Re: Artist/craftsman

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Posted by Sarah Jasmijn on July 10, 2002 at 21:50:45:

In reply to: Re: Artist/craftsman posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on July 10, 2002 at 01:49:55:


I've added some 'who said what' stuff in this post to
keep things clear. Enjoy the discussion! :)

Catherine said the finest artists were never too snobbish to
take risks, I replied:
: : That's a pretty sweeping (and
unverifiable) statement.

And Catherine replied:

: I make this statement based on having a university degree
in pictorial
: arts, minoring in art history, and having
made my living as an
: artist/craftsman and living among
artist/craftsmen for nearly 40
: years. I have based this on
having read biographies of dozens of
: major artists, and
having personal and professional relationships with
dozens more. I know people who have major works in museums, and
: had a museum showing myself, I've had professional
relationships with
: museum curators and art dealers. So,
when I made this statement, I
: considered it to have some
verification through my own learning and
: life

I respect your knowledge base, I really do.
However, I do still think that it's hard to know for sure what
every artists attitude was to their work. Often we have
secondary or tertiary sources about the artists life at best,
if that. No matter how much research you do. So it might not be
true for *all* the finest artists. That's all I meant to

: Art as an idle persuit was very rare. Artists had to
eat and art was
: a trade, or at least they worked hard at
another trade. The "idle
: persuit" notion of art is
overplayed in fiction and was virtually
: nonexistant in

As most of my books are already packed, I can't look
up my own references on this. The point is, some did and some
didn't, and I don't see how it has anything to do with whether
there work meets 'real art standards' or is more or less 'fine'
than another's work.

: Both will keep the rain off your
head, but I'm talking about a
: deliberate exploration of
the human experience in emotional,
: metaphysical,
philosophical realms. A cathedral is created with the
intention of creating transcendent experience, and the
finest minds
: and hands are hired for the job. Domestic
architecture can also be
: transcendent, brilliant, and
great art, but those domiciles aren't
: termed

There are plenty of Cathedrals where I live, and
as far as I know they were primarily a house of worship, and a
prestige project both for the church and the city/area they
were built in. Most of the statues and paintings were there for
teaching purposes (illustrated guide of the relevant
religion from the times before bible reading was
encouraged), and the aforementioned prestige thing. And a
lot of it had a bunch of religious/ritual use that today would
probably be classified as superstition or even blasphemy. I
don't think the people who commisioned and built them
necessarily set out to deliberately explore the human
experience etc. etc. anymore than a modern church building
does (and the ones I know, don't). And maybe those cathedrals
did that anyway even though they didn't set out to, and that's
great, but not how the people looked at it at the time. And
that's my point! Notions of what constitutes art change over
time. And I maintain that what people consider art says more
about those people at that particular moment in history, than
it does about the work they view.

: : Personally I find 'the
test of time' the silliest
: : 'art/not art' argument of
: Time has a way of brushing away the trivial, and
showing whether there
: is value beyond a momentary fancy.

I refer you back to the example of the Mariakerk (the
cathedral from 1088 --I looked up the exact date--) that was torn
down in 1844. Different times value different things. I
honestly cannot see how continuous admiration imparts
value. A kind of a 'you can please some of the people all of the
time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not
please all of the people all of the time' thing.
Last but not
least, performance art that isn't recorded can never be
judged over time, so it can never be said to stand the test of
time. I would argue that that doesn't necessarily exclude it
from being art.

Then Catherine said 'Being a snob about
one's art is a sure sign that
one's art isn't up to much', and I
said I disagreed. Catherine said:

: I've known plenty art
snobs. I'll stand by that statement.

Ditto, and ditto.
The personality (flawed or otherwise) of the artist, and
their attitude towards their work, does not predict the
quality of the work in my experience.

: And, I'll
: still
stand behind my statement that henna is historically
: fall into the "art" category, though it can be
beautiful, and well
: executed.

I agree that that's
historically true too, but apparently I have a harder time
defining that 'art category' than Catherine does. Different
people come up with different standards of what constitutes
art, and then argue about whether or not a certain work meets
that standard. I don't think there will ever be one clear
definition of art. Nor would I say there should be.

: Did I
miss your mention of your background, education, and
: in the arts?

Nope, you didn't miss
anything, I didn't provide a cv with my post.

: I'm
wondering what your information and experience base
: is
that you've come to such different conclusions from what
: accumulated.

Well, if you're curious, I have a
longstanding interest in history and have done a lot of
reading on different aspects of life, the universe and
everything as it pertains to how people used to live, and how
they live now. A *lot* of reading. Specific areas of interest
have been and are archeology, dress, anthropology, women's
studies (not a perfect way of saying 'how gender pertains to
the way the world is and has been organised', but I hope you know
what I mean), theater (history of), art (history of),
literature (history of), food (history of), etc. etc. I have
visited a lot of museums (and cathedrals and such) and seen
many live performances in many different media. And I know a
bunch of people who are or have been professionally involved
with art --such as art historians, art restorers, artists
(photography, painting, theater, dance, music, writing,
poetry, digital media, sculpture etc.), philosophers and
probably some others I can't remember at the moment. Oh yeah,
and I've worked in the theater at some point (technical stuff,
lighting and such).
So, I don't have a professional
background/expertise in your chosen field, if that's what
you're asking. I very much doubt that it's my information or
experience that make me come to such different conclusions
though. I think it's more due to a different way of looking at
the information. And that's cool! Yay to diversity! Of
opinion, for example.

Actually, that kind of buries an
important thing at the end of a bunch of other stuff, so I'll say
it again to give it the emphasis it deserves:

Yay to


Sarah Jasmijn


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