to conform to a conventional, average, or normal conception of beauty, then I would agree. What might not initially appear to be beautiful must later be considered by some people to be beautiful for the art work to be of any value.

This presupposes that meaning and beauty are somehow connected, which they are obviously not. Art can have meaning to society and still be ugly in multiple ways. Pictures of war and violence come to mind. Ugly may even be the purpose of an artwork. Art does not have to be beautiful at all, especially not to any single individual including the artist.



2. Art does not require skill.
Another nonsense. All human activity requires some degree of skill. Even if an artist is throwing paint at the canvas, instead of meticulously using a brush, the process and the effects of throwing paint requires a lot of practice and examination of the results. Probably most results are rejected by the artist because they are simply not beautiful, according to his taste.

The artist doesn't have to be skilled him/herself. He/she can just as easily hire the skill desired. Much in the same way that not all of us are skilled carpenters.


3. Art does not have to have a subject or be about something.
Again, a fallacious fallacy. If the art work is about pure sensation and emotional experience, then the subject is the viewer himself.


It means that triggering a thought process or emotion does not require an identifiable subject. That doesn't make the viewer the subject, since art isn't about a single identifiable viewer. At least not shareable art where shareable is kind of a given if you want to converse about it.



4. Art is not a matter of taste.

Another nonsense. Everything is a matter of taste, using taste in the broad sense of sensory perception and the appreciation of that sensory perception.
If a person thinks Van Gogh paintings are crap, then that person simply has a different taste to someone who thinks Van Gogh paintings are deeply meaningful and emotionally moving.


Your example doesn't change the fact that Art can be meaningful to society even if it is considered bad taste. Art can for example break the barriers of what is considered bad taste. But it is not a necessity so Art is not about taste.


5. Art is not a luxury.
Of course art is a luxury. Art does not provide the essentials of a secure and healthy life, such as food, shelter, clothing, transport, and so on.

So many unfinished musical pieces written and dictated from deathbeds...
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Rob C on April 23, 2018, 09:15:33 AM
Very true, Rob. But doesn't the same principle apply to Climate Change Research Centres?

Oops! I'm in the wrong section of the forum.  ;D

I wouldn't have thought so, Ray.

;-)
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Rob C on April 23, 2018, 09:55:47 AM
This presupposes that meaning and beauty are somehow connected, which they are obviously not. Art can have meaning to society and still be ugly in multiple ways. Pictures of war and violence come to mind. Ugly may even be the purpose of an artwork. Art does not have to be beautiful at all, especially not to any single individual including the artist.


a.   The artist doesn't have to be skilled him/herself. He/she can just as easily hire the skill desired. Much in the same way that not all of us are skilled carpenters.

It means that triggering a thought process or emotion does not require an identifiable subject. That doesn't make the viewer the subject, since art isn't about a single identifiable viewer. At least not shareable art where shareable is kind of a given if you want to converse about it.

b.   Your example doesn't change the fact that Art can be meaningful to society even if it is considered bad taste. Art can for example break the barriers of what is considered bad taste. But it is not a necessity so Art is not about taste.

So many unfinished musical pieces written and dictated from deathbeds...


a.  But then we do not call ourselves carpenters, just handymen.

b.  You must be buying Helmut Newton's declarations about taste. Whilst he claimed to despise good taste, his work, though often bordering on the distant shores of "good" taste did, however, display a continuity of style that he could no more avoid than can I avoid my own: we are what we are, and by the time we have made enough work we recognize in it ourselves as standing for who and what we are... I don't think he was really into bad taste; I think he was travelling in a cultural, Teutonic space that took a lot more sophistication to handle than the average fashion magazine snap or still life threw at you. It's worth noting that though he first worked for Vogue in Oz as well as in England, it was only when he went to live in Paris and work for the French Vogue that he really came into his own.

So yeah, despite his protestations to the contrary, I think he really did display a lot of taste, mostly good when seen within the ethic to which he remained attached most of his life. Perhaps he was a visual adventurer, an explorer in the world of photographic images with a finger raised perpetually to the world. But apart from that his art still had to display whatever his style, his take on taste, his taste, dictated. You cannot separate the one from the other unless you are a robot. And then there's the programmer's taste coming into it, too...

Not to be forgotten: an example of having the right wife beside you from the beginning, making everything work beautifully.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: KenTanaka on May 05, 2018, 11:03:30 AM
Mr. Mayer’s remarks are 100% correct and on-target.  Those are, indeed, certainly among the most common fallacies about art that I believe most curators, educators, and artists would cite if asked.

“Shutterbugs”, as camera enthusiasts used to be called, most often harbor misconceptions about art because they usually approach it from technical processes and technologies.  They usually do not understand that “art” is, and always has been, most fundamentally about communication, not media, not technique.  That’s why photography enthusiasts, especially landscapers, are rarely considered as serious artists.  Their ultimate goal tends toward recording prettiness. That’s craft but it ain’t art.

By contrast, someone like Ed Burtynsky is an artist.  His primary goal is communication of a message.  He uses photography, usually of landscapes, as his medium.  Some are pretty.  Some not.  But each frame is crafted towards making that message.   That’s art.

