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  #51  
Old 10-28-2009, 01:11 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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this is the shit that annoys me...

I went to the lecture that when this artist finalized her idea. I looked at the sculpture and wondered "how" could it be done. I like the proposed design but didn;t see how it would work unless she used 4 inch think aluminum to support it. When i asked this question the room just kind of looked at me weird. Someone whispered that she would have someone fabricate it. Ok but still how could it be done? the group obviously had no technical knowledge. well here is the finished sculpture

http://www.utk.edu/tntoday/2009/09/0...ication-event/

which it SO different from the one proposed. see the static poles holding up the aluminum swirl... these were not in the origional design and totally change the feeling of it. So how does someone so removed from her medium get a half a mil to have someone do this and not even understand the engineering of her design or the limits of her material???? but for the artists sake i did like the original design.
Oh yes, I experienced that almost daily whern working with interior designers. Admittedly some were better than others, but logic was not their strong suit.
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  #52  
Old 10-28-2009, 01:54 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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So how does someone so removed from her medium get a half a mil
Reputation and track record.

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not even understand the engineering of her design or the limits of her material????
Look at her past work. There are similar pieces, with the poles.
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  #53  
Old 10-28-2009, 02:28 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

yeah and that one in Nashville had severe engineering problems and cost the city alot of money. It makes public art and artists look bad and leaves a trail of mess for others to clean up. I got a large commission after the one she put up in nashville and because of all the trouble the city had i had to pay alot for an engineer and for a conservationist and all this other stuff. but i build stuff stronger than it needs to be i don't cut corners. she probably had a different proposal for the other one with poles too.

Yeah, unfortunately i do know her track record.

Z
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  #54  
Old 10-28-2009, 02:37 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

but i do like her work, i just like it better as it is drawn and feel it needs to be more realistic because she is causeing a mound of paperwork sculptures after her have to now complete.
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  #55  
Old 10-28-2009, 03:15 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Could you cut the committees off at the pass by provding schematics of your own that prove you know how to build your designs?
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  #56  
Old 10-28-2009, 06:08 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Yeah Z, the "swingset" poles kill it. Some damned engineer made that decision...the artist agreed out of ignorance. There ARE other ways that could have been handled. A damned shame.

There are only HUGE problems when the artist CANNOT execute their own work.
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  #57  
Old 10-28-2009, 11:53 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Any large piece in a public place will require an engineer.

I am with Evaldart, that an artist should be capable of making their own work, and making the decisions about structure, looks, materials and techniques that are so important to the finished work, rather than leaving it to engineers and professional fabricators.

It is often necessary, however, to have larger pieces engineered. This is a simple fact of life, as most any buyer, be they a developer, a government, or even a private collector of means, is going to want to know the piece wont collapse and kill somebody.

It becomes part of the artwork dance to be able to use the engineer just like you use a torch or a grinder or a hammer- as a tool to get the artwork YOU want.
The more you yourself understand about how things are built, hopefully by building lots of smaller things, the more you can tell the engineer what you want, and lead them to the water you want them to drink.
I am in a back and forth right now with an engineer on a project that requires stamped drawings before any artmaking can begin.
I send him drawings, with suggested sizes, shapes, bolt locations, and so on. He responds, saying, this plate needs to be 3/4" instead or 1/2", these bolts need to be this big, this bar needs to be this large.
So I channel him into making my ideas pass muster, not let him lead me.

These big public projects have to be done this way- and you can tell the artists who know what they are doing, by the finished work. Many times, it physically impossible for one person to make a piece that big- but, as an artist,you have to figure out how to make sure what gets built is what you want, and that YOU, as the artist, are making the critical decisions, not some flunky who doesnt care about your work. Its no less work than if you were grinding every weld- its just a different kind of work, using different tools, some of which are human.
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  #58  
Old 10-29-2009, 06:50 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

But Ries, "tools" that possess a consciousness will never be happy just to service your task. So a human being can never be as good as a grinder or a hammer. Those living tools have a damned "will"...a will that is anxious to be imposed...dead-set upon getting-into (screwing with the meaning?) the efforts of other "wills". So if they can be viewed as "tools", they are possibly not the best for Art, better for plain ol civilization, where general function occurs by the success of a group effort.

