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  #76  
Old 02-02-2006, 11:39 AM
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GWayne GWayne is offline
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Duchamp's philosophies about art provided the blueprint that future art movements would follow. There aren't any "definites" in art, it will always be an evolving and growing entity.

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  #77  
Old 02-03-2006, 03:05 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

I think this is important, GWayne - there are no definitives, although the individual human mind is constantly trying to set them. Hence 'taste', personal opinion, etc. Ian McEwan (British writer) once referred to personal opinion as the roll of the dice...
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  #78  
Old 02-05-2006, 12:57 PM
G. Murdoch G. Murdoch is offline
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Greetings all,

I've been following this thread for a while now and thought I may as well throw in my two cents. When I go to galleries that focus on contemporary art, I am often frustrated by what I see. There are a couple of well worn arguments that I am aware of that support a lot of this crap, the first being the 'same source' argument, ie; All products of the spirit of creative expression should legitimately be called art because they are products of the spirit of creative expression. So by this logic a cum stain is equal to a human child by virtue of the fact that they have the same source? The difference is obvious to anyone with a brain that while both are the products of sex, the child represents a level of commitment, sacrifice, time, energy, and love that are completely absent in the stain. Go to any contemporary gallery and you will see the visual art equivalent of cum stains sitting/hanging next to the visual art eqivalent of healthy, well loved children.

Next we have the "skill is irrelevant, the desire to communicate is all important' argument. So if I go down to the poetry cafe on open mike night, and a 'poet' takes the stage and mumbles incoherently, babbles, farts, yells, and drools, I am supposed to spend time and energy trying to decifer what deep and profound message they are communicating? Of course not! We expect our poets to be able to display a greater facility with language than a toddler. I can't know whether you have anything profound to say if you can't be bother to learn how to talk. Go to any contemporary gallery and you will see the visual art equivalent of incoherent mumbling sitting/hanging next to the visual art eqivalent of eloquent oratory.

There are more empty arguments supporting absolute bullshit art than I am willing to take on in one sitting. Anyway, off to the studio, there are 3 marble children in need of my care.

Graham
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  #79  
Old 02-06-2006, 06:00 PM
G. Murdoch G. Murdoch is offline
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Greetings all,

Today let us explore the 'art should challenge the viewer' argument. When my daughter was learning to talk, she clearly had a sincere desire to communicate, yet lacked the language skills to do so effectively. Very challenging, yet of course a very cute, humerous and worthwhile challenge.

When I was a teenager, I desperately craved attention, approval, reassurance, and love. I communicated this by telling people to "fuck off" and by wrecking stuff. Again, very challenging for my parents and teachers.

What little Shakespeare I have read has been extremely challenging. The summer before last I had the good fortune to watch a production of "A Mid Summer Night's Dream" Oh what wonders were revealed! Exploration of eternal and universal themes such as love, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, delivered by an unparalleled master of the language. Fantastic!

Now when I go to contemporary art galleries I am challenged by a lot of what I see. I simply don't assume that all challenges are Shakespearean challenges. A fair measure are "toddler" challenges. The majority are "teenager" challenges, for this is what is in vogue.

Graham
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  #80  
Old 02-07-2006, 03:10 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Dear Graham
How dissappointing you feel the need to call other artists work 'crap'. Perhaps it might be more helpful to say it was poorly executed/realised or that you didn't respond to it (obviously lots of other people do).

Anyway, thanks for the idea about the cum stain. I may well use it in my forthcoming exhibition - do you mind if I title it 'Graham' ?

James
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  #81  
Old 02-07-2006, 04:48 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

I think Graham's comments are dead on.

I appreciate his blunt perspective on the matter.

