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  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach View Post

    Pretentious = Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.
    But is this the fault of the artist or of the industry that has risen around contemporary art through the 20th C? Much of it is marketing and promotion, the stuff any business (and 'Art' is big business...) requires in order to make money. Just like marketing, a lot of the claims and hype are complete bullshit. A lot of the 'products' are garbage and not worth the time and money.

    But the anti-intellectualism that sits behind the 'all contemporary art is bullshit' mentality does become, frankly, tiresome. It's driven by a whole heap of naive empiricism that sees art only as a physical manifestation, when in actual fact all creative enterprises begin with thought and ideas. What is the problem with art being a concept, idea, action or piece of writing as long as the work is well considered and crafted?

  2. #42

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    If I have a good, creative idea for painting a mini, but fail to adequately express that idea due to my lack of technical proficiency, should that mini garner the same rating as one expressing the same idea but painted by Rusto? Should I even bother painting the mini at all, and instead just write down what my idea is, and expect people to just imagine it?
    "Facts are the impregnable bulwark that stands between us and the insidious evil of bullsh*t." - Pikey, over on Nagoyahammer

  3. #43

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    I have lost any shred of respect that I might have had for James Franco.

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avelorn View Post
    I don't think there's anything wrong with being pretentious actually. Many contemporary artists are however quite obscure to me and the level of self reference that some works contain flies over the head of someone like me with little interest and knowledge of where contemporary art is at the moment. Sure I get annoyed sometimes and can comment on some works with sarcasm but if I'm going to be honest, and not trying to be funny, I really wouldn't put myself over someone in that manner until I have at least tried understanding what they are about. The disrespect the likes of Damien Hirst, Tracy Emmin (as Mike mentions) receive is perhaps the thing that can make me do that plunge and make an honest attempt, read some books or whatever.

    Until now my view has been that good art to me evokes a feeling in me (apart from annoyance that is...) or perhaps heighten my understanding of something and yes, some contemporary art I see does. It's just that when it's very little about skill anymore and all about concept the idea has to be very good and you have to share some kind of frame of reference with the artist.
    Good post

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacemunkie View Post
    But the anti-intellectualism that sits behind the 'all contemporary art is bullshit' mentality does become, frankly, tiresome. It's driven by a whole heap of naive empiricism that sees art only as a physical manifestation, when in actual fact all creative enterprises begin with thought and ideas.
    It's not anti-intellectualism. I can understand why some people might want to characterise it as such - particularly artists, critics and dealers who have a vested interest - but that's just their opinion on the matter.

    The people who don't buy into (not don't get) the more flakey or excessive contemporary art quite rightly find the self-indulgent, pseudo-intellectual trappings of it pretentious BS. Here's a good example of a contemporary artists' statement:

    My work explores the relationship between consumerist fetishism and recycling culture
    through multimedia experience.

    My influences are as diverse as Nietzsche and Roy Lichtenstein, and new synergies are crafted from
    both explicit and implicit layers, creating both constructed and discovered dialogues.

    I am fascinated by the theoretical limits of meaning and as spatial relationship become undefined
    in my personal colloquies with the artwork, the viewer is left with a new insight into the human condition.

    I think this makes the pseudo-intellectual case perfectly well since it clearly means nothing, but is written to make the artist sound profound, deep and educated, when in fact they're often shallow and broadly ignorant of art on all levels (particularly, and most tellingly, the technical aspects).

    To be charitable, they can't be blamed solely for this; as Spacemunkie rightly points out they're entering into a business, one with certain memes and tropes that they have to conform to to a certain extent, and the art schools are geared towards turning out who artists will do just that.

    Einion

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Einion View Post
    It's not anti-intellectualism. I can understand why some people might want to characterise it as such - particularly artists, critics and dealers who have a vested interest - but that's just their opinion on the matter.

    The people who don't buy into (not don't get) the more flakey or excessive contemporary art quite rightly find the self-indulgent, pseudo-intellectual trappings of it pretentious BS. Here's a good example of a contemporary artists' statement:
    My work explores the relationship between consumerist fetishism and recycling culture
    through multimedia experience.

    My influences are as diverse as Nietzsche and Roy Lichtenstein, and new synergies are crafted from
    both explicit and implicit layers, creating both constructed and discovered dialogues.

    I am fascinated by the theoretical limits of meaning and as spatial relationship become undefined
    in my personal colloquies with the artwork, the viewer is left with a new insight into the human condition.

    I think this makes the pseudo-intellectual case perfectly well since it clearly means nothing, but is written to make the artist sound profound, deep and educated, when in fact they're often shallow and broadly ignorant of art on all levels (particularly, and most tellingly, the technical aspects).

    To be charitable, they can't be blamed solely for this; as Spacemunkie rightly points out they're entering into a business, one with certain memes and tropes that they have to conform to to a certain extent, and the art schools are geared towards turning out who artists will do just that.

    Einion
    Ack - buzzword overload. A sure sign that the speaker (writer?) doesn't really know what they're talking about.
    Proud owner of a Cassar!

