PREPARATION FOR THE AFFINITY MEETING
FEBRUARY 4 (SATURDAY), 2017 AT NOON, Galley 422 (brown bag lunch)
The following submitted questions and statements are for our consideration as we prepare for our Affinity discussion. The Affinity meeting is designed for the artists represented by Haley-Henman, but it is an open to all.
Midge Lynn: How does the developing/growing social media affect your work? How can you use it to your advantage?
- Why keep art only as a creation of objects (sculpture, paintings, prints…) Why not create daring art inventions–art experiences with human relationships?
- Does art need to be recorded and be made public (photos, museums, movies, poetry, dance, performances) or can art be secret?
- Can we make our personal life as Art?
- The financial aspects of contemporary art are having positive and negative impacts on the art of our century, in what ways do you see these influences in your artwork?
- Should art always create joy?
How does the 21st century artist see her/himself differently from 20th century artists such as Ernst, Giacommetti, Brancusi, Picasso, Lipschitz, the Abstract Expressionists, Art Informel proponents and even the likes of Judd and Kelly? In the main these artists apparently sought out connection with the universal imagination or the Unconscious. Is there presently, a different consensus, articulated or otherwise, on the intention of art?
Are contemporary arts drawn forward on the wave of the zeitgeist of the moment with any awareness of its nature? Are guidelines on such matters as the juxtaposition of colors, composition and the notion of conveying a message disregarded or simply under the hand of different masters? Is there a different relationship with the art historical tradition?
How about a question from John Berger. He recently passed. He wrote the art text, Ways of Seeing. In his book, and I speak in general terms, it might seem that “looking” and “seeing” are synonyms, are interchangeable terms to describe one’s perception by the eye. But when it comes to art, the two words could not be more different. To look at something is to glance at it, to notice a few details here and there; in other words looking at something is superficial.
Seeing a work of art, on the other hand, as Berger implies, means not just to observe it, but also to understand it, to go beyond the surface and delve into a world nonexistent to the “looking” eye. As the title of his book denotes, John Berger has mastered this art of seeing, so to speak, and goes to great lengths to describe not only how seeing has evolved throughout the years, but also the nature in which certain subjects (primarily women) are seen in the art world.
In the first chapter of Ways of Seeing, Berger discusses how we see art differently today than we did in the past, and it’s all thanks to one burgeoning institution: technology. Traditionally paintings, just like the human eye are stationary and static: they’re only in one place, at one time. But the advent of the camera throws this one-dimensionality out the window. When it focuses in on a work, a camera reproduces it, rendering it available in any size, anywhere.
And for many people, this “anywhere” is in fact the context of one’s own life. For example, in the past, da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks” might be seen in a Renaissance art gallery, alongside some other similarly-themed pieces. But now it can be seen in a million different places, in any room, with any people, on a laptop or a TV or a phone or a poster. Stillness has been replaced by portability, immobility has been supplanted by motility, and its all thanks to the reproductive nature of the camera.
In the tradition of art history, artists created ideas that were executed by apprentices, assistants, and craft people. For example, Michelangelo employed many who not only helped with minor tasks of preparing surfaces and grinding colors, but were instrumental in the completion of monumental works, such as the Sistine Chapel. Fast forward to the 1960’s and we find Andy Warhol’s Factory, where aside from the prints and paintings, Warhol produced shoes, films, and sculptures. Works in various genres were created to brand and sell items with his name. By employing hundreds of people, Olaf Eliasson wowed New York with his waterfall sculpture in New York Harbor and Cristo and Jeann-Claude created monumental works around the globe. Chihuly no longer blows glass, but has a team that creates his work. Kaws works with Japanese companies to create clothing and toys. His “Companion” was adapted into a balloon for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Is art limited to one artist engaged in one’s media? Or, can art be an idea that is executed by technology or the production of media by others? When does art become product? When does art become spectacle?
Beethoven once said music can change the world. Is All art this powerful?
