What is your definition of art?

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

What is your definition of art?

Postby c0q_m1x3r » Sun May 30, 2004 3:46 pm

And what qualifies one as an artist? Here is an excerpt from a piece I wrote detailing my thoughts on the subject. I would like to see how others view the broad topic of art.

Most people in this country have no concept of art. Sure, lots of people can notice every tiny detail in a painting or memorize every lyric in a song, but they are still completely lost as far as the meaning goes.

That is because art is intangible emotion channeled through an intermediary and translated into something others can experience. The end result depends upon the skill of the artist to a certain degree, but the most important variable in the equation is the authenticity of the feeling behind it.

You can bitch and moan and grunt and groan and make the message as clear as fucking crystal, and quite easily fool the more disingenuous and idiotic of us, but you can’t fool your subconscious. That means you can’t fool your work, and that means you can’t fool people who have experienced the pain or love or hatred you are trying to fake.

Suffering is the clear, viscous jelly that all emotions either stem from or lead to. Suffering is also the underlying medium through which art is created and understood. One of the many problems plaguing this country at this point in time is that very few of the people have to suffer, and those who bear the burden do so with a sense of detachment.
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Postby Chai Guy » Sun May 30, 2004 3:58 pm

I was at a museum once where an artist had dumped a pile of individually wrapped hard candy into a pile on the floor, I'm talking like maybe 1/2 a ton of candy here. There was a small sign that asked to visitors to "Please take one". Anway, there was a guy there that was just absolutely pissed off that he paid money to see this. He was complaining that it wasn't art and that it was bullshit, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, his friend asked him " Did this piece make you think or feel something?" To which the irrate guy responded "Yeah, it makes me think this is BULLSHIT!" , so his friend then says, "Well, OK then it's art, it made you think or feel something, it illicited a reaction in you, it qualifies".
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Postby c0q_m1x3r » Sun May 30, 2004 4:24 pm

Was it the intention of the artist to irritate people, or was he just being lazy? Any form of human expression will more than likely trigger thought or feeling in another person, but isn't the mark of a true artist the ability to get a specific reaction or effect out of his patrons?

For example, I fucking hate teeny-bopper, nu-punk bullshit. I become incensed if I have to listen to the princess of poseurs, Avril Lavigne. Does her ability to anger listeners when her intention is the opposite make her an artist? Methinks not.
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Postby Zulegoona » Sun May 30, 2004 6:52 pm

No that's Egomaniacal dilution, all you can do is put something out there, you can be more or less successful at communicating some simple message, if you have a small homogenous target group you are trying to communicate with. Much better art is made by those who ignore or disregard anyone out side of the creative process. When the outcome is successful it sparks discussion even debate.

It would seem Avril Lavigne has been successful or at least those who have created her have been.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun May 30, 2004 8:49 pm

Chai Guy wrote: "Yeah, it makes me think this is BULLSHIT!" , so his friend then says, "Well, OK then it's art, it made you think or feel something, it illicited a reaction in you, it qualifies".


Along that logic, it was art when they crashed planes into WTC and when they cut Nick Berg's head off.

Art is like porno, hard to define yet you know it when you see it, but that friend's definition isn't working for me.
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Postby Bob » Sun May 30, 2004 8:56 pm

If suffering were art, we'd let you set yourselves on fire.

Do it somewhere else, please.
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Postby c0q_m1x3r » Sun May 30, 2004 9:04 pm

Bob wrote:If suffering were art, we'd let you set yourselves on fire.


You completely misconstrued what I tried to say. Suffering, in and of itself, is not art. However, most great art stems from the artist's suffering. I'm not sure about you, but I know that all of my favorite artists happened to be tortured individuals who used their artistic prowess to combat and try to understand their pain.
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Postby Bob » Sun May 30, 2004 9:25 pm

Bullshit.

