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 what people want from art and artists,

visual art

and painting


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

why people have set expectations of artists and art

nice, surprising, shocking pictures, recognizable forms and famous names = art? or - why people have set, restricted expectations of art and artists, visual art and the genre of painting., Nice, surprising, shocking pictures, recognizable forms, well known names and famous artists make art - this statement includes most people's notion of Art, or at least express a) what they expect of 'art', and b) what they 'like'. What do people want from Art, what do they expect are to be (like), what do they expect art to do (for them) and why do they,continue, to be interested in and view visual art? How many viewers and 'amateurs' (lovers) of art and artists have any idea about these and other implicit assumptions they make and have about art? What to say, how many people and artists conceptualize and are clear about about these things? What are the factors that are involved when someone views a familiar work of art, the work of a painter that is familiar to them, a new work of art by such an artist and work by an artist they come across for the first time? Are similar expectations in play as when someone listens to a composer whose work they know? When they hear an unfamiliar p[ice by such a composer? When they hear the work of a composer they are not familiar with? One often hears some popular singer when talking about a new album saying this: my fans have set expectations of my singing and sometimes some of them do not like it when I attempt new explorations, new styles and other forms of music. Are similar sets of expectations involved in the case of the questions I wrote here about familiar and unfamiliar artists, familiar and unfamiliar art work? One could suggest that just as some people are more open minded and flexible in their everyday lives and probably have more complex, subtle and larger mind sets than others, in this way some people will have more subtle, larger and complex frames of reference and understanding when it comes to the arts, art, visual arts in particular and the painting genre of visual art. Why is it that many people like paintings that include representations of or hints to representations of and references to familiar objects such as people, especially bodies and faces of people, houses, animals, fauna, flora, etc? Does the inclusion of such familiar objects in a painting make viewers feel more comfortable? If this is the case then people do not wish to leave or be compelled to leave their comfort zone, the comfort zone of their everyday mind set and the frame of reference they employ (or are, what their beings are like) and they do not appreciate it when their ways of perception (of perceiving, interacting and dealing with things, external and internal) are challenged. Most people prefer that their mind sets, frame of reference and understanding and scheme (system or structures) of perception and experience are confirmed rather than being challenged. These are some of the reasons why new works of art, new artists, new styles and genres in visual art are, initially rejected. The same goes for other art forms, eg music, performance art, etc. On the other hand, producing 'works of art' merely to shock, catch the attention of or unsettle people (for example some of the work of Madonna, even her name referring to the 'mother of God", her welcoming of guests at the Tate or some other gallery by calling them 'motherfuckers",titles such as 'piss Christ', nudity, etc) or their mind sets, frames of reference, attitudes and values, are no guarantee that such things have any lasting and aesthetic value. Works of art may or may not cause such reactions, but such things are not the only or major raison d'etre or goal and purpose of a work of art. So what is the reasons for creating works of art? What are the goals and the purpose for creating such things and behind such actions? Why do some people find it necessary to create something that did not previously exist? What is the nature of, the reason for and the meaning of the process of creation, of creating something, anything, and more specifically for the creation of phenomena that constitute the visual arts and more specifically the painting genre of the visual arts? There are many reasons involved, for example to please a patron, financial reasons, a diversity of socio-cultural ones, psychological ones, etc. To explore these reasons one need to involve history of art and of ideas, socio-cultural and psychological and other factors that are involved in the production of art, visual arts and the visual art genre of painting. Such explorations might well reveal psychological patterns and types, social and cultural factors (for example non-conformists, outsiders, misfits, etc) that are visible among visual artists, especially painters. When studying such psychological patterns, ways of social interaction, types of roles employed to fit into society and produce and maintain realities or life worlds, one would have to develop a typology of artists. One typology could divide artists according to the degree in which they form part of the academic art (teaching and learning) of the day, the degree in which they or their work, form part of the aesthetic status quo, or the degree in which they differ from this status quo. Truly original (viewed in terms of technique, formal structures such as form, colour, composition, texture, media being employed, one or a few set, limited styles, or the constant production, changing of, developing, transformation and transcending of many styles) artists (as the one pole of a continuum of inventiveness or creativity) will most likely be seen to be more adventurous, explorative and endlessly changing than those on the opposite pole of the continuum, namely academic art, Sunday and tourist painters, etc (paint by numbers according to established, institutionalized attitudes, norms, leading aesthetic ideals, employing contemporary fashionable crazes and genres in the visual arts for example digital art, installations, the artist - his body, bodily fluids, actions, clothes, furniture, letters, photos - as art, etc. An illustration from popular music, think of the international craze of 'rap'). One must explore original and academic art and artists in the context of their own time, for example the different types of Modern (Pre WWII) and Contemporary (Post WWII) visual art and painting. The latter in turn should be divided into different periods, for example the early and later American Abstract Expressionists, Pop Art, and the many developments in painting since those periods. To summarize, an artist should be viewed in the context of his time and the specific periods in which he begins to create and develop. This is merely the 'external' socio-cultural context in which he works. Then one should explore the entire body of work of the artist so as to identify its 'internal' development and transformation. The latter is almost a comparison of the artist, or his work, with itself. It is possible to divide the work of some artists in distinct periods, while in the case of others one finds that there are no distinct periods but that the artist works in series. A series could be self-contained or develop from one or several series and be transformed into one or several series. A series could explore, investigate and analyse one, several or many things, for example colour, form, media, technique, composition, the degree of 'being off', unity or disunity, etc of a work. It will seen that the most original or 'creative' artists: work in series, and that their body of work consist of constant and large transformations, that they explore, reflect on, question, modify and develop things such as aesthetic notions, ideals, and other aspects of the visual genre of painting to a much greater extent than less original and less creative artists (for example those situated closer on the continuum of original and academic artists to the academic pole). A clarification - such reflection, exploration, investigation, analysis or "thinking", occurs mostly (not totally) on a pre- conceptual level or in the sub-conscious of the artist. Obviously the artist himself or others could eventually conceptualize these things, but when in the process of creating the artist's assessments, judgements, 'thinking', etc are pre-conceptual and sub-conscious, rather than totally rational and explicit. The 'intelligence' being employed could be referred to as aesthetic intelligence, in the same manner as one could refer to the informed skills (or intelligence) of a sportsman, such as a footballer, an athlete, a swimmer, etc. It is one thing to evaluate an artist or artists in terms of their degree of originality, but to assess their skills of draftmanship, execution of painting techniques, grasp of perspective, form, colours, composition, etc are totally different matters. 24/2/2015 ulrich