I realize that this might make it tough to do the really big things...and I suppose there could be no more passive a creative partner than a pencil-pusher or a stamper of legal approval;, but me, if I only occasionally need the crane operator and his machine...then alls going just fine.
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  #59  
Old 10-29-2009, 06:52 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Yeah Z, the "swingset" poles kill it. Some damned engineer made that decision...the artist agreed out of ignorance. There ARE other ways that could have been handled. A damned shame.
I'm no huge Alice Aycock fan and I believe no one is beyond criticism, but I have trouble seeing a career as significant as Aycock's built on a foundation of "ignorance" or bending to the will of engineers, gallerists or a general public.
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  #60  
Old 10-29-2009, 09:06 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Cheese, Aycocks works are valuable as they promote form liberated (most of the time) from function. So she's a hair better than the architects and the landscape designers. There are plenty of her ilk out there doing business. But she's exhibiting no manual relationship to "her" materials. Seemingly never having spent any quality time with any big aluminum, stainless, grinders or cutting machines. She has spent much time with the engineers and braniacs...who made it all possible for her...the career, the "significance...the whole shabang. Same for her drawings even. Somewhere, in some small sketchbook, she MUST have a real scribble or a an unaffected scratching. She seems CLEAN of all good stuff sculpture has to offer.

Just my opinion, of course.

Last edited by evaldart : 10-29-2009 at 10:15 AM.
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  #61  
Old 10-29-2009, 09:51 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Some of the "meaning" i put into my work comes out of making it. I discover new techniques by just messing around in my shop. I learned the limitations with working with high carbon steel by a 200 pound T-rex head falling on me after i triend to swing on it like a jungle gym. So much is learned, discovered and expressed through the process when the building itself becomes an art that produces art. I have learned that we have to define art for ourselves and what we do. I often advertise now with a statement that says art is made by the artist.

There is a thin line though with making art and having it fabricated. When i built my large public art sculpture i hired someone to help me build it. As i built the frame he started scaling it by building some of the thousands of scales that covered it. I only had 4 months to complete but in my final report he did get a mention. I built most of it but working with a dragon that weighed over a ton sometimes needed an extra hand.

The engineer i used actually saved me money and weight because i proposed to use material 20 times stronger than needed and we settled on 10 times stronger with a standard schedule pipe and the conservationist helped my by having the construction crew add drainage around my sculpture. stuff i would never had thought of.
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  #62  
Old 10-29-2009, 11:17 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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But Ries, "tools" that possess a consciousness will never be happy just to service your task. So a human being can never be as good as a grinder or a hammer.
Nah- a human being can be a BETTER tool than a grinder or a hammer.

You are just afraid of losing control. And its true- you have to work harder, think more, be more on your toes, to control a human than to control a hammer. But the work you can get done with a smart tool, both in quantity and quality, is much more than you can with a dumb tool.
I have found that human collaborators are more than "happy"- they actually ADD to my task. And they do it while I am not even in the shop- never seen a hammer do that.
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  #63  
Old 10-29-2009, 11:41 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Nah- a human being can be a BETTER tool than a grinder or a hammer.

You are just afraid of losing control. And its true- you have to work harder, think more, be more on your toes, to control a human than to control a hammer. But the work you can get done with a smart tool, both in quantity and quality, is much more than you can with a dumb tool.
I have found that human collaborators are more than "happy"- they actually ADD to my task. And they do it while I am not even in the shop- never seen a hammer do that.