Although the thread has garnered really great discussion, there are no real 'critical pleasantries' necessary when calling 'crap' exactly what it is--
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  #82  
Old 02-07-2006, 05:50 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

I also think it’s a pity that the thread has arrived at cum stains and crap. But since it has arrived there, can I raise the work of the Italian, Piero Manzoni. Manzoni is a very interesting artist whose main representative body of work was created in the late 50s and early 60s – he died early, at age 29, around 63, I think. He preceded much of what was to become the pop art, performance art, and even conceptual art of the 60s, and I personally feel that Andy Warhol owes a lot to him. Manzoni appears to have reached a point, in the late 50s, when he felt that traditional means of expression were now inadequate for him to express how he felt about his experience and life. He moved from painting and traditional media to what we might call performance art, and even ‘installations’ of a kind. The new media that Manzoni used were in the tradition of Duchamp and the Dadaists – objects from real life. He produced hard boiled eggs, painted and signed them and invited people at his exhibitions to eat them! Art that really can be consumed! At other times he signed the bodies of visitors at exhibitions and called them his art objects! AND, then in 1961, his defining work: a sequence of cans of his own excreta. These cans predate Warhol’s interest in consumer culture very accurately – the cans were in an edition of 30, I think, numbered and exactly 30 grams in weight. They were labelled and offered for sale as both art objects and consumer items – mass produced cans and, er, mass produced art to suit the age. Yes, consumers bought **** and in response perhaps artists, to reflect such a culture, should produce **** too! Warhol went on to do something similar with Campbell soup cans, stressing the shallowness of a materialist consumer culture by accurately reproducing the STUFF that defined us. The Marilyn prints do something similar – the vivid trashy colour schemes and the flat, shallow image reminds us that this is not traditional portraiture, but a celluloid image, no more. So, my point - our own individual understanding of art, and reasons for our making it, may simply not be the same for others. Makers of art have a great variety of reasons for producing art – for some it is to delight, to make beautiful objects, for others – Manzoni or Warhol? – an expression of their alienation from the mores of the society they belonged to. Art as alienation – not pretty, but art nevertheless.
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  #83  
Old 02-07-2006, 08:01 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantab
I also think itís a pity that the thread has arrived at cum stains and crap.
Remember, the work in question is a URINAL, so in that context the cum stain analogy and "crap" statement do curiously seem to fit well into the discussion on this urinal!

I agree with Graham's sentiment on this, and his analogy is pretty good even if a bit crude, but he has a point there.
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  #84  
Old 02-07-2006, 07:12 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Greetings all,

James, fell free to entitle anything anyway you want with my blessings.

I am certainly not in favor of a central authority deciding what is /is not art, or what art is good / bad. However I am in favor of individual value judgements regarding these subjects, and would like to say that whenever an individual abdicates the right to call art bad or crap or whatever, that individual at the same time has abdicated the right to call art great, sublime, or masterful. You cannot simply eliminate half of the value judgement spectrum.

Graham
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  #85  
Old 02-08-2006, 02:00 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Well, yes, Graham, and no. Any valid ‘judgement spectrum’ (nice phrase, by the way) needs to be based on a valid knowledge base. How many of the artists you condemn here do you really know anything about? Be careful that you don’t become one of the reactionaries of the age, like those who originally rejected Impressionism, Cubism, Fauvism and, well, just about every other innovative movement in modern art history. Take an INTEREST in the work of the art community, after that, if you must, get out your judgement spectrum.
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  #86  
Old 02-08-2006, 03:31 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Hi Graham - thanks for the permission I'll let you know how the work 'cums' along (pun intended)
Seriously though, you're wrong - you don't have the right to denigrate other artists efforts or to use derogatory terms such as 'bad' or 'crap'. Its just not necessary. When you view a work that doesn't appeal to you try using 'I' statements eg 'I fail to find meaning in that work' or 'I just don't relate to that' etc, That way you state your feelings without putting other artists down. Obviously there is a broad range of artistic styles and practices in our community - lets celebrate our diversity. Surely theres room for us all.

I yearn for a sculpture community where we support & encourage each other in our own individual artistic journeys which ever path we choose.

Am I in the wrong place?
James
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  #87  
Old 02-08-2006, 08:48 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Quote:
Seriously though, you're wrong - you don't have the right to denigrate other artists efforts or to use derogatory terms such as 'bad' or 'crap'. Its just not necessary. When you view a work that doesn't appeal to you try using 'I' statements eg 'I fail to find meaning in that work' or 'I just don't relate to that' etc, That way you state your feelings without putting other artists down. Obviously there is a broad range of artistic styles and practices in our community - lets celebrate our diversity. Surely theres room for us all.

