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Author Topic: 'No-holds barred' artist among Governor General's award winners
Snuckles
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Babbler # 2764

posted 03 March 2004 05:45 PM      Profile for Snuckles   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
OTTAWA - A performance artist who once lay naked in a shallow grave with a vial of his own blood dribbling out of his anus is among seven winners of one of Canada's most prestigious visual arts awards this year.

Described by the jury for the 2004 Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts as a "no-holds-barred, neo-Dada" artist, Toronto-based Istvan Kantor is being honoured for his entire body of work, which blends music, kinetic sculpture, multimedia installations and, most famously, performance art.
In the early 1980s, Kantor began a series he eventually entitled his Blood Campaign.

In the first instalment, Restriction 1, he suspended himself naked, filled his mouth with his own blood and assumed the lotus position. In Liaison Inter-Urbain he dug a shallow grave, inserted a vial of blood into his anus and contorted himself so that the blood flowed into his mouth.


Read it here.

[ 03 March 2004: Message edited by: Snuckles ]


From: Hell | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2

posted 04 March 2004 11:19 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I went to a dinner party once with Istvan Kantor and Jubal Brown. For serious. It was in an abandoned restaurant.

It was quite something.


From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 04 March 2004 11:31 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, c'mon, audra: spill! (Or as Kantor might say, flow!)
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
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Babbler # 4996

posted 04 March 2004 12:53 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have such a hard time with the kind of art this guy makes. Maybe I'm just a prude, but I'm fairly cynical about artists who seem to just think of the most ugly and shocking thing they can come up with and then perform it in front of a whole bunch of people and call it art.

It takes guts, I'll acknowledge that, and there's some kind of inspiration behind it, but I just don't like it. I often feel like this kind of art is more about the artist than the art itself, and definitely not about or for the viewer, except in how the viewer plays into the artist's own experience of making/performing the art.

Too much ego, not enough beauty...something like that, I guess. I dunno, maybe I just don't get it...

All the same, I'm glad to see Canadian Artists acknowledged and funded in this way, and it must be very exciting for him (and the other award recipients). I wish him congrats.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 04 March 2004 01:09 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So we're giving him $15,000 from the public purse for sticking vials of blood in his rectum?

Where, oh where, was foolishness like this when we were debating space exploration?


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 04 March 2004 02:01 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Foolishness like this has been around for quite some time. I don't believe that Kantor is getting $15,000 solely for sticking a vial of blood into his rectum, as this was one performance within his 20 years or so as an artist.

I have seen Kantor's work. It is playful, troubling, stupid and brilliant. It flows from Marcel Duchamp's toilet, if you'll pardon the pun.

Art isn't just about pretty images. It can be troubling, absurd and upsetting. It can be an act that raises the question, "What is art?" And, with that question, many others might follow. What is normal social behaviour? Why? What makes our bodies and related fluids repulsive? Why? How do these feelings of unease play into pressures to conform?

Getting caught up in a piece of Kantor's work, the viewer might find a very shocking reaction burbling up after the taboos have been put aside: laughter. Very subversive, that.

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 04 March 2004 02:28 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I don't believe that Kantor is getting $15,000 solely for sticking a vial of blood into his rectum

Phew! What else are we paying him to stick in his rectum then?


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 04 March 2004 02:33 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What's your problem with rectum sticking? Why are you stuck on it? How does it make you feel, to know that some believe art can come out of an ass? Why can't it?

Amen for more.


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
minimal
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Babbler # 2222

posted 04 March 2004 02:39 PM      Profile for minimal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There are two questions here: Is this person actually an artist? and, Is this actually art? According to a good artist I once knew, if an artist can do a good drawing or painting of a horse, then that person is an artist, and what they do after that is art. So, if this guy can paint a horse, he can shove up his ass whatever he wants and I will grudgingly accept it as art. Not necessarily good art, but art. If he can't draw or paint a horse then shoving something up his ass is just disgusting.
From: Alberta | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
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posted 04 March 2004 02:42 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So, yes, art is not just about pretty things, and the artist's self expression really is the only "objective" of any artwork, and even if you happen to find it shocking or repulsive or if it makes you laugh or cry, it is art.

I guess my point then is that I just don't like it. It doesn't appeal to me or resonate with my own sensibilities...and it just kinda bugs me that the ugly, gory, exhibitionist performance art is always the stuff that people rave on about, even when it doesn't seem to have very much inspiration or talent behind it, further than the desire to shock the viewer.

It's the same kind of irritation I feel when I'm at a party and some pompous, pseudophilisophical smartass is going on and on about how nothing is real and how he's the only one really in the room or something like that. I don't think it's very new or innovative, and it's not really that interesting. Not to me, anyway.

(here's where I need a shoulder shrugging smilie)


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 04 March 2004 02:49 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What's your problem with rectum sticking? Why are you stuck on it? How does it make you feel, to know that some believe art can come out of an ass? Why can't it?

OK, you've won me over. Stick anything you'd like up your ass.

But I don't think a quick straw poll is out of line here, so how about it folks? If we could only fund one of the following with public revenues:

1. space research
2. guys sticking things in their poopers

... which should it be?


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 04 March 2004 02:49 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Painting or drawing a horse? A little 18th century. Artists have a lot of tools on hand these days to create their work from. And a lot of people can copy instructions to draw a horse and go no further than that.

I remember drawing those proportional circles, triangles and rectangles and fleshing them out to make a convincing horse. I received very high marks in secondary school art class as a result. I do not believe this makes me a greater artist than Istvan Kantor, who is recognized by many as an artist, and has dedicated his adult life to his work.

Just because someone's an artist doesn't mean you have to like or agree with the art. Feel free to hate it. And learn to draw horses. It can be very satisfying, even if you don't get government money for it.

Why the need to make up such an arbitrary rule?

Lizard Breath, I'm really enjoying your posts on this topic. But I disagree with you that ugly art gets all the attention.

Last month, I was fortunate enough to see a show by the Singh twins, "Past Modern". Their paintings are technically accomplished, beautifully executed and immersed in Western and Indian traditional practices. They have received a great deal of attention. But there are some media outlets that leap on to the recognition of artists like Kantor to push forward anti-art arguments. The fault lies with this opportunism, not the artist.

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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Babbler # 1885

posted 04 March 2004 02:54 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Obviously, we could get around Magoo's little dichotomy if we fund guys sticking things in their poopers in space. Funding issue solved.
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
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posted 04 March 2004 02:54 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, I don't actually agree with that assumption either, minimal. I think it takes a lot more than being able to draw to be an artist, and I think that a lot of artists may not actually be able to draw worth crap, but they're still artists.

It has to do more with the ways in which you express your ideas. If your M.O., when it comes to communicating with the world is to create some kind of visual thing, be it sculpture, painting, or whatever, then I think that makes you an artist.

If you do it in words, you're more likely a writer.