    #1378/9460
    You are ranked 1351 out of 9441 artists.



  7. #47

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    Anyone else sense all this discussion will turn into an argument?
    "we reach for the stars, forever looking to the heavens, our minds filled with wonder and the glory of the cosmic all; stretching the boundries of human knowledge and securing the solar system for the Human Species out there beyond the final frontier so one day our decendants will be as gods!
    You hold our hands so we don't blunder into things........and do the photo shop.
    "
    . Andyg


  8. #48

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    Einion, wasn't that just generated through arty bollocks?

    @10ball: No!



    @Mike: Perhaps it is even more geared towards the negative in English. While the Swedish word is without doubt used most often in a negative sense, I tend to argue that it's not negative to have pretensions with your work.

    The artist video is part of a larger project. She has a "fashion-blog" about her life, seemingly trying to become a famous blogger, with the exception that she hasn't got any money which is the blunt reality of most young people. So instead of Gucci she buys H&M. Then she tries going into music, resulting in this. I interpret it as irony is over the "you can be anything you like" culture and famous bloggers here in Sweden. But she's making a somewhat honest effort with the means available for her, that's what I think makes it art and not comedy.
    Last edited by Avelorn; 02-07-2013 at 06:57 AM.

  9. #49

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    That arty bollocks site is tremendous fun. Good show, Avelorn
    "Facts are the impregnable bulwark that stands between us and the insidious evil of bullsh*t." - Pikey, over on Nagoyahammer

  10. #50

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    For anyone who doesn't have firsthand knowledge of the art scene and might doubt that level of meaningless drivel is realistic, there truly are artist statements exactly like this! Just about any normal observer will rightly peg it as hooey but many in the art world would have no problem accepting that as meaningful, even profound.

    Einion

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacemunkie View Post

    But the anti-intellectualism that sits behind the 'all contemporary art is bullshit' mentality does become, frankly, tiresome. It's driven by a whole heap of naive empiricism that sees art only as a physical manifestation, when in actual fact all creative enterprises begin with thought and ideas. What is the problem with art being a concept, idea, action or piece of writing as long as the work is well considered and crafted?

    I'd agree with this.


    I blame Clement Greenberg.

    I am involved with the 'art world', exhibit regularly and have firsthand experience of the rigours involved in getting work into good quality galleries. It's actually more relaxed on the theory side than you'd perhaps imagine. Whilst all galleries require a statement, it's truly a lesser part of the whole, with the work itself being key.

    It's quite a difficult process writing an 'artist's statement' without sounding like a total bellend. However, it's also difficult to outline your working process and motivation without drifting into a bit of 'art speak'. Like theories, proposals and statements in all walks of life, there's bound to be jargon and buzzwords. On the whole, the galleries like it, the buyers like it, the museums like it... I think artists tend to like it a less and view it as a bit of a PITA, but like most things, if you want to achieve the exposure and a certain amount of success, you have to jump through a few hoops to do so.

    Also, if you can manage to get past the hating, and try not to seek out and highlight the greater excesses of 'the artist's statement' and actually try to comprehend what is being written in the context of the work produced , it usually makes perfectly good sense.

    Yours
    A hard-pressed artist
    Last edited by Beelzebrush; 02-08-2013 at 07:52 AM.
    Well, here it comes... here comes the sound... the sound of confusion

  12. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebrush View Post
    I blame Clement Greenberg.
    Hey, you leave Clement alone. He was one of the most insightful and rational commentators I'm in agreement on art critics in general, however for balance was just reading: "today's culture of gallery obsession and mediocre art being talked up by fools makes art criticism more crucial than ever" (Guardian article).

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebrush View Post
    Also, if you can manage to get past the hating, and try not to seek out and highlight the greater excesses of 'the artist's statement' and actually try to comprehend what is being written in the context of the work produced , it usually makes perfectly good sense.
    The hating as you put it is a direct response to the pretentious BS, not an unreasoning reaction to artists' statements as being inherently this way. I've read some that absolutely don't make the artist sound like a complete tosspot... precisely because they write intelligently and cogently, don't rely on fashionable buzzwords and too much artspeak (some is undoubtedly necessary).

    And funny, there tends to be a direct correlation between this and the quality of their work; the more technically proficient the artist the less they tend to sound like a tosser, who'da thunk it?

    ...

    Anyone interested, see this vid for insight into both issues.

    Einion

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Einion View Post
    Hey, you leave Clement alone. He was one of the most insightful and rational commentators
    I agree. I've read quite a lot of his critique and theories.

    He was also greatly instrumental in the popularity and requirement for the 'theory'-in-support-of-the-art with his crusade for total abstraction and flatness with the Abstract Expressionists, which ultimately leads onto pop, post-modernism and having discussions on forums like this one, over 60 years later . If you've not already read it, you should pick up a copy of 'The Painted Word' by Tom Wolfe which is a critique on the critics and the established art world of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Einion View Post
    And funny, there tends to be a direct correlation between this and the quality of their work; the more technically proficient the artist the less they tend to sound like a tosser, who'da thunk it?


