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Archive for the ‘Concepts and Philosophy’ Category

Glitch Art


Art as Experience by John Dewey

I started reading Art as Experience by John Dewey.  He’s especially verbose, and sometimes it’s hard to get through his writing (I’m only through chapter one).  But his words are so profound, and littered with gems of statements.  I’m probably going to post some of my favorites as I read them.

Why are artists so often ostentatiously eccentric, and strangely proud of being “misunderstood” ?  Dewey might be on to something here…

Because of changes in industrial conditions the artist has been pushed to one side from the main streams of active interest.  Industry has been mechanized and an artist cannot work mechanically for mass production.  He is less integrated than formerly in the natural flow of social services.  A peculiar esthetic “individualism” results.  Artists find it incumbent upon them to betake themselves not to cater to the trend of economic forces, they often feel obliged to exaggerate their separateness to the point of eccentricity.  Consequently artistic products take on to a still greater degree the air of something independent and esoteric. p. 8

Perhaps this sense of separateness arises from our feelings that we are the few who truly see.  Why does not everyone perceive the world like an artist does?  Does our sense of being misunderstood arise from the perception that we are alone in activating all of our senses to see beauty in what others think of as “mundane” ?

In order to understand the esthetic in its ultimate and approved forms, one must begin with it in the raw; in the events and scenes that hold the attentive eye and ear of man, arousing his interest and affording him enjoyment as he looks and listens:  the sights that hold the crowd 00 the fire-engine rushing by; the machines excavating enormous holes in the earth; the human-fly climbing the steeple-side; the men perched high in air on girders, throwing and catching red-hot bolts.  The sources of art in human experience will be learned by him who sees how the tense grace of the ball-player infects the onlooking crowd; who notes the delight of the housewife in tending her plants, and the intent interest of her goodman in tending the patch of green in front of the house; the zest of the spectator in poking the wood burning on the hearth and in watching the darting flames and crumbling coals.  These people, if questioned as to the reason for their actions, would doubtless return reasonable answers.  The man who poked the sticks of burning wood would say he did it to make the fire burn better; but he is none the less fascinated by the colorful drama of change enacted before his eyes and imaginatively partakes in it.  He does not remain a cold spectator. p. 3

On a separate note, this entry ties into what I’m writing my master’s thesis on.

The odd notion that an artist does not think and a scientific inquirer does nothing else is the result of converting a difference of tempo and emphasis into a difference in kind. The thinker has his esthetic moment when his ideas cease to be mere ideas and become the corporate meanings of objects. The artist has his problems and thinks as he works. But his thought is more immediately embodied in the object. Because of the comparative remoteness of his end, the scientific worker operates with symbols, words and mathematical signs. The artist does his thinking in the very qualitative media he works in, and the terms lie so close to the object that he is producing that they merge directly into it. p.14


Documentary: The World’s Most Expensive Paintings

Description from the YouTube page:

“Art critic Alastair Sooke tracks down the ten most expensive paintings to sell at auction, and investigates the stories behind the astronomic prices art can reach. Gaining access to the glittering world of the super-rich, Sooke discovers why the planet’s richest people want to spend their millions on art.

Featuring works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Klimt and Rubens, Sooke enters a world of secrecy and rivalry, passion and power. Highlights include a visit to the art-crammed home of millionaire author Lord Archer; a rare interview with the man at the heart of the sale of the most expensive old master of all time; privileged access to auctioneers Christie’s; and a glimpse of the world of the Russian oligarchs.

These revelatory journeys allow Sooke to present an eye-opening view of the super wealthy, and their motivations as collectors of the world’s great art treasures.”

TED Art Playlist

I love TED Talks.

In case you’re unfamiliar with TED, their website describes the project as:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds:  Technology, Entertainment, Design.  Since then its scope has become ever broader.  Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

The two annual TED conferences, on the North American West Coast and in Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).

On, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 1400 TED Talks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

In case that didn’t get rid of the question mark floating over your head, here’s my synopsis:  In usually about 15 minutes each you get to watch video and listen to excellent speakers with intriguing concepts of philosophy, psychology, leadership, science, creativity, and more, making it an elightening 15 minutes you don’t have to feel guilty about.  Sorry, Youtube, I’ve found a better use of my video-watching time.

So when I discovered TED had a playlist curated just about art, I knew I had to share it with my blog viewers.  I tried to embed the playlist directly into my post, but failed.  So you’ll have to click a link and go to the TED website. Happy viewing.

The playlist includes the following videos:

  1. Stefan Sagmeister:  Happiness by design
  2. JR:  One year of turning the world inside out
  3. Raghava KK:  My 5 lives as an artist
  4. Shea Hembrey:  How I became 100 artists
  5. Chip Kidd:  Designing books is no laughing matter.  OK, it is.
  6. Philippe Starck:  Design and destiny
  7. Jonathan Harris:  the Web’s secret stories
  8. Vik Muniz:  Art with wire, sugar, chocolate and string
  9. David Macaulay’s Rome Antics
  10. Maira Kalman, the illustrated woman

The Artist Is In: TED Playlist

*Disclaimer, I try to keep my blog pretty PG, but these videos may contain foul language, images of nudity, or other adult content (but not that kind of adult content).  Viewer beware.

Art Is

“Art is a mode of discovery and experimentation.” -Jonathan Fineberg

“Art is an epiphany in a coffee cup.” -Elizabeth Murray

“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul – and you answer.”  Terri Guillemets

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” -?

“Art consists of questions, not answers.” -William Dunning

“Art is not a thing.  It is a way.” -Elbert Hubbard

“Art is for us an occasion for social criticism.” – Hugo Ball


The Creative Brain

Fake Artwork

Selected quotes taken from “Fake artwork keeps popping up for sale: It is a growing problem without a clear solution,” by Patricia Cohen.  Published in Scene, page 10, for the Friday Jan. 4 – Thursday Jan. 10 edition.

The resale of fakes is a persistent problem without a good solution, say collectors, dealers, artist estates and law enforcement agencies.  Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation can seize forgeries in criminal cases, these represent only a tiny portion of the counterfeit art that is circulating.

When it comes to undisputed fakes, law enforcement officials try to halt resales by stamping such works as fake or, in rare cases, destroying them.  Each option has drawbacks, including the possibility of mistakenly destroying an authentic work.

Jack Cowart, executive director of the Lichtenstein Foundation, said that during the years that the foundation authenticated works by Roy Lichtenstein, he regularly noticed that collectors informed that they had a fake would later quietly sell it as genuine.

All of this and more, from:

I found this article to be thought-provoking.  It highlights the area where artwork and morals meet.  It also made me question forged artwork.  Can any artwork be truly fake?  I understand that these artworks are considered fake because they are pretending to be created by someone they aren’t.  But someone had to create them, and it seems like that makes them a genuine piece of art.  They are deceitful, but still inherently have some value as a creative product.  The quote about destroying declared fraud artwork made me cringe, especially because sometimes artwork stamped as fake later turns out to be authentic.

What are your thoughts?  How do you feel about Cohen’s article?

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