Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is it art?




The age old question came up again today, and we all just sort of shook our heads and agreed now was not the time to get into it.


At the end of my previous ceramic class, another student was trying to give me a compliment. But while she was talking she said something like "of course your stuff isn't art, it's a craft." Not that I was really offended. I found it rather humorous. I rarely make such distinctions.


Dr. Spurlock had a definition for art, but I can't quite remember what it was. It's one of those things that you never really wrote down anywhere (except maybe on the test), because you could never forget it. But somehow I did forget. There were three points, one of which was that it is intended as art by the artist (and apparently God does not count as an artist). So you couldn't really count accidents or things in nature, though accidents and things in nature could be part of your art.


So, I can't remember what the other two main points were. But I definitely have the first point. I made something (not by accident) and I intended it to be art. So it is art. If you want to call it a craft, it is that too, and you can call it either one.


So that was all a bit silly. But it does seem to keep coming up in discussion. A few weeks ago I went to an art exhibit closing reception (which I have never even heard of before), and the artist was explaining that ceramics was not even widely accepted as art until the 1950s. Now that was really odd. Museums are filled with ancient pots, and about half an inch thickness of the the art history textbook is ceramics, so why would anyone want to dispute that new ceramic stuff is art?


Last week we were discussing the student art show and whether or not pieces would be sold after the show, and did the art club want to have a separate art sale a few days after the show? Of course we do. And do we want to include people who are not art majors and/or not in the art club? Yes, we need money and we want a big sale.


We just want to make sure that everyone understands that it is a fine art sale and not a craft show.


Okay. Whatever. No Christmas ornaments allowed. No macaroni necklaces.


So today we were talking about the art sale, and we had to repeat a lot of stuff for people who were not at last week's meeting. And I said something about no macaroni necklaces, and I can't sell my scarves.


Susan disagreed. I can sell scarves if I want. But not Christmas ornaments or macaroni necklaces.


If anything that I have ever done could better be described as a craft rather than art, it would have to be my scarves.


Whatever.


So she went on to say that we were the art club and we want to look professional. And at that point we agreed not to waste the art club's time getting into the whole is it art or is it a craft question. But I thought the "look professional" bit was funny, especially when talking about art.


Professional just means that someone is getting paid to do something. Professional is not necessarily a good thing. Whores are professional.


I am an artist. At this point in my life, I am not a professional artist. I like my art, and I rarely part with any of it. The only things I can remember selling were a couple of painted eggs (one of them to the store owner who dropped it) and a couple of drawings of Star Trek characters.


What does professional have to do with anything?


5 comments:

laughingattheslut said...

Okay, I don't know what happened with the photos or how to fix it.

And those are the same two photos that I had such problems with about this time last year.

Nobodyinparticular said...

The red X's in the photos are confusing, and cause the viewer to think about them. Therefore, they must be art!

Seriously, I also think that too much attention is paid to the difference. Why is it a big deal? Maybe so some art snobs can think they are better than the craftspeople.

I guess I can go with this definition: if you see it in one of those road side Craft Malls, it's definitely a craft. Styrofoam-ball Santas and all that. Otherwise you can call it art. Maybe.

I might call scarves art as well, depending on the intent of the knitter and the detail given to the pattern on it. A scarf of a solid color? Definitetly a craft. One with many colors? Maybe there's some art going on there.

laughingattheslut said...

I've just realized that I did not give credit where credit is due.

The patterns came from http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/

Great website.

nobodyinparticular said...

I think you've found a legitimate Blogger bug. Pictures like that are just supposed to show. At least they DO work if you click them, as I just found out now investigating the bug. Yes, I know. Boring night here.

Samantha said...

I think it’s an interesting debate that you have brought up.
Personally I view even macaroni necklaces as art. I think all craft is art too. But there are different categories to them. At the moment, we live in a world were you don’t have to posses any skill, you don’t even have to do the work yourself to make art. You can instruct other people to do it for you.
As long as there is a concept behind the work, that’s all that matters. If there was a reason for the macaroni necklaces, then it would be considered in a fine art context. But if they are just made for being made sake, then it just wont be accepted as professional.

I think if you had, a reason, an idea behind the scarf’s then you would be justified to sell them under that context.
You do get a lot of people, using pots, saying they are fine art. But for something to look atheistically pleasing is no longer accepted by the ones that critique it in the “art world”. However, it does take years for this to trickle down to the people you would be selling these items to.
As you are looking to sell your work, you should be thinking more about the people you want to sell to, and create a commercial side for them. That is also another debate, and one I’m struggling with at the moment. - why to create art work?
I know, I wont stop, because I love what I do, but I’m just not sure why, other than my enthusiasm for it.
What drives you?