I yearn for a sculpture community where we support & encourage each other in our own individual artistic journeys which ever path we choose.

Am I in the wrong place?

Yes, you are in the wrong place...at least mentally. Lets celebrate open mindedness and the freedom to express opinions and art in any manner we chose. I can't believe that you do not want to face the fact that there is a wide range of accomplishment in art, from great to crappy, and that you want to limit discussion and even choice of words . Why encourage an individual's worst efforts and ideas ? Maybe be being always supportive and encouraging is not the best path. The truth can liberate.
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  #88  
Old 02-08-2006, 10:01 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

What is my point of view on this ?

I would not condemn contemporary art a fraud. Fraud is too loaded a word, and this is too blanket a statement.

I give my respect to artists who take and work on their art seriously what ever their style. Not if they take it frivolously of course. I hope this should be the attitude of all of us.

But I have to say contemporary art is not my cup of tea. I do not enjoy nor go for many of such styles of work. At the same time, having an open mind, I do not reject them outright, as I may take elements of it into parts of my work if they help the overall effect. Already I am doing this in my current works.
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Last edited by Merlion : 02-08-2006 at 10:07 AM.
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  #89  
Old 02-08-2006, 01:00 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Graham's comments about certain works being "crap" etc may be crude, but people should remember that the comment is his to make and his his opinion just as our opinions are ours to make.

We all have our own preferences and tastes, the biggest test of all I think is, if you saw a particular work in a store or gallery would you BUY it if the price was within your means and you felt you could spend it for this.

Obviously someone is not going to buy or even take free something they don't like or consider to be "crap", the difference is- is the work something you MUST have (means you really like it) or would like to have (means you think it's nice and might look good in a corner of your livingroom or garden), or is it something that if the former owner of your house left this behind would it win up in the garbage along with the broken shades and empty paint cans also left behind?

In my own case, I would and have, spent $1200 on an architectural sculpture, and in the past- early 80's I bought several others for $1800, $1500 and $800 and believe me- that was a LOT of money for me at a time when I was taking home MAYBE $250 a week and was paying a significant chunk- $361 then $656 in rent, but I really REALLY wanted the pieces and I sold other things and also made payments on the ones I wanted every payday for quite some time to acquire them.

If presented with contemporary sculpture, or that urinal, I wouldn't devote the floor space to them in my house let alone pay money for them. Of course I have my opinions on modern, abstract, contemporary, impressionist, cubist and all the rest and I don't like those styles. While I don't like those styles and I have negative opinions on them, I certainly can appreciate the work that goes into say, fabricating a 10 ton steel abstract or that steel house in Texas. If the person making the abstract or the house came to me and asked; "Randall, what do you think, tell me?"
I'd be 100% honest about how I FEEL about it since the person asked me how *I* feel, I may not like the piece but I certainly would support or encourage them as a friend.

Conversely they may hate my architectural pieces, not everyone likes them, victorian or Art Deco, while I am of the mind that if I had a huge bank account ala Bill Gates maybe, my house would be a very large 100% victorian gothic styled affair with stained glass windows, gothic furniture, bronzes, marble sculpture and so on. Sell me something like a big gothic church to dismantle lock stock and barrel and move onto about 1,000 acres of land and I'd be happy as a bug in a rug. That's all me, but you won't find many like that.
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  #90  
Old 02-08-2006, 02:33 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landseer
If presented with contemporary sculpture, or that urinal, I wouldn't devote the floor space to them in my house let alone pay money for them.
Of course, very little modern art is made for home display or decoration. I cannot think of any serious, radical modern art that sees itself in this light. It would be absurd to imagine even Duchamp devotees having the urinal ('Fountain') on the wall by the dining table.... well, except as a kind of post modern challenge to the middle class status quo. But, even then....

Last edited by Cantab : 02-08-2006 at 02:36 PM.
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  #91  
Old 02-08-2006, 02:38 PM
G. Murdoch G. Murdoch is offline
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Greetings all,

My, things are heating up a bit, eh? I consciously chose to use the vehicle of analogy to make what I consider to be a valid point: There are serious logical and structural flaws in many of the arguments used to defend / validate / explain contemporary art. I chose to use analogy specifically to avoid citing any artist or artwork. I do not give negative reviews to individual art or artists simply because my mom told me "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." However, analogy allows us to speak our minds (especially when my opinion isn't popular or pretty) without getting personal.

