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Is Contemporary Art Good or Bad?

Firice da Vinci

Distinct lack of Leonardo
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Location
Renaissance Italy
Okay, so this thread was pretty much inevitable for me, though hesitation and uneasiness has gotten the better of me. I have been independently studying art and art history since the beginning of this year like it was a New Year's resolution. In that time I discovered artistic giants like William Bouguereau, Rembrandt van Rijn, Claude Monet, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacques Louis David, Artemisia Gentileschi, Michelangelo, and, my personal favorite, Leonardo da Vinci, just to name a few. These people were able to paint glorious pictures through technical and psychological mastery. They conveyed the human condition, the beauty of nature, and the glory of God.

On the other end of the spectrum, I learned about Pollock, Rothko, Frida Kahlo, and Picasso. These "avant-garde geniuses" painted poorly constructed images that do nothing whatsoever to please the senses. They splattered paint over canvas and somehow managed to get people to think it is art. In actuality, the artists (if they are even worthy of the title) made absolutely nothing that was beautiful, thought-provoking, or memorable. They ruined the idea of what good art is and almost destroyed classical art education. Still, there works make their way into museums, get praised by critics, and even convince the average Joe or Jane that a blank canvas or a rock with the proper lighting was some form of deeper value connected to it.

I think I have made my stance on the matter well enough. Contemporary art is bad. I would say more, but I believe the the philosophy over on the Art Renewal Center and this video from Prager University explain the topic better than I ever could.

Also, let's not reduce the matter to just painting or sculpture. I you feel like the musical, literary, or performance arts have degraded in recent times, feel free to discuss it.
 

Musicfan

the shadow mage
Joined
Mar 6, 2011
Location
insanity
Art an expression of feelings. No visual requierments for art.

Cubism (for Picasso) is just as valid a form of art as relaisism/romantic art.
 

Sydney

The Good Samaritan
Joined
Mar 20, 2012
Location
Canberra, Australia
Firice said:
Also, let's not reduce the matter to just painting or sculpture. I you feel like the musical, literary, or performance arts have degraded in recent times, feel free to discuss it.
Errmm... Well maybe I don't think anything has "degraded in recent times", rather I think we've just evolved. We've gone from Beethoven to Miley Cyrus, Mark Twain to Suzanne Collins, Shakespeare to the Lion King on Broadway, etc and who says that the arts have degraded? We've changed, and change is greeted with a plethora of responses. Some people reject change, others accept it, and some people are caught in between.

Art has changed, and I think you're a little too biased towards artists such as da Vinci to understand contemporary artists such Picasso. I'm not saying one is better than the other, rather they are just as good. They may vary in skill level and mindset, but at the end of the day they are still artists.

(Picasso)
(da Vinci)

I don't think that one painting is better than the other. They're both just as good, but how you perceive them will determine their importance and meaning to you.
 

Curmudgeon

default setting: sarcastic prick
Joined
Dec 17, 2012
Gender
grumpy
On the other end of the spectrum, I learned about Pollock, Rothko, Frida Kahlo, and Picasso. These "avant-garde geniuses" painted poorly constructed images that do nothing whatsoever to please the senses. They splattered paint over canvas and somehow managed to get people to think it is art.
This especially jumped out at me. You've fallen into the classic trap of assuming that your own artistic preferences objectively define and dictate what art is or isn't. It's pretentious, narrow-minded, and frankly unimaginative. Your analysis is ironic in a way, isn't it? The great sin of the Renaissance was assuming the ancient world contained all of the knowledge and inspiration humanity would ever need without any consideration that more was possible - and here you are basically saying art is dead past 1890 (unless it mimics the style of your worshiped heroes).

Contemporary art is about pushing the boundaries of expression. Artists aren't content with copying the style of the past masters forever - even the mannerists had to move past Michelangelo. Whether that does anything for you or not is not the artist's problem. Breaking the rules is part of advancing the medium. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't (e.g. I still have no idea how to extrapolate any meaning out of a Pollock piece). I spend a fair amount of time with art historians, who have dedicated the majority of their lives to emerging themselves neck-deep in technical interpretation and get more out of contemporary art than the traditional, "correct" variety.