True, I am afraid of losing control...but only in matters concerning the Art. There are times it is necessary to be a team player; and there are times its best to preserve the purity of the impulses. It was some maturing that led me to this fear...and perhaps more maturing will dispel it. But I doubt I'll ever be doing any more lunches with the architects in my day. I'd sooner turn back to the canvas.
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  #64  
Old 10-29-2009, 11:45 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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Cheese, Aycocks works are valuable as they promote form liberated (most of the time) from function. So she's a hair better than the architects and the landscape designers. There are plenty of her ilk out there doing business. But she's exhibiting no manual relationship to "her" materials. Seemingly never having spent any quality time with any big aluminum, stainless, grinders or cutting machines. She has spent much time with the engineers and braniacs...who made it all possible for her...the career, the "significance...the whole shabang. .
Seemingly ?? - why assume she has no relationship with the materiality of her sculptures? I don't know many artists who have had a career as long and significant as Aycocks who was uninformed about materials and processes.
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  #65  
Old 10-29-2009, 02:30 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Because the stuff SEEMS to have been made by other people (perhaps entire TEAMS of other people), But maybe I'm wrong...maybe she actually did make the stuff of her "career".
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  #66  
Old 11-09-2009, 11:38 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

In response to the original question of the topic, I'd have to say that meaning is always present in Art - whether given by it's creator or by the viewer (or both), meaning is what connects us and the viewer to what we make. There is, however, a distinction between the intent (or concept) behind the work and it's "meaning". As an example: I made some small pieces many years ago called the "Chair Series". This work was intended to have all "meaning" placed on it by the viewer. My personal thoughts behind each of the 7 pieces was inconsequential to the work. But if asked about it, I could speak to the concept (the idea) behind the work - Leaving the "meaning" of it to the viewer. I intentionally wanted the pieces to be vague in any specific purpose, I simply created small vignettes of people interacting with chairs and let the imagination of the viewer fill in all the blanks. This distinction between "meaning" and "intent" seem to be at the core of a lot of these types of discussions. Personally, I feel that an artist should have a grasp on why they create what they do (beyond "I like to make stuff"). An artist needs to be aware of the interaction between viewer and art. That's why we step back from our work - to see that all the elements are working together. We're putting ourselves in the eye of the viewer and seeing if it all makes sense. When it doesn't, we make corrections, but it's in that moment of stepping back that we are examining the "meaning" of the work. Are we communicating to the viewer? Is the work striking a chord within us (and therefor the viewer as well)? The specifics of the meaning are unimportant. Some of us have very specific things we want to communicate and others have more of a feeling. It's all communication, it's all meaning. For those artists who insist that their work is devoid of all meaning, then perhaps they don't understand themselves or give themselves enough credit - or perhaps somewhere in their past they got labeled and decided that nothing would ever be labeled again. It doesn't matter, we make things because we are communicating something from within ourselves (whether consciously or unconsciously). I do believe that we (like other communicators) should have an understandable meaning, and when that meaning is completely misunderstood, then that work has failed. If you wanted to make a work about anger (representational or abstract) and all the viewers saw it as a whimsical representation of laughter, then you've failed. There's nothing wrong with failure. We say things all the time that are misunderstood, but it's in the learning of what we said wrong that makes us say it right next time. Art fails all the time, but we somehow feel that it is infallible simply because it's art. Learn to say what you want through your art and don't be afraid to stutter along the way.
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  #67  
Old 11-09-2009, 11:45 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Just to make another quick distinction. When we make doodles or studies or bits of whatever - those are part of a larger process. Yes they are Art, but they are not infused with great meaning. Their"meaning", the thing they're communicating, is simply a look inside our process as creators. Some viewers will assign meaning to everything, but as the artist, it's our job to be clear about what we're communicating. In the case of a study or doodle, the communication is clear - it's much like the classical musician warming up before the big show, or working out the specifics of melody. We wouldn't listen to that and say "Wow!! How moving!!" it's simply a warmup. But we would however see into the process of that artist and perhaps gain some understanding into how and why it is that they do what they do, and therefor gain a greater appreciation of their work.
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  #68  
Old 11-09-2009, 12:03 PM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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When we make doodles or studies or bits of whatever - those are part of a larger process. Yes they are Art, but they are not infused with great meaning.
Wow. That easy? Art with a capital "A".
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  #69  
Old 12-04-2009, 05:38 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

Good thread.

