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  #76  
Old 04-21-2008, 06:41 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

My point on post 67:
“The indentifiable mark of the individual. Have you ever heard of a great poet who came up with the idea and then got someone else to write the poem?!. Strip poetry of the writer’s individuality in style and manipulation of the language, and the work gutters. My objection to Quinn's work has fundamentally been that, in execution, his work fails to offer not only what every good poet will offer (a stylistic lexicon) but what every good artist I have come across also does”.

Cheesepaws answer in post 68:
“The literary parallel is a simple one – a poet who asks someone else to type up his work - or perhaps more directly related to Quinn’s work - the poet who types up his poem and asks someone else to re-write it by hand. The creative spark, design, and conceptual ownership resides with Quinn regardless of how or whom is “re-penning” his sculptures”.


Now, Cheesepaws, we catch you not even understanding what PROCESS is. What an astonishing answer. Let me take you through what the poet’s PROCESS is first. When a poet sits down to write a poem the MEDIUM is words. In the creation of the poem the poet works on a variety of things - the choice of vocabulary; the syntax, the line length and scansion, the rhythms, the rhyme, alliteration, assonance, repetition of phrasing, sound effects, etc, etc. This is the poet’s craft, without which it is IMPOSSIBLE for the poet to actually write a poem. He NOT ONLY has to come up with an initial idea/emotion for the poem, but he HAS to be able to master the techniques of poetry writing. He CANNOT ask someone else to write the poem for him because the poem IS what he writes, as he uses the skills he has in relation to his own motivation and personality. Anyone else writing the poem for him would be writing a DIFFERENT poem, from his/her perspective and with a different range of technical skills. You CANNOT separate the writing of the poem from the IDEA. No poet would do it or COULD do it. It’s HIS poem, written by him, or it’s someone else’s. This is the PROCESS, and it is the same for sculptors. A mature sculptor comes to the work with a range of developed skills, and a stylistic lexicon (a set of personal technical choices and a range of certain techniques) and this range of skills allows the sculptor to create a precise set of effects for a viewer that offers a unique vision of, well, whatever he sets out to convey.

This craft of writing, which seems to be invisible to you, is, then, the same with carving the sculpture. Your reference to how the typing up of the poem is the equivalent of the sculptors carving the sculpture is nothing short of pleurile. The typing is nothing to do with the craft of poetry, as the long tradition of oral poetry back to Homer is proof. (Typing up is part of the PUBLICATION process). For you to compare the process of carving to the mindless process of typing is only evidence of your complete inability to understand what PROCESS is.

As for how the "creative spark" is still Quinn's even if someone else does the work. Again, you don't get it. Poet's have a creative spark too, but if they don't have the skills to write the poem then THERE CAN BE NO POEM.

Last edited by Cantab : 04-21-2008 at 06:52 AM.
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  #77  
Old 04-21-2008, 09:36 AM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Cantab, I noted the same thing you did in regard to the comparison.
If anything, I'd compare the spark and process to a speechwriter and the orator. The completion is the delivery of the speech to the ears of many. There is the potential to diminish or intensify (or some other good word-- I'm not a speech writer) the final product in the execution.
There's a collaboration and community in this type of work, and hopefully you've been particular about your team or family members. Unless you're a true taskmaster, you've considered the personality of the members in your choices. Their contributions become part of the process. If you have a specific vision that is difficult to relate for a successful execution, then the integrity of the work may indeed suffer at the hands of people who "don't get it".
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  #78  
Old 04-21-2008, 09:37 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Cantab,

Not to undermine your diatribe, but please re-read what you quoted from my post on poetry and typing. It is clear in my example that the typing occurs AFTER the poem is written. It is the mechanical execution or reproduction of the poet’s creation. At no point do I state that some hypothetical typist writes a poem – start to finish – on behalf of a poet.

Just as “typing up is part of the PUBLICATION process” - fabrication is part of the sculpting process. You may disagree with me…and a huge number of sculptors, gallerists, curators, critics and historians…but having a machine carve work or hiring artisans to execute one’s design IS accepted as contemporary sculpting PROCESS.

I find you are still making the potentially flawed assumption that Quinn can’t sculpt simply because he chooses to hire out his carving. Why not give him the benefit of the doubt? For better or worse, I see no evidence that he is not getting EXACTLY the results he desires from his process.

