Saturday, September 08, 2007


Oh hai. I just thought you should know that the art debate which began here and on TBR, before transferring to NZ Conservative (where it faded out), now lives on at Not PC.

Pic unrelated but included so as not to offend readers who dislike cats, furries or motivators.


Anonymous said...

Peter Cresswell writes: When we experience art that truly touches us, we don’t just feel, “I like this;” if we have souls we feel “This is Me!”

That personal experience is difficult to achieve if you're being jostled by tourists all trying to look at a painting at once. Unlike the Mona Lisa, Leonardo's Musician lives in a small, quiet gallery, where one can appreciate his pensive beauty at close quarters.

On the other hand, I think the "That's Me" factor is evident in this Welsh audience as they respond to Paul Potts' rendition of Nessun Dorma. Over 6 million others appear to agree.

Jake said...

I like your institutional definition of art for its elegance, Paul, but I'm afraid that it begs, or at least begs off, the question.

If art is what the 'art world' says it is, how do people in the 'art world' know what is art?

Is it a case of them (but not us (or maybe you but not me)) knowing it when they see it? Or is it through a process of induction into a discourse as undergraduate BFA and art history students, until they reach a suitable level or indoctrination that they can perpetuate that discourse?

If it's the latter, which I suspect it is, what process occurred that we could have an art world to identify art? Which came first? If art came first, how was it art without its world? And if the art world came first, what did those effete men in cravats and women with fierce eyebrows do for all those years before someone painted something?

I can kind of imagine a cosmic alignment, where some Ancient Greek is painting a vase even as two other Greeks are talking to him about it, so that art and the art world come into being at the same moment -- the critic and the artist as symbiots. Unfortunately, this smacks of creation myth to me, and you know what we think about those around here . . .

As you can see, these questions will be keeping me up tonight.

Anonymous said...

Good questions. Here's another: who decides what is 'great art' at times of transition from one major standard to another, such as the shift from Byzantine to Renaissance painting? Who decided Giotto was in and Cimabue out?

Lyndon said...

It occurred to me last night the project of defining 'art' actually is a bit irrelevant in that, by the the time people say 'but is it art' it almost always is - what they go on to argue about is whether or not it's any good.