Can we stop war with art? Besides being a commentary on current events can we harness the power of art and really change a society?
What forces moved you into the act of creating your most current work?
Anne Marie Evans:
A quote by John Ruskin: “Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see…the greatest thing a human being does in this world is to see something…to see clearly is poetry, prophesy and religions all in one.”
Preparation for the Affinity Meeting (comment by John Marcucci 1/11/2016)
January 24, 2016 (Sunday) at noon, brown bag lunch
Question (from Turrell 1971): If we define art as part of the realm of experience, can we assume that after a viewer looks at a piece, the viewer “leaves” with the art, because the “art” has been experienced?
Why did I select this question?
The beginning foundation and mission of Haley-Henman focused on the viewer’s interaction with artists in a conversational dialog to share experiences. Haley-Henman held the position that the viewer is an important part of the equation:
ARTIST (p) + VIEWER (e) = ART (p + e)
Where p is process and e is experience, and equal value is assigned to the artist and the viewer.
This question taken from James Turrell’s (Tuchman 1971) seminal report on the relationship of art and technology in the late sixties and early seventies of the 20th century is even more poignant and topical today as super intelligence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches critical thresholds (Bostrom 2014).
Indeed, only a generation ago, computing was limited to mainframe hardware, data entry punch cards, and manual coding. It is interesting to draw comparisons of art expressions from this time period to the contemporary experiences of smart phone AI and visual expressions. Does a flood of art images affect our experience of art? Can we “leave” with the art?
As academic institutions develop interdisciplinary relationships, particularly between technology and art, how will AI change process? This is relevant in terms of two and three-dimensional processes (Lerner 2016). How will the role of the artist function as the human element providing innovations, feelings, thoughts and aesthetics in the overall process that will be generated by super intelligent AI? Exuberant action paintings and geometrical intricacies might express vast and complex systems, but then again, aesthetic parallels with minimalism might reflect unifying concepts of the visual experience in relationship to the expanding cosmology.
The question for our discussion probes the significance of art as the human experience, at a moment when AI could command a super intelligent position in a world that might negate our experience of art.
Are we able to maintain the equation cited above?
As an observer of viewers, I posit that the numbers who view an artwork are indeed few. Even observing blockbuster museum shows, viewers are more auditory than visual as they quickly move past artworks. Is there an opportunity for the actualization of the experience of the artwork, or does the experience entail a compilation of facts regarding the historical provenance, technique, and other criteria germane to the field of art criticism and history?
As the artist, as the viewer–how do we open the door to the realm of art experience?
I commend many of you who have opened this door many times at your and other’s exhibitions.
I look forward to our discussion of how we can push open the door even more!
Bostrom, Nick (2014) Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lerner, Ben (2016) The Custodians: How the Whitney is transforming the art of museum conservation. The New Yorker, January 11, pp. 50-59.
Tuchman, Maurice (1971) Art and Technology, an exhibition of the Art and Technology Program, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): James Turrell report of the Art and Technology Program 1967-1971, section Irwin-Turrell-Wortz (p. 131).
Comment by Cindy J. Holmes (1/12/2016)
The artist (Deborah DeWitt) said that when a viewer experiences a painting ” they see a point of view about the world or about what is possible to see, that they didn’t see before. My work opened up a window to looking at the world or an idea that they might not have thought of.”
So I think that she’s saying that the viewer does take the art with them. Of course that is if the art piece actually appealed to them. We forget about a lot of forgettable art! So I think that if we don’t connect with the art, we don’t take it with us. Or maybe we do, I remember art that I didn’t like!
Comment by John Marcucci (1/14/2016)
Responding to Cindy J. Homles in reference toTurrell-Irwin-Wortz (1971, p. 133): good point Cindy about liking and not-liking an artwork, and how the artwork can still give you an art experience, as the cited artists above say,
“All art is experience, yet all experience is not art. The artist chooses from experience that which [they define] out as art, possibly because it has not yet been experienced enough, or because it needs to be experienced more.”