Additionally, and perhaps slightly off topic, are you aware of Flarf poetry. Essentially it is computer-generated wordsmithing (not dissimilar from some Dadaist works). Some scholars (and working poets) are taking it quite seriously. The absolutes you put forth regarding the writing process are, perhaps, not so concrete. My point? Young minds, new ideas….where’s the harm? Be open to new methods of creating.

Lastly, given the great potential or misunderstanding without the benefit of body language and vocal intonation, I work very hard to respond on forums in a manner that suggests respect for disagreement. I am all for a “heated” debate, but some of your comments in your last response approach what I find to be personally insulting. For example:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantab View Post
This craft of writing, which seems to be invisible to you, is, then, the same with carving the sculpture. Your reference to how the typing up of the poem is the equivalent of the sculptors carving the sculpture is nothing short of pleurile. The typing is nothing to do with the craft of poetry, as the long tradition of oral poetry back to Homer is proof. (Typing up is part of the PUBLICATION process). For you to compare the process of carving to the mindless process of typing is only evidence of your complete inability to understand what PROCESS is.
I hope we can keep to the issue without debasing each other’s intellect and agree to disagree politely. If not, then I guess our conversation is over.

Cheers
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  #79  
Old 04-21-2008, 09:56 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

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Originally Posted by grommet View Post
If anything, I'd compare the spark and process to a speechwriter and the orator. The completion is the delivery of the speech to the ears of many. There is the potential to diminish or intensify (or some other good word-- I'm not a speech writer) the final product in the execution.
There's a collaboration and community in this type of work, and hopefully you've been particular about your team or family members. Unless you're a true taskmaster, you've considered the personality of the members in your choices. Their contributions become part of the process. If you have a specific vision that is difficult to relate for a successful execution, then the integrity of the work may indeed suffer at the hands of people who "don't get it".
I agree completely with you...but you cannot assume that the artists who job-out their sculpting find the influence of “other hands” in their work undesirable. I am reminded of Gormley’s Field for the British Isles which relied heavily on volunteer help to craft the work. Even though the creation of the individual figures had parameters for creation issued by the artists, Gormley expected (and I suspect desired) variations at the hands individual makers.
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  #80  
Old 04-21-2008, 10:30 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Re Post 78. Well, I can see YOUR technique now, Cheesepaws. You are now into heavy self-justification. Do you think you can avoid what you said by revising it when it turns out to be foolishness? Earlier in the thread you referred to the issue of lying – if you want a real conversation, commit to what you say.

As for Gormley's 'Field', that's community art and is, in the main, conceptual, just as Hirst's work is. We're taking PROCESS. You still don't get it....
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  #81  
Old 04-21-2008, 10:50 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

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Originally Posted by cheesepaws View Post
I agree completely with you...but you cannot assume that the artists who job-out their sculpting find the influence of “other hands” in their work undesirable. I am reminded of Gormley’s Field for the British Isles which relied heavily on volunteer help to craft the work. Even though the creation of the individual figures had parameters for creation issued by the artists, Gormley expected (and I suspect desired) variations at the hands individual makers.
Quote:
...you've considered the personality of the members in your choices. Their contributions become part of the process.
please note I did not suggest it was undesirable. I suggested you consider the attributes of the orchestra, the artisans, the orator. Choose them for what they bring to the party, or play to their strengths, your choice.
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  #82  
Old 04-21-2008, 10:59 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

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Originally Posted by grommet View Post
please note I did not suggest it was undesirable. I suggested you consider the attributes of the orchestra, the artisans, the orator. Choose them for what they bring to the party, or play to their strengths, your choice.
Thanks for the non-hostile clarification.

Perhaps this point is where Cantab and I are crossing wires. I think Quinn is choosing and managing his "family" of makers with great care and getting exactly the results he expected.
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  #83  
Old 04-21-2008, 11:06 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

no reason to be hostile, you were just coloring a shape i didn't draw. I think it was a ring from my coffee cup.
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  #84  
Old 04-21-2008, 11:14 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Cheesepaws - "I think Quinn is choosing and managing his "family" of makers with great care and getting exactly the results he expected."

