From: IN%"[email protected]" "Art Criticism Discussion Forum" 20-JUN-199
To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
Subj: art is lots of itty-bitty things called "_______ art".

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Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1992 16:42:44 EDT
From: Michael Cammer <[email protected]>
Subject: art is lots of itty-bitty things called "_______ art".
Sender: Art Criticism Discussion Forum <[email protected]>
To: Howard Lawrence <[email protected]>
Reply-to: Art Criticism Discussion Forum <[email protected]>

Michael replies to:
|Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1992 22:36:05 -0400
|Reply-To: Art Criticism Discussion Forum <[email protected]>
|From: Robert Doyle <[email protected]>
|Subject: more art??
|to ruth [email protected],
|i have just re-read your posting from Wed am...
|I guess one of the things that I am having problems with in all of what you
|have been saying the past few days is your reference to "fine art" and "decor-
|ative art" etc. I think that it is problematic to use these terms when trying
|to define "art". I do feel that "fine" art is elitest and that "art" IS NOT
|a "reserved word". Who is it reserved for? Only those who can afford it?

To reiterate: if art is not a reserved word, then it loses all meaning.
Art can only have any relevance as a definitive or descriptive term in
relation that which is not art.

Qualifying the word "art" with such modifiers as "decorative" or
"folk" allows for art to be more inclusive. These qualifications
do not, inherently, hegemonize art; they merely demarcate. Folk
art describes a class of art that is different from fine art; it
is up to you to place them in a hierarchy or to endow them with
equal footing. Besides allowing for more descriptive definitions
of art that may have actual definitive terms, there are pragmatic
reasons for defining art as the amalgam (for lack of a better
term; an amalgam of mutual exclusives sounds perverse) of its
subgroups. A fine artist will never accept decorative art as
worthy and a decorative artist will never accept fine art as
relevant. "Art", alone, is so general, broad, self-
contradictory, and so full of special cases and exceptions to the
rules as to be undefinable as a grand unity distinct from
anything/everything else.

|I remember having this discussion about fifteen years ago in
|school, one of
|the definitions that I enjoyed then was something like...
|art is sort of like shit, it is what is left over after you have finished
|consuming what was around you.

According to your formula, those of us who digest more
efficiently produce less art.
But those of us who digest more efficiently, in fact, produce
more and better art.
But the shit metaphor can only spread so far. We are not
alimentary canals. Feed an animal green or orange food, and the
dorsal produce will be a slightly browner green or orange. In
contrast, artists might eat plumb and make gold. [However, I am
no Gablik pseudospirituality fan. Alchemy, e.g. via Beuys,
should not be mistaken as anything more than metaphor; it is not
a new spirituality that will save us in absolute terms any more
than the stupid religions, including forays into Surrealism, that
came before. However, these crazy beliefs, on occasion, have
been the forces behind excellent subclasses of art. Thus,
Mapplethorpe, Michelangelo, and Demuth can be on equal footing
for more than just their sexuality. And a devotional ikon may be
art just as a non- or anti-devotional one may be too.]

Art cannot exist w/o art theory, but every theory is fallacious in the
face of empirical fact.

|I don't want to offend anyone here, but at times this gets a bit too serious.
|Art is more or less a fun, interesting, wonderful thing that should not be
|reserved, but shared.

Some art is deeply personal; an individual may have no desire or
intention of sharing it; the work may be so personal that sharing
may be impossible; or when sharing occurs, the artist feels
something special is lost.
Furthermore, discussion of the individual may be applied to
greater entities: cultural specificities of art may preclude
cross-cultural sharing.

| Maybe it should not be defined. Maybe that defining
|has something to do with making it a commodity.

Reification, in the manner in which it has evolved as a term in
the garbled artspeak we love to bandy about, does not have to be

|bob doyle [email protected]

[email protected]

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