Sunday, November 16, 2008

When is Art Art?

I am not in HL art, though I know many of you are. I have always struggled with the idea of when art is a masterpiece, and when it just becomes a random splattering of paint on a canvas. I'm sure most of us have had those moments when we looked at a picture and thought, "Wow, I think I did something similar to this in first grade." My question is, at what point do these pieces cease to be meaningful (or are they always meaningful?), and on a different note, what makes them so valuable?
Please, I'm curious to hear the different opinions on this matter, but to get the conversation going, I'll start with my own.
I'm not an artist, as I have previously mentioned. So, I think, it is not such a surprise that I don't consider many forms of splatter paint to be art. If it is something that anyone could do, then how does it really have any meaning? Similarly, pieces of art that are purposely formatted after certain artists or styles also lacks individuality, in my eyes. Without being a new idea, I don't see how art (and therefore the universal meaning it conveys) could progress.
- Lauren P.


Nels said...

I personally believe that a mere picture is transformed into art when there is meaning behind it. It is like a book. The Bernstein Bears are not masterpieces but works like The Last of the Mohicans can be considered such. I think the problem with the paintings that are radom colors is that the uninitiated don't really know what the idea behind the painting is. I am terrible at art and I fall into the category of the uninitiated. I don't get these abstract drawings because I don't understand the idea behind them. I believe that the idea behind the painting is what separates it from a weird picture.

I also think this arguement disclaims any attempt to argue that porn is art, like somebody did earlier this year. While it was entertaining to some, I don't believe that porn is art. There is no deep meaning to it. If you honestly start arguing that their is you need to sort some problems out.

justina said...

Art is considered a masterpiece when it means something to the viewer, in my opinion. We are taught in HL art that being a good artist is being able to make the viewer feel what you want them to--whether this is an emotion or something else is up to the artist. If you succeed, and people are deeply moved by it (usually in a positive way) they consider it a masterpiece. Perversely, if you're already famous, and you create a piece you call a masterpiece, it seems that the public is more than happy to accept it (and some interesting pieces have ended up being well-known that way...somehow). So in the end, what makes art art is what you get out of it. Either that, or its just pretty :)

Sarah Dero. said...

I agree with Justina, you have to come away with something from it. It's all fine and dandy when you put a lot of meaning behind something, but that becomes completely pointless when it doesn't get communicated to the viewer.
However, I dislike how every time someone wants to talk about pointless art, they talk about splattering paint on canvas. True, there is some pretty pointless splatter art out there, but some of it is deeply meaningful. Jackson Pollock, for example, used sticks and rhythmic movement to drip paint onto canvases he placed on the floor. His point was to completely remove any evidence of "the artist's hand" while conveying the emotions connected with raw energy. Interpretations vary from viewer to viewer, but I see it as taking away all our preconceptions and cliches, and getting to the nitty gritty of existance. I see it as a comment on the conventions and techniques of art, and I admire those who can do it sucessfully, because it IS hard. The people who use splatter as an excuse for pointlessness give the whole movement a bad reputation.

Lauren P said...

I didnt mean to be rude by saying that splatterpaint is bad art, but in my eyes, I dont see any meaning behind it. I have to relate to a piece of art for it to be meaningful to me, and when I look at splatterpaint (not to say that there isnt other bad art out there, because there is,)all i am able to see is random lines. Your Jackson Pollock is a good example, but if I saw his art, and didnt know the artist, then all the meaning behind it would be lost on me.

Sarah Dero. said...

I get what you're saying, and I know you weren't being rude :) Your point about not being able to tell the difference between someone who puts actual meaning into it and a poser is a good one. You'd have to know the historical context surrounding the piece or the artists to really know. In art, the most effective means to do that is through an artist's statement. However, some would argue that having to explain what you meant takes away from the impact of the piece. Do you think that's true?

Lauren P said...

It looks like it's been about three months since I've posted, which is funny, since I've changed my view on the issue. Before, when I said "bad art" I basically thought that in my opinion, when a piece is bad art, it ceases to be art. I now think that art remains art indefinatly, which has nothing to do if it is good or bad; it just contains meaning to an individual. When a person says that they like the art, or can relate to it, it becomes "good" art, in their eyes. And when they can't see meaning behind a piece, (like me with splatter paint,)their opinion is that it is "bad." I now believe that all art is classified this way, by how people are able to relate to it, or what they make of it as an individual. So in my opinion, all art is art; it just doesnt necesarilly contain the same message for each person.