Let me frame things thus: At one extreme is the idea of an individual or group with the authority to decide what is / is not art, and what art is good / bad, based on objective standards. I find this idea both ludicrous and odious.

At the other extreme is the idea that there are no standards at all, therefore anyone can do anything and call it art, even great art, and no one can say anything contrary. I find this idea ludicrous and odious as well.

Therefore I am in favor of each individual deciding for themselves what art is, and furthermore what great art is, by applying their own standards. I may have different standards than you. So be it. As was noted earlier, I am in favor of diversity of both art and opinion. What I dislike is both artwork and opinion which seems to emanate from the "no standards at all" extreme.

Graham
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  #92  
Old 02-08-2006, 06:18 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantab
Of course, very little modern art is made for home display or decoration. I cannot think of any serious, radical modern art that sees itself in this light. It would be absurd to imagine even Duchamp devotees having the urinal ('Fountain') on the wall by the dining table.... well, except as a kind of post modern challenge to the middle class status quo. But, even then....
You might be right about sculpture with most people anyway, though plenty of modern houses have this kind of art in the form of paintings, maybe an abstract painting on the wall behind the sofa, possibly a small sculpture in the corner, so then where does all the rest GO?
You haven't seen MY livingroom or front parlor I guess, here's a view from one to the other which should give you a clue how totally different my tastes run from probably anyone you ever met, long way to go but it's getting there.
That's a solid walnut gothic styled pet gate I designed and built from scraps at the shop, doorway framed with two 1856 cast iron salvaged brackets, the oak trim I did, the model building on the left I am working on finishing, and the gothic styled organ facade in the background I also designed and built in the woodshop- it hides the salvaged church organ in the room behind it. Can't see but a slight sliver on the left by the pet gate- the side of a gothic styled bookcase I designed and built from oak.

Obviously nothing but gothic or victorian would look right in either room.

Last edited by Landseer : 02-08-2006 at 06:27 PM.
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  #93  
Old 02-08-2006, 06:31 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Good way of discerning those issues Grahama, the two extremes, and I also don't care for the "anything goes" as art, can someone drop a used kleenex on the floor and call that improptu soft art?
Can I buy a shop vac, strap a worklight on the side and call THAT art?
By the dictionary definition of "art" - manipulation of materials- I guess you could, but if so then everything ever made or altered would be classified as "art"
You could scround the scrap pile for a piece of used steel "I" beam and call that art, buy a can of soup and call the can art, where does it end?
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  #94  
Old 02-09-2006, 12:30 PM
G. Murdoch G. Murdoch is offline
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Landseer, well said. Indeed, where does it end? I mentioned earlier the importance of individual standards. Here is a quick sketch of how I see it: There is an ideal, the good, the true, and the beautiful; a group of trees on a hillside, a nursing mother & child, Michaelangelo's sculptures, Tiepolo's paintings. These and many other things I call the good the true, and the beautiful. Although much has been said and written about all of these, none of it is neccessary. The good, the true, and the beautiful have nothing to hide, nothing to fear, and require no justification, explanation, rationalization, or justification. Thier virtue is apparent and unassailable.

In my opinion, whenever anything, art or otherwise, needs to be validated, explained, and justified, chances are that thing /event/personal choice/artwork is straying from the ideal of good, true, and beautiful. Indeed this is the standard by which I judge, not only artwork, but my own choices in life. Whenever I am faced with the dilemna of indecision regarding personal choices, the quietest voice, the whispering of my heart's truest desire, often the most difficult, requiring the most courage and sacrifice, this is the right thing to do. Whenever I chose an option other than the "right thing to do", I find myself engaged in intense rationalization and justification.

So I believe that in both art and life, I am free to choose the good, the true, and the beautiful, or I can spend my time rationalizing every other option.

Graham
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  #95  
Old 02-09-2006, 08:34 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Here is what Dictionary.com shows for "art", the applicable portions are included below:

Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.

