Why is Art Distrusted?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by jake_tauber, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. A thread in the General Photography Forum triggered this question
    minus a financial component brought up in that discussion and that
    is; why do people generally distrust things labeled Art and more
    specific to this discussion, photography that is labeled Art?

    I realize these are generalizations, but a couple of observations:
    I’ve noticed in many Photo.net, threads, a frequent rejection of Art
    photography as opposed to images that are so-called real /
    legitimate / street / unadulterated / straight, or whatever
    adjective you’d like to add. But, that may have more to do with a
    traditional view of photographs and semantics and therefore may not
    be pertinent to the question. Perhaps more meaningful is both on
    and away from this site, I often see an appreciation for
    things “pretty” (paintings, drawings, photos whatever), but a
    rejection of challenging or provocative pictures. In essence, there
    seems to be an unwillingness to accept images requiring intellectual
    consideration...often a component in things labeled Art.

    At the risk of answering my own question, is it because the average
    viewer has virtually no Art context in which to place images that
    might be more challenging than pictures seen on calendars? A few
    years ago, a museum did a survey and discovered the average person
    (American) could only name 5 artists and they were all dead. I
    think they were: Michelangelo, Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt and
    DiVinci. No matter. The point is, their collective body of work
    has long been accepted and has become part of western culture's
    iconography. Has it become accepted because over the years the
    intellectual components have been wrung out?

    There is yet another issue that was raised by Tom Wolfe in his
    book, “The Painted Word”. His argument is whatever is considered
    Art is decided by an elite few who run the major museums and
    galleries around the world. As a side issue, he rejects abstract
    and other work he deems not requiring “high skill”. Read that as
    anything not immediately identifiable. BTW, no matter what your
    point of view is, his book is a wonderful and quick read.

    So what raises this distrust: is it laziness; a lack of context;
    distrust of the Art establishment; a dumbing down of the society;
    the feeling of being excluded; something else?

    As someone who is always looking at Art and searches out thought
    provoking images, I realize my possible answers are in some ways
    prejudiced. None-the-less, I still think it's an interesting
    question.

    What say you?
     
  2. I'm not sure I follow any of this. Photography in the US, as opposed to Germany, has since the last years been obsessed with landscape and prettines. The school calls itself 'fine art photography'. We have nothing like that in Germany. It is considered very much an American thing.
     
  3. there seems to be an unwillingness to accept images requiring intellectual consideration
    Can't this be equally applied to other areas of life such as reading, politics, education? The vast majority of people don't want to think. It hurts their brains. Why do you think TV is so popular? Why do people read "People" magazine rather than, say, "New Republic"?
    It's no surprise that anything out of the ordinary or which requires some thought is dismissed by "most people".
    I'm amazed the average person knew 5 artists. I believe on a Geography quiz quite a surprising fraction couldn't find the USA on a map!
     
  4. Hi,

    Some more questions for you...

    "a frequent rejection of Art photography as opposed to images that are so-called real / legitimate / street / unadulterated / straight, or whatever adjective you’d like to add"

    Do these descriptors necessarily mean that the photographs they are describing are not fine art? What is fine art photography. Edward Weston and Ansel Adams (among many) created photographs considered "straight" by most yet were they? Did not Adams do quite a bit of darkroom magic in creating his prints? Were Bresson's street photographs not art? While August Sander was first and foremost a documentarian, were the photographs in his 20th century series not art?

    Anyone who has dealt with a gallery, and been rejected in favor of lesser work, (all of us?) has a distrust for those who have that kind of power over us. I do. I was brought up around and looking at art constantly, I trained at a school for fine art photography, I have been looking at photographs for a very long time. My own work aside, I have seen some terrible things at galleries, many times in place of much more worthy work by others. Does this breed mistrust? I think so.

    "unwillingness to accept images requiring intellectual consideration"
    Can you say Maplethorpe? Everybody has something (usually bad) to say about his photographs of the seamier side of life, but how many have looked at his photographs of flowers, or his most incredible portraits?

    Just some more questions to add to your list.

    Will
     
  5. Will,

    You bring up some interesting points. I'm not saying pretty pictures can't be Art. Okeef's flowers are both Art and beautiful, but they add the tangable element of interpretation. Interestingly, I find Maplethorpe's flowers his least compelling work. Adams has always left me cold. Nice prints, but nothing more. As a collector, I've have work by Friedlander, Frank, Winnogrand and others who are considered "street" photographers. All the work was purchased at so-called fine art photography galleries. Perhaps their work ends up in certain galleries,as does HCB's, because they all brought a new fresh view to photography even though their work is part of the continuum of what came before it.

    What really interests me is the (negative) reaction, or worse, the blank stares elicited by the work of The Starn Twins, Cincy Sherman, the Bechers or the austere work of Robert Adams, to name a few, all of whom are or have been on the cutting edge of photographic art.
     
  6. Fazal's question provides a perfect context for this discussion. During the last two decades there have been several orgasms of outrage by ignorant political opportunists seeking to gut the National Endowment for the Arts by waxing hysterical about works of art that, taken in isolation, are vulnerable. Cans of excrement, crucifix in urine, Maplethorpe piss fetish photographs all weathered withering attacks.

    It is often true that Art is not in the eye of the beholder but rather in the eye of the snotty gallery owner or curator. It is bound to be that some curators are idiots. These curators were not the witch-hunters or the witches in these examples, though. The witch-hunters were congressmen and senators hell-bent on disembowelling the big "liberal" government institutions, including those associated with the "welfare state" and those of the liberal intellectual elite.

    When you have spent your life studying art and nurturing artists, you have no defense against a cowboy with a velvet elvis in his living room.

    I am really frightened of the deep anti-intellectual current in america today. Whether we talk about the environment, the arts, economics, international relations, or history, the message seems to be that studying something PREVENTS you from understanding it. It is not just that people have no time for study anymore, or even that they have lost interest, but rather that they are damn proud of their ignorance.

    To answer your question, then: I believe art is distrusted for the same reason that science, history, philosophy and other high-minded persuits are distrusted: because intellectual activity estranges you from the common man, clouds and confuses your thinking, makes you believe excrement is art, the oceans are dying, flat taxes are unfair, and bush is a liar.
     
  7. Thanks for the good laugh, Fazal.

    The problem is not that some people consider it art, they do have the right to like it; the problem is that they pay those huge amounts for canned sh|t and still consider it reasonably cheap. There would be so many things that cash could have been spent on...
     
  8. Jake,

    I agree that Maplethorp's flowers are his least compelling, but they are still quite beautiful. The street photographers I think while we look at them now as having brought a fresh view to photography, weren't necesarily thinking that way as they were working. Many I think have found "art" in the motions and interractions of people on the street. Not all of them were shooting "mainstream art" at the time... after all Weegee shot prostitutes and dead people.

    I also find the reactions (positive or negative) and the blank stares interesting. Many dissmiss Sherman as derivative and/or silly. I would agree with those sentiments if it were just fulfilling a school assignment or some such. But when it's done with such intensity and careful thought over so many years the artistic intent becomes (should) clear.

    Adams I feel, was purely about art. Conservation efforts aside, warm or cold about the pictures, he talked about the print being the performance. That is art.

    Don't even get me started on polititians and the NEA!

    I completely agree with Ward's fears about the dumbing of America. Unfortunately I feel his paragraph is dead on. Just watch what happens when talk show hosts go out into the streets to ask people simple questions. Frightening. I think also it goes with the other major current trend in America today... Not taking responsibility for our own actions. Logic and common sense are gone. Isn't it interesting that our country's focus is on education at the expense of art and the arts, physical conditioning, and even funding public libraries?
     