- Ken Tanaka (http://www.KenTanaka.com) -
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: RSL on May 05, 2018, 11:54:03 AM
Ken, please accept my enthusiastic welcome. It's wonderful to see someone join LuLa who actually understands what he's trying to do. I've run through most, but not all, of the photographs on your site and I'm impressed. And I'm not easy to impress.

Your post is right on the money; especially this: "That’s why photography enthusiasts, especially landscapers, are rarely considered as serious artists.  Their ultimate goal tends toward recording prettiness. That’s craft but it ain’t art."

Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Rob C on May 05, 2018, 12:23:07 PM
Mr. Mayer’s remarks are 100% correct and on-target.  Those are, indeed, certainly among the most common fallacies about art that I believe most curators, educators, and artists would cite if asked.

“Shutterbugs”, as camera enthusiasts used to be called, most often harbor misconceptions about art because they usually approach it from technical processes and technologies.  They usually do not understand that “art” is, and always has been, most fundamentally about communication, not media, not technique.  That’s why photography enthusiasts, especially landscapers, are rarely considered as serious artists.  Their ultimate goal tends toward recording prettiness. That’s craft but it ain’t art.

By contrast, someone like Ed Burtynsky is an artist.  His primary goal is communication of a message.  He uses photography, usually of landscapes, as his medium.  Some are pretty.  Some not.  But each frame is crafted towards making that message.   That’s art.

- Ken Tanaka (http://www.KenTanaka.com) -


Welcome, Ken, hope you enjoy this place and contribute regularly.

Trouble with your statement re. Burtynsky is this: one can so easily fall into the trap of citing any favourite photographer as artist just because, well, that snapper happens to be a favourite.

He doesn't light my fires, fwiw, but yeah, his technique is good. How do we reconcile two positions like that, or do we just accept that it's impossible to do, and that we are absolutely not a step closer to any worthwhile definition/distinction between art and craft?

I often believe craft may be more honest...

Rob
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: OmerV on May 05, 2018, 02:05:42 PM
Mr. Mayer’s remarks are 100% correct and on-target.  Those are, indeed, certainly among the most common fallacies about art that I believe most curators, educators, and artists would cite if asked.

“Shutterbugs”, as camera enthusiasts used to be called, most often harbor misconceptions about art because they usually approach it from technical processes and technologies.  They usually do not understand that “art” is, and always has been, most fundamentally about communication, not media, not technique.  That’s why photography enthusiasts, especially landscapers, are rarely considered as serious artists.  Their ultimate goal tends toward recording prettiness. That’s craft but it ain’t art.

By contrast, someone like Ed Burtynsky is an artist.  His primary goal is communication of a message.  He uses photography, usually of landscapes, as his medium.  Some are pretty.  Some not.  But each frame is crafted towards making that message.   That’s art.

- Ken Tanaka (http://www.KenTanaka.com) -

Keep in mind that photography is also an industry and yes, a hobby. Most folks taking pictures are weekend photographers to whom photography is a way to stay busy. Though these folks are having fun, which in itself is a good thing, there is a really big step to go from just having fun to making art. Yeah, there is of course subjectivity and "in the eye of the beholder" stuff, but still, serious art takes serious effort and time. And a lot of art education. Yes, there's Vivian Maier and Mike Disfarmer, two autodidactic photographers who created great work, and maybe photography lends itself more to intuition than say, playing the violin. But the vast majority of great photographers have been and still are full time.
Title: Re: Five fallacies about art
Post by: Rob C on May 05, 2018, 05:07:59 PM
Keep in mind that photography is also an industry and yes, a hobby. Most folks taking pictures are weekend photographers to whom photography is a way to stay busy. Though these folks are having fun, which in itself is a good thing, there is a really big step to go from just having fun to making art. Yeah, there is of course subjectivity and "in the eye of the beholder" stuff, but still, serious art takes serious effort and time. And a lot of art education. Yes, there's Vivian Maier and Mike Disfarmer, two autodidactic photographers who created great work, and maybe photography lends itself more to intuition than say, playing the violin. But the vast majority of great photographers have been and still are full time.


"Intuition"

And there you pretty much have it. Intuition, and a natural eye for shapes.

Technical skill is learned, in the manner that anyone learns mechanical/technical stuff, best by watching and then trying it yourself. Then, when you have the understanding of how to manipulate a computer programme (darkrooms are different), you are ready to go.

Sadly, none of that makes you a creative photographer; for that, you still have to depend on intuition which, you either have or do not have.

I wrote that darkrooms are different. Indeed they are, and the principal difference is that unlike with a computer where you can layer and layer until you think you got it right, the wet stuff is far more visceral, and you are playing with time, temperature and concentration/exhaustion of chemical soup. On top of that, you have to get to know your safelight fairly intimately before you can trust it, not to not fog your papers, but to let you see what your work will resemble in the harsh light of an inspection lamp or daylight.

Maybe darkrooms demand skill, intuition and love.

Rob