Sorry, encountering Picasso's Guernica up close at the Reina Sophia (all three hundred square feet of it) was the single most amazing experience I've had with art. I also enjoyed seeing Kahlo's work up close at an exhibit a few years ago. And I've been through the halls of the Louvre (four times), the Musée d'Orsay the Prado, and the National Gallery of Art (among about two dozen other large art museums).

Edit: I forgot my conclusion. Interpretation of art is subjective (that's the nature of interpretation). You can judge contemporary art based on classical standards, sure. You may as well also call a herb-roasted sea bass **** because it doesn't taste like steak.
 
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Firice da Vinci

Distinct lack of Leonardo
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Location
Renaissance Italy
I knew I'd be in the minority here but I wasn't expecting this. I wish I was more qualified to make more appropriate responses to your post. Before I get on with all I would like to say, I noticed that the three of you all mentioned Picasso as being a great painter, though he really wasn't.

Picasso never reached a splendid level of artistic understanding. He reached a certain level of dexterity and skill, but he quit learning early on in the process. The image that Sydney showed is a good example of his inadequacy. He constantly jumps the lightsource and changes the intensity of it on the figure. The head recieves a strong light from the upper-right, the hand is lit from the upper-left, and the shirt and pants are lit frontally. This also limits his ability to model form, making the body look relatively flat. It shows that he lacks the confidence to give the body depth, likely due to a lack of anatomical understanding. He is unsure as to how the ribcage, biceps, abdominals, and so on should appear underneath the cloth. Picasso seems to exhibits some anatomical understanding in the face, but even the worst medieval artists were aware of the forms he attended to.

Moreover, as time went on his ability went with it. The longer Picasso dodged realism, the worse his paintings got. His only choice was the reduce himself in complete abstraction if he wanted to continue his career and that's just what he did. The great painters of the time were fully aware of what Picasso was doing. Here is what Salvador Dali, a fine example of one a wordl-class artist, had to say about Picasso's Night Fishing At Antibes: "Pablo thanks! Your last ignominious paintings have killed modern art. But for you with the taste and moderation that are the very virtues of French prudence we should have had painting which was more and more ugly for at least one hundred years... you... have achieved the limits and the final consequences of the abominable in a mere few weeks... etc."

Art an expression of feelings. No visual requierments for art.

Cubism (for Picasso) is just as valid a form of art as relaisism/romantic art.
There are many requirements that make art good or bad. On the suject of paintings, the artist must balance out line with mass, choose appropriate colors, get the perspective to look convincing, have a technical understanding of the medium they are working with, and so on. Art is not just art. Art has science behind it, as well as philosophies that govern it. The painter must be aware of everything that he/she is doing. In the greatest of masterpieces, nothing is accidental. Every single brushstroke has value behind it. You need to know everything that you are doing at all times. Nothing is accidental. It is a requirement that the artist know these things to become great.

Paintings, drawings, sculpture, and the like have an objective side to them that can be judged. Saying that art is completely subjective is incorrect. A good book must have a well-constucted plot, dynamic characters, a fair use of imagery, etc. There are classes devoted entirely to music theory, in which one learns the science behind writing compositions, choosing major notes over minor ones, and so on. Likewise, people should be taught shading techniques, perspective, artstic anatomy and botany, design, compositional patterns, etc. I have even seen a book dedicated entirely to the play of light on water. Art is just as complicated as literature or music, yet this fact is ingnored by most people who just think practice makes perfect. Yes, the right kind of practice will lead to a msterpiece. Mindlessly scrubbing glazes on a canvas, copying photographs exactly, and literally putting trah together and calling it "art" does not to increase one's understanding of drawing and painting.

Errmm... Well maybe I don't think anything has "degraded in recent times", rather I think we've just evolved. We've gone from Beethoven to Miley Cyrus, Mark Twain to Suzanne Collins, Shakespeare to the Lion King on Broadway, etc and who says that the arts have degraded? We've changed, and change is greeted with a plethora of responses. Some people reject change, others accept it, and some people are caught in between.