  9. In the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, there hangs a canvas about 8'x4', top half black, bottom half white (or maybe reversed, it's been a while). That is "art".

    Out on the courtyard, there sits a piece of steel plate rolled to a radius. Typical of that used on tanks every day. It is "art".

    In both cases, if I or any "normal" person had created these pieces of art, the art would be considered so much trash. Presumably some big name in the art world is associated with these pieces, so they sit in a museum.

    I recall a while back, a van Gogh was discovered. Value before it was determined to be by van Gogh was about $100. Value afterward, as I recall, was about $400,000. Of course, the painting didn't change in the process.

    It's easy to talk about understanding the art and the dumbing of America. In these cases, it is obvious that the "experts" in the art world can't tell treasure from trash unless the art is associated with a well known name. So consider me skeptical.
     
  10. As I understand today ART has become a label to signify a particular object / action.

    I believe that in the times of Michelangelo and da Vinci the attitude was more to be in the service of some inspiration and what the artist did was basically to use his craft.

    In contrast today the term ART is used in a possesive way.
    Some piece of work gets declared as ART not because it is good or bad, but because of abstract arguments.
     
  11. Stephen,

    I certainly respect your skepticism. And, it's what prompts my question, because I think your reaction is not un-typical. I'm not sure who the artists were who you looked at, but if the pieces you saw were viewed in isolation, without knowledge of the artists previous work, or how they referenced the work of other artists, then I think I might have had the exact same reaction.

    Much Art, especially contemporary Art, requires the viewer to do more than just look at the single work in front of them. In a museum what you often see is the culmination of years of work. The curved piece of steel may one of a hundred or a thousand sculptures made my that artist. How did he or she get to that point? Is it a refinement from a previous work and a work before that? In many ways, Art is like jazz. If you go to a jazz club and hear a contemporary muscian the music may sound disjunct...out of sorts with what you're used to. Assuming you're curious, you might have to go back again and again to begin to hear beyond your first impressions. You might buy some of the musicians earlier work to find out how he evolved to what you heard at the club to gain a knowledge of the context. The same is true of Art. Appreciation often takes some effort on the part of the viewer. Someone else might look at the room around the steel sculpture and see how the space has been changed by it. This might sound like mumbo jumbo, but looking beyond the surface is part of the viewing process. What was the artist's intention?

    You're absolutely right when you say if you, or I, created that steel sculpture it would likely not be accepted. That's because it would have come out of nowhere, but it's unlikely either of us would have been able to create it without the process that came before it. We would be making a valueless copy.

    If you're familiar with the photographer Richard Misrach you might look at his Sky pictures and be dissatisfied with them. They are very minimalistic. Howerver, if you know his Desert Cantos work along with his Star pictures you/we might have a better understanding of how he got to the Sky pics.

    As far as the Van Gogh is concerned, there are lot of imitations... work done by someone who has copied what has come before them (You and I doing that steel sculpture). How many "Impressionist" paintings are sold at hotel sales every weekend? But none of them have moved the Art forward. When it was discovered that the Van Gogh was an "Original", of course it had greater value.

    I think Art requires work on the part of the viewer. True, one can find lovely pictures to look at and get them right away. For me, that is less satisfying. Art requires an intellectual point of view. It's why I find Ansel Adams vacant. The pictures are beautiful and I appreciate that, but they just don't say anything to me. And after one viewing, I've lost interest.

    My way of thinking is not intended to downplay the intellectual capabilities of the public. People are not stupid, however they are often unwilling to accept what they don't know, to be open to a new way of seeing and to confront the challenges presented by the New.

    Sorry for rambling on...
     
  12. Two responses to Stephen H.

    First, I think you are confusing the collection of art with the art itself. The fact that an original Van Gogh is worth more than a copy says nothing about the quality of the art, but rather about the value placed on originals by collectors and curators.

    Second, regarding the art objects that you seem to think are stupid: I often develop a deeper and deeper appreciation for a work the more I know its role in the progression of a vision over time. It may be that the work is superficial or that your engagement and interest in the work is superficial.

    To say that a work of art must stand on its own does not mean that it must be viewed from the vantage point of complete ignorance of the rest of the world of art. I generally find that I value individual works more after seeing them in comprehensive shows of an artist's work. I learn to see the works as stepping stones along a path rather than just as unrelated rocks in a field.
     
  13. I'll vote with the group that distrusts those that insult those that they are suppose to serve.

    If you have a group of people, artists, that thumb their collective noses at the unwashed masses, maybe, just maybe the unwashed masses are going to distrust these disrespectfull artistic types.

    And if you have only artists paying homage to artists as artists reject the masses, you have a click behavior pattern and people, the general public, inherintly distrust those that set out to make themselves different on purpose. Also, take into consideration some of the empty brained art that's being fostered as "real art" that is nothing more then paint splats on a canvas, selling for a bizillion dollars and yes, this shame is going to breed reasonable distrust.

    People don't distrust my art but I'm an artist of the masses, not an artist for artists. I give my art and talents away on purpose.

    Here's a shot, who's impact doesn't fully come through in the web example that artist's don't like but the unwashed masses love.

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1905649&size=lg

    This image has been ripped by artists but the print is described as beautiful by non artists types. Both can be right but I stand with the masses as they're my audience, not artists.

    This artistic disconnect by artists from the general public, breeds a reasonable disconnect of distrust.

    Hope my above is found insightful.
     
  14. Thomas,

    I don't agree that artists intentionally thumb their noses at the masses. I think they just do what they feel compelled to do. I've always thought that great writers don't have a choice in their vocation. They can't help themselves. They must write. It's almost always a fluke when great Art and commerce connect. This is likely why the vast majority of artists never make a living at it. Let's not forget that Van Gogh and others practically starved to death. Their art was not accepted by the masses of their time. It took quite a while for the culture to catch up to their vision. This is no less true today.

    I looked at your picture. It's very nice, but to me it lacks the Art-ness (to coin a word) of say the work of Mark Klett who also does landscapes. What might change my view is if there were a narrative attached along with other images...again to create a context for the picture. Art goes beyond attractiveness. There are additional elements.

    Please understand, my intention is in no way meant to devalue your work. I just have a particular, perhaps peculiar, point of view :>}
     
  15. I am not trying to be silly, but what is "art"? I have never seen a definition that I thought was any good. If no one knows what "art" is, how can they trust or not trust it? Please feel free to enlighten me.
     
  16. Jake There's a huge disconnect between artists and the masses that I've seen and explored. The masses look at my work and they don't need a narrative. Why? The images speak to them. They find the work beautiful and make all kinds of connective comments. Artists on the other hand, look at my work and don't get it. Artists try to say that people are lying to me, to be polite and yet people make disparageing remarks about artists work, even when my work's not around:) And artists, they're quick to dismiss comments by the unwashed masses with disparaging comments, which bolster their egos. I won't address your comments about my work as that would be my ego speaking and can easily be discounted as such, so I'll leave your personal comments as the final word of what you think of my images. There's a disconnect in the art world and the art world doesn't see the disconnect. Why? Because they're the disconnect. The masses do see this disconnnect. Why? Because the masses, they're not stupid but artists like to pretend the masses are and show this with their artistically arrogant attitude of disconnect from the masses. I stand proudly connected with the masses:)
    006cyO-15470584.jpg
     
  17. Thomas:

    You may be interested in reading about the relationship between the community of modern artists and the National Socialist Party in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. You will be comforted to know that your point of view regarding the artists was very popular among some very powerful people and was even incorporated into national policy for several years, banning all art but the most commonplace pretty naturalism, outlawing schools of modern art such as Impressionism and Cubism, with their incomprehensible disdain for the lines and forms of nature.