As some contributors have suggested, there is a problem here with the notion of ‘fine art’ as well as the idea of ‘meaning’. As a concept ‘fine art’ seems to refer back to a time when art was created to express the feelings, sense of form, etc of an individual artist. It contrasted with ‘mass’ culture that was created, in a sense, anonymously, to satisfy the needs (aesthetic or otherwise) of a large audience. ‘Fine art’ is pre-pop art (when fine art and mass culture were merged). This is why Damien Hirst’s new paintings seem so odd: they are pre-1960s, and come from a tradition that emphasised the role of self-expression and the detailed, personal manipulation of material. By contrast, Hirst’s sculptural projects are anonymous, in a way that is very modern. This sculptural work is all concept, and is all ‘factory-made’, like much of Warhol’s work was. So, ‘fine art’ is really for artists who wish to place themselves outside the modern, post-60s agenda.

‘Meaning’ is part of this pre-60s agenda too: when art moved away from being ‘fine’ (al la Warhol) the artist as ‘event coordinator’ (al la Hirst) replaced the artist as guru. Artists now often reject attempts to assert a meaning in the work or produce work that can be read like this. Partly, I think this is because we have lost the old stable sense of selfhood we once had as we all now know just how fragile any perception of self, our selves or any human action is. The PERSONAL has been stripped from the centre of our individual universes by modern science (particularly biology and evolutionary theory/psychology) just as the earth was once relegated from the centre of the universe to an insignificant spot by one of a trillion suns. Asserting ‘meaning’ is now either just old-fashioned or foolish.
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  #70  
Old 12-04-2009, 07:30 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

What gets refferred-to as "fine art" has always simply been the art that is greater than function, better than utilitarian, more than just illustrative. The notion of an art being "finer" attempts to weed out the huge amounts of man-made "beauty" that over-ornaments, hyper-embellishes and generally slaves itself to embracing cultural excess.

In fact, when we have graduated to the degree that we are confident about what IS and what ISNT Art, we have no more use for the term "fine art". Because Art is "fine" and everything else that pretends to be fine is NOT.

The "meaning" of real Art is always the same, and the "meanings" of not-so-fine art will vary to serve a billion human functions (it, that unfine, might still be pretty... but it aint fine).

History has no bearing on the matter - as those primitives, though often in posession of some chops, mostly had underdeveloped graspings of just WHAT Art should or could be.
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  #71  
Old 12-04-2009, 08:41 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

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The PERSONAL has been stripped from the centre of our individual universes by modern science (particularly biology and evolutionary theory/psychology) just as the earth was once relegated from the centre of the universe to an insignificant spot by one of a trillion suns. Asserting ‘meaning’ is now either just old-fashioned or foolish.
sorry, friend, this is getting a bit whiny. Like you're complaining that there's no longer any taboo secret stuff, no scintillating mystery. There is still "personal", it does not blow the whole deal just because we have knowledge, a sharing.

I personally am a big fan of foolish, the extrication of useless dignity, better saved for a first date with foreign dignitaries, not as a steady diet.
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  #72  
Old 12-07-2009, 02:32 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

No whine intended. I am PERSONALLY a great fan of modern scientific theory, and the perspectives it is now offering on our actions and motivations. We do all live now, as individuals, with the knowledge that science has offered us about our ‘personal’ lives. Mythologies fall away, and one is the myth of ‘the human’. Everything we do now as individual human beings is also something we can allocate, as actions, to entirely non-personal causations. Even the idea of 'the personal’ can be seen as an evolutionary device. ‘Meaning’, like ‘personal’, may therefore be a complex of motivations engineered into us the foundations for which are not actually visible to us as personal agents. They may also have very little ‘individuality’ either, replicated as they will be across the race. That’s knowledge, that’s fine. But it does scupper casual conversations about what ‘meaning’ means – you may not actually know without being an evolutionary psychologist. That’s the state of things. YOU as an individual, as a person, can no longer determine what anything means. You just don't know enough, even about yourself.

Of course, you can exist completely within the myth of your selfhood. Many do it, in my experience.
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  #73  
Old 12-07-2009, 11:18 AM
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Re: "Meaning" what does that mean?

unencumbered by a decent rule book, we blithely, ignorantly, stumble forward, intentionally and unintentionally gathering moss. Some choose to stuff it in their ears. Others look up and wonder. occasionally something new happens from this uncoordinated effort. The lack of rule book is the blessing that makes it worthwhile.
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