Art has changed, and I think you're a little too biased towards artists such as da Vinci to understand contemporary artists such Picasso. I'm not saying one is better than the other, rather they are just as good. They may vary in skill level and mindset, but at the end of the day they are still artists.

(Picasso)
(da Vinci)

I don't think that one painting is better than the other. They're both just as good, but how you perceive them will determine their importance and meaning to you.
Okay, so I shouldn't have used the term degraded? Would you have preferred it if I asked the stardards for art have decreased? I am not saying much for literature,as I believe many modern authors are phenemenal and you can never have too many books. It does displease me, however, that John Cage 4'33" is considered quality art.

And, no, like I have said, Picasso was not a very good artist. Skill level is an important part to decide whether or not a painting is good or bad, not something you can just shrug off. Every brush stoke in that Leonardo was purposeful. His anatomical understanding shows in the grace of the figures. His soft sfumato effects with shading is a testament to his techniacal mastery. The light source constistently remains in the upper-right. Leonardo is conscious of everything the paint is doing. Nothing in the peice is superfluous. I have already described a few things that are wring with the Picasso.

This especially jumped out at me. You've fallen into the classic trap of assuming that your own artistic preferences objectively define and dictate what art is or isn't. It's pretentious, narrow-minded, and frankly unimaginative. Your analysis is ironic in a way, isn't it? The great sin of the Renaissance was assuming the ancient world contained all of the knowledge and inspiration humanity would ever need without any consideration that more was possible - and here you are basically saying art is dead past 1890 (unless it mimics the style of your worshiped heroes).

Contemporary art is about pushing the boundaries of expression. Artists aren't content with copying the style of the past masters forever - even the mannerists had to move past Michelangelo. Whether that does anything for you or not is not the artist's problem. Breaking the rules is part of advancing the medium. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't (e.g. I still have no idea how to extrapolate any meaning out of a Pollock piece). I spend a fair amount of time with art historians, who have dedicated the majority of their lives to emerging themselves neck-deep in technical interpretation and get more out of contemporary art than the traditional, "correct" variety.

Sorry, encountering Picasso's Guernica up close at the Reina Sophia (all three hundred square feet of it) was the single most amazing experience I've had with art. I also enjoyed seeing Kahlo's work up close at an exhibit a few years ago. And I've been through the halls of the Louvre (four times), the Musée d'Orsay the Prado, and the National Gallery of Art (among about two dozen other large art museums).

Edit: I forgot my conclusion. Interpretation of art is subjective (that's the nature of interpretation). You can judge contemporary art based on classical standards, sure. You may as well also call a herb-roasted sea bass **** because it doesn't taste like steak.
Actually, I do like some living artists, as well as ones from the previous century. Norman Rockwell kept the tradition alive for much of the last century. Currently, I have affection towards Living Masters like Juliette Aristides and Virgil Elliott. Great painting are still being produced, but it hardly gets the recognition it deserves. Art changes and I get that. Is it always going to be accepted? No. What I am saying is that contemporary art has lowered the standards of what good art is so much thatart barely can even be defined. Some say that it doesn't even have a definition anymore. Just be "creative" "express yourself" is all that people know about art.

I would say that you yourself have fallen into the classic trap that what is and isn't art is entirely up to the spectator, disregarding basic logic. The art historians you talk have been unfortunately misguided. There is nothing technical to the contemporary art of Kahlo, Rothko, or Picasso. You don't get Pollock because there is nothing there to get. You can't say that both Raphael and Cezanne are phenomenal painters when Cezanne did not even have 10% of the genius of the young prodigy. But since no one cares about the skill level of the artist anymore, I suppose the hard waork and dedication that a person puts into their craft means nothing anymore. I mean, it's not like most people stop drawing because they can't acheive convincing realism or that kids say, "Even I could have made that!" but the sophisticated critics just say, "Yes, but you didn't," or "You are just not smart enough to understand." The ability to paint masterpieces is a skill that is difficult to obtain. Contemporary art, however, rejects that skill is even a part of the pating process.
 