    Hitler was a lover of the arts, once he excised all of what he described as "aesthetic atrocities." He might have authored the immortal retort to the art-snob: I might not be an art expert, but I know what I like!

    I do not accept your notion that there is an "unwashed masses" that stands in opposition to the artistic elite. If it makes you feel superior, go ahead and believe it, but I challenge you to draw the line between your two imaginary camps in a way that anyone else would accept.
     
  18. And another thing:

    Regarding Thomas' comment: "I'll vote with the group that distrusts those that insult those that they are suppose to serve."

    What purile notion of art states that the artist is supposed to **SERVE** the public? You seem to think that the world is all sugar and light and the only reality that exists to be reflected in art is the **pretty** reality. And you seem to think that the job of **the artist** (like there is just one job and You, Thomas, decide what it is) is to provide to the Unwashed Masses whatever objects the masses think are **pretty**.

    Reality is not all pretty. Art is equally vital in exploring pain as beauty, in challenging society. Goody for you that you have found a community of grinning chums to tell you how much they like your pretty pictures. Your grinning buddies are **not** the REAL masses. There are no real unwashed masses.
     
  19. Ward

    I like how you did that, reached all the way back to Hitler's insanely nutty behavior for an example. But don't worry, I won't consider that extremism:)

    >I do not accept your notion that there is an "unwashed masses" that >stands in opposition to the artistic elite.

    They don't stand in opposition, they just aren't accepting. There's a difference. There's no battle royale going on.

    >If it makes you feel superior, go ahead and believe it, but I >challenge you to draw the line between your two imaginary camps in a >way that anyone else would accept.

    That's the disconnect, you don't think it exists, therefore it doesn't exist. The camps aren't imaginary as they're clearly two existing groups of thought. As to the line, it's as blurry of a line as there exists. Why? Because you have cross over points to any philosophy. There's never a clear line unless you pull the middle group of any thought and only have extremist to polarize the thinking process much like your Hitler example.

    There's no superiority here. In my opinion, based upon my personal observations, artists hold themselves in such high esteem, much as you hold yourself, that they and you also, don't see the disconnect. Not only that but you had to resort to Hitler as an example to make your point that there isn't a disconnect:)

    There's a disconnect all right and the unwashed masses see it even if you don't. And if you don't want to agree with me or see what's really going on, it's okay. I only posted why I think, based upon my personal observations, why I think the general public doesn't trust the art world and their label "Art". The question was posed because there's truth to the question. So in order to tell me I'm nuts, you have to say the question below doesn't exist.

    ".....why do people generally distrust things labeled Art and more specific to this discussion, photography that is labeled Art?"
     
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Thomas, I think you have over-rated yourself.
     
  21. Jeff.

    "Thomas, I think you have over-rated yourself."

    Since I haven't rated myself, how's that?

    It seems that I have stated an opinion that most if not all here would disagree with but it's not a crime nor does it rate myself to say that I prefer the unwashed masses to artists. But how does your comment relate to the question of photographic art not being trusted?

    And your answer, to the original question, besides to attack me personally is????? I'd love to read your answer.
     
  22. My, my, my. From a couple of extremely aggressive answers, it's quite clear why the general public, the unwashed masses, are so untrusting of the art world. If that's the best some can come up with as answers, they, as I stated earlier, the behavior of the art world creates this well deserved distrust.

    I'll leave this thread now and let everybody insult me because I stand with a different camp of thinkers as I tried to answer the question the way I see it. You all can pile on and have the last word of hate even if you don't want to take the time to answer the original posters question.
     
  23. Oops! That's "Self Waving Hi To Everybody" :)
     
  24. . . . it's quite clear why the general public, the unwashed masses, are so untrusting of the art world.
    If only they applied that skepticism to politicians and the media!
    I'm not sure I really buy that argument, but if it's true, I say good for them! It's a tribute to both the artists and the public that viewers aren't blindly accepting the supposed meaning of any artistic works. No telling what kind of crazy sh*t artists are trying to communicate--it's smart to be wary of their messages.
    And, Thomas, you might want to see someone about that persecution complex you've built up. Both the views you've espoused and the work you've shown are pedestrian--hardly the stuff that elicits hatred.
     
  25. >And, Thomas, you might want to see someone about that persecution >complex you've built up. Both the views you've espoused and the work >you've shown are pedestrian--hardly the stuff that elicits hatred.

    Attack, attack, attack. My but you are a sweet talker.

    Yes, the general public is wary of the stuff that artist try to push off on them as art. Pedestrian, how elitist of you to say and yes the conversation has been hateful, even if you want to pretend it hasn't.

    I'll stick to pedestrian, at least it's honest.

    There's a reason the general public distrust artists and unfortunately artist don't want to see that the general public sees right through the phoney artsy attitude. But many artists like to wear a mantel of the enigmatic persona.

    As far as my art, I don't want to photograph like what I see others doing, so I have no intention on changing because someone such as you thinks it's in my best interest to do so. I like what I'm doing even if it doesn't meet with your approval. Isn't that what's important?

    Maybe I can go to your site and give you my evaluation of your work, would you'd like that? You won't like what I have to say. Does that make you valid and me invalid because you approve of your work and not mine.

    Maybe you can spend time answering the original question? I'd love to read what you have to say about why the distrust.
     
  26. Well, let's just conclude that Thomas alone is the unwashed mass he is so enamoured of, and his imaginary line is simply a circle around himself; anyone outside the circle is an elitist.

    Anyone wanna get a Latte and blow farts at the working man?
     
  27. No way, dude. I don't want to get into a farting contest with the working man. The working man -knows- how to fart--I don't think anyone will dispute that.

    Thomas, I don't claim to be an artist--that's not really my decision. If you want to present a scathing review of my work, please do. Maybe it will inspire others to go see how bad it is.

    I never told you to change your work--you've obviously found a loving audience. As for your art not looking like what other people do, well, it bears a resemblance to my folks' vacation pictures. Not that any of it's bad, but, as I said before, it's not the sort of art that inspires the kind of hatred you seem to think you're facing.

    And, as I said before, I think people should distrust artists. Artists make up all sorts of crazy stories, draw attention to unsettling stuff, drink too much wine when they should be preparing those final pieces by tomorrow morning--they're simply not to be trusted. One guy I knew would actually take money out of your wallet if you gave him half a chance. Don't trust their motives, don't trust their methods, don't trust their words. They're out to get you.
     
  28. "They're out to get you."

    I like it when a person shows themselves to be an irrational person. At least that way I know which door not to look behind. The harder you try to denigrate me, the more you condemn and expose yourself.

    But the distrust of artists has nothing to do with monetary theft or your need to commit hateful behavior. The distrust has to do with the need of today's photographic artist's to create overly manipulated, overly staturated eye candy. And these photographic examples are being offered up today as lying examples of headache causing fine art. The publics onto this and shake their head is disbelief that people call this stuff art.

    Your's and a couple of other's conversation towards me is quite typical of the art world and the distain they have for the general public and those that think differently then they do. The distrust is not only well earned but bolstered by comments such as what you and others have made here. You bring disrespect upon yourself and the art world with your insults and you do nothing to breed goodwill among those looking at artists for visual stimulus they can bring into their home.