This is purely conceptual then. No artist with a sense of the meaning and value of the process of sculpting sets out to get "exactly the results he expected". If that is all he wishes, then he CAN farm it out to just anybody. You have reduced the process of making to nothing. In fact, I continue to suspect that you have no sense of what the creative process in making a piece involves.
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  #85  
Old 04-21-2008, 11:44 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

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In fact, I continue to suspect that you have no sense of what the creative process in making a piece involves.
Perhaps, but I tend to think we just have different takes on process.
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  #86  
Old 04-21-2008, 11:48 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

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Originally Posted by Cantab View Post
You have reduced the process of making to nothing.
It does beg the question, at what point exactly does the farming out of work cause a collapse and or failure in the end result?

As a hypothetical; Let's say Quinn simply told his carvers "I need a bunch of foetuses". Is that enough to qualify the result as his art intended without so much as a rough sketch? To say that farming out work is considered accepted in the contemporary process of sculpting, while true in many circles, does not mean that a blank check should be written for those who do absolutely nothing to contribute to the work itself other than sign it.

Michelangelo worked directly with and trained his own carvers and oversaw them with meticulous attention to detail and this is fairly well documented despite none of us ever having been there to witness it first hand.. The results also seem to indicate this as being true.

Frank Lloyd Wright never so much as pounded a nail in a door frame, but he did provide extremely detailed blue-prints and oversaw construction directly etc..

John Milton was blind when he wrote Paradise Lost and had his daughter write the epic down for him (they didn't have typewriters), yet the work is unmistakeably his and not his daughters.

I don't know what level of participation Quinn had in this work, whether he sat it out from Starbucks or had the mask on right next to the carvers and chipped away along side of them, but I am curious if not skeptical..

If nothing else I imagine he'd feel quite flattered having the work discussed with this level of intensity.
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  #87  
Old 04-21-2008, 11:49 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Isn't that what Bernini did....design works that he had others produce under his direction, while he personally worked on the elements or projects most meaningful to him?

Ultimately, a person who works in this manner is respondible for the final result. If he is disatisfied with what his hired hands have wrought, he may rework it as desired. If the work ends up lacking the artistic character you prefer, it is the fault of the artist's lack of concern (either to correct the work or develop needed skills to do so) more than of the process itself.

Thus far I have handworked every cast or carved sculpture and painting, because I do not choose to rely on others to be able to interpret my vision. Yet I would do so if the logistics of a project demanded it, and in such a case seek out the best talent to do the necessary work, and adjust the work as needed. I don't see that scenario as lacking any honesty or value in the process.
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  #88  
Old 04-21-2008, 11:54 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Quote:
If nothing else I imagine he'd feel quite flattered having the work discussed with this level of intensity.
Well maybe. Perhaps he is concerned about meaning, and the cerebral/visual impact that hasn't been discussed at all. He may be thinking "What a bunch of dorks!"
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  #89  
Old 04-21-2008, 12:01 PM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

I tried the cerebral view in my first posts-- that's what I was getting at. I got crickets & a brief cryptic comment from Merlion. Y'all were out to lunch, I guess.
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  #90  
Old 04-21-2008, 12:06 PM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Well, there's always that too Joe.

I suppose if I could afford to hire a bunch of guys to build me whatever I wanted I'd do it, of course I'd hire naked supermodels first and probably have them build me sand castles on my private island in the Bahamas.

(livin the dream)..
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  #91  
Old 04-21-2008, 12:12 PM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

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I suppose if I could afford to hire a bunch of guys to build me whatever I wanted I'd do it, of course I'd hire naked supermodels first and probably have them build me sand castles on my private island in the Bahamas
Oh sorry dude. I didn't know you were into the super model hunky thing.I thought you were into women.
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  #92  
Old 04-21-2008, 12:17 PM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

I am, but they can't be bought..
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  #93  
Old 04-21-2008, 12:35 PM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been using this discussion of authorship in one of my sculpture classes (an intro-level). Last week one of the students asked if it would be permissible to job-out one of his projects. That got the entire class in an uproar! Frankly, regardless of how counterintuitive it may seem in terms of instruction, I’m pretty sure I would approve – if only to reward the sheer balls to put forth the idea! We discussed the differences between hiring a fellow student with no art background to do the work verses a student who had taken the class before verses a professional fabricator. The sheer volume of information that must be communicated in order to retain control over the final product had their heads spinning. It was a great discussion and really got us all thinking about how varied and fluid creativity and its processes can be.