The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.

The study of these activities.

1. The product of these activities; human works of beauty considered as a group.
2. High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value.

======

Who/how do we define "beauty" if beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.

This could be applied to anything! A garbage dump could even be included under this because it is a human effort to alter or counteract the work of nature ( a bare field) building a dam over a river alters the river, is the dam art just because it alters or counteracts the work of nature (the river and canyon)?
If the dam has fancy concrete work or a painted billboard across it, does it then become art somehow?

Last edited by Landseer : 02-09-2006 at 08:40 PM.
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  #96  
Old 02-10-2006, 02:56 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Hi guys
I found some quotes that I thought you might find useful to support your arguments. You're welcome to use them in future discussions if you like.

"Art that cannot rely on the joyous, heartfelt assent of the broad and healthy mass of people, but depends on tiny cliques that are self interested and blase by turns is intolerable."

"The artist does not create for the artist. He creates for the people....the people will be called in to judge its art"

"This has nothing at all to do with the suppression of artistic freedom and modern progress"

OOOPS! Sorry I forgot to attribute the quotes. The first two are from Adolf Hitler and the third is Joseph Gobbels. They also had another idea you might like to borrow - "Right from the start the Nationalist Socialists began to stage .... exhibitions of the most blatant examples of bad modern art"(Poster for the degenerate art exhibition).
Indeed, 'Where will it end?
James
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  #97  
Old 02-10-2006, 08:50 AM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

Thanks for illustrating the problem, James. The art world is so averse to passing qualitative judgments that those who simpley endorse the idea are called Nazis.

I've always thought that the rebellious, outsider types would love a stricter construction of what constitutes good art. That way, they'd have something to react against and quite possibly, the world would come to have a higher understand not only of what constitutes art but what constitutes life as well. But in it's current state, art barely even exists. If everything is art, then nothing is art. Philo 101.

Personally, I've been grateful for the times I've reacted negatively to a work. During college, I had a prof bring a book about David Nash to class. There was one sculpture of his in particular, a chainsaw carved cube, that I disdained. I said, "this is what a sculpture looks like BEFORE the artist gets to it." But the longer I looked, the more I came to understand and appreciate. Now, he is one of my favorite artists and that particular book is part of my collection. It was my initial judgment that forced me to confront the work and that judgment is now altered. When students are taught that everything is valid and critical thinking/looking are blase, they are taught not to see. The result is a generation of sheep who glorify art but don't bother to look too closely.

It's a pet idea of mine that in order for the world to properly function, we all need to play our parts. Even if I disagree with Graham and Landseer, I'm glad they're out there openly advocating for their position, just as I appreciate the avante-garde who openly argue that they are outdated and irrelevant in our modern time. But arguing that Graham and Landseer (and those like them) have no place in the discussion at all is what I have a problem with.
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  #98  
Old 02-10-2006, 12:55 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

I actually agree with you sculpturesam.
All I'm saying is to label one particular genre of art practice as a 'fraud', 'crap' or 'bad' is not OK. There are plenty of other adjectives or descriptors in our vocabulary to use which would contribute to a more constructive discussion.
And don't get me wrong - I've seen plenty of contemporary works that to my eyes appear poorly concieved or not well executed or that on a gut level I simply don't relate or respond to. Just as I've seen more traditional sculpture carved in wood, stone or marble that also are poorly executed etc. But I defend the right to creative freedom for us all.
I also defend the right of those whose views differ from mine to express them (but I will challenge them).
Clearly for me to say that all traditional sculpture is bad would be a non-sense. Conversely to say all contemporary art is bad is equally non-sensical.
Qualitative judgement is vital - broad sterotyping of an entire art movement is not OK. Graham,Landseers views are welcome but I'll challenge them. Maybe we could all do this over a beer sometime. James
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Old 02-10-2006, 02:40 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

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Originally Posted by JamesW
Maybe we could all do this over a beer sometime. James
How about your place? I'm tired of the snow.
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  #100  
Old 02-10-2006, 04:05 PM
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Re: Is contemporary art a fraud?

No worries - its 8am & 26 degrees C here in Brisbane. I'll tell you what if you make it here it's my shout. James
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