You place value on art. You say suffering is not art, implying non-suffering is art. Art, in any case, has no value, despite what you might be led to believe at Burning Man. Art will destroy you.
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Postby Rob the Wop » Sun May 30, 2004 9:30 pm

c0q_m1x3r wrote:However, most great art stems from the artist's suffering.


BZZZZZZZTTTT. Sorry, that was my big ol' logic buzzer.
How you define art will validate or invalidate that statement.
You will have to define 'great' art as opposed to other art. Usually it's personal taste.
Da Vinci and Michellangello lived pretty good lives, does their art suck?
I hate blanket statements like that.

My personal definition:
Art is the result when a person uses a physical medium to create a unique object whose primary purpose is not funtional.

Hence a musician uses an instrument, a composer uses songsheets, painter uses paint, potter uses clay, etc. Art can be on an functional object, or an art object can be functional, but the primary purpose of the modifications must be for non-functional means. An art car is functional, but the art enveloping it is not for transportation purposes. That's why there is such a debate on art. From an engineering standpoint- it's pointless.

For the general- all purpose defination that will fit anyone and everyone.
Art is 'tra' spelled backwards.

That will be all.
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Postby Bob » Sun May 30, 2004 9:35 pm

Humanity and mortality bound our definitions of suffering.

Does a star suffer, to create its own particular art?

Does a candiru, as it migrates up the urethra to create its own particular art?
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Postby Lilly Flower » Sun May 30, 2004 11:27 pm

My definition of Art?


Burningman. :lol:
You are watching too much TV.
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Postby CAPSLOCK » Mon May 31, 2004 4:54 am

Art is life, or is Life art?
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Postby unjonharley » Mon May 31, 2004 9:42 pm

You guys make my head hurt.
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Postby Bob » Mon May 31, 2004 11:44 pm

It's an art.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Jun 01, 2004 5:54 am

I just got back from Art's house.
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Postby VerbenaMaya » Tue Jun 01, 2004 6:49 am

imho, art is a product of human creativity, most often a personal expression of some life experience or commentary on the human condition, at times a mere creative product of boredom, communication etc. Sometimes we measure art either by its effects, what we think or feel in response, and/or what we see as the amount of creativity someone put into a particular work. The person who sees the pile of candy as bullshit doesnt think much creativity when into the piece. In a museum setting, I would be amused but maybe not inspired. A ton of candy in the middle of the local 420 neighborhood with a wonderland style Eat Me sign and several dozen stoners rifling through the flavors, joyously stuffing their pockets, and nervously looking around wondering where the hell it all came from -now that would impress me.
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Postby stuart » Tue Jun 01, 2004 11:19 am

i gotta say, this one is still the best I ever heard

the skillful execution of a creative idea in order to communicate
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Postby unjonharley » Tue Jun 01, 2004 11:26 am

stuart wrote:i gotta say, this one is still the best I ever heard

the skillful "execution" of a creative idea in order to communicate


/
Now your talking. I get to kill something. But how is it going to communicate with after I "do" it
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jun 01, 2004 12:26 pm

Rob the Wop wrote:My personal definition:
Art is the result when a person uses a physical medium to create a unique object whose primary purpose is not funtional.
.
Ouch--so a patchwork quilt or a beautiful bowl does not qualify? Nor an "elegant" mathematical proof?

And if you want a great artist who didn't seem to suffer, my favorite is Caldwell.
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Postby Isotopia » Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:01 pm

Ouch--so a patchwork quilt or a beautiful bowl does not qualify? Nor an "elegant" mathematical proof?


I'd argue that the second would in no way constitute art. Although elegant implies (or suggests) a beauty of simplicity and function and something which can - once understodd- be duplicated. Art is not that way. A forgery of a blue period Picasso may be beautiful but a forgery just the same and nothing more than an improvisation of something original that's already been created.
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Postby Rob the Wop » Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:29 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
Rob the Wop wrote:My personal definition:
Art is the result when a person uses a physical medium to create a unique object whose primary purpose is not funtional.
.
Ouch--so a patchwork quilt or a beautiful bowl does not qualify? Nor an "elegant" mathematical proof?

