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  #1  
Old July 21st, 2009, 02:24 AM
Will Thompson Will Thompson is offline
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Default The hypocrisy of "Fine Art Photography"!

Simply stated "Fine Art Photography" dose not exist in the natural world! "Fine Art Photography" is nothing more than a marketing slogan similar to new and improved. Adding the word "Fine" to "Art Photography" will not make it art nor will taking it away make it any less art. The label "Fine Art Photography" is simply used as a reason to ask a higher selling price for a photograph. Epson is a prime example of this with there "Fine Art Papers" being just another excuse to charge more when you can buy other manufactures papers for less that have just as long of an archival life but are called museum papers or archival papers. Other manufactures as well as photographers have also jumped onto this bandwagon. Some photographers have even gone as far as to call themselves a "Fine Art Photographer" and Then even go on to say you have to print on the most expensive printers, papers and inks to be a "Fine Art Photographer"! Wow I did not know that how you printed a photograph changed the type of photographer you were???? I guess that saying that you are selling an "Archival Print" just loses that sales (cash register) cha ching that "Fine Art Photography" has!

Your truthful comments are welcome.
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  #2  
Old July 21st, 2009, 04:13 AM
Michael Fontana Michael Fontana is offline
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Will

the future will be bright and called Premium Fine Art .....

- sorry, I couldn't resist ;-)
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  #3  
Old July 21st, 2009, 08:46 AM
Daniel Buck Daniel Buck is offline
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"fine art", an excuse to shoot nude women without being labeled as pornography :-D (kidding, somewhat)
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  #4  
Old July 21st, 2009, 09:04 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Will,

I can agree with you that often, "fine", like the word, "Green", as an added descriptor of a commercial project is often a marketing hype and scam. However, Art Photographer might mean glamor, LOL!

Asher
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  #5  
Old July 21st, 2009, 10:08 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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"No art photography, please - I'm not that kind of a girl."
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  #6  
Old July 21st, 2009, 12:07 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Fine Art Photography is at least Photography made with artistic intent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Will,

I can agree with you that often, "fine", like the word, "Green", as an added descriptor of a commercial project is often a marketing hype and scam. However, Art Photographer might mean glamor, LOL!

Asher
Will,

I wanted to check out if my supposition that "Art Photography" referred to so called "Glamor Photography" and it appears I'm not alone in thinking this way. Furthermore, snickering at the term Fine Art Photography" ignores the accepted meaning in art circles, including scholars of art. There are no universally-accepted definitions of the related terms "art photography," "artistic photography," and "fine art photography," as exemplified by definitions found in reference books, in scholarly articles, and on the Web.

Definitions in reference books

Among the definitions that can be found in reference books are:
  • "Art photography": "Euphemism for nude photography"[1].

  • "Art photography": "photography that is done as a fine art -- that is, done to express the artist's perceptions and emotions and to share them with others"[2].

  • "Art photography": a definition "is elusive," but "when photographers refer to it, they have in mind the photographs seen in magazines such as American Photo, Popular Photography, and Print, and in salons and exhibitions. Art (or artful) photography is salable."[3].

  • "Artistic photography": "A frequently used but somewhat vague term. The idea underlying it is that the producer of a given picture has aimed at something more than a merely realistic rendering of the subject, and has attempted to convey a personal impression"[4].

  • "Fine art photography": "a picture that is produced for sale or display rather than one that is produced in response to a commercial commission"[5].

  • "Fine art photography": "the production of images to fulfill the creative vision of a photographer. ... Synonymous with art photography"[6].

  • "Fine art photography": also called "decor photography," "photo decor," or "wall decor," this "involves selling large photos... that can be used as wall art"[3].


Definitions in scholarly articles


Among the definitions that can be found in scholarly articles are:
  • Two studies by Christopherson in 1974 defined "fine art photographers" as "those persons who create and distribute photographs specifically as 'art.'"[7][8]

  • A 1986 ethnographic and historical study by Schwartz did not directly define "fine art photography" but did compare it with "camera club photography"[9]. It found that fine art photography "is tied to other media" such as painting; "responds to its own history and traditions" (as opposed to "aspir[ing] to the same achievements made by their predecessors"); "has its own vocabulary"; "conveys ideas" (e.g., "concern with form supersedes concern with subject matter"); "is innovative"; "is personal"; "is a lifestyle"; and "participates in the world of commerce."[9]


Definitions on the Web


Among the definitions that can be found on the Web are:
  • The Library of Congress authorities use "art photography" as "photography of art," and "artistic photography" (i.e., "Photography, artistic") as "photography as a fine art, including aesthetic theory"[10].

