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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Just a Joke

For those of you who haven't been following along reading the comments to "It's Not Art, It's an Elmer's Glue Stick," you should be able to guess that the post just below this is just a joke, a tongue-in-cheek follow-on to that discussion.

Unlike some commenters, however, I don't think this is all academic. For those who love it, art is an appetite; you might as well say it depends only on a "definition" as you could say the same thing about food. As with food, a great deal depends on taste, habit, culture, and connoisseurship; but there is a core of necessity in it. With food, after all the disputation and fastidiousness and ritual and custom resounds to silence, one can still not sustain on sawdust and grass. On a different plane and perhaps to a different degree, art fulfills a need in those who are attuned to it. We won't die of its deprivation, but those who really feel it deeply might indeed feel as good as dead—or as good as half-dead, perhaps—if they were to be deprived.

So all this is not only not all academic, it's not really academic at all. The experience of art is intellectual, granted. But it is also, crucially, visceral as well (in fact, one of the most difficult aspects of teaching art is getting people to simply respond to it, in a way that is educated but still open-minded, cultivated but unmediated. Simple insecurity deadens more souls to the love of art than almost any other lack). In an almost mischievous way, great art can lie in wait for you. A painting you've walked past a dozen or a hundred times might one day suddenly jump out at you, snap into focus, dazzle you. You can live your whole life in awareness of Goya, or Munch, or Calder, and then one day for no aparent reason you step off an edge into Goya's universe, or suddenly you're standing below a Calder mobile and you look up and see it for the first time. It's flat wonderful. Nobody should be denied the experience just because they're skeptical or cynical or because they have "low" rather than "high" taste. As religion can, truly seeing art can suffuse outward into the whole of life, until life itself is inseparable from it.



Blogger Albano Garcia said...

Just in case you didn't saw that:

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Gordon Coale said...

Oh, yes! A couple of years ago I had the oportunity to spend an afternoon at the Guggenheim in NY. Wonderful stuff. Until I walked around a corner and saw Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase #2 in person for the first time. It's always been one of my favorite pieces but it was like I had never seen it before. I was totally gobsmacked. I literally had tears in my eyes. There are no words that can describe the experience. I have goosebumps thinking about it. Everyone should be so lucky to have that experience.

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The condundrum is clear.

What is art?

The answer is simple.

Intentional evoking of an emotional response.

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't just photoshop the glue stick in, right? These are two composed photos, and you let the camera focus differently. In this context, the blurring of some of the background *relative to the other photo* seems a little careless, which maybe lessens its value. If you were intending to compose these *two* images as conceptual art, which I think you were despite the "not art", "art" titles, you might have avoided extraneous distractions. Of course, the blurring emphasizes that this is *not* photoshop art, perhaps you intended *that*? Was it flip or was it not? Since I've not commented on TOP before, I guess I did "encounter" your glue stick joke.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Hoffel. said...

For me, art is a sensation. Or rather, it's an object evoking a sensation. A Photograph or a painting conveying what the photographer/painter saw/felt when he took/painted the picture. A scuplture that reminds me of a particular feeling/situation/person.

That means of course, that for someone else, those objects might as well be meaningless. That could even be true for the creator. However, empirically it has, at least in my eyes, been proven that in all probability, the creator usually put at least some sort of thought/feeling in his creation.

It also means, that indeed an encounter is necessary. As for the Monet in Mike's top drawer: someone seeing it, or just even thinking of it is what makes it art for him. The painting itself meanwhile is just that, a painting. Just as a photograph is a photograph.

In that sense, art is not in an object. It is in between the viewer and the object.

As a result, no object could ever be labeled "art". However, if there is some sort of "common agreement" that a particular object has evoked a sensation/emotion for a large group of people, then it is generally considered art. This does, however, not mean that it has to be art for everyone -- or in my view: that every viewer automatically will discover the sensation which would make it art for him or her.

Also, an object that did not cause any sensation for me a couple of years ago might well do so now, and thus become art for me. Or vice versa, not touch me anymore at all.

For me, art is really a bit like love. It's hard to describe it, but you definitely will know when you experience it. Sometimes you have to get to know someone better, and sometimes love will fade. Abd to make matters worse, there are even different kinds, the love for one's parents, friends, partners. It's the same with art.


10:41 AM  
Blogger Robert Roaldi said...

I have never been able to adequately express what visual art is or what it means to me, so I stopped trying. Reading what others say is sometimes interesting but eventually unsatisfying, so far. That's no reason not to keep trying, of course. Just because a concept doesn't get through to me may say more about me than about the concept.

I think that it might be impossible to describe a visual experience using words. This is not the case, imo, with literature, for which written words are the perfect way to define and (or) describe a work.

11:25 AM  
Blogger areopagate said...

Any child can tell you, it is impossible to create art without a glue stick! Well done!!!

1:10 PM  

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