Although typically out of my financial means, I have come close to jobbing out work myself. The one time I could cover the cost I backed out at the last minute because of a slight glitch in communication with the fabricator. It was a minor thing, but enough for me to bag the idea rather than risk my efforts and monies on something that wasn’t right. I imagine Quinn is pretty particular about who he commissions to fabricate his work and that communication between all parties is intense and frequent.
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  #94  
Old 04-22-2008, 04:52 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Let’s separate out one or two things here.

First of all, the artist who farms out some of the work. If we take someone like Damien Hirst - he gets technicians to make his boxes, insulate them, fill them with formaldehyde and manage the interiors. His work is conceptual. Carl Andre didn’t make those bricks! His work is conceptual. Donald Judd gets a factory to make his metal boxes. It’s conceptual. For me there is no problem with farming out work to technicians, when the work is conceptual. (And I should say, I regard Judd as one of the finest artists of the modernist period). None of these artists are involved in the process of ‘sculpting’.

The use of assistants and other craftsmen. Michelangelo insisted in being skilled in everything. You may know that he refused the Bologna bronze for Pope Julius because he didn’t have the skills in bronze casting and argued the same case with painting the Sistine Chapel – I’m a sculptor, he argued. If he couldn’t make it himself he didn’t want to do it. Now, I know that when he was working in Bologna he had two assistants working for him. However, they were in fact more experienced sculptors that he himself was, and were rather put out by the fact that Michelangelo used them for menial work. This use of assistants parallels the more modern use someone like Henry Moore puts his assistants to. Moore farmed out the menial work too. But he was very particular about laying the hand of the artist upon the work – he carried out the final sculpting - the making.

The making. Moore was a man who loved the process of sculpting, like Michelangelo. But like many modern artists, he sees the creation of an abstract sculpture as a kind of evolutionary process. Apparently he would make two or three maquettes, often finishing with a full scale one, and then make the final piece. Moore once said that each maquette was different to the preceding ones, as they helped him to develop the idea, the form, and he pointed out that the final work would be different again, as both the IDEA and the FORM took shape in the actual act of creation. Look also at Michelangelo’s astonishing final expressionist Mother and Christ. These are artists for whom the SCULPTING is the creative act, not the idea. Like the poets I have referred to, you cannot separate IDEA and MAKING in their work. They are not conceptual artists.

Farming out WHOLE PIECES of sculpture. You can see how Moore cannot farm out a whole piece, because the piece is the result of a process of creation. He can farm out some of the menial work – the stripping away of the ton of excess stone, for instance, or he can farm out the polishing process. But he cannot farm out the creative engagement with the work. That’s daft.

The craft workshop/artists commercial studio. Prior to the 20th century most artists studios had a commercial element to them. Studios such as these were carrying out work for employers (clients), and some of the work they produced for these clients they no doubt regarded as ‘potboilers’ and mundane carving. I see no obligation for a studio to not have an assistant do all the work in these circumstances, when the work is essentially commercial. However, this is very different from a Moore studio, a Hepworth studio or a Michelangelo studio – these are dedicated artists who are producing work the actual SCULPTING of which cannot be farmed out. Their commitment to process is part of the work, and the assistants work in subservience to this essential fact.

So, given the above, where does Quinn’s work sit?
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:34 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Quote:
So, given the above, where does Quinn’s work sit?
Why care? The end result is the statement. I hear a song. Do I ask how many musicians were really involved? Could be one person playing all the "instruments" and using tape loops. Could be using a drum machine or synth. Could be using hired studio musicians who show up for just the recording session and not part of the band. The musicians individually contribute to the original piece and change it. Maybe they improvised, got "lucky" and it will never sound the same again. Could be 10 different takes spliced together. Maybe it's an emotional piece that will be interpreted differently every time its played because emotions are not constant. Who cares? You like the song or don't. How can you hear it if non musical analytical/critical thoughts take you away from the sound? How can you feel it with your mind? Like Louis Armstrong said, "If I've got to explain jazz music, you ain't never gonna get it".