That's what I think, anyways.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
minimal
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Babbler # 2222

posted 04 March 2004 03:02 PM      Profile for minimal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just can't accept that anything anyone does can be defined as art. Call it "creative expression" or something else but don't call it art. I can go slit someone's throat and call it art.... but it isn't art. Anyway, as long as this guy just shoves something up his own ass, let him call it art (if he can draw a horse) but "creative expression" is he can't draw a horse. However, if he shoves it up someone else's ass and that person goes into some kind of trauma and dies, then the question is whether this was creative expression, murder or art...or all three.
From: Alberta | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Stop14
recent-rabble-rouser
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posted 04 March 2004 03:06 PM      Profile for Stop14   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
dude, if marcel duchamp had one thing to teach the world, it would be that there is no essential definition of art. art is a context. when you call something art it simply forces you to think about it in a different way, more in relation to other things that people have asserted to be art. what kills me is that the people who get most upset about whether something is art or not don't give a flying fuck about art anyway. ok, maybe some people might think that it's a waste of tax money to give GG to kantor, but better him than a guy who can draw excellent horses but not much else.

that said, i find kantor's stuff stupid, but in an amusing sort of way (good call there, um, "writer"). kantor is the arch-sensationalist, the artist who equates a kind of kitschy shamelessness with a provocative statement about things. i mistrust the artists who have too many slick, pat and ultimately vacuous things to say about their own stuff. i remember him banging on about "machine beat poetry" a while ago and had a good chuckle as to how passionate he seemed about a concept with so little to give. it was almost like he wanted to sell the artiness of his art to people who didn't know any better, or didn't want to know any better.

i've said my peace about kantor. i may think that simple provocation makes lame art, but every person who gets their knickers twisted about him sticking a vial of blood up his ass proves him right and me wrong.


quote:
There are two questions here: Is this person actually an artist? and, Is this actually art? According to a good artist I once knew, if an artist can do a good drawing or painting of a horse, then that person is an artist, and what they do after that is art. So, if this guy can paint a horse, he can shove up his ass whatever he wants and I will grudgingly accept it as art. Not necessarily good art, but art. If he can't draw or paint a horse then shoving something up his ass is just disgusting.

From: somewhere over there | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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Babbler # 888

posted 04 March 2004 03:14 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
i've said my peace about kantor. i may think that simple provocation makes lame art, but every person who gets their knickers twisted about him sticking a vial of blood up his ass proves him right and me wrong.

This is very disturbing. It's one of those "you inherently prove me right by disagreeing with me" things. That's what bothers me about this whole discussion. There is no way to disagree without proving the point. This suggests to me that the point (that you can't define art what art is for the purpose of public recognition) is vacuous and intended to "self-interestedly" evade any attempt at criticism.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 04 March 2004 03:26 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How is it self-interested or evasive? Why is visual art generally discussed in babble only when "controversial" artists gain recognition, and reactionary media put 'em on their front pages? What restricts babblers from freely starting a thread about the art and artists they like?

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 04 March 2004 03:53 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Nothing restricts them, and that is besides the point--we tend to discuss things on babble more often when it is controversial. The fact is, is all art "good"? Is it all equally deserving of recognition? Is it deserving of recognition merely because it is experimental?

To me the declaration that we cannot agree on some kind of objective standard is inherently evasive. It tends to be made by people who make art to offend. "My art works because you hate it, and you hate it because I made it to test you." It is self-interested, in a sense, because it can't be criticized in a way that rejects its value.

Perhaps there is no objectivity. Nevertheless, I don't see that as in itself a reason to give up on approximating it.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Paladin
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posted 04 March 2004 04:01 PM      Profile for Paladin     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Art"is a fraud...a shell game. It is whatever a self-described artist declares it to be. Disagree, and you will be patted on the head and told that you don't really understand art. Foisted upon us by condescending hucksters and self-absorbed borderline sociopaths.

I'll keep my silkscreen of Elvis, thanks.

And now....the deluge.


From: Jugular knotch | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
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posted 04 March 2004 04:04 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think art's primary function, regardless of what kind of art it is, or how "good" it is, is to present and make real new ideas. It's all about a new or different perspective, and challenging people to think about something they've never seen or thought about before.

For that reason, Kantor's stuff definitely qualifies as art for me. There's no question about its status as art. I just don't really like it, and as I've said before (and someone else said it as well, and articulated it better), provocation for its own sake is just kinda tedious. I like art that has something in it to appeal to as many people as possible, rather than just satisfying some exhibitionist drive in the artist. There are a lot of performance artists out there, and I guess other kinds of artists too, who use their own personal hangups and traumas as inspiration, and that's a kind of art that I don't really go in for. It's just my taste, but it's a little too exclusionary and subjective to really grab me.

I like the painting that you posted, writer. That's the kind innovation that I really enjoy. Something quirky, that stands an assumption on its head, or makes you rethink your automatic responses.

Kantor just doesn't float my boat.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
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posted 04 March 2004 04:06 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd ask you to read my work before you judge it as self interested and stupidly negative.

And I think it *is* relevant whether people have made an effort to discuss the work they like before the bemoan the fact that art they hate (if, in fact, it is art at all) gets too much attention.

Like "Stop14", I do wonder how much interest people have in art before and after the sensationalism stirred up by the recognition of an artist such as Kantor. It's not as though Norval Morrisseau, Joyce Weiland, the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Robert Batemen, Alex Colville, Mary Pratt, John Scott, Wanda Koop, Joe Fafard, and other more popular artists have been ignored in this country.

But then, who pays attention to them?

Lizard Breath: I'd take the Singh twins over Kantor any day, too. But I'm content that both (or all three) are in the world.

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 888

posted 04 March 2004 04:17 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'd ask you to read my work before you judge it as self serving and stupidly negative.
Where did anyone refer to your work?
quote:
And I think it *is* relevant whether people have made an effort to discuss the work they like before the bemoan the fact that art they hate (if, in fact, it is art at all) gets too much attention.
Not really. This would only be relevant if we were talking about what we liked and didn't like, from a subjective point of view. In this case, we are talking about whether it should be Publicly Recognized. No one is saying that Kantor shouldn't do what he likes with his own body and video camera. It's whether he should get an award.
quote:
Like Bill, I do wonder how much interest people have in art before and after the sensationalism stirred up by the recognition of an artist such as Kantor. It's not as though Norval Morrisseau, Joyce Weiland, the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Robert Batemen, Alex Colville, Mary Pratt, John Scott, Wanda Koop, Joe Fafard, and other more popular artists have been ignored in this country.
I actually am not very interested in visual art, compared, say, to music. And I'm not even against experimental art, to a certain extent. But it doesn't matter what I like. The question is, can/should the public reject art it finds offensive? It doesn't matter that the public may ignore art otherwise, because if it matters, then making offensive art has no greater status than a cry for attention.

To me, judging the public for rejecting art is what is self-serving.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
rabble-rouser
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posted 04 March 2004 04:29 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Note well, also, that I have not once in this thread passed judgement on Kantor's work itself.

I would also like to add that I am an opera fan, but most of my family is not and cannot comprehend how I could possibly enjoy opera. But none of them are offended by opera, not even avant-garde Philip Glass opera that they like even less. They thus would not strongly demand that it not be publicly funded.

On the other hand, everyone I know was a little irritated with the Voice of Fire purchase. The Voice of Fire purchase, as I recall, was often justified by saying that everyone was irritated by it. Isn't that annoying?


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Performance Anxiety
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posted 04 March 2004 04:31 PM      Profile for Performance Anxiety        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the artist is great; not for his "work", but rather for the sustained performance he carries out. Let's face it - this is the trend for the 21st Century, so we might as well start creating our own characters...


From: Outside of the box | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 04 March 2004 04:33 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Exhibit N: The very existence of Performance Anxiety.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4014

posted 04 March 2004 04:35 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Exhibit N"...heh, heh.
From: Qubec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 04 March 2004 04:40 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
To me, judging the public for rejecting art is what is self-serving.

Who is judging the public? Should I not be participating in this thread and responding to the individuals participating in this thread? Am I not a part of the public? Am I not human?

Your notions about discourse are curious to me.

quote:

To me the declaration that we cannot agree on some kind of objective standard is inherently evasive. It tends to be made by people who make art to offend ... It is self-interested, in a sense, because it can't be criticized in a way that rejects its value.

That would be me. And that would be your assertion against my art, sight unseen. I don't mind when people criticize my writing or reject its value. I just ask that they read it, first.

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
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posted 04 March 2004 04:42 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't know anything about Kantor that wasn't in the article about his award, but I think, if he's sustained a career for himself, and if he's contributed to the artistic community, even if only to inspire or provoke other artists, then the award is justified. I would hate to see an award committee dismiss candidates simply because the art they produse isn't pretty like the Group of Seven paintings or some such arbitrary and subjective criteria.