Ganondork

you touch her butt and she moves away
Joined
Nov 12, 2010
I don't know much about art, but I'll take a jab at some of this.

Firice da Vinci said:
Picasso never reached a splendid level of artistic understanding. He reached a certain level of dexterity and skill, but he quit learning early on in the process. The image that Sydney showed is a good example of his inadequacy. He constantly jumps the lightsource and changes the intensity of it on the figure. The head recieves a strong light from the upper-right, the hand is lit from the upper-left, and the shirt and pants are lit frontally. This also limits his ability to model form, making the body look relatively flat. It shows that he lacks the confidence to give the body depth, likely due to a lack of anatomical understanding. He is unsure as to how the ribcage, biceps, abdominals, and so on should appear underneath the cloth. Picasso seems to exhibits some anatomical understanding in the face, but even the worst medieval artists were aware of the forms he attended to.
Picasso, from my understanding, was not a realist. Why are you comparing him to a style of art that he doesn't even actively adhere to? He used a different kind of style, much like how in literature, we don't see 100% realism. In Franz Kafka's novel, Metamorphosis, did Gregor turn into a bug? Or was it just symbolic for his transformation as a misanthrope? If you answered, "The latter," then why how did he spend so many days working on his ability to crawl up the wall? Why did his sister scream when she saw him for the first time? The fact is that not everything needs to be realistic. People can add their own flair. It's art, man. There are no rules.

Moreover, as time went on his ability went with it. The longer Picasso dodged realism, the worse his paintings got.
That was the point.

Pablo Picasso said:
It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.
Firice da Vinci said:
Here is what Salvador Dali, a fine example of one a wordl-class artist, had to say about Picasso's Night Fishing At Antibes: "Pablo thanks! Your last ignominious paintings have killed modern art. But for you with the taste and moderation that are the very virtues of French prudence we should have had painting which was more and more ugly for at least one hundred years... you... have achieved the limits and the final consequences of the abominable in a mere few weeks... etc."
You know, Voltaire satirized attitudes like that in, Candide. He pretty much called them jerks with a stick so far up their *** that they can't even enjoy a form of art. The idea of art is to it. It's subjective. Why are you blindly following what this artist says about another artist's?

I can appreciate a pretty piece of art, sure, but I'll move on and eventually forget that I ever saw it. However, if a piece of art communicates a point that sticks with me, I tend to remember it.

A good book must have a well-constucted plot, dynamic characters, a fair use of imagery, etc.
Not true. Candide reads like a horrible soap opera, and yet it's praised universally as a phenomenal piece of satire. There are two-page chapters that consist of Bulgarians murdering Candide's family, raping his would-be wife, and burning his town to the ground. Do you know how much imagery there was? Almost none. Was Candide dynamic? Hell no. He was optimistic from the start, and he ended just as dumb and happy as he began. The plot flew across entire continents in a few hundred pages.

But it's still viewed as amazing literature.

And you can say the exact same thing for every other art form. You talk about the objectivity of music. How does that work? Music - as well as any other form of art, for that matter - is deeply personal. You're more inclined to enjoy something if it has meaning to you, not if it is "Objectively good." Radiohead's Kid A was proclaimed a betrayal to the band's fans, a really horrible album, etc. etc. for the first year or so. Afterwards, it was praised endlessly, and still is to this day. If it was objectively good, it would have been loved right away.

Actually, I do like some living artists, as well as ones from the previous century. Norman Rockwell kept the tradition alive for much of the last century.
I just found the root of your problem. You're clinging to realism just like the people of the Renaissance clung to classical-era art. Art should be able to progress, not be shackled to "Tradition." Let it grow, and see where it goes. We have not found the pinnacle of art, and even someone like me - who knows absolutely nothing about art - can see this.