    I'll stick with my pedestrian, snapshot style of photography as you choose to describe it. Why? Because it's an honest art. I could easily change my style (mimicry) and become just another phoney. My art's not a phoned up art that's been so manipulated that you don't know what you're looking at anymore. It's not an art with zoom mask adds, narrow FOV or color oversaturation that leaves you wanting more as you peel yourself off the back of your chair from the effects of the overmanipulation. I see these images and they give me a headache because they are so unbelievable in their nature.

    Comments were made about not everything is pretty. Yes, they're right. People and life are ugly, just as you're an ugly person inside. But I won't go about photographing with the intent of exposing this uglyness as there so much of it around, pretty and pleseant is all I want to photograph.

    I and those that I photograph for want a respite from the uglyness and the hate that's bantered about as thoughtful daily conversation. I want, in my imagery for there to be a place where a person can go visually to relax. I want my photography to offer the viewer a window of escape from the mundane, hateful world that we have around us.

    So there's a reason I photograph the way I do and there's a reason the masses have a distrust of those like you, photographically speaking of course.

    Maybe you can increase your distain for me by increasing the intensity of your choice of words. Why not come right out and speak your mind, without reservation. Let's see how hateful you can become because my converstaion disagrees with how you think things should be.
     
  29. "They're out to get you."

    I like it when a person shows themselves to be an irrational person. At least that way I know which door not to look behind. The harder you try to denigrate me, the more you condemn and expose yourself.

    But the distrust of artists has nothing to do with monetary theft or your need to commit hateful behavior. The distrust has to do with the need of today's photographic artist's to create overly manipulated, overly staturated eye candy. And these photographic examples are being offered up today as lying examples of headache causing fine art. The public's onto this and shake their head in disbelief that people call this stuff art.

    Your's and a couple of other's conversation towards me is quite typical of the art world and the distain they have for the general public and those that think differently then they do. The distrust is not only well earned but bolstered by comments such as what you and others have made here. You bring disrespect upon yourself and the art world with your insults and you do nothing to breed goodwill among those looking at artists for visual stimulus they can bring into their home.

    I'll stick with my pedestrian, snapshot style of photography as you choose to describe it. Why? Because it's an honest art. I could easily change my style (mimicry) and become just another phoney. My art's not a phoned up art that's been so manipulated that you don't know what you're looking at anymore. It's not an art with zoom mask adds, narrow FOV or color oversaturation that leaves you wanting less as you peel yourself off the back of your chair from the effects of the overmanipulation hitting you full in the face like a visual baseball bat. I see these images and they give me a headache because they are so unbelievable in their nature.

    Comments were made about not everything is pretty. Yes, they're right. People and life are ugly, just as you're an ugly person inside. But I won't go about photographing with the intent of exposing this uglyness as there's so much of it around; pretty and pleseant is all I want to photograph.

    I and those that I photograph for want a respite from the uglyness and the hate that's bantered about as thoughtful daily conversation. I want, in my imagery, for there to be a place where a person can go visually to relax. I want my photography to offer the viewer a window of escape from the mundane, hateful world that we have around us.

    So there's a reason I photograph the way I do and there's a reason the masses have a distrust of those like you, photographically speaking of course.

    Maybe you can be a bit more honest in your distain for me by increasing the intensity of your choice of words. Why not come right out and speak your mind, without reservation. Let's see how hateful you can become because my converstaion disagrees with how you think things should be.

    Today's artists are being dishonest and they're the ones that don't want to see it.
     
  30. I don't think there is a distrust of art. There is however a distrust of people who want to tell us what is art. In Britain we have so called "Brit art", which features things like this from Damien Hurst (more famous for sharks and sheep in tanks of formaldehyde) and Tracy Emin - famous for an unmade bed as art.
    When people produce something which is not nice to look at, evokes no emotion in the viewer and can only be "understood" by people who see the king's new clothes then normal reaction is - that's not art that's rubbish. The labels "art" and "artist" have been hi-jacked, and anyone who lays claim to them is to be viewed with suspicion.
    You get conversations like this
    Viewer: "This looks like an out of focus picture of paving slabs and feet, and the exposure is a bit off. Was it shot when the film was being loaded ?"
    Photographer: "You wouldn't understand: it's art"
    Viewer: "Try me"
    Photographer: "It's called shoes. It depicts the strugle between humanity and the planet, I would have thought that was obvious"
    Viewer: "No. Go on"
    Photographer: "It's about how we can not walk on the plannet without shoes and because we wear shoes we can not walk on dirt paths so we have to pave walkways".
    Viewer: "So it is a lot of feet then"
    Photographer: "The feet are symbolic".
    Viewer: "and out of focus"
    Photographer: "The fact that you think it should be in focus shows you know nothing about art"
    Viewer: "What makes it art ?"
    Photographer: "If an artist creates it then it's art".
    Viewer: "And who says that a person is an artist"
    Photographer: "If they beleive they are, then they are"
    And so on.
     
  31. "And so on."

    Bravo! Bravo!

    The arrogance, deception and distain in the art world is incredible.

    Thank you for your honest comments on your observations.

    And to the detractors..... yes I'm pleased as punch because I do agree with the person's comments.

    Another tactic they like to employ is to discount those that don't think like they do. "Oh." "You're sooooo, pedestrian." :) So much for independent thought.

    Thank you again for your comment. I thought I was the only one on this forum thinking these people are pulling a sham over our eyes. And the fact people stay so quiet, out of politeness I'm sure, emboldens their behavior.

    To decry an art piece, as you described, is to make one a target of redicule. That's the artist's way of protecting themselves from the truth. "Why, I'm not turning out trash." "I'm turning out art." "You're just not capable of understanding it."

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you one more time:)
     
  32. I looked at your picture. It's very nice, but to me it lacks the Art-ness (to coin a word) of say the work of Mark Klett who also does landscapes.

    I did a search and checked out some of his images. Nope. Want nothing to do with his sort of art. If you like this sort of art, that's fine but I wouldn't consider going in that direction, should I have the same Mark Klett images in front of me, in a bizillion years. I work purposefully, hard, to not create images such as what I saw.

    http://www.doubletakemagazine.org/photo/html/klett/

    It's okay that my images don't work for you, I hope you don't mind if Mark's images don't work for me:)

    An example of what does work for me.
     
  33. Thomas,

    One last question from me today before I go off to the relative's house for the Thursday feast.

    The last time you were in a museum were there any photographs you saw that you liked, or did you feel everything there was a fraud just put on the walls to prove that the curators and artists were better, more high-minded, than the public? I ask this not to inflame you, but to sincerely find out if anything accepted as Art by the "Art Ruling Class" is interesting to you.

    Also, I really think you ought to read Wolfe's book, "The Painted Word". In many ways it supports your point of view.

    My only comment on your view of Klett's work, is you don't seem to want to go beyond the surface of an image and that images must be pretty and/or easily accessible to be satisfying. His re-photographing of the West is an on-going project where he shoots from the exact locations where 19th century photographers stood and then documents the change in the landscape. To me, very interesting. Also, what you can't see on the web site is his prints are very beutiful. But your dislike of the images is certainly OK, because there are some people who don't like Monet, or who love Picasso. There's plenty of stuff for all tastes. It's your, and other's, blanket rejection of Art as labled by the Art world I don't understand. Sure there are some pieces that are confusing and some that are junk. Not everything a curator says is Art is necessarily good. But I enjoy being challenged by new things and try to look at Art on a piece by piece basis instead of simply damning everything.