  • The Art & Architecture Thesaurus states that "fine art photography" (preferred term) or "art photography" or "artistic photography" is "the movement in England and the United States, from around 1890 into the early 20th century, which promoted various aesthetic approaches. Historically, has sometimes been applied to any photography whose intention is aesthetic, as distinguished from scientific, commercial, or journalistic; for this meaning, use 'photography'"[11].
  • Definitions of "fine art photography" on photographers' static Web pages vary from "the subset of fine art that is created with a camera"[12] to "limited-reproduction photography, using materials and techniques that will outlive the artist"[13].


Discussions of "fine art photography" in Usenet newsgroups[14][15], Internet forums[16][17], and blogs[18][19] have not come to a consensus regarding the definition of the term. Source, formatted for ease of reading.


So just relax my friends. There's no reason why photography made for art to be hopefully purchased and chosen for galleries, museums and collectors should not be called Fine Art!

A label "photographer", alone, means available for hire for anything perhaps. We are not that!

Asher
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  #7  
Old July 21st, 2009, 12:50 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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Originally Posted by Will Thompson View Post
...

Your truthful comments are welcome.
Your complaint reads like an angry-young-man rant. What are you really griping about? Paper costs? Professional frustrations?
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  #8  
Old July 21st, 2009, 02:05 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Ok, I'll go for that.

My goal, then, is to shoot Fine Crap Photography. I do Crap Photography quite well, too.
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  #9  
Old July 21st, 2009, 06:09 PM
Will Thompson Will Thompson is offline
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I stand by what I have said "Fine Art Photography" is nothing more than a marketing slogan!

The day 10 or more major universities have a degree in "Fine Art Photography" is the day it is more than a marketing slogan!
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Old July 21st, 2009, 06:39 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Will, I guess I"m like Ken. I'm missing the point. Could you please elaborate? Are you saying photography cannot be art? Are you saying that nothing is "fine art?"
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  #11  
Old July 21st, 2009, 07:29 PM
Will Thompson Will Thompson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
Will, I guess I"m like Ken. I'm missing the point. Could you please elaborate? Are you saying photography cannot be art? Are you saying that nothing is "fine art?"
Ok Rachel, Here goes. If you do photography and consider your photographs to be art then they are regardless of what others might say or think no-matter what you call them.

There is no established definition of "Fine Art Photography" beyond it being an advertising slogan!
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  #12  
Old July 21st, 2009, 08:45 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Fine Art Photography: maybe, res ipsa locutus!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Thompson View Post
I stand by what I have said "Fine Art Photography" is nothing more than a marketing slogan!

The day 10 or more major universities have a degree in "Fine Art Photography" is the day it is more than a marketing slogan!
Will,

You are right to take umbrage on people wrapping themselves in attributes not matched by what they really do. So, in that case, sure, get mad at some occasional guru who calls her/himself a fine artist and is really just a marketer of mediocre work. However, you alone, cannot, even with all the strength you can muster, argue that the term "Fine Art Photographer" is itself bogus, for it is not.

There are scores of degree programs that concentrate on expanding the capability highly selected photographers with an existing portfolio. The end result is a degree, Master in fine Arts, MFA, Photography as their specialization. Entry into such programs is harder to come by, more competitive each year. What is sought is the mental and artistic challenge, a space in their lves devoted just to being creative. Unfortunately, an MFA does not guarantee a job, just the "good" experience like a trip to the Himalaya's or a journey down the Amazon, each that sort of "good" experience. Ultimately, fine Art Photographer's are recognized by their intent, workmanship, creative insight and a following by an educated community over a long period of time. Mostly, fine art photographers are those who must make art, irrespective of how they will sell it. There's an inner need that making art helps to fulfill. Schools offering MFA degrees cannot guarantee that the degree will help them in any way. The program, however does give mental stimulation by the presence of so many talented students working together with fine photographers and other artists. More than that, they get access to not only well-equipped darkrooms but also major studio space for sculpture or painting as they might choose. However, few Fine Art Photographers have come from this background. It's not surprising since the MFA degree in Photography is likely a poor investment if getting a job was the end point of success. There are few jobs to be had, yet applications increase! So most would-be Fine Art Photographers start their creative work part time. Most often, at least until sales start, the photographer has another job, maybe even unrelated to the arts. Occasionally the artist uses photography in earning a living.