What if I told you that modern art isn't meant to be taken at face value? What if I told you that not everything is skin-deep? There can be deep symbolism in modern art, it can tell a story within it, even if it isn't aesthetically pleasing to you. And, again, this applies to every single form of art. If you look at things skin-deep, you're never going to appreciate the beautiful things in art.

The art historians you talk have been unfortunately misguided.
How are you going to say this? I don't understand how. You have not studied art at a university level. You aren't even out of high school. These art historians have been studying these things for years, had access to resources that you and I will never see unless you major in art history like they are. I'm going to be blunt. You're an armchair art enthusiast, nothing more. You hold no authority over people who have taken years of their lives to study these topics heavily in-depth in ways that you haven't even considered yet. That's just reality.
 

Curmudgeon

default setting: sarcastic prick
Joined
Dec 17, 2012
Gender
grumpy
Paintings, drawings, sculpture, and the like have an objective side to them that can be judged. Saying that art is completely subjective is incorrect. A good book must have a well-constucted plot, dynamic characters, a fair use of imagery, etc. There are classes devoted entirely to music theory, in which one learns the science behind writing compositions, choosing major notes over minor ones, and so on. Likewise, people should be taught shading techniques, perspective, artstic anatomy and botany, design, compositional patterns, etc. I have even seen a book dedicated entirely to the play of light on water. Art is just as complicated as literature or music, yet this fact is ingnored by most people who just think practice makes perfect. Yes, the right kind of practice will lead to a msterpiece. Mindlessly scrubbing glazes on a canvas, copying photographs exactly, and literally putting trah together and calling it "art" does not to increase one's understanding of drawing and painting.
National language academies try very hard to set strict parameters on language like you're trying to do with art. Guess what happens? People no longer have use for the rules and change them when they are no longer useful. Was prose in vulgar Spanish, French, Italian, etc as beautiful as Virgil or Cicero? No. But they eventually evolved into something beautiful in their own regard that holds up against anything the Romans produced. With art, if what remains isn't "art" any more, as you choose to define, so be it. It wouldn't be the the first thing humanity lost and only mourned by a closet-full of academics. I'm not arguing against any of the technical aspects (or apparent complete lack thereof) of modern art. It's only been around for less than a hundred years. Should I judge all classical art based on what was produced in the 13th and 14th century?

Art changes and I get that.
You don't. Change, historically, is under no obligation to make sense or be "better" than what it replaced. Do I think that Velasquez is superior in virtually every way to Picasso? Yes. Did I get more out of Guernica than Las Meninas? Yes.

I would say that you yourself have fallen into the classic trap that what is and isn't art is entirely up to the spectator, disregarding basic logic.
Patently false. What is created by the artist is art, regardless of the technical skill involved. Whether or not it fits into your little box, on the other hand, is another matter.

The art historians you talk have been unfortunately misguided.
I'm going to give you a second to re-read that statement and think about the assertion made. I don't believe that you're ignorant enough to contend that you think you have even the slightest modicum of expertise to make that claim. Some of these people have been in the business perhaps before your parents were born. I've heard them drone on about lighting and brush strokes and blah blahditty blah. They know their ****. Probably better than you could ever hope. And what do they have hanging in their homes? Pollock. If you think that invalidates a lifetime of learning, publications, and decades of carefully studying tens of thousands of works, I don't know what to tell you.

There is nothing technical to the contemporary art of Kahlo, Rothko, or Picasso. You don't get Pollock because there is nothing there to get. You can't say that both Raphael and Cezanne are phenomenal painters when Cezanne did not even have 10% of the genius of the young prodigy. But since no one cares about the skill level of the artist anymore, I suppose the hard waork and dedication that a person puts into their craft means nothing anymore. I mean, it's not like most people stop drawing because they can't acheive convincing realism or that kids say, "Even I could have made that!" but the sophisticated critics just say, "Yes, but you didn't," or "You are just not smart enough to understand." The ability to paint masterpieces is a skill that is difficult to obtain. Contemporary art, however, rejects that skill is even a part of the pating process.
All I hear in this paragraph is whining that popular opinion doesn't have good taste. When has it ever? (spoilers: never). In the end, I agree with your technical assessments. But I get more out of "bad" art like Picasso and Kahlo, though. Robot-like technical skill makes fantastic water, but the image of a cubist interpretation of a woman holding her dead baby, murdered by German bombs relates far more about the human experience than photo-realism ever could. To me. Which is what's great about art, isn't it?