    Later... :>}
     
  34. Caveat: I believe the Art world (whatever you take that to be) is populated by sincere 'artists' (ditto for definition) and chancers of modest ability who attain fame through patronage/luck/gimmicks/shock value.

    That said. My two cents worth..

    Who says Art (big A) and Artists have any responsibility toward the general public? The use of taxpayers dollars to fund Art buys the public the right to a viewpoint. However, a civilised society should support artistic endeavour in practical ways even if the work of 'Artists' is at odds with public taste. I would go further and say that it is more important to support Art that challenges public taste. Why? Because tolerance of dissent is the essence of a free society.

    My personal dislike of what I see on some gallery walls doesn't diminish my willingness to see tax dollars supporting Art.

    Many posts here seem to equate Art Galleries with Art per se. Isn't what goes on private and public gallery walls merely reflecting a loose consensus among curators as to what constitutes Art. Any institional 'agreements' about what constitutes 'Art' are no more than a socio-historic consensus, periodically redrawn in the name of 'progress' or 'praxis' (depending on your inclinations) by the current generation to reflect contemporary concerns.

    Is it Art that the public distrusts? I think not. Maybe they are a little suspicious of what they don't fully understand. NOT because they are dumb, but because the concerns of Art are far removed from their usual frames of reference.

    To allow that suspicion to descend into ridicule and, worse, censorship (via law or funding) puts us on a slippery slope as democratic societies.

    On a lighter note:

    This discussion reminds me of my first visit to the Tate Gallery in Liverpool.

    Two old ladies were bemused by a cast iron scuplture and asked the attendant: "Where is the label explaining this one?" "It has no label love, it's a radiator", he laughed.

    On my way out I saw them again staring at a large Rothko painting (large purple square with minor colour change on one edge): "That lad's laughing all the way to the bank." one said.

    Who says the 'unwashed masses' are dumb!
     
  35. Maybe you can be a bit more honest in your distain for me by increasing the intensity of your choice of words. Why not come right out and speak your mind, without reservation. Let's see how hateful you can become because my converstaion disagrees with how you think things should be.
    Fine. Here, without reservation, are my comments:
    I am not being hateful, though I am poking fun at the seriousness with which you seem to take yourself. My comment on " how things should be" is that people shouldn't trust artists. I think one job of an artist is to challenge people's perspectives rather than simply reaffirming what they want to believe. I think it's incredibly ironic that you're blasting me with all these accusations that have nothing to do with what I've actually said or the kind of photographic work I actually do. And I find it especially ironic that you repeatedly accuse me of hatefully attacking you when even a cursory look at the posts in this thread will quickly reveal whose posts are most filled with anger, denigration, and hatred.
     
  36. Hi Jake.

    Thanks for the thoughtful question.

    The last time you were in a museum were there any photographs you saw that you liked, or did you feel everything there was a fraud just put on the walls to prove that the curators and artists were better, more high-minded, than the public? I ask this not to inflame you, but to sincerely find out if anything accepted as Art by the "Art Ruling Class" is interesting to you.

    ---------------------

    We don't have much in the way of photographic art in this area. South Bay Area, San Jose, Calif, USA. I do stop in galleries but photography is pretty much ignored. The last photographic exhibition I saw was in the Mexican Heritage Plaza and it was of jazz, nightclub entertainers. Tame compared to that what we see here.

    Most photography leaves me cold and empty. The images give me nothing. I see lots of images of hate, dirt and scandal. Nothing to refresh the soul, just more soul draining images. Oh, joy, oh joy, death, destruction, hate and abuse, I think I'll go shoot myself:)

    I want images of something that will want to make me live and enjoy life. Something to engage me in the world, give me hope or give me a place to go relax. I don't want images of something that turns me off to life. Great, another distorted, B&W image of a circus performer. How original. Oh boy, another B&W of trash cans and losers in life. Oh, here honey, here's a pic of a dead junkie. Now there's an image I can get into. How uplifting. Not! Oh boy, here's a shot of protesters burning a flag. Gee, I've never seen that before:) Oh looky honey, two exhibitionist making out with each other. Gee, I didn't know people could do that:) No, I'll pass, the photography that's passed off as art, is a bit too unimaginative and dispressing for my tastes. If I wanted depressing images of social decay, urban blight or pictures of drug infested losers, all I have to do is go downtown and I can see it in person, for myself. It doesn't take a genius to capture these sorts of trite images. The problem, the art world doesn't realize how trite and unimaginative these images are or have become.

    Here's a photographer that I admire.

    http://www.imagesofnaturewebstore.com/

    ----------------------------

    Also, I really think you ought to read Wolfe's book, "The Painted Word". In many ways it supports your point of view.

    ----------------------------

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out.

    -----------------

    My only comment on your view of Klett's work, is you don't seem to want to go beyond the surface of an image and that images must be pretty and/or easily accessible to be satisfying.

    -------------------

    And why, if I find the images yucky, do I need to pursue them any further? So I can understand his intent and give him approval for his efforts? Even after your explaination, they're still yuck. I work hard not to do images of this kind, so why would I admire something that I purposefully try to avoid? I have this sort of imagery around me on a minute by minute basis. I see this sort of stuff daily. Yuck! Great; uninteresting landscapes and a chainlink fence complete with utility lines:) Yipee! If he wants to do that sort of stuff, cool. I don't find that sort of imagery original, refreshing or interesting.

    -------------------------

    His re-photographing of the West is an on-going project where he shoots from the exact locations where 19th century photographers stood and then documents the change in the landscape. To me, very interesting. Also, what you can't see on the web site is his prints are very beautiful. But your dislike of the images is certainly OK, because there are some people who don't like Monet, or who love Picasso.

    --------------------

    To me, it's unoriginal, uninteresting, unimaginative and not uplifting in the least. Oh boy, I know, I'll go out and copy other people's work and document the changes, socially that have occured. Sorry, doesn't work for me.

    I'm sorry that you see my images in such a superficial way. I've worked very hard to lose the teachings of my formal photographic schooling. Only artists accuse my images of having no soul or meaning to them but the general public is very connected with what I do. That's the distrust and disconnect that I write about. Artists don't see this disconnect because they're the trees in the forest as they go around saying, "What forest?".

    -------------------------

    There's plenty of stuff for all tastes. It's your, and other's, blanket rejection of Art as labled by the Art world I don't understand.

    --------------------------

    Sorry for that confusion. There's no blanket rejection of "Art". There's a saying, "Don't pee on my leg and try telling me it's raining." and that's what many artists have been doing.

    Some guy recreating somebody else's work to document the changes that have taken place, no disrespect but big woop. Not original thinking. Change is inevitable. Come back in 50-80k years and the Sierra's won't exist, neither will the San Fransisco Bay from erosional silting.

    Many artists are so out there that they don't know they've gone over the edge. And when someone says, "Wow!", "That person's nuts." Their response is to put the individual down as opposed to trying to understand why somebody would say that in the first place. When someone slams me, I don't discount their attack as I try to evaluate and understand the reasoning of their attack. How else can I know if it's valid or invalid?

    -------------------------

    Sure there are some pieces that are confusing and some that are junk. Not everything a curator says is Art is necessarily good. But I enjoy being challenged by new things and try to look at Art on a piece by piece basis instead of simply damning everything.

    ----------------------

    Nobody is "damning everything". The question revolved around the reasonable distrust but at no time is there a wholesale condemnation going on. Maplethorpe and the cross in the urine? Yes that is rightfully condemned for what it is; hate. Why? He only went after one religious symbol and therein lies the hate and deception. The hate, he focused on one religion, the deception, he stated he was only trying to create controversy.