So, while I don't particularly get off on Kantor's stuff, I'm glad that the GG has the balls to recognize him as an important player in Canada's artistic community. It shows, if nothing else, that they're aware that "art" is an extremely broad category, and not all of it is fit to hang on the wall in a hotel room...


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 04 March 2004 04:49 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Lizard Breath, I've linked to more about Kantor in an earlier post. Take a look for "Amen."
From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
rabble-rouser
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posted 04 March 2004 04:54 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Who is judging the public? Should I not be participating in this thread and responding to the individuals participating in this thread? Am I not a part of the public?
To me there is a subtext in this discussion that the objection to the award is a reactionary one. Am I wrong? This subtext has been woven through almost all babble discussions about experimental art that I can remember.

The coverage of this award has been, not-so-subtly, "eww, ick." That's because that what they expect the majority of people to think.

When you put youself in the position of saying

quote:
What's your problem with rectum sticking? Why are you stuck on it? How does it make you feel, to know that some believe art can come out of an ass? Why can't it?
no, you are not the public.

quote:
Am I not human?
Overdramatizing.
quote:
Your notions about discourse are curious to me.
Cryptic.

From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 888

posted 04 March 2004 04:59 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
That would be me. And that would be your assertion against my art, sight unseen. I don't mind when people criticize my writing or reject its value. I just ask that they read it, first.
It is your prediction of my assertion against your art, because I never mentioned your art. I never criticized your writing, even once. I made an assertion about a prior means of evaluating art when it is seen. You are yourself taking this standard and measuring your own art against it. I am not responsible for the result.

...but you know, if the shoe fits...

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: Mandos ]


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 04 March 2004 05:13 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
1. "Am I not human?" at the end of my earlier post is possibly recognized by some as a joke.

2. You have no official or unofficial role that I know of to be able toss me out as a member of the public, even if I don't have a phobia about bum holes.

3. I don't know what the heck you are saying with your "shoe fits" point, but I'm sure it's impressing somebody. (The public, perhaps?)

4. In relation to three. And you call me cryptic!

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 888

posted 04 March 2004 05:22 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
1. Not a very funny joke. Pretty strained sarcasm.

2. But I didn't toss you out of anything. I noted you were already not something before we even started this discussion. Why is it about me and you? There are two groups here, self-identified artists, and "the public" (those in the vast majority who are not self-described artists). You are in the former group.

3. You claimed that I was criticizing your work. But I wasn't, since I never mentioned your work. How could I be criticizing it? Therefore you made some kind of guess or assumption as to what I would think of your work. I shrugged and used the very well-known expression, "if the shoe fits..." Meaning that though I didn't make the criticism that you attributed to me (the metaphorical shoe), it's interesting that you came up with it all on your own.

4. I still don't get the point you made with regard to "discourse." Why invoke the d-word?

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: Mandos ]


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4996

posted 04 March 2004 05:49 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the query about discourse is because Mandos seems to think we can't talk about anything without all agreeing on the definitions of everything beforehand. Or was it that we can't talk about art until we agree on an objective system for evaluating its worth/"good"ness?

quote:
To me the declaration that we cannot agree on some kind of objective standard is inherently evasive. It tends to be made by people who make art to offend. "My art works because you hate it, and you hate it because I made it to test you." It is self-interested, in a sense, because it can't be criticized in a way that rejects its value.

Perhaps there is no objectivity. Nevertheless, I don't see that as in itself a reason to give up on approximating it.



The fact that art is evasive, or that a definition or set of criteria for art is difficult to pin down is definitely interesting. It's true, but I don't think that devalues art--in fact, I think it functions to make art more accessible, more universal, and therefor less this:

quote:
a fraud...a shell game. It is whatever a self-described artist declares it to be. Disagree, and you will be patted on the head and told that you don't really understand art. Foisted upon us by condescending hucksters and self-absorbed borderline sociopaths.

I think there are a lot of people out there who would have us believe that art is a closed, exclusive category of self-expression, and everything else is somehow less, but I don't actually believe that that's the case.

I'm more of the opinion that art is for everyone, and that it can be anything made by anyone, as long as whatever it is was created with the objective of communicating some idea that couldn't be expressed any other way...

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: Lizard Breath ]


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 04 March 2004 05:50 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
1. Perhaps. But my honey found it very funny -- a person whose taste, humour and judgement I respect and enjoy more than your own.

2.

quote:
When you put youself in the position of saying
What's your problem with rectum sticking? Why are you stuck on it? How does it make you feel, to know that some believe art can come out of an ass? Why can't it?

no, you are not the public.

But you did. And you did it in relation to my questions about the rectum and art, not my identity as an artist.

In any case, I reject your idea that there is a division between artists and the public. I believe that the professionalization of art and the restriction of artistic expression to those sanctioned to be artists reveal part of our current culture's sickness. (I agree entirely with Lizard Breath's post above this one.)

As a result, I believe that, despite my identification as an artist, I still hold a position as a member of the public.

3. You made an assertion about artists who hold a point of view generating a certain kind of art. As an artist with that point of view, I challenged that generalization, indicating that (my) art should be judged for what it is, not for the position the artist (say, me) might take during a discussion. Metaphorical shoes doen't tend to interest me in this context. Your use of them reveals the emptiness of your original statement.

4. Yes, the "d" word can be tedious. I invoked it as a fancy substitute for conversation, as you tend to like the fancy words. I felt you were trying to shut down a part of this debate with the claim that those who believe art is more inclusive are somehow "judging the public" rather than simply discussing the subject at hand from their points of view, addressing fellow posters and not "the public".

5. With this post, I will step away from the thread for a while, as I have work to do and a fear that we are disappearing up the metaphorical a-hole of the subject at hand.

[ 04 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


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minimal
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posted 04 March 2004 06:03 PM      Profile for minimal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd really like to argue this but right now I'm in the middle of hanging a door in my basement. Now door hanging is an art and I ain't no artist when I hang a door but at the end of it the door will be hung. So am I an artist because I hung a door, or should I leave it to the true artist of door hanging? This whole issue will never be resolved. Let's just say that there is good art and there is art which is not good art (perhaps not art at all) just as there are well hung doors and doors which are not well hung. I know this very well because I had a look at the door this morning and it came down and I'm starting again. My door hanging failed on technical merits, and so art should have some technical merits and the artist should have some technical skill in creating art. I know this comparison doesn't work but my wife wants that door hung asap and I'd like her to say that it's a work of art.
From: Alberta | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
minimal
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posted 04 March 2004 06:05 PM      Profile for minimal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just to carry on, I want my wife to nominate me for a Governor General's award in door hanging. And if she doesn't do it anyone on this forum is welcome to come and inspect it and do the nomination. But don't hurry, this work of art may yet fail many times.
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writer
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posted 04 March 2004 10:32 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The lead on the Ottawa Citizen's web page:

The 'artist' who has Rideau Hall on guard

quote:
The Hungarian-born Mr. Kantor is one of seven artists receiving this year's $15,000 Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts. Mr. Kantor is the only one of the seven who has been permanently banned from entering the National Gallery for decorating a wall there with one of his self-described X-shaped "gifts" of blood in 1991

Hmmm ... and he's the one of seven getting top billing on a canada.com homepage! What does that say about media, rather than art?

quote:
"My philosophy is based on the equation that life equals art equals life. It's not really a scientific equation but it's useful. Everything is art; everybody is an artist. The greatest art is the people in the streets, the beggars, the prostitutes, the people in the offices, executives and secretaries."

So, minimal, for Kantor the answer to your question is "Yes." And he's an artist who's been recognized as an artist by a bunch of artists *and* an art consultant. Though I don't know if they did the horse test first.

Good luck with the nomination!


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 05 March 2004 11:20 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I haven't seen any of Kantor's performances, so I don't know whether I would find them powerful, or even affecting.