    So what you're saying is that there is a direct correlation between an artist being verbose and his inability to pick up a paintbrush without the dire need to pickle a shark?
    Well, here it comes... here comes the sound... the sound of confusion

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Einion View Post
    For anyone who doesn't have firsthand knowledge of the art scene and might doubt that level of meaningless drivel is realistic, there truly are artist statements exactly like this! Just about any normal observer will rightly peg it as hooey but many in the art world would have no problem accepting that as meaningful, even profound.

    Einion
    That's one of the problems with how art is 'judged'. There's two COMPLETELY different yardsticks being used to measure the same thing. I would kind of put it this way: You have Horowitz playing a beautiful piece on a grand piano. It evokes a lot of emotion. Then you have someone else come onto the same stage, same piano, and go into a rage. They take a sledge hammer and pound the piano to pieces. That also expresses a lot of emotion. There will be fan's of each. . . . . . To me, 'good' art takes me to places and articulates emotion that really takes skill, craftsmanship, talent and a vision beyond the canvas. The sledgehammer type is like trying to write poetry with a 5 word vocabulary. That's not ment as a putdown per-se but simply how it looks to me.


    Had to put this in - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWy6urOHhB4
    Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artwank
    My work explores the relationship between consumerist fetishism and recycling culture through multimedia experience.
    Don't see the problem with that one (even if you did auto-generate it...). It's plain English, tells you what the work is about and the medium the artist is using. Doesn't sound remotely pretentious to me. Unless you consider the ability to construct a coherent sentence pretentious

    Quote Originally Posted by Artwank
    My influences are as diverse as Nietzsche and Roy Lichtenstein, and new synergies are crafted from both explicit and implicit layers, creating both constructed and discovered dialogues.
    Yes, this is arty bollocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Artwank
    I am fascinated by the theoretical limits of meaning and as spatial relationship become undefined in my personal colloquies with the artwork, the viewer is left with a new insight into the human condition.
    As is this. I'm less offended here by the use of overly intricate language as I am by the assumption the artist makes about what the people viewing the work are going to take away from it.

    None of this Artwank™ precludes the artwork from being decent though....

    Quote Originally Posted by Einion View Post
    ...but is written to make the artist sound profound, deep and educated, when in fact they're often shallow and broadly ignorant of art on all levels (particularly, and most tellingly, the technical aspects).
    You're just making a set of assumptions here based on little more than your own prejudice.
    Last edited by Spacemunkie; 02-08-2013 at 06:32 PM.

  16. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guardian article
    Yes, there's a staggering volume of mediocre art being talked up by fools. But there are real talents and real ideas too.
    I think this just about sums up my position.

  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacemunkie View Post
    I think this just about sums up my position.
    Agree. . . . .
    Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

  18. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Einion View Post
    For anyone who doesn't have firsthand knowledge of the art scene and might doubt that level of meaningless drivel is realistic, there truly are artist statements exactly like this! Just about any normal observer will rightly peg it as hooey but many in the art world would have no problem accepting that as meaningful, even profound.

    Einion
    Sigh. Yeah. I used to think it was just me, that those artists' statements really meant something and I just didn't get it.

    Nope. Many of them are self-important pseudointellectual philosophical drivel.

    What's frustrating is that a lot of venues require an artist's statement when applying for shows or representation, so artists, who are not necessarily facile with words, ​have to come up with something meaningful and helpful to the viewers. It's hard enough to talk about one's own art, and it's all too easy to fall back on big words and vague concepts.

    That said, I have run across plenty of good, meaningful artist's statements which have something useful to say about the art. It's just that the empty ones are generally accepted at the highest levels of the art world.

  19. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacemunkie View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Einion
    ...but is written to make the artist sound profound, deep and educated, when in fact they're often shallow and broadly ignorant of art on all levels (particularly, and most tellingly, the technical aspects).
    You're just making a set of assumptions here based on little more than your own prejudice.
    About this specifically I'd argue differently but never mind. It is going to be broadly true, just as it is for you


    Quote Originally Posted by Pygmalion View Post
    What's frustrating is that a lot of venues require an artist's statement when applying for shows or representation, so artists, who are not necessarily facile with words, have to come up with something meaningful and helpful to the viewers. It's hard enough to talk about one's own art, and it's all too easy to fall back on big words and vague concepts.
    Quite so. I've had cause to bring this more than once in technical discussions online: it may be unfair to expect artists to be able to talk and write (particularly the latter) about certain aspects of the work due to the very nature of how we now know different brains work. Often the very thing that makes someone an artist will be what prevents them from being able to communicate as well as fans and students would like... as frustrating as that is for fans or students!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pygmalion View Post
    That said, I have run across plenty of good, meaningful artist's statements which have something useful to say about the art. It's just that the empty ones are generally accepted at the highest levels of the art world.
    From what I've seen this is true.

    Einion

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