And if you want a great artist who didn't seem to suffer, my favorite is Caldwell.


Read the post further. If the quilt or bowl is built primarily for warmth or holding food, different colors or patterns are not functional requirements, are they? An "elegant" mathematical proof never written down is simply a thought.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jun 01, 2004 2:49 pm

I had read your entire post, Rob the Wop; I've just long had a real problem with the split between "art" and "craft." I've seen scientific illustrations that I would classify as art, no problem. Heck, the wild california display of the giant microbe in the California Academy of Sciences, among other museum displays, might make it. My mother might nominate the graphic representation of 6 or 7 different factors concerning the Grand Armee on the march too and from Moscow. Your definition pretty much illiminates all archtecture as well--even war memorials and David Best's Temples might not make it. And how do you account for something taken from an ancient temple--which had a religious function at the time it was made, and now resides in an art musuem. (Not that I need a curator to define art for me, either.) And again, I've seen photos of some commercial neon. . . And some of those eccentric buildings. . .
I'm not so certain that I'd include mathematical proof by the way, but it does seem to come from a simelar human mental space--just a different sort of talent. Any definition of art I come up with would have much fuzzier boundaries.
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Postby stuart » Tue Jun 01, 2004 2:58 pm

not to pat myself on the back, but I still think all of the various examples you guys have thrown around can all run through the definition I presented with relative ease. Are all pathwork quilts art? Certainly not. Is the AIDS quilt art? Absolutely. Is a pretty bowl art? Not necessarily. Is a 1 of a kind hand blown crystal bowl with caning art? Surely. Is the newly opened Disney Hall art? Yes. Is my office building? Hell no!
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Postby stuart » Tue Jun 01, 2004 3:00 pm

graphic representation of 6 or 7 different factors concerning the Grand Armee on the march too and from Moscow


if we are thinking of the same piece, then it is most definately art.
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Postby nipples » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:24 pm

Okay, take Vincent Van Gogh.

All the while he painted, he sold just two of two thousand.

It seems then that the criteria of worth in art as judged by others is fickle.

He was possibly trying to communicate all those years? I do not know. I am a simple wood cutter.
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Postby nipples » Tue Jun 01, 2004 4:30 pm

It meant something to him is what I'm trying to say.

Would he not have thought many times of retiring?
Self doubt, etc,... yet still he obviously kept going.

What a freaking hack! Is what he must have felt.

Yet still he persevered.

And in his time he was a hack.

Though always he was great.

Just as ALL of you are GREAT.

Though woefully recommpensed.

You sod.

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Another case in point

Postby robbidobbs » Thu Jun 03, 2004 2:12 pm

Let us not forget Mozart.

But he's still dead.

<sigh>
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Postby stuart » Thu Jun 03, 2004 2:19 pm

don't believe the hype in Amadeus

Mozart rocked out, was well loved, and made a pile of cash. Poor management was his error.

Bach on the other hand...


The definition I propose has nothing to do with whether or not the collective applies any worth to your endeavor.
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Postby Apollonaris Zeus » Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:48 pm

art simply is.

it has no concise definition.

it can have a formula or not.

It appeals on many cognitive levels.

A fart can be art.

But spending more for it seems to make it more art then not!

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Mozart as a Short-duration personal savior

Postby robbidobbs » Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:50 pm

> don't believe the hype in Amadeus
Don't need top. His pioneering music carries itself.

>Mozart rocked out, was well loved, and made a pile of cash. Poor >management was his error.
Pile of cash. He had to constantly solicit his sponsor for rent money.

Bach on the other hand...
Stidgy IMO.


The definition I propose has nothing to do with whether or not the collective applies any worth to your endeavor.
No argument there.


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