Thursday, November 11, 2010

Art Kunstler Comments on the last two Hawk posts

How do we make our choices in ascribing value to an object of human creation ?
To understand where we are and how we got here it is important to understand the history of the image since the invention of photography. For tens of thousands of years the only images where made by hand. Reality was inevitably changed by the process of interpreting the image through the mind and hand. But then photography made an accurate representation of a scene at a particular instant. It captured "reality".
Some photographers set out to capture that external visual reality, preferably as starkly as possible. But even here manipulation crept in. Photos where cropped, dodged, burned: red hats where put on, people were posed, objects moved in or out of the frame. And then PHOTOSHOP.
Concurently, artists though that the camera made realism in painting redundant. They thought that the only true ART comes from the mind without being dependant on external visual reality. The goal was to be as creative, or "new" in the image as possible. This led to more and more convoluted creativity. A lengthy explanation was required to understand the image. This ultimately ended with paper plates with turds on them and photos of objects without any creativity. What this art says is not only "fuck you" but, "I know what is going on, and you don't".
Not just photography is dead, so are painting and printmaking. From the first photo, some photographers tried to make photos that looked like paintings and some painters made paintings that looked like photos. Technology perfected techniques of printing on canvas, and even replicated brush strokes in the automated application of varnish. All art and art photography became harder to understand. Concurrently art education no longer provided the basis to understand different mediums and their ramifications.
The ART cognoscenti have intentionally excluded the average person from understanding the meaning of images. Art merchants, advertisers and others have blurred the distinctions between mediums and the reality of images. So now the average person doesn't want to know what an image means, or care how it is made. They value an image solely on the basis of how it affects them.
This has implications for artists involved in the creation of images. It now longer matters to how it is made. The distinctions between photography and painting have disappeared. It doesn't matter if the photo of the bike and cross shadows was spontaneous or manipulated, painted or printed, except to the  artist who made it. It matters to the artist because the goal is to be able to create great images over and over. Even though most people don't care how it is done, an understanding of the particular techniques that an artist chooses to make an image, and how that image is produced, is essential to creating good images. The key is making images that are so deep into our personal understanding and intuition that they enter into that realm that stikes a universal cord. If the artist is interested in a legacy they also need to understand how to make images of a permanent nature. These things will give an image value. What they end up costing is a entirely different matter.

The only known photograph of Art is a Drawing


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