So where does Quinn's work sit? Same place no matter who/how it was made. It just sits.
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  #96  
Old 04-22-2008, 10:17 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

Continuing with the rare phenonema of my agreeing with jOe, a further analogy can be seen if Quinn's work were buried and rediscovered 1000 years later, author of the work unknown. People of that day, having no clue beyond their contemporary scholarly research, would see the sculpture as an object related to whatever historical context they happened to be aware of.
Perhaps there would be little or none at all, and then they would be appreciating it as pure form, free to interpret and enjoy as they wished.

That is close to how I view the art. I have initial impressions based on the form, the idea, the expression of the idea, and how it relates to my understanding of art, and my life experiences. I don't examine the surfaces as telling me a story about the skill level and traditions of 20th century stone carvers.

I do see how one could be informed of and have their perspective colored by such information. In fact, when I look at bronze surfaces and the details favored by many contemporary figurative bronze sculptors, I often am disappointed by the amount of attention given to smooth surface finishes and overly articulated secondary detail, over the more foundational neccessities such as form, composition, harmony, rythmn, etc.

Still, whether the artist or the artist's helpers are responsible for the output, I am responding to the final product and the process that got it there, but not concerned about whose hands did what. It is still the artist whose name appears on the work who is responsible for the result. Were that not so, the helper's name would appear on the signiature as well. If helper #71 is a master of smooth surfaces and was hired to work his magic over the piece, the artist is the one who decided that smooth surfaces were the way to go.

I do agree with Cantab's voiced or unvoiced concern that this methodology is currently resulting in works that loose the vigour of soul expression that is found in works where the artists do all or most of the work by themselves. I attribute that more to the culture and values that we live in than the process, however.
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  #97  
Old 04-22-2008, 10:52 AM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

i think i understand where everybody is coming from with there different takes on all the art discussion. and i am open to the idea that my mind can be changed but i am having a hard time getting over the blood head thing in a thousand years all that would be left is a stain in the bottom of some ancient freezer.
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  #98  
Old 04-22-2008, 09:44 PM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

The biggest problem is that the artist is cheating himself; denying himself advancement, preventing self-furtherance - and only-thinking cannot ever be enough. Ideas cannot ever be enough, the communication to your descendants cannot be enough, no legacy will be enough. None of that should be enough for any kind of artist, let alone a professed manipulator of matter. Besides, the Disney prop shop will always be able to kick his ass...unless, of course, he hires THEM to make his stuff. These types of "artists" know all this...they just dont care. They have their version of success, they do not feel the need to become better human individuals.
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Old 04-23-2008, 12:10 PM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

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Originally Posted by evaldart View Post
The biggest problem is that the artist is cheating himself; denying himself advancement, preventing self-furtherance - and only-thinking cannot ever be enough. Ideas cannot ever be enough, the communication to your descendants cannot be enough, no legacy will be enough. None of that should be enough for any kind of artist, let alone a professed manipulator of matter. Besides, the Disney prop shop will always be able to kick his ass...unless, of course, he hires THEM to make his stuff. These types of "artists" know all this...they just dont care. They have their version of success, they do not feel the need to become better human individuals.
I swear to you I am not looking for a fight here, but your comments seem filled with assumptions about the intentions and sincerity of the artist. Why the severely judgmental and self-righteous slight on the integrity of Quinn’s very humanity?

You may measure your personal successes against some (intangible) aesthetic studio experience – but to imply that this highly regarded, highly skilled sculptor is anything less than sincere in his creative efforts strikes me as rather bias. You may fantasize that Quinn is sitting in his London flat sipping Cristal from the belly buttons supermodels while poorly trained artisans are chipping out his work in Italy – but that kind of fabrication is rife with bitter assumptions about the man’s integrity. Where is the benefit of the doubt? I don’t know of ANY artists who think money, fame and a team of 300 assistants are the end goal.

Like the work or don’t – second guessing the intentions and character of the artist has nothing to do with it.
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:20 PM
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Re: Marc Quinn's foetus sculptures

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Originally Posted by cheesepaws View Post
Where is the benefit of the doubt?
In the bellybutton of one of the Supermodels?

(duck, run and zig-zag)
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