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20 June 2007 @ 08:54 am
My opinion: great from merely exceptional  
This BBC article mentions the amount paid at auction for one of Monet's most celebrated pieces from his water lilies series.

The amount of money is actually a problem, to me. I'm not concerned with the amount paid to own the physical artwork, or how that money could have been spent feeding the hungry or providing medicine to the ill. An individual has the right to manage his or her legally-obtained property and resources as he or she sees fit. My concern is that the money is going to be equated with the value of the work, and in my opinion, that simply is not the case.

So much these days, art, music, and literature are thought of purely as businesses. Music is particularly problematic in this way, but many books ostensibly written as academic works are still themselves transactions. In the academic world of "publish or die," tenure, continued access to resources, funding, all of these depend on how many papers or books you've published, how well-received they were, and how long it's been since your last work compared to how long until your next is released. Gods help the art world; even if the artists themselves are attempting to make art for its own sake, the various self-attaching parasitic and even symbiotic organisms in that ecosystem will turn any and every work into grist for their own mills, grinding out fortune and glory until there is nothing left, even if that means grinding down the artist himself in the process.

These things were not meant simply to be beautiful. These are not tools of profit. Art, music, literature... these are our faltering attempts to communicate to one another momentary glimpses of the great truths of life.

Look for a moment at the works of Andy Warhol. Think of his use of soup can graphics, turning that into art. Was he making a statement on the turn of society and progress towards mechanization and the destruction of the unique flavors of culture, trampled under the paper-clothed boot of industry? Or was he a huge whore, using 32 pieces he bought at a grocery store into art, the very father of the "single red dot on a white field equals cash" school of art? Now, ask yourself: what did you learn from it?

Thought about that for a moment?

Now ask yourself another question: no matter what you thought about the piece, did you ever consider that you would think this based on seeing soup cans on a wall?

Exceptional art can sell for millions. Great art is priceless, because it makes you think.

The true value of art, of literature, of music, and the quality that separates the merely "good" from the truly "great," is how a work can guide us to a greater understanding of the human condition, of the world, and of our journeys in both. The great creators stand alongside names like Socrates, Einstein, Hawking, Descartes, explorers of what it means to be human, real, alive. They are teachers, one and all, and their legacies cannot be bought at auction. Their legacies are measured as ripples in history, by the changes wrought in the human condition or by the light they shed upon it.

Good art makes you feel. Great art makes you think.
Current Mood: thougtful or thoughtless?
Current Music: the ticking clock
Jake a.k.a Snoopy...a.k.a Snoopula ...et al.darcsyde on June 20th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC)
WARHOL anyone?
In agreement with you. Whoring art for its dollar value and not it expressive value. the grand masters...are thought of because of their style and the way they changed how man perceived art. now, anyone with a spray gun, a bad attitude and a gallery will to schlock their piece can sell art.

but what does it represent...what does it "say" to you the owner of this Work of art. or is it I own an Artist formerly known as McArtist piece?

I guess I am trying to articulate that I rather enjoy collecting the art I have because it says something to me...it reaches inside me and touches a spark of something...

Sure, I purchased it, even bid for it at conventions and art auctions...
but I bought it for sentimental value...Artist who are alive have to eat and pay their bills. but paying millions of dollars for canvas and colored oils is a bit ridiculous...even to me.

if I wanna see a Monet...there are museums. but to Horde such a thing as a personal possession has never struck as something I "MUST" do.
thatwordgrrl on June 20th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Here's the thing...

Art as a noncommercial entity is a relatively new concept.

Most, if not all of the great works of the Renaissance, for example, were bought and paid for by patrons, who did everything from buy the supplies to dictate what the finished piece should look like (One famous patron in Florence, Cosmo d'Medici, went so far as to actually have his likeness put into religous paintings).

So yes, art for art's sake is a good thing. But historically, it is quite novel.

Noah Singman: Noah and Conniensingman on June 20th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
"My concern is that the money is going to be equated with the value of the work, and in my opinion, that simply is not the case."

Don't be concerned. Instead, try to explain to people who might believe this erroneous equation that value is completely subjective. When someone is willing to offer a certain amount of money for something, the only proper inference an observer can make is that the thing was worth more to the purchaser than the money. In no way is it implied that the thing should be worth that amount, or more, or less, to anyone else.