    Another disconnect, is this need to be challenged as allowing the viewer to enjoy. I'm challenged each and everyday in all that I do and see, why can't I find a safe harbor to enjoy? Why if someone doesn't want to be challenged, does the artist find a need to insult them by calling them mindless or lazy? What's wrong in making nice and easy your photographic purpose?

    Two images, same author, me.

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1931371&size=lg

    http://www.photo.net/photo/1915720&size=lg

    Totally different but the intent is the same, a place for the eyes to go to and relax. One more artsy then the other but the intent and purpose is the same.

    Hope the above helps clarify any misunderstandings that might have occured and hope you have a pleasent holiday outing.
     
  37. And I find it especially ironic that you repeatedly accuse me of hatefully attacking you when even a cursory look at the posts in this thread will quickly reveal whose posts are most filled with anger, denigration, and hatred.

    ----------------------

    We'll leave that on the table and you as the final word on your above.
     
  38. Something I observe generally in art discussions is that modern artist who claim total freedom for the way they express themselves are far more intolerant to those who defend a more traditional way of expression, than vice versa.

    Again, reason of distrust lies in the fact that Art today is often not done with the mindset of service, but for selfexhibition.
    If people today could see working artist doing their work in a way that shows dedication for the course of positive inspiration, then the general public would have more trust.
     
  39. This has kept my mind ticking over for some hours. Not all photography, or even all good photography is "artistic", because art is not just about the craft aspects of making a picture (as in painting), but it is about interpreting the world, telling us how the artist sees it, not simply recording it.
    Some of the photos Thomas dislikes appear to me to be reportage, not art. OK we know Cartier Bresson's pictures blur the edge, but you can see great pictures in the newspaper which are not art. Interestingly the criticism of his pictures appears to based on the same thing - it is not interpretting but just recording - isn't that the criticism that "just a snap" carries. ?
    Art and beauty are not synonyms. Most people would agree that Picaso's Guernica was art. Few people would call it beautiful, but it does connect with people, move them and it does have an artists interpretation.
    I don't see anything wrong with a picture which needs explanation to get the maximum effect. Guernica being a case in point. For another example do a google image search for rossetti beatrix - and you'll get D.G. Rossetti's painting Beata Beatrix. It looks fantastic (and the last time I went to a Gallery I saw one of the versions of it) - but if you know what the sundial means, why the red bird is there and what the flower is about, who the figures in the background are etc you get more out of it.
    Art expresses the artist's take on the world, but it's not complete until it connects with the viewer - the idea of the artist Serving the viewer is wrong, but if the work it doesn't connect that then it has failed in its purpose as art. The Mark Klett stuff is a case in point. If you don't know why he took some of the photos for that project they're just rubbish. If you understnad what his project is about it may be worthwhile but it's doesn't have anything in and of itself which connects with people.
     
  40. James You're beautiful. Why? Your below. ------------------- Some of the photos Thomas dislikes appear to me to be reportage, not art. OK we know Cartier Bresson's pictures blur the edge, but you can see great pictures in the newspaper which are not art. Interestingly the criticism of his pictures appears to based on the same thing - it is not interpretting but just recording - isn't that the criticism that "just a snap" carries. ? --------------------- My below is a thank-you to you and at no time do my comments reflect on you as I muse in a general fashion. You have been the most honest person I've met in the art world. You've lifted a weighty burden from my chest as I had no idea these people were so lost. So please my following comments are not directed at you but only at those these words apply to. Wow! I had no idea, after forty years of photography that I was such a law breaker. Smiling as I write. I've shot weddings, done portraits and landscapes all these years and had no clue the photographic community had become so jaded and closed minded that failing to interpret (obfuscate) what's clearly in front of you had become criminal behavior deserving of redicule. Oooooh myyyyy God! The general public has good reason to distrust art based upon what I just read. What I read was that if the artistic photographer isn't being a phony, then they're not a "real" artist. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder the general public doesn't trust artists, they're lying throught their teeth to the public. If you're not obfuscating the subject matter, then you're not an artist. What a load of psudeo intellectual disengenouous cr@P. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! We're talking insecurity of the highest degree. If I don't hide, I'm not real. You phonies are soooooo busted. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! Well there's the distrust folks, in a nut shell. Hope ya all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, where ever you are. James, again..... A huge Thank-You!
    006dVJ-15483184.jpg
     
  41. This has turned into quite the contentious conflict but I would like to insert a couple of comments that kind of go back to the original post. I think the biggest problem for most people is the inability to define art in terms satisfying even to themselves. I had an art professor in college that I thought had a pretty good definition of art: "Art is art for art's sake and that alone." In other words it is a creation soley meaningful unto itself, lacking any and all function and purpose other than to present itself. Yes, it sounds very ambiguous but that is the nature of art as is demonstrated by the number of people who argue over whether something is "art". But people in general can't come to terms with an adequate definition of "art" which I believe leaves most people indifferent and ultimately distrustful particularly when an enormous price tag is attached to said art.

    As far as "dumbing down of society" as a cause, what makes you believe this distrust just started? Artists have fought this distrust and disbelief from the beginning of time. If people at some point understood and "trusted" art and artists then the very idea of the "struggling artist" would be an invention of recent event. No, dumbing down hasn't gone on, it had always been there: a basic misunderstanding of what art is....and a general lack of interest in general to come to any undertanding.
     
  42. "Art is art for art's sake and that alone."

    Not to be agumentative but your prof knows that you can't define a word by use of the word. I expect better from a professor:)
     
  43. Regarding "...tolerance of dissent is the essence of a free society."

    I would not say it is the essence, but certainly a hallmark of a free society.

    -Promotion- of dissent, however, is not. That is what happens when tax dollars pay for dung in the exhibition halls of my (and your) museums. You can have your dung. You can exhibit your dung. But not on my dime. The government does not exist to promote dissent or, for that matter, blatant offensiveness.

    If government is going to support the arts (and we can argue the importance of that in another thread), then I expect it to support art that sticks to generally accepted standards of decency. Everyone reading this thread knows that dung in plexiglass doesn't fit that definition. If you want to offend or disgust me, do it on your own money, and leave mine out of it.

    I just had an idea: An opt-in checkbox on the yearly 1040 form indicating whether or not you support the funding of the NEA, much like the presidential campaign checkbox. Congress could establish a "per-capita" NEA tax amount. The number of checked NEA boxes multiplied by the per-capita value would be the NEA's budget for the year.

    And if it worked, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting could be next...
     
  44. Firstly, what do we mean by the term 'art'? Art, to most people, means Michelangelo, da Vinci or Titian. This is what they have been told is art. But is it? The Sistine Chapel is stupendous, but it was a commission by the then Pope for his ultimate self-glorification. Renaissance 'art' was directed to towards the glorification of priests and princes. In the final analysis, Micehlangelo was simply painting the Pope's ceiling. However, that being said, it has a significance in light of the cultural, social and economic milieu of the day.

    Every year in Britain this is an eruption of bile at the awarding of the Turner Prize. The tabloid press have a field day with shrieking headlines and much self-righteous harrumphing. The problem is now that 'art' has become a self-referential world inaccessible to the general public. It is a private joke known only to those in the charmed circle.

    The gallery system and the major collectors compound this problem. An artist is identified as being the potential 'next-big-thing'. His or her work is promoted by the galleries and collectors are advised to invest. They do and the work then becomes 'collectable' because a 'big name in the art world' has spent money. Others then jump on the band-wagon and the band-wagon starts rolling. The galleries, collectors and 'artists' conspire, as they must, to keep the band-wagon rolling and prices rising to protect the investment.