When we can't see or hear the original work of art, it becomes harder to talk about because we are reacting either to a reproduction or to the analytical/argumentative rhetoric of someone else's summary.

Since most of us will only ever know most paintings, eg, through reproductions (photographs, prints), no one is going to argue that we shouldn't make reproductions or try to learn from them. But everyone who has ever been ambushed by the original of a great work will know how different the experience is, and in judging art, that experience has to be taken into account.

When, as in this case, we have only a description of works to work with, our own discussions are unfortunately likely to follow the analytical/argumentative lead of that description, which means that we are more likely to be talking morals or politics or psychology than art.

No, I'm not saying that art can't be political, but the rhetoric of politics, literal or plastic, is a particular and limited form from the point of view of the artist, who works with many forms and is accustomed to thinking of them that way.

Lots of artists, of course, talk about their own works in analytical/argumentative ways, as Kantor seems to. Some talk well or usefully; some are the worst guides to their own works imaginable. Lots of writers, eg, are god-awful critics, especially of what they produce themselves. (Conversely, some critical writing rises to the level of art.)

It is a shame that more of us don't have the chance to be there with more original works than we do, but the only way to grasp what it is that others are seeing in art, IMHO, is to seek out as many of those works as we can and to submit to that experience over and over again. There's more to creating it; but it is through that living stream of immediate experiences that art embeds itself as culture, our culture -- or doesn't.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
beverly
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posted 05 March 2004 02:48 PM      Profile for beverly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Art is in the eye of the beholder, and the creater. I think that's a simple enough definition. I got in trouble once at an art exhibition, because I was stepping carefully over some 2by4's on the floor, but alas, it wasn't consturction material but one of the displays. Go figure.

The best art thought is usually hung on people's fridges. And doesn't require a public discussion about whether or not it is indeed art, it is recognized for what it is creativity.

So according to my definition this guy is creative so its art, but I wouldn't want his art in my house.

What disturbed me more was:

quote:
In Liaison Inter-Urbain he dug a shallow grave, inserted a vial of blood into his anus and contorted himself so that the blood flowed into his mouth.

I dont' really care about his contortions he's an adult and can do whatever he wants. However, this is physically impossible your digestive system doesn't work in reverse... unless its your stomach contents coming up.... And maybe because I was disturbed by this or I wanted to make sure.... I even called my mother who is a medical professional to make sure that it was impossible.... So in this case he is a big phony.

As for the $15,000 --- they waste so much and we have so much money scammed away from us as taxpayers... who really cares anymore. Its a drop in the bucket.


From: In my Apartment!!!! | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 05 March 2004 03:05 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My two cents as a relatively ignorant but nevertheless faithful patron of the arts: I think it's a really rough time for cultural expression; it used to be that art had the benefit, and also the disadvantage, of enforced and narrow structures within which it had to restrict itself. Judgement was therefore a simpler task, and imaginations had always to be disciplined and alert to the subtle and finessed metaphor to avoid punishment. But since art gained the freedom do anything, it's faced a different, but equally threatening, kind of punishment--not so much from the public, but from the void of unlimited possibility. The "no holds barred" ring is not a gentler one to be tossed into than the one emphasizing the hammerlock. Running for cover, artists struggle to invent their own rules in lieu of anything else they see as conspicuously palatable. The most respected value--at least among some artists--becomes idiosyncracy. So it isn't surprising that some art looks like it's getting progressively odder. My preference, as that relatively ignorant, but faithful patron, is art which doesn't try to face the void and reinvent the wheel, but instead takes a respectful look at tradition and tries to reinvigorate it. Human concerns are unchanging, and so the sputtering old traditions, myths, codes, structures, etc., do still have something valuable to contribute at heart, if they are adapted for modern sensibilities. To me, reacting to the void by undertaking that quest is the truly experimental act, equivalent to the discipline required to overcome the imposition of those old, smothering structures. Less radical, in my view, is the easier choice to abandon old forms because of their conspicuous baggage. It's a lack of discipline to not look closer, to challenge the imagination that way.

But this is a taste; I respond best to subtlety and restraint.

Also: in my experience, the kind of artist who finds it of the utmost importance to define himself as one, tends to grandstand in his work. In my own case, I would be pleased to hear myself described as a craftsman, a storyteller, a writer, and hopefully, as an entertainer--but not ever as an artist, even after decades working at my profession. But then, I spend half my time in Los Angeles, so consider the source.

[ 05 March 2004: Message edited by: bittersweet ]


From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 05 March 2004 05:00 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I know a Ukrainian guy who got zapped near Chernobyl.

He once exhibited a bathtub full of his own radioactive blood.

I think putting severed heads atop pikes is rather artistic - and practical, too.

[ 05 March 2004: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
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posted 05 March 2004 05:18 PM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the thing to remember here, as we all get our guffaws on the backs of artists whose work we may not fully comprehend or appreciate, is that art is about ideas. It's about communicating and sharing meaning.

So, while minimal thinks that hanging a door in his house is art, I say it's not, because he's not hanging the door to communicate an idea, but rather just because he needs the door for practical, not thoughtful purposes. If, however, he was hanging a door in a different kind of way, or a strange place perhaps, or if it were a different kind of door...maybe that would be art.

A bathtub full of radioactive blood seems to be all about ideas--all about communicating what Chernobyl meant to him, and the human side of the disaster etc. (I assume. I never saw it and don't know anything about it, really). I don't think that's deserving of mockery at all.

Heads on spikes might be art if it weren't criminal...Reproductions of heads on spikes would definitely be art...Unless it were for a Hollywood movie. (Just thought I'd throw another wrench into this discussion...)


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 05 March 2004 05:22 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heads on spikes in a Hollywood movie called Apocalypse Now might be considered art by some.
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Mandos
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posted 05 March 2004 05:23 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Since writer doesn't want to pursue the discussion, I won't, except to say that I still do think it is a worthwhile exercise to try to define a prior objective concept of public good taste.

But for Lizard Breath:

quote:
So, while minimal thinks that hanging a door in his house is art, I say it's not, because he's not hanging the door to communicate an idea, but rather just because he needs the door for practical, not thoughtful purposes. If, however, he was hanging a door in a different kind of way, or a strange place perhaps, or if it were a different kind of door...maybe that would be art.
Why so, then? Isn't his proposal of submitting it as art artistic in itself? It communicates an idea for sure.

Even if he hadn't, doesn't the act of hanging a door inherently convey a meaning? It conveys the idea, at the very least, that we desire to be separated by doors...

[ 05 March 2004: Message edited by: Mandos ]


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 05 March 2004 05:33 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought minimal's idea was that he wanted to avoid his wife's wrath. A universal theme amongst married men.
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Scout
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posted 05 March 2004 06:10 PM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I think the thing to remember here, as we all get our guffaws on the backs of artists whose work we may not fully comprehend or appreciate, is that art is about ideas. It's about communicating and sharing meaning.

Oh, come now. Art maybe about ideas but the world is full of bad ideas. And artist don't get a free pass because they call their "work" art. The viewer gets to decide what is art to themselves. For example, I think music is art and I think Radiohead creates art, but I pretty much don't care for it and don't purchase it, but I get it, Eminem creates music but I think it's crap, ryhming words doesn't not make art.

As for the artist we are actually discussing:

What is the artistic worth in damaging a Picasso?

Or better yet help me understand the merit in slitting the throats of two cats and wearing them like hats? What meaning am I missing here? Is this art because he and a bunch of art snobs declare it so? If your neighbours kids did it to your cat it's a crime, so how is this art and what in my ignorance am I missing and why should I care that I am missing it and give this quack $15,000.

I don't have a problem with art that pushes the boundaries or pushing the boundaries of what gets labelled as art but there are plenty of things being called art that don't qualify when carried out by less visible members of our society. That are only considered art when carried out in a gallery. If a homeless guy shits in the middle of Bloor Subway station it wouldn't be considered art, even though there might be some meaning or idea that he might be trying to get across, or perhaps he is art in and of himself displaying his shame and pain. But you can bet if Kantor did it with publicity some of you'd be defending it as art, without a thought. Personally I think there is more art in the signs of homeless people asking for change than in any of Kantor's work. And hey, I am free to feel that way.

As for none of us knowing who he was before this, well, I knew of him, so what. What difference does it make if this is the first time people came into contact with his work? How does that invalidate their views on it.


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 05 March 2004 06:36 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Come back, Scout. Are you telling me that Kantor slit the throats of two cats and called what he made of them art? Where did you see that?

If I'd known that, I'd have condemned it, no question. In fact, depending on how long ago he did it, I might call the cops.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 05 March 2004 06:54 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Personally I think there is more art in the signs of homeless people asking for change than in any of Kantor's work.

Given what Kantor has said about art, he might agree with this statement.

I am not aware that he slit the throats of two cats and wore them as hats.


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 05 March 2004 06:59 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps there is a confusion here with that student who videotaped himself torturing and killing a cat -- I believe that guy was a student at OCA, or had been, and claimed that what he'd done was an artistic project.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 05 March 2004 07:08 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
... and went to court, and was found guilty. So, to answer an earlier question, artists can't get away with murder.

The story. This Christie Blatchford story comes from a site dedicated to the cat that died.

[ 05 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 05 March 2004 07:23 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
*thread drift*

quote:
artists can't get away with murder.

Senators sure can, though. The Senate is once again blocking the bill that would create serious penalties for cases of gross and sadistic abuse of animals. I believe the maximum current sentence for abuse of animals is a derisory six months in prison, which is what the disgusting jerk who tortured the cat would have got.

I guess no one wants to hear my speech about Senator Ann Cools. Or about the well-funded gun, fishing, and farm-animal-owners' lobbies, the people who have done the most damage to the revised legislation over the last half-dozen years.

Intentional abuse of animals is the one and only crime for which I favour the death penalty.

*/drift*

[ 05 March 2004: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scout
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posted 06 March 2004 04:31 AM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Come back, Scout. Are you telling me that Kantor slit the throats of two cats and called what he made of them art? Where did you see that?

Google his name, the info is there. Not great backround certainly but not another guys name to blame.

What writer? No comment on his defacement of a Picasso?


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 06 March 2004 10:56 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That tears it for me. (I Googled "Istvan Kantor cats" and got results.) If that's true, then the guy should be in jail and this award is a travesty.
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Michelle
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posted 06 March 2004 11:06 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Unbelievable.

I'm with skdadl on this one.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 06 March 2004 01:16 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Did he actually kill the cats for real? Or did he just 'depict' it somehow? It's sort of the difference, I guess, between hate speech and hate crimes, but it's a difference nonetheless.

As for defacement of a Picasso, to be fair, he claims it was an accident, and some blood splashed on the Picasso due to a misjudgement of aim. He claims to have meant to splash the wall only. Or so it seemed in a recent CBC radio interview.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 06 March 2004 01:19 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd really want more information than what is provided by the item Michelle links to. I had not heard of Kantor doing this before. If he did, I would want to know if the cats were already dead. Or, as Mandos mentions, whether this was a depiction rather than the actual act.

If it's the latter, I do find it horrible and offensive.

However, it seems to me that it's perfectly normal for people to wear dead things on their heads and bodies in this culture. It's normal to put dead things into our mouths several times a day. And, while most of us are unaware of what kind of suffering these animals endured before death, it does not mean the suffering did not occur.

Our culture condones the nightmarish abuse of animals as a matter of course. I find that disturbing.

If the death penalty is what you want, how then do we apply it to corporate furriers and trappers, meat plant processers, laboratory technicians and the like? And how do we apply it to their accomplices -- those chewing on beings, oblivious to what these animals endured through their whole miserable lives, up to death? To those wearing their skin, their fur? To those benefiting from mutilations and obscenities done for science?

Or does it only apply to the excesses of artists and misfits? Are the industrial, corporate and scientific applications somehow okay, even though they condemn millions of animals to torture daily?

As for Picasso: I've read that he wanted his art to be as mortal as he was. He used material that would degrade over time in at least some of his work. It is debatable whether he would have wanted those pieces to be restored, as they have been.

His cubist paintings had no varnish on their surface, so that the work would step off the canvas, become real. Purchasers often added varnish to make them prettier or whatever.

Is the blood any more objectionable than the routine restorations -- for monetary reasons as much as anything else -- of work he wanted to die? More objectionable than a candy coating of shiny varnish?

Did the blood do any lasting damage to the artist's work? Do the restorations? Does the varnish?

[ 06 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 06 March 2004 02:42 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
writer, I admit that I went over the top with the death-penalty claim -- I regularly say that in discussions of animal abuse on babble, out of sincere frustration as much as a desire to give people a jolt.

rasmus once said somewhere that he believed we were a century away from truly grasping, as a culture, what we have done with animals and why it is wrong. That's as good a rough estimate as any, I suspect.

In the meantime, I do with this issue what I do with politics generally: keep defending the ideals, work practically at a much lower level on a very few things I can affect here and now ... and admit (if I have to) the contradictions I haven't entirely cleared out of my personal life.

For instance, for the time being I accept the compromises made by a couple of groups I belong to, the OSPCA and a cat-rescue organization. The SPCAs are explicitly NOT after hunters, fishers, owners of farm animals, food processors, etc. They want increased sanctions only in cases of criminal neglect or abuse. So, recognizing that that is probably the best we can get right now (and we're having trouble getting even that minimum), that's the goal I argue for too: let's get serious about the worst cases first, and sadism exercised on animals is definitely worst-case.

Am I a vegan? No. Do I wear leather shoes? Yes. (Nylon boots and purse, though. And I haven't eaten veal for nineteen years.) I also live in a country that isn't quite a democracy, and yet I vote; I belong to a political party that is a long way from being my ideal party, and yet I argue and vote for it.

I couldn't agree more that this protest needs to be raised:

quote:
Or does it only apply to the excesses of artists and misfits? Are the industrial, corporate and scientific applications somehow okay, even though they condemn millions of animals to torture daily?

But the answer to your first sentence there is no, easily no, from many people who try to put at least some of their money and their energies where their mouths are. The SPCAs and other animal-defence organizations spend very little if any time going after artists, trust me.

A qualification: If by "misfits" you mean serial killers in training, who practise on animals -- um, well, yes, most animal-defence organizations do focus on that problem. (There are stats, you know.) You are implying that that is an error?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 06 March 2004 03:01 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
You are implying that that is an error?

No. In the context of my post, responding to your desired punishment, I am asking whether the death penalty should only be applied to artists and misfits who cruelly kill animals, and not to the others, who sloppily slaughter on a monumental scale.

"Misfits" would not be confined to serial-killers-in-practice, by the way. Had I meant only serial-killers-in-practice, I would have said as much, knowing a bit about them as I do.

Had someone intervened when Dahmer killed his first animal, and given him the help he clearly needed, many others might not have died. But then again, had he been caught, maybe we could have just given that troubled teen the death penalty straight off for his first offense, as you have suggested for rhetorical affect.

By misfits I meant those whose demons have overwhelmed them. Those who don't fit into the polite society of new leather shoes and ham (not veal!) on Sundays. Such as the homeless man who punched a goose to get some money, then later broke the jaw of a dear baby racoon in the hopes of getting more. The goose survived. The racoon did not. The homeless man appeared in court, naked.

I hope this was the last time on babble that you make the suggestion that such a man deserves death for what he did, as horrible as it was.

[ 06 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 06 March 2004 03:28 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is definitely another of my contradictions: how can someone who has serious doubts about the value of our prisons ever be campaigning for heavier "penalties" or "sanctions" or "sentences"?

Especially when, as you say, prison is clearly not the place for at least some of those who would fall into the categories I've targeted.

One question: would you call the homeless man who punched the goose and the racoon a sadist? I'm not sure I would. I'm sure there are sadists, though.

Beyond that, back to my first question to myself: I honestly don't know.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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Babbler # 2513

posted 06 March 2004 03:38 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I would say that I don't believe in the death penalty, period. And that I've been responding to your statement:

quote:
Intentional abuse of animals is the one and only crime for which I favour the death penalty.

... which says nothing of sadism (though that could be argued to be implicit, in which case the homeless man is guilty of said charge, as he coldly harmed with the intention of getting money).

You have since backed away from your earlier post calling for death, which relieves me. Though, as I added to my prior post, I am hoping you will now not use such rhetoric on babble.

I've read (and watched documentaries) about factory farming and the industrial processing of animals, and the conversion of them into meat.

My brother once worked in a chicken plant, and I saw his chafed hands curled into puffed-out balls, with no fingerprints because the piss and clawing had eaten them away. He told me stories from the line.

I've spoken with a nurse who was in a plant with slaughterhouse workers, and learned of their suffering and the raw indifference of the owners and managers.

Pure sadism, putting the punters who kill a cat or two or fifteen to shame. But, yes, the punters are much easier to go after, and demand the blood of.

[ 06 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 06 March 2004 03:55 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
the homeless man is guilty of said charge, as he coldly harmed with the intention of getting money).

No. He did not harm with the intention of harming -- that is what constitutes sadism. The sadist, as I understand and use the term, is fascinated by suffering and wishes to watch it. Those are the cases I meant. The homeless man, as you describe him, was delusional -- he did not know what he was doing in fact, whatever he intended.

When I say "intentional abuse," I mean abuse with the intention of abusing. Some people do that. More than most other people want to know, unfortunately.

I also am opposed to the death penalty without qualification. I am mainly opposed to our prison system, although I can't see that we are anywhere near an effective substitute for many people who at minimum require to be restrained from doing to the rest of the world whatever they were doing.

[ 06 March 2004: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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Babbler # 2513

posted 06 March 2004 04:27 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Whether it's sadism, delusion, for art, science, or business, the animal suffers, is maimed and often dies.

Someone who is intentionally inflicting pain on an animal only for the sake of inflicting pain is a person with very deep psychological problems. Unless it's for a publicly funded research project studying the effect of electrical shocks on testicals, say.

Someone who inflicts pain on thousands for the bottom line, for efficiency or out of industrial neglect is the one doing greater damage in our midst than a backyard amateur sadist, I'd argue.

Someone doing it for art, sadly, is the one who forces us to discuss these horrors we condone with our silence.

We trap and kill mice and rats as pests every day. But when an artist announces he's going to drop a concrete block on Sniffy the rat, the outrage is heard around the world.

I've set those traps. I've heard the mice suffer. What does it matter what was in my heart at the time: the mouse died. Horribly. But this regular occurance gets no coverage in the press. Nobody calls for such a mouse murderer's death, as they did for artist Rick Gibson's. And he didn't even kill Sniffy, in the end.

Our civilization is a brutal one for animals. That a few members of it ritualize and fetishize and act out that abuse does not surprise me. That we tend to focus on those few and gloss over the slaughter they are extending by a miniscule amount doesn't shock me, either. But it disappoints.

skdadl, I see your sadists more as canaries in the coal mine, telling us things about ourselves that we'd rather not hear. That their numbers might be growing means, to me, that the sickness of our society is growing.

To focus so much on them, and not the societal sickness they are only a part of, is tempting, but not very productive, in my opinion.

[ 06 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 06 March 2004 05:15 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hmm. Now I'm waffling. BTW, to clarify, I was with skdadl on the sentiment about killing animals not being "art", not on the death penalty for people who kill animals. I don't believe in the death penalty for anyone, no matter what they do.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 07 March 2004 06:21 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So, would it be "art" or just pure tastelessness if I were to take a picture of myself holding a Geiger counter over radioactive blood, and then try to get it placed with an exhibit?

[ 07 March 2004: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 07 March 2004 07:03 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Dude, as Lizard Breath would say, what are you trying to communicate? What does a picture of yourself with the blood and a Geiger counter mean to you? Why are you doing it? What are you trying to accomplish with it?

A piece comprising of thin slices of a cow pressed in glass has been shown as art at well respected galleries. A painting of the madonna which is made using asses out of porn magazines and elephant dung has been shown as art. I've seen very moving photographs of preserved fetuses that have been in jars for a couple of hundred of years.

I'm sure all of us could have a lot of fun imagining the most extreme, outrageous things possible and ask each other whether it's art. There is a big difference between dreaming up crazy, wild, offensive scenarios and actually going ahead and doing the work.

It's also one thing to do it, and quite another to go around trying to get it in a show. Galleries don't just put something up because the creator tells them it's art. Why would it be pure tastelessness to approach a gallery to be part of an exhibit?

My evaluation of the artfulness would depend a great deal on the execution. As a result, I can't answer your question.


Chris Ofili, The Holy Virgin Mary
1996, made from paper collage, oil paint, glitter, polyester resin, map pins, and elephant dung on linen

[ 07 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 07 March 2004 07:22 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think you missed the basic point of my statement. I can call anything "art". That shouldn't give me immunity from criticism as to the wisdom of doing so.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
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Babbler # 2513

posted 07 March 2004 07:32 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, who is asking for immunity? And why is art in quotes? I can say the "sky" is green. So what?

Art magazines are full of criticism. Politicians and people -- including artists -- question art regularly. Who is saying they shouldn't?

I've got my notion of tasteless art, you've got yours. Doesn't necessarily mean it isn't art (or "art"), either way. There are artists who have made careers out of creating what some might call tasteless art. Jeff Koons, for example.

[ 07 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 07 March 2004 11:05 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You're seriously nitpicking if you're asking why I stuck "art" in quotes. It was intended to set off the word from the rest of my statements.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 08 March 2004 12:23 AM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd be willing to agree that these sorts of "shock" based art and "expanding the concept" art are in fact art. But I don't think in general that they're very good art. First, because it's getting pretty old. But second, because as art they stack up similarly to the joke as literature--once you've heard the punchline, there's no point any more.

In fact, an interesting difference between that sort of art, things like the naked guy in the grave with the blood, or that dress made of meat a few years back, or the case of the person who played a radio tone that the people at the exhibition couldn't experience at all, and so on and so forth, is that not only is there not much point in seeing it a second time--there's not much effective difference between seeing it personally and just having it described.
Often it comes down to art as nearly bare theory, with very little actual art to give the theory flesh. But theory by itself isn't art, it's just criticism. So what this kind of art amounts to is just enough artistic 'glue' to hold together a critic's ideas. This sort of artist often strikes me as less an artist per se, and more an innovative critic who decided he/she wanted to be the centre of attention not just a commentator.

By contrast, more 'traditional' art when done well rewards multiple viewings. There is more there than concept--there is texture, play of light, detail; it would draw your eye whether there was a theory hanging around to make excuses for it or not. It's more like a novel as opposed to a joke or a plot synopsis. Novels keep your attention not because of the bones of an interesting plot or a character sketch of a potentially interesting person. It's the texture that does it, the execution--the characterization, the wordplay, the detail. Speaking as someone who's come up with some interesting ideas but never successfully written the novel that goes with them, that's also where the hard work is.

Much art that bases itself largely around concept, whether it be relatively pure abstract art, the art of shock, or the art that tries to expand the boundaries of what you call art, makes me think of a plot summary and a character sketch trying to convince me that they're as good literature as a novel. I suppose it would be possible to do, say, the art of transgression and put as much into it as people put into more conventional work, but it generally doesn't happen.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
writer
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Babbler # 2513

posted 08 March 2004 12:50 AM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Does art need to be permanent to be good? Does it require multiple viewings? Your reference to the meat dress -- which was shown at the National Gallery in 1991 -- indicates that it has remained with you on some level. The controversy it created at the time reveals that it touched a powerful nerve in our society.

Why isn't that a worthy project for a work of art?


Jana Sterbak
"Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic"
50 pieces of salted flank steak

quote:
The reaction was strong.Two hundred people mailed food scraps to Canada's most popular fine arts museum last week to protest the new show.

But most people who have seen it say it's legitimate art.
snopes.com



quote:
"Jana Sterbak is a Canadian artist of international stature whose audacious, innovative talent is recognized the world over. She is an artist who has made a major contribution to the advancement of contemporary art."


From Here To There

[ 08 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Loony Bin
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Babbler # 4996

posted 08 March 2004 11:11 AM      Profile for Loony Bin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'd be willing to agree that these sorts of "shock" based art and "expanding the concept" art are in fact art. But I don't think in general that they're very good art. First, because it's getting pretty old.

Rufus has articulated much of what I feel about this kind of art. It's important and valuable to the artistic community at large. It's interesting and provocative, and often does the work of engaging the public that more traditional art doesn't quite accomplish. Most of the time, though, it just seems a little arrogant or something less than savoury, because it's all about the idea, the artist's genius, and not actually executed very artfully or thoughtfully at all. The unintentional splattering of the Picasso is evidence of how the thoughtful execution of the original idea got away from him. If he'd been as careful and thoughtful about making that art (the blood on the gallery wall piece) as van Gogh was about his sunflowers (just off the top of my head), it's not very likely that the splatters could go astray.

That said, the more I think about these extreme and sometimes offensive works of art, the more I see their value--and that is, in itself, a big part of their importance: the fact that they force people to think about them. Sunflowers are beautiful, but I've never been preoccupied by that painting as I have been about Kantor's work over the last few days. And the more I think about Kantor's work, the more there is in it that carries meaning, even though I was never there to see it myself.

I agree with Rufus' suggestion that this sort of "concept" art is just as effective when described or recounted as it is when viewed/experienced in person. I suppose it might leave a longer-lasting or more deeply felt impression if you were actually there to see the blood dripping into his mouth...but I can imagine it fairly well also.

And so, I don't think that art needs to be permanent to be valuable at all. I think it needs to be witnessed or seen, but not forever.


From: solitary confinement | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 08 March 2004 11:22 AM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

And remember, when Van Gogh was painting those sunflowers (he actually did a series of them), they were not considered pretty at all by polite society. Paint was put on the canvas in what was seen as huge sloppy blobs. The colours were too garish. He sold very little of his work (some say only one piece).

Many of the artists from the 1800s who we now see as classic masters were revolutionaries in their time. Their work was greeted with the same condemnation that some contemporary art is met with today.

[ 08 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Performance Anxiety
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Babbler # 3474

posted 08 March 2004 07:27 PM      Profile for Performance Anxiety        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I would hate to see an award committee dismiss candidates simply because the art they produse isn't pretty like the Group of Seven paintings or some such arbitrary and subjective criteria.

Then you'll hate to see this award committee and their recent performance.


From: Outside of the box | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 08 March 2004 07:50 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't see what that has to do with my critique. I haven't been critiquing the idea of doing something different or rebellious, but rather the idea of making the difference and/or transgression the core of the art.

Van Gogh did stuff that happened to be different and cut against the dominant aesthetic of the time. But he did it for the sake of advancing a different aesthetic, not just to object to the old one. And he put in the craftsmanship to make the result valuable. The art we're discussing does not seem to advance a positive aesthetic of its own, and does not involve craftsmanship.

Meanwhile, on the "you remembered it so it must be good"--gee, I remember Musical Youth and Milli Vanilli. It's not because they were good musicians, it's because my attention was drawn at the time to how bad they were (and, in the case of MV, fraudulent).

Incidentally, I think that the general trend in the artistic community towards endlessly trying to push the boundaries of what can be considered art, and indeed to abandoning the idea that anything whatsoever can be ruled out, is somewhat self-defeating. Similarly I notice a trend to countering criticism by basically saying all value judgments are moot. The problem is, if anything can be art and value judgments are moot, there isn't a whole lot of point going to a gallery when I can enjoy equivalent artistic value by "finding" art when I look at the cityscape on the horizon or whatever in my everyday life. The artist who resists all attempts at definition or evaluation of art cannot afford to be taken at his word, or else while her art may be considered no less art than anything else and no less valuable than any other art, it is also no more art than anything else and no more valuable. In which case we might as well ignore it.
Art requires some kind of definition, however vague and fuzzy around the edges--some kind of separation as a category from non-art. And it requires some sort of evaluation. And I notice that the creators of the kind of art we're discussing, and their defenders, generally only raise these kinds of "how can you evaluate" issues when under attack, not when people say how wonderful it is. But presumably the same difficulty operates--if you can't know it *isn't* art, and you can't reliably claim it *isn't* valuable, then presumably it is equally valueless to say it *is* art or *is* valuable. Why no hesitation, then, in announcing more positive claims? Because it's just a defence mechanism--nobody who claims art is indefinable and unevaluatable, frankly, is fundamentally serious. What they mean (whether they realize it or not) is: "YOU are no judge of whether it's art or whether it's valuable, because YOU are too unsophisticated to be a judge. If you weren't, you'd see how great it was."

I don't buy it. Many sophisticated people have critiqued this sort of avant-garde-for-the-sake-of-it art, and I've rarely seen anyone make a sophisticated rejoinder. They just blow conceptual smoke and ignore anything actually said in the critiques.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2

posted 08 March 2004 08:14 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
Oh, c'mon, audra: spill! (Or as Kantor might say, flow!)

Tomorrow, I promise.


From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 08 March 2004 08:19 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You write as though the kind of art you do not like has taken over. I beg to differ.

Paul P
Shary Boyle
Julie Voyce
Marc Bell
Amy Lockhart
Natalka Husar


... just off the top of my head. All very accomplished, technically. Certainly not creating material you'd see by walking down the street. All doing art, now.

You don't like conceptual art. There are many artists doing visually stunning work that is not conceptual. I see more representational and abstract work than conceptual stuff and performance art when I go to galleries. A lot of work -- whatever its genre -- doesn't excite me. A lot of work from the past doesn't excite me. Nevertheless, it's a rich creative world out there.

In the meantime, some people get a lot out of the concept stuff. Maybe not you. That's okay. It's not about sophistication or the lack thereof.

Why do people get so worked up about this stuff?

Personally, I don't think it would be easy to make flank steak flow like fabric, and stitch one piece to the next, creating a convincing dress. And I *do* think that it was a powerful representation that explored women's identity, its objectification, and our relationship to food *and* clothing (leather is okay: raw steak is an abomination enraging hundreds of people). It was created by an artist who has used the shape of dresses in many ways throughout her work.

You don't like it. You don't agree with me. Doesn't mean it's not art. I don't like Robert Bateman's work. Doesn't mean others can't appreciate his stuff as art.

Just like I might think a writer stinks. You might love that writer's work. Regardless, it's still a book we're debating.

Do others have favourite artists / art works from the last 30 to 40 years? It would be nice to know who / what they are.

[ 08 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 08 March 2004 09:06 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
if you can't know it *isn't* art, and you can't reliably claim it *isn't* valuable, then presumably it is equally valueless to say it *is* art or *is* valuable. Why no hesitation, then, in announcing more positive claims?

"More positive claims" like the one that everything is potentially art (which has been my only claim)?

Wha? All the *is* / *isn't valuable stuff in the above quote is making me cross-eyed.

I remember walking down Queen Street in Toronto on a grey March day, and seeing this crazy mix of colourful threads wrapped around a young tree's higher branches, then tied up to a shop awning. It certainly wouldn't have been easy to create. And it was beautiful. I stood there and looked for quite some time. And then, slowly, it dawned on me: a bird had created this piece.