I can look at something created with perfect technical precision, but if it doesn't speak to me on some level, I don't care. That's no slight to the artist, but frankly I want to consume music, literature, art, etc that makes me feel things. So in the end, the audience matters a great deal, doesn't it? That audience dictates taste and norms. If you don't like the results, that's too damn bad. Write a book chastising people's lack of technical knowledge and understanding. I'm sure it will be a best-seller.
 
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Sydney

The Good Samaritan
Joined
Mar 20, 2012
Location
Canberra, Australia
Picasso never reached a splendid level of artistic understanding.
Define a "splended level of artistic understanding."

Firice said:
The image that Sydney showed is a good example of his inadequacy. He constantly jumps the lightsource and changes the intensity of it on the figure. The head recieves a strong light from the upper-right, the hand is lit from the upper-left, and the shirt and pants are lit frontally. This also limits his ability to model form, making the body look relatively flat. It shows that he lacks the confidence to give the body depth, likely due to a lack of anatomical understanding. He is unsure as to how the ribcage, biceps, abdominals, and so on should appear underneath the cloth. Picasso seems to exhibits some anatomical understanding in the face, but even the worst medieval artists were aware of the forms he attended to.
I hardly understand anatomy, and I'm lucky if I get a light source right from time-to-time. Does that make me any less of an artist?

Firice said:
Moreover, as time went on his ability went with it. The longer Picasso dodged realism, the worse his paintings got. His only choice was the reduce himself in complete abstraction if he wanted to continue his career and that's just what he did.
So if you don't paint/draw/sculpt in a realistic style, you're not an artist? Abstract art is not art?

Firice said:
There are many requirements that make art good or bad. On the subject of paintings, the artist must balance out line with mass, choose appropriate colors, get the perspective to look convincing, have a technical understanding of the medium they are working with, and so on. Art is not just art. Art has science behind it, as well as philosophies that govern it. The painter must be aware of everything that he/she is doing. In the greatest of masterpieces, nothing is accidental. Every single brushstroke has value behind it. You need to know everything that you are doing at all times. Nothing is accidental. It is a requirement that the artist know these things to become great.
You're overthinking the artistic process. I'm not going to make all these calculations and find the perfect angle of light and blahblahblah, just so I can make a "masterpiece". Hell, even if I got all the "science" right I still might not make something adequate by your -- or anyone else's standards. Art is something that does not have rules to follow, and it is only limited to your imagination.

Firice said:
Likewise, people should be taught shading techniques, perspective, artstic anatomy and botany, design, compositional patterns, etc.
Pardon my language, but people don't need to be taught **** in order to make art. All of this improves your skills and gives you a wider range of abilities, but not knowing any of these doesn't make anyone any less of an artist.

Firice said:
Just be "creative" "express yourself" is all that people know about art.
That's all they need to know.
 

Musicfan

the shadow mage
Joined
Mar 6, 2011
Location
insanity
So Alonzo Clemons is not an artist?

He can sculpt photorealistic models out of clay. However he never went to an art school. All he did was hit his head as a child.
 

Firice da Vinci

Distinct lack of Leonardo
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
Location
Renaissance Italy
Dang, I did not expect an art debate to get such...invigorated responses. There is not much else for me to say on the subject. I can truly do little else to defend my beliefs. Between the replies and the Yeah!'s in this thread, I have no supporters whit my stance. I think this is a matter of argumentum ad populum and shall continue the advocacy of Realism whether or not the populace sides with me. Still, I want to answer musicfan's question, as it appears that not many people understood what I meant by art education and I feel the need to describe it further.

So Alonzo Clemons is not an artist?