    Photography is often dismissed by many, even some art critics, as being 'not art'. This is a narrow view and demonstrates that for many there is still confusion between 'art' and craft. The former is often thought to arise epiphenomenally from the latter. To people who so think I recommend a reading of Clarence John Laughlin's thoughts on the nature of photography. There is as much craft in photography as in painting, sculpture or music. But craft in itself, though necessary, is not sufficient. The level of craft must be sufficient to the image - that is sufficient to its purpose, to the message it is to convey. But craft alone may well be sterile.

    However, craft is not to be dismissed. The practise of craft, even for its own sake, is a perfectly valid expression of photography. Edward Weston's pepper is such an example, as indeed is the work of Sudek. The subject matter is mundane, its rendering sublime. It is, as much as anything, a celebration of the medium of photography.

    Perhaps we should define 'art' as anything which is produced for its own sake. The nature of 'art' and photography's place in it is is a contentious issue which will continue to rage back and forth. As Wittgenstein said, "The purpose of philosopy is not to give answers but to clarify questions". By reflecting on these issues the content and substance of our photography should benefit.
     
  45. Everybody know what art is. If they didn't, it couldn't be created.

    Art is anything that's made by a person to stimulate the visual.

    Now if someone wants to expand upon that concept that's fine. If they want to create subcategories, such as preforming art, cool.

    But everybody knows that art is the creation of something visual to stimulate the mind. Just because people have purposefully blurred the lines, doesn't mean that the intent and purpose doesn't exist.

    It's sort of the pornography defense. "I can't define it but I sure know it when I see it." Everybody knows what pornogoraphy is but nobody wants to define it because then pictures of naked ladies will have had boundries put on them, sensibilities, and the little perves won't be able to make their sick, hateful images of women anymore, a la Larry Flynt.

    Art's the same way. If you define art, then the social anarchists won't be able to push their bastarizations off on the unsuspecting public. This desire for a lack of boundries is why art won't be defined: not can't but won't. It can easily be defined but once you do, then it has boundries and we can't have that. I'm not drawing a moral conclusion here, I'm just pointing out the obvious.

    Watch the art world scream bloody murder when someone decries a work such as the hateful Maplethorpe putting crucifixes into urine. When people do art for hateful and selfish reasons, it loses the protective mantle of art and becomes, to me, nothing more then hate speech; just in a visual form. But the anarchist applaudes this in your face behavior. To me, it's not art, it's hate, clear, pure and simple. I expect to be slamed because I don't defend this sort of behavior and decry this behavior as an affrontery and it's an invalid use of the term art. That's my opinion and remember, decent is a two way street.

    This lack of a willingness to define art is so artistic anarchy can prevail. Nothing more and hence more obfuscation and distrust is the by product of this childish, don't hem me in behavior.

    So since artists think peeing on someone's leg, the viewer, who they want (viewers are needed or don't show your work) but claim they don't serve, is applauded, this disengenuous behavior rightfully gains both earned disrespect and distrust.

    Artists behavior is not enigmatic.

    The viewing public, isn't stupid and they know when they're being conned. Many artists, not all, on the other hand are so egotistical that they won't acknowledge that they've been busted for their BS and so they go on pretending that they're "all that", when all they're doing is living a lie and a life of denial.
     
  46. check your facts, kid.
     
  47. Why let facts get in the way of a good rant?
     
  48. Ask 100 people for their definition of art and you'll likely get 100 different answers. Somebody has to define it for the masses and that's where critics, curators and scholars come in. It's those that are the most serious about art that stand up to espouse their definitions the most and often it's way over the head of the average, or even above-average person. We tend to distrust what we are incapable of understanding.
     
  49. If there's something that I've said that is wrong, then why the subterfuge. Just put the correction on the table for all, including me to see.

    How I see your behavior below;

    Why put a correction out on the table when I can create discourse by holding the correction next to my chest so I can look smarter then the next person.

    Your behavior is not unique and is not original in it's intent; it's childish.

    Yes I have read about Maplethorpe and only live a few miles from San Francisco. And it's expected to have my comments dismissed as a rant because that's the best you can do. Why? Because if you were to explore Maplethorpe's behavior/lifestyle was, it is patently clear what his intent was, otherwise he wouldn't have gone there. His behavior dovetailed nicely into his lifestyle of social anarchy and the social values of where he lived.

    Maplethorpe, his world and the controversy he used his noteriety to stir up, was very understandable. Why allow social sensibilities stand in his way. Let's crush the value system so his values could prevail. I understand what he was doing as do millions and millions who don't stand in lock step with the art world.

    So no, my comments aren't in error as I freely acknowledge the genesis of his imagery. But now the game is to decry the critic because he doesn't agree with you so the pushing of social boundries can be further moved, so more people won't have values instilled on them. Next we have NAMBLA, bank robbers and family group sex advocates demanding their acceptance. We have the junkies and prostitues that want their day of unabashed behavior acceptance as the beat goes on. Sort of like the ending scene in "White Mischief"

    And your decrying of my comments states clearly how one way the art world wants things to be. No give and take. No acceptance of countering views. It's either the art world's way or the highway.

    Yepper, the art world's an enigma all right.

    This all dovetails neatly into the distrust of the art world and why.

    I'll be looking forward to reading your post correcting me on how I'm wrong about Maplethorpe's hateful behavior.
     
  50. Hi AZ

    Thanks for stopping my and checking my art out. I notice that you still don't get my art. Maybe you can explain Maplethorpe to me in a way that I find acceptable and I'll try to help you understand my art:)
     
  51. We don't have much in the way of photographic art in this area
    Huh???
    Thomas, you live within 1 hour's driving (or take CalTrain) distance to San Francisco MOMA. If you were to go there today, you would see an extraordinary 300+ print Diane Arbus exhibition, a large show by Regan Louie, and around another 500 or so prints from a variety of photographers including Winogrand, HCB, Weston, Bravo, Eggleston, Moriyama, Lange, Sherman, Strand, and even Ansel Adams. In addition, MOMA puts puts on seminars, lectures, and docent-led tours for the purpose of helping make art accessible. Seriously, maybe you should check that out?
     
  52. Thomas, I think Elvis's point was a simple one:

    Robert Mapplethorpe didn't put crucifixes into urine.

    It was Andres Serrano.
     
  53. Thomas has taken a reasonable perspective and turned into a personal issue about his own photography. But Bernd (above) put it much better:

    "Again, reason of distrust lies in the fact that Art today is often not done with the mindset of service, but for selfexhibition. If people today could see working artist doing their work in a way that shows dedication for the course of positive inspiration, then the general public would have more trust."


    If one paints, photographs, etc. solely for onesself, then the act itself is its own justification, and the artists own judgment is all that counts.

    But this completely discounts the communicative aspect of art. the great motivation of artistic communication is communication, not narcissistic self-expression. Once communication enters the discussion, then the audience becomes quite important: who is the audience of a particular work? If it is limited to the museums and their curators, the "artistic" community, why expect the public rally 'round? The public judges the arbiters of taste as much as it judges the artists? In the United States, the issue is not only anti-intellectual, it is anti-authoritarian, especially authority in artistic taste.
     
  54. Thomas.

    I suspect that if Robert Mapplethorpe knew what your reaction to his art would have been, that would have mode him very happy. His art had a purpose, to which you have given eloquent voice.
     