And my whole day was touched by magic.

Sorry if this offends you.

What I find sad is that this is a left-oriented site. And much of the art that is being attacked comes from a strong left or radical perspective. Some very thoughtful, very talented, artists are responding to art's (and all of our culture's) commodification, and trying to shake up the status quo by breaking aesthetic taboos or turning norms upside-down.

The question of what is valuable and why is central to some of this art. Blurring art with the everyday is central to what some are doing. You can say you don't like it, but why say it isn't art?

And how are they being hypocrites, when they are arguing that everything is art, and value is arbitrary? (There are many artists who are far more accomplished than Robert Bateman, but his prints sell for astounding amounts, because he's in demand ... he appeals to the market. Does that really make him a better artist?)

In the meantime, these folks do have to eat in a capitalist state, so a $15,000 grant after 20 years can help. Istvan Kantor was one of seven artists receiving the money. One of seven artists from across Canada.

Why does this make progressive people so angry?

I'm going to try to be disciplined and make this my last post. I believe I've made an effort to present another perspective, but it only seems to rile folks. It's kind of a grind.

Oh well. Hope you'll all try to seek out contemporary art you like. Could make you feel good. Or upset, in a good way.

[ 08 March 2004: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3308

posted 09 March 2004 02:59 AM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by writer:

"More positive claims" like the one that everything is potentially art (which has been my only claim)?

Well, you have my apologies if my point doesn't apply to you. I have, however, noticed more generally that the same people who react very prickly to questions about whether "x" is art and counter, like you, that anything can be art tend, when nobody is questioning the status of their favoured pieces, to be pretty certain what is and isn't art. They don't go around routinely behaving as if everything is art. And how could they? If everything is art, nothing is.

The same people who object when someone says they don't think an avant garde piece is *good* art, on the basis that such value judgments are impossible, tend in practise to behave as if conceptual-type art is "good" and everything else isn't, and look down their noses.

Maybe you're not like that. But it remains the more general avant-garde attitude.

quote:
What I find sad is that this is a left-oriented site. And much of the art that is being attacked comes from a strong left or radical perspective. Some very thoughtful, very talented, artists are responding to art's (and all of our culture's) commodification, and trying to shake up the status quo by breaking aesthetic taboos or turning norms upside-down.

Being left art doesn't necessarily make it good art. And there's plenty left art that isn't this sort of thing.
Breaking aesthetic taboos and turning norms upside down is old. And it is not itself an aesthetic; it purports to break down, but suggests no alternatives. It makes no other world possible. I just find myself wondering whether there's any actual vision here, or if it's just a bunch of postmodernism.

quote:

The question of what is valuable and why is central to some of this art. Blurring art with the everyday is central to what some are doing. You can say you don't like it, but why say it isn't art?

I didn't. I said I didn't think it was mostly very good art. I raised some ideas about why I didn't think it was very good. That is to say, I suggested some ideas of what I considered valuable and why.

quote:
And how are they being hypocrites, when they are arguing that everything is art, and value is arbitrary?

Because if everything is art and value is arbitrary, why on earth should anyone bother to go to an art show . . . any art show? Or deliberately produce art of any sort? Clearly their whole existence says *not* everything is art, and that there is some special value in what they create. Clearly in practise, I agree with them--there *is* worth in dedicating one's life to art, because there *is* value in art and specifically value in things carefully and imaginatively created to be art. I find it weird for any artist to go around defending their art by proclaiming its irrelevance.

quote:
(There are many artists who are far more accomplished than Robert Bateman, but his prints sell for astounding amounts, because he's in demand ... he appeals to the market. Does that really make him a better artist?)

No it doesn't. But that doesn't mean there can be no criteria of any sort for determining whether he is a better artist. Are you really coming on a leftist board as a leftist and saying that, short of the market, there can be no values put on anything?

quote:
In the meantime, these folks do have to eat in a capitalist state, so a $15,000 grant after 20 years can help. Istvan Kantor was one of seven artists receiving the money. One of seven artists from across Canada.

Why does this make progressive people so angry?


While it might be argued that if one thinks he's not much of an artist, then by that token he's taking that grant from someone who is better, I'm not particularly worried about that. I don't begrudge him the cash.
I'm not angry. I'm having an aesthetic discussion. Saying I don't think something is particularly good art doesn't make me angry. Kantor's art doesn't particularly shock me or make me mad--I'm just not impressed. And I believe it is possible to make aesthetic judgments, so I'm making one.

Why does this make avant-garde people so angry?

I suppose I do get my nose out of joint because it often seems to me that people who put really high value on conceptual, shock etc. art condescend to those of us who feel there can be such a thing as aesthetic standards. It's not that the art annoys me, it's that when I try to point out flaws in the model I get talked down to. Which particularly bothers me because it seems to me that the philosophy underpinning "anything goes" ideas about art is fundamentally flawed to the point of massive internal contradiction, certainly not sophisticated. Yet people advancing such ideas inevitably seem to dismiss all other concepts as naive, generally without examining them.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
faith
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posted 09 March 2004 04:07 PM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am a person that makes a living as a visual artist ( if you can call it a living) and I hesitiate to wade into this discussion simply because visual artists are usually better at producing visual images than articulating an explanation of their motivation as an artist or to explain a particular piece of work.
The art that is produced by anyone is a personal vision or should be, and that to me as an artist is the real criteria - is the work honest?
Standards for judging art do exist and I submit my work to be judged all the time in art competitions and shows. Every manmade design whether a car or a painting or a sculpture is supposed to take into account the elementsand principles of design.
The elements are -- Line , Direction , Shape ,
Size , Texture , Value , Colour. These elements are the tools an artist has to work with to form their work. The principles of design are Repetition , Alternation , Harmony , Gradation , Contrast , Dominance , Unity, Balance. The principles when acheived are as a result of using the tools or elements in a masterful way. Abstract images or realistic , it doesn't matter the same rules apply.
The definitions of these terms are somewhat different in the art world than in the general culture but I won't give the meanings of each term here. Another thing to keep in mind is that with each different panel of judges one can get a different result as ultimately the final decisions are personal and subjective.
There are other things that come into play when an artist is judged such as the use of the chosen medium , the originality of the concept ( do we really need another vase of flowers, if so how is one particular artist's concept of this cliche image his of her own?)
Some of the installation pieces I have seen from various artists in my own circle have great value as a social statement but also meet the design criteria for excellence.
In my own experience , patrons that have purchased or admired my work connected to it in a personal way , and I have concluded that my view of the world and theirs are probably similar.

From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 09 March 2004 04:49 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps art should be judged by a jury not unlike the jury we use in the courtroom. 12 regular Canadians, chosen at random. To be fair, we could set the cut-off at 4 of the 12. In other words, if at least one in three Canadians don't see any merit in your work, you don't get funded, or don't get an award, or we don't buy your work for the National Gallery. Or one in three, if you'd prefer. Either way, if you can't please anyone outside of the art community, then art can't really be for the people, can it? Unless it's being shoved down our throats as "good for us" by those who believe they know what's good for us.

Part of the problem now, as I see it, is that it's the art world that decides for all of us just how important the art world is, and tells us just how much more they know than we do, and thus ensure their job.

It's as absurd as letting me fill out my own employee evaluation. Naturally I'm going to describe myself as knowing more than anyone else. Anyone who disagrees with this assessment is clearly wrong (how dare they! Didn't I just say I know more than anyone else?), and I might even sneak in a suggestion for a 100% raise in honour of my hard work both at my desk, and for evaluating myself!


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
swallow
rabble-rouser
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posted 09 March 2004 08:08 PM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Uh, Magoo? Istvan Kantor didn't vote funds for himself. You really want to eliminate peer review? Then say goodbye to science, too.
From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged

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