As an example, Ben Rubinstein is a fine Art Photographer, producing B&W pictures, here, each carefully planned and executed with technical skill and informed composition such that the work is impressive to those of us who are used to seeing the various genre of B&W fine art photography in Galleries and Museums. That he earns his living as a hard-working Wedding Photographer, is besides the point! His Jerusalem series is not made for a client, just for the purpose of creating art to be displayed, enjoyed and perhaps to outlive him. The same with Jim Galli's work, here. You wouldn't ever even think of saying they are not deserving the title "Fine Art Photographer, if they chose that heading for their business card.

Leonardo Boher's portrait of Aleucine, here, is, at least to my esthetics and judgement, an outstanding example of a work by which this up and coming photographer will earn himself the title, Fine Art Photographer. The standard of photography here is so far ahead of 99.99% of what we see. We can learn a lot by studying such pictures and not by quibbling on the titles they have earned.

I can add to this pictures by many others here, for example Ken Tanaka's picture's of trees, silhouetted against the sky, with their motif embroidered with many many birds or a picture of a canal by Karl Esser and so many others. No one can rightly take away the earned right to be called a fine art photographer when they make plan and execute such work and deliver a final image that is so magnetic, impressive and which calls us to return again and again and tell our friends about it's life and importance.

None of these impressions are false and I have only touched the surface of who among us creates fine art.

Notwithstanding that, as in the use of the word "lite" or "light" to imply some healthy food, or "green" to suggest environmental responsibility, we should look to see the photographer in light of his/her artistic work and so not allow ourselves to be fooled by hype.

Now that does require developing some understanding as to what might constitute fine art! For that, we have an interesting and equally contraversal ongoing discussion here.

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; July 21st, 2009 at 10:09 PM.
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  #13  
Old July 23rd, 2009, 10:25 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Thompson View Post
I stand by what I have said "Fine Art Photography" is nothing more than a marketing slogan!!
Seeing FAP as a marketing slogan is a valid perception. However, there's nothing wrong with marketing. Photographs won't sell just because they are good or pretty. Like any product, they need to be marketed. Marketing is taking control of your financial destiny instead of hoping that luck will bring you money.

Here is an introduction to my marketing approach:

http://tv.smibs.com/2009/07/21/episo...ss-on-the-web/
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Old July 28th, 2009, 07:22 AM
Rene F Granaada Rene F Granaada is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Thompson View Post
Simply stated "Fine Art Photography" dose not exist in the natural world! "Fine Art Photography" is nothing more than a marketing slogan similar to new and improved. Adding the word "Fine" to "Art Photography" will not make it art nor will taking it away make it any less art. The label "Fine Art Photography" is simply used as a reason to ask a higher selling price for a photograph. Epson is a prime example of this with there "Fine Art Papers" being just another excuse to charge more when you can buy other manufactures papers for less that have just as long of an archival life but are called museum papers or archival papers. Other manufactures as well as photographers have also jumped onto this bandwagon. Some photographers have even gone as far as to call themselves a "Fine Art Photographer" and Then even go on to say you have to print on the most expensive printers, papers and inks to be a "Fine Art Photographer"! Wow I did not know that how you printed a photograph changed the type of photographer you were???? I guess that saying that you are selling an "Archival Print" just loses that sales (cash register) cha ching that "Fine Art Photography" has!

Your truthful comments are welcome.
Will, what can I say more than that I fully agree with your comments, and... the only judge is... time, it will tell.

René-Frank
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:06 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Tautology (rhetoric), repetition of meaning, using different words to say the same thing twice, especially where the additional words fail to provide additional clarity.

Thus, "fine art photography", given that photography is (along with painting, sculpture, etc.) categorized as "fine art".

An often quoted example of tautology is "nape of the neck".
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:17 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug_Kerr View Post
Tautology (rhetoric), repetition of meaning, using different words to say the same thing twice, especially where the additional words fail to provide additional clarity.

Thus, "fine art photography", given that photography is (along with painting, sculpture, etc.) categorized as "fine art".

An often quoted example of tautology is "nape of the neck".
but there is no "nape" of the neck to remove from Fine Art Photography!

First and foremost there's no "given" that photography is "fine art" or art for that matter. Most photography is not for art's sake and not art at all. "Art Photography" is a category of photography to itself, "The Photography of Art" and does not mean not photography as art! It's a discrete profession for some specialty photographers. This is what Leonardo did in New york before he left for Bolivia. He did Art Photography and was an Art Photographer.

So, there is no redundancy of the terms "Fine Art Photography, taken together.

Asher

Besides, in logical discussion, tautological means essentially true of itself or of unquestionable truth.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:38 PM
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Fine art describes any art form developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than utility.[1] This type of art is often expressed in the production of art objects[2] using visual and performing art forms, including painting, sculpture, music, dance, theatre, architecture, photography and printmaking.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:42 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Quote:
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Most photography is not. . . art at all.
Wow!
<required padding>
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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:12 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Asher,

It would be very helpful to me if you would state your definition of the term fine art photography in dictionary style.

That should help me understand your outlook.

Thanks.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old April 20th, 2013, 08:01 AM
doug anderson doug anderson is offline
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Agreed. Most "fine art" photography is kitsch. It's been a long time since serious artists have taken this word seriously. I have seen awful photos pretending to be "fine art:" Kitschy frames, overphotoshopped color, a kind of deathly coating of gloss.
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Old April 20th, 2013, 10:30 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Agreed. Most "fine art" photography is kitsch. It's been a long time since serious artists have taken this word seriously. I have seen awful photos pretending to be "fine art:" Kitschy frames, overphotoshopped color, a kind of deathly coating of gloss.
Doug,

Everything that moves is pretentious, having some sort of "outside look" to influence the viewer. The artist gets a style they happen to like. The craftsperson might lean towards the tastes of the client. Both, however are in the photographic artist, catering for their own taste and that of the public. Where "kitsch" is the passion of the artist and of their buyers, it works and likely as not, they wouldn't buy finer art anyway.

We, if we presume to be artists, have to make what moves us.

One is fortunate if that moves others too. Your "Photos as Paintings" have a veins that work for me very well. So be true to yourself first or just be a craftsman and do what someone thinks they need. but Art should move you, the photographer. That's my starting dogma.

Asher
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Old April 20th, 2013, 11:28 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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As I said earlier in this thread (when I was a young feller):

• All photography is art.

• Like any work product, and all work, some is fine and some less than fine.

• "Fine Art(s)" is a term only suitable to identify a department at a university (or possibly an entry sub-category in a county fair).

Now in Texas, from which I recently escaped, fine-ness can actually be quantified, but there is only one point on the scale: "fine as frog hair". I suppose everything else is "not fine as frog hair", but that is not officially documented.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old April 20th, 2013, 04:00 PM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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• All photography is art.
Doug
Actually not all photograhy is art, far from there. Forensic photography for example is the exact opposite of art. Hence the necessity to add the terms 'fine art' or 'art' or 'artistic' to the word photography when talking about art photography unless we are in a situation in which everyone involved knows that we are talking about (a museum show for example). However, whenever a range of photographic uses are featured, that precision is necessary to avoid confusion.

Painting doesn't have that problem. 'Painting' either refers to wall painting or to art, so it's virtually impossible to be misled about what we are looking at!
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Old April 20th, 2013, 05:59 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Alain

And how about the graphic masters used in photolithography to "print" circuit boards. Is that art?

They are of course called "art masters" in the trade.

As far as I'm concerned, an image taken for forensic purposes (with no attention given to, say "artistic" considerations), is art, just as is a sketch made by a police artist from a witness' description.) I might in fact want to display the image on my wall, next to what what my great-granddaughter did with finger paint. Are they both art? Neither? One? Which one? Would neither of them ever hang in an art museum? Don't bet on it.

Suppose I took am image of a complex watch mechanism (let's not yet say what the motive is) and posted it on the forum, lets say not in connection with an explanation of the working of the watch (because you know that if it was from me it would likely be that), but just because some people might think it was pretty. Maybe you would.

Then I said, "Ha ha, joke's on you - I took that to send to the manufacturer to illustrate what I found to be a manufacturing flaw, and you thought it was art!"

Best regards,

Doug
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Old April 20th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Doug,

Everything that moves is pretentious, having some sort of "outside look" to influence the viewer. The artist gets a style they happen to like. The craftsperson might lean towards the tastes of the client. Both, however are in the photographic artist, catering for their own taste and that of the public. Where "kitsch" is the passion of the artist and of their buyers, it works and likely as not, they wouldn't buy finer art anyway.