  55. I suspect that if Robert Mapplethorpe knew what your reaction to his art would have been, that would have mode him very happy.
    Andres Serrano too, although apparently only Elvis G. and I know why.
     
  56. Every museum and gallery I've been to was open to the public.
    Every artist I've met has been happy to talk about his or her work
    (and show it to me if possible). The purpose of displaying ones
    work is communication.

    Reading through this thread, I have to wonder whether those
    talking about how disengaged and antisocial artists are have
    based their views on time spent around art and artists or
    whether their only exposure is through bad movies and the
    occasional scandal surrounding a particular artist's work.
     
  57. "Art is art for art's sake and that alone."

    That is the soil on which mushrooms can grow.

    I dont believe that anything in this world exists for its own sake.
    If the above is the definition of a professor for art, the public must be distrustful. This professor could as well say: "My work for my works sake and that alone". It is nonsense! Imagine other professions would utter this.
     
  58. "The purpose of displaying ones work is communication."

    I am not sure if this is always the purpose, but even when it is, its not enough, when nothing is revealed with this work.
     
  59. Brad Evans , nov 28, 2003; 12:44 p.m.
    We don't have much in the way of photographic art in this area
    Huh???

    Thomas, you live within 1 hour's driving (or take CalTrain) distance to San Francisco MOMA.

    -------------------------

    Yes. You're correct. I should make the effort to drive up to San Francisco and check the MOMA out. I was referring to San Jose and since I have family/work time constraints, it didn't occur to me to go up to San Francisco.

    Doh! :)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Elliot Nicholson , nov 28, 2003; 01:29 p.m.
    Thomas, I think Elvis's point was a simple one:

    Robert Mapplethorpe didn't put crucifixes into urine.


    It was Andres Serrano.

    ---------------------

    Ooops! Hopefully you'll forgive my error. My comments remains the same, no matter who the artist might be. Why? I wasn't trying to pick on any single artist as I was trying to make a point of why the distrust by those not associate with art directly. And in the process confused one artist with another.

    When an artist does hateful things that shows such a lack of respect, it will create a backlash that will have a lasting impact. And in the case of Maplethorpe and Cincinnati, the NEA suffered. And the conservative right is waiting for the numbers in Congress to shift sufficently so as to exact their displeasure.

    When Serrano, or any artists takes on cultural icons, the backlash is well deserved as they've, in their arrogance, brought the backlash deservedly on themselves. This is neither smart nor good and to say one doesn't care is childish and selfcentered. Which is also a bad thing. We all have to learn about respect and to apply it to all people in the general population. And yes, there are resonable exceptions:)


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Isaac Chavel , nov 28, 2003; 01:48 p.m.
    Thomas has taken a reasonable perspective and turned into a personal issue about his own photography. But Bernd (above) put it much better:

    My appologies if you think I've taken personal issue. It just so happened, an answer was given that touched a personal chord. Winking as I write...... I'll try and be more careful in the future:)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Bob Atkins (www.bobatkins.com) , nov 28, 2003; 02:21 p.m.
    Thomas.

    I suspect that if Robert Mapplethorpe knew what your reaction to his art would have been, that would have made him very happy. His art had a purpose, to which you have given eloquent voice.

    ------------------------

    Well:) I must say; it's nice to know that I didn't miss his message and that I'm on the right track:) Had me worried for a second:)


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A Z , nov 28, 2003; 02:31 p.m.
    I suspect that if Robert Mapplethorpe knew what your reaction to his art would have been, that would have mode him very happy.
    Andres Serrano too, although apparently only Elvis G. and I know why.

    ----------------------

    Hey:) That's uncalled for:) I made a mistake:) I'm sorry:) Oooops! Can you ever forgive me for my error and confusion:)

    Please pay particular note of all the smiley faces:) Doh!

    I disagree with this need for social anarchy and the need to push the line into oblivion. It's reassuring to know that at least I understand what's going on. But don't expect my support in this matter:)


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    bernd blauel , nov 28, 2003; 03:34 p.m.
    "The purpose of displaying ones work is communication."

    I am not sure if this is always the purpose, but even when it is, its not enough, when nothing is revealed with this work.

    -----------------------

    And to what extent is it the responsibility of the artist to choose the venue of viewers so this doesn't happen? Maybe it's the right message, just the wrong crowd.

    I'll show images to one group and they'll rip the image. I'll show the same image to a second group and they'll rave on the image. My reaction, for this example, is unimportant so much as the viewer's POV is important. If I choose a venue of hard core San Francisco liberals (just an example) and show them Iowa farm stuff, would it be realistic for my work to be accepted and vice-a-verse?

    This dovetails into honesty/distrust in the photographic world and the purpose/intent of the photography.

    Oh! And to all. Sorry if my comments were constrused as a rant. Read the words in a level even tone and maybe the purpose and intent will be better revealed. They were not words attached to a rant or some wacked out outpouring of repressed socio anger:) They were just words expressing my opinion. Hope that helps.
     
  60. I think your opinion was clear: the goal of art is facile prettiness
    which you find affirming, and anyone who has a definition of art
    that doesn't agree with yours is hateful, unoriginal, deceitful, and/
    or socially destructive. (With a bit of additional whining about
    how people who dare to criticize your views are stifling all free
    thought and expression.)
     
  61. I think your opinion was clear: the goal of art is facile prettiness which you find affirming, and anyone who has a definition of art that doesn't agree with yours is hateful, unoriginal, deceitful, and/ or socially destructive. (With a bit of additional whining about how people who dare to criticize your views are stifling all free thought and expression.)

    ---------------------------

    Well, it's nice to see that you missed my POV by a country mile but would you kindly point out where I said any of your above and I'll be happy to try and put my misconstrued thoughts back into proper context.

    Why? Because I'm a nice guy:)

    I'll eagerly look forward to your post post:)
     
  62. Man oh Man!! I'm sorry I went away to thanksgiving! So much to catch up on.
    ________________________________________

    Very quickly, regarding: "I just had an idea: An opt-in checkbox on the yearly 1040 form indicating whether or not you support the funding of the NEA, much like the presidential campaign checkbox. Congress could establish a "per-capita" NEA tax amount. The number of checked NEA boxes multiplied by the per-capita value would be the NEA's budget for the year.

    And if it worked, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting could be next..."

    I would gladly agree to this if we could also have an Opt-in/out box for the bloated and corrupt and HIGHLY deceitful departments of defense and homeland insecurity. If we are going to fragment the fed and allow us to pick and choose, let's be thorough.

    ______________________________


    Now, Thomas: Quite a while back, I raised the issue of the German National Socialists taking a stance on modern, degenerate art that I thought might interest you. You responded that the fact that I reached all the way back to the 1930s somehow demonstrated how desperate I was. I don't really understand what you thought I was trying so desperately to do. I was just mentioning a historical precident that I thought you might have found interesting.

    In your subsequent comments, you describe modern "artsy" photography as out-of focus, super-saturated, distorted. (I didn't think to cut and paste your exact words. Forgive me if I mis-stated.) If you look at the on-line images by 99 percent of the photographers you are arguing with on this topic, you will find that there are many, many sharply focused, subtly colored, beautifully crafted images. I stated earlier and I state again, I think you paint the comunity of artists with too broad a brush. I find a tremendous quantity of very accessible, yet very absorbing and powerful images that are NOT out-of-focus, NOT super-saturated, not generally technically kitchy.

    I disagree with your points, but I can disagree without being offended. I find your attitude to be offensive.

    You stated in an earlier post that "I leave this thread." What happened?
     
  63. