(right) sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy
We began Day 4 by considering Mark’s question: “If nobody likes a painting is it bad?”
Margaret started the discussion with the opinion that art, because it is a creative form of communication that reflects the thoughts of the artist, can’t be bad for that reason. However, one could find fault with the technical aspects of the work if it isn’t well executed.
Rhonda agrees with Margaret, and feels that judgment of another’s work is a sensitive issue because it’s so personal. However, she notes that the works of many artists were considered “bad” during their lifetimes but were deemed a masterpiece posthumously. Great point!
Dan brought up for consideration the works of contemporary pop artist Romero Britto, who has reached celebrity status and markets a host of products with his work on it. Dan ponders whether Britto is attacked because of jealousy over his popularity and financial success as well as his non-painterly style. That’s worth a second glance, because – as he points out – this is the converse of Mark’s question; Britto’s work is deemed bad because it’s popular.He concludes that popularity or salability are probably irrelevant anyway, and that very good art can remain undiscovered and, therefore, never communicate with others as the artist had intended. A sad conclusion, indeed.
Susan’s comment returns to an earlier question raised by Margaret about “serious” versus “fluff” work. She remarked that quick studies are more like fluff whereas a mature painting is well-considered and takes longer to produce (a.k.a. serious work). However, she values the look of spontaniety and struggles to keep that quality in her more serious work. I chimed in to say that we’re all saying the same thing: “good” art is authentic work. It all boils down to the artist’s intent.
Carolyn noted the way in which Kincaid’s work is produced and marketed. Mass production by laborers who copy his work with just one dab of paint by Mr. K. and a final signature is the result of what probably began as a sincere effort by him to produce meaningful art. As Carolyn notes, authenticity has been lost.
L.W. gave us an entirely new perspective on this issue because of her previous involvement in European/Asian oil painting imports. These works were the types used on the sets of theaters, films, and TV and sold for little money. Her conversations with the artists who produced these paintings revealed that at least one of the artists who relied on this form of income used a pseudonym on this work and his real name on his “real” work. This allowed him to support both his family and his talent (makes sense to me!). Like you, L.W., I believe that artists are entitled to make a living doing what they do best.
Celeste closed the day’s conversation with her mental weariness of repetition. So many works offer the same concept or mimic one particular artist. Trends occur and more sales occur because of them. So, she posits, if you produce a painting with no other thought than to sell it then it’s a “bad thing.” (lol)
This concludes our four day community discussion …. or, does it? Would you like to continue this? Typically, I review art theory books for discussion here. But, our conversation is just as good as many of these books so I’m willing to continue my role as a facilitator for your ideas if you wish. When the conversation wanes I’ll start reviewing books again.
If you wish to continue, either pick up one of the threads of a topic or propose a new one. So far, it’s been great!! Thank you.