We, if we presume to be artists, have to make what moves us.

One is fortunate if that moves others too. Your "Photos as Paintings" have a veins that work for me very well. So be true to yourself first or just be a craftsman and do what someone thinks they need. but Art should move you, the photographer. That's my starting dogma.

Asher
Asher, I agree, art should move you. I guess what I'm objecting to is art that calls attention to itself as "fine" but in fact is a decorator painting (or photograph) that is fine art only to those who which art to be comfortable and not edgy or illuminating.
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Old April 20th, 2013, 11:52 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Let me be a bit provocative: It is "art", when it hangs in a museum or gallery. for modern art, that is what counts. If someone works hang in a museum, they are artists and if yours don't you are not. It is a game with simple rules. Museum and gallery curators do not have infinite amount of money and display space. So they must choose. What they chose is art, what they don't chose is not. And they have to justify their choices, so it is not just random or just their taste. We don't always understand their criteria, but they do have criteria.

People who don't understand their criteria often have no education about the history of art and still believe that art is the same as craft: the ability to make something nice, or complex, or a close representation of reality. That concept is gone. The link between craft and art disappeared at the end of the 19th century as is immediately apparent if you examine the works around that period. And the reason why it disappeared is something we should all know about here: photography. Suddenly, the painters (which craft was to be as close as possible to reality before that time) were faced with the necessity to redefine art. This is exactly the time when painting became to depart from the rendition of a convincing reality. The painters were drawing their "emotions", their "feelings" about the world or went abstract. But there was no reference to which their work could be compared any more, it was only "art" because they said so.

This school of thinking culminated with Marcel Duchamp's fountain. This is a seminal work in that it changed the definition of art forever. From that point on, the definition of art became "what is produced by an artist " and indeed Marcel Duchamp and his dadaist / surrealist friends took great care to present themselves as such. They were amongst the firsts to understand how the concept of celebrity was linked to art and use it to their advantage. Of course, everything hangs on the definition of "artist", but this is a self-appointed clique. And you can't get in unless you convince the clique. We are still in this era: become recognized as an "artist" and whatever you produce will be art. Don't, and you'd be ignored and forgotten.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 01:02 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Let me be a bit provocative: It is "art", when it hangs in a museum or gallery. for modern art, that is what counts. If someone works hang in a museum, they are artists and if yours don't you are not. It is a game with simple rules. Museum and gallery curators do not have infinite amount of money and display space. So they must choose. What they chose is art, what they don't chose is not. And they have to justify their choices, so it is not just random or just their taste. We don't always understand their criteria, but they do have criteria.
Jerome,

Well put, but it's only the last, the very last part of a long chain of fight for survival of a work.

The pieces finally selected by museums and collectors is fairly easy to classify as Art! But the work that is done by the self-designated "artist" is also born as "art" when the thrill they imagined and hoped for occurs in the work at hand. It does not mean it's art that will move anyone else or that will outlast them, but it's the start of the long hard difficult chain of selection that ends up with a small proportion of works saved by museums for posterity.

Asher
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  #28  
Old April 21st, 2013, 05:36 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
...
This school of thinking culminated with Marcel Duchamp's fountain. This is a seminal work in that it changed the definition of art forever. From that point on, the definition of art became "what is produced by an artist " and indeed Marcel Duchamp and his dadaist / surrealist friends took great care to present themselves as such. They were amongst the firsts to understand how the concept of celebrity was linked to art and use it to their advantage. Of course, everything hangs on the definition of "artist", but this is a self-appointed clique. And you can't get in unless you convince the clique. We are still in this era: become recognized as an "artist" and whatever you produce will be art. Don't, and you'd be ignored and forgotten.
I have enjoyed reading this Jerome and it rings true to my ears. With the exception that the closed circles of artists go far further into the past than the turn of the 20th century. But I get your point and I agree. I also think that the situation has many analogies in other fields. Such as the boards of many large corporations are mainly comprised of figures belonging to the old boy networks, societies and alumni. One can cause bankruptcy of quite a few corporations and still become the CEO of yet another one, just by the virtue of belonging to those circles.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 09:26 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Only if the vorpalist declares his intention that his turgey is indeed fassiture.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 12:37 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Vogon poetry anyone?
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