He can sculpt photorealistic models out of clay. However he never went to an art school. All he did was hit his head as a child.
I'm not saying that an artist needs to be taught how to do wha they do, but the vast majority are going to need instruction, be it from books or an actual school. Very few people are going to inherently know how to make beautiful sculptures of animals from a glance. I would say that Clemons is an artist, but he is an outlier nonetheless. From the records we have, all the Great Masters were taught what they needed to know from a workshop or guild. The only possible exception I can think of is Vermeer, as we have no documents relating to his training. Plus, it was only in recent-ish times (I want to say soon in the late 1800's to the early 1900's) that literary rates increased enough so that kids who wanted to learn how to draw, paint, or sculpt could do so from a book. Do I think any less of Thomas Edison because he didn't recieve a "proper" education? Not at all. Is Albert Einstein an amatuer scientist becuase he performed terribly at college? Of course not.

The thing is, most people do not have the immediate desire to let their passion fully possess them like Mozart. Many artsists need a place to start. This is why, even though degrees don't mean much in the art world, many people go to animation schools and the like. Most techniques, however, are available through books, and a fair amount are laying around for free in virtual archives like Open Library and Project Gutenburg. I myself read these books to study and grow, but I still want to go to an atelier after I graduate to study from a Master. Clemons, one of the rarest of the rare, just doesn't need that.

Bringing everything back to the overall topic, many contemporary artists stop learning at some point or another. I believe it was Cezanne who quit studying under a Great Master because he didn't even want to learn how to hold a pencil (yes, there are several suggested grips to hold the pencil or brush). He did manage to pick a few things up. For example, he knew how to mentally organize a composition onto a canvas so that some ladies legs end up being shrunk to fit on the canvas and maybe some color theory. Other techniques were either poorly understood or a complete mystery. Cezanne's perspective is quite poor; not necessarily because he wanted it to look awkward, but because he had no clue that he was doing or how to fix it. I outlined a similar process with Picasso in my last post. The thing with the early modernists is that they learned quite a few of the basics, but never mastered them and, over time, even that knowledge deteriorated from lack of use.

This idea eventually evolved to not learning anything at all. Nowadays you can go the college for an art major and end up doing nothing but mindlessly splattering paint over a wall from day one. That's not expressing yourself. That's not avant-garde. Even children eventually try to achieve realism. It is because they can't that most kids quit drawing near their puberty. Their minds want one thing and their hand can't keep up. There is, to some degree, a natural human response to want to convincingly and beautifully portray the world on paper. Their inabilty often leads them to settle for stick figures or, as modern art suggests, dribble paint over a canvas.

Again, I would strongly suggest reading the ARC Philosophy page, especially the FAQ page. Mr. Ross does a much better job of explaining the matter than I can with my current knowlege. I know I sound like some deluded radical that spits on culture, life, and art, but that's not true at all. I honestly believe that art is strongly tied to life and culture, as well as an objective science that can be used in the critique of art. Yes, art is a method of expression, but so are the ways you walk, talk, sleep, and eat. I often hear that the way you do something doesn't matter as long as you get the job done. Well Modernism doesn't even offer the application. Realism is the way to start. Artists end with animation, impressionism, illustration, surrealism, and even idealism. Contemporary art does nothing whatsoever to tell its followers where to start. Unless you are some prodigy like Clemons, there is no replacement for a good teacher, whether the instruction comes from a book, video, or a live person. And remember, no one ever stops learning. Even Living Masters often go to other workshops and pick up a few techniques from their fellow painters and sculptors.
 

misskitten

Hello Sweetie!
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Location
Norway
To each their own. I may not like or understand the art, but if some do, then good for them. Since it's supposed to be about our experience when we view/observe the artwork, I object to the idea of objectively defining what is art and what isn't. Also, I like the concept of rebels, those who go against the defined perimeters and open the world up for more interpretstions, even if I don't personally enjoy what comes from it. Also, art is like a debate. Each new movement is usually responding to the last, objecting to it, or tweaking it, presenting new ideas and mindsets. And it helps develop us, our way of thinking, our way of observing. Without one movement we may not have gotten what came next, maybe we had become stuck in one form...
 

Firice da Vinci

Distinct lack of Leonardo
Joined
Jun 15, 2010
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To each their own. I may not like or understand the art, but if some do, then good for them. Since it's supposed to be about our experience when we view/observe the artwork, I object to the idea of objectively defining what is art and what isn't. Also, I like the concept of rebels, those who go against the defined perimeters and open the world up for more interpretstions, even if I don't personally enjoy what comes from it. Also, art is like a debate. Each new movement is usually responding to the last, objecting to it, or tweaking it, presenting new ideas and mindsets. And it helps develop us, our way of thinking, our way of observing. Without one movement we may not have gotten what came next, maybe we had become stuck in one form...
See, my problem isn't with the production of Modern art - people can do whatever they want with their time - but the fact that it is regarded on the same levels as the Old Masters. Frida Kahlo, Cezanne, and Picasso were all painters who started off with high expectations and started of with a decent art education. This goes especially for especially for Cezanne, whose work constantly shows that he wants to improve, but can't get past that basic level. Like I said earlier, he stopped learning and got away with it. That, to me, doesn't make any sense. There are people you spent a lot of money and time trying to learn how to paint, get the status of a Master, then they can't sell anything because artists who only knew 5-10% of the stuff they did.

It is a wonderful gift to receive a drawing from a child. I don't think myself a very good draftsman, but I do occasionally give my work away. At the level I am at, however, making a career selling mediocre would be, I feel, insulting all of the arts. No one hires a dancer that has poor coordination and no sense of rhythm. That does not mean they shouldn't dance or learn how to. A writer that can't generate a logical thesis has no place getting on the NY Time Bestsellers list. Likewise, it makes no sense for an artist with only the basics - or nothing at all - under their belt to get their paintings hung up in a museum and revered.

And I don't understand why everyone is saying art is entirely subjective. One can find out with the simple use of senses whether or not they can play the piano as good as Mozart. One cannot say that Mozart is superior to Beethoven without subjectivity. They had different styles which can be used to identify their pieces. It is not my place to say that Leonardo is a better painter than Michelangelo, Degas, or Rembrandt. I can say with great pride that he is my favorite painter and there is nothing wrong if someone prefers another artist. But I can see that Kahlo was not as competent as any of the Old or Living Masters. She handles the brush in a way that, while not atrocious, does show that she is not as confident as other painters.

The problem is that most people don't know or want to define what art is. Because of this, coming to terms on the matter is quite difficult. Yes, art is expression. Yes, it is personal. You need to know the parts of a sentence before you can write a good book. You need to know the difference between major and minor notes before you can compose a masterpiece. But arts like drawing, painting, and sculpture are suffering from the idea that art is made "for art's sake." I'm not against people that sit at home and draw for fun. I'm not against the production of abstract or pop art. I'm just all for fine art and art education, but Modernists concepts forget the part on education, allowing people who only know Euclidean geometry and how to put paint on canvas to make millions when they can't even explain anything about art.

I'm also sorry if I have offended anyone. I see that I came off a bit too aggressive in the OP when I should have stayed calm like I believe I am now. I know I can't change anyone's opinions, but at least I can do something about the way I express my own. This is just a really important topic to me and I got carried away. No one blatantly accused me of anything negative, but I'm getting the wrong vibes from my earlier tone.
 
I just want to leave you with a quote:

Art is not the possession of the few who are recognized writers, painters, musicians; it is the authentic expression of any and all individuality. Those who have the gift of creative expression in unusually large measure disclose the meaning of the individuality of others to those others. In participating in the work of art, they become artists in their activity. They learn to know and honor individuality in whatever form it appears. The fountains of creative activity are discovered and released. The free individuality which is the source of art is also the final source of creative development in time.

- John Dewey
Art is a personal experience. It is really that simple. To try to shoehorn art into a small and narrow definition, to reduce it to mere technical skill, is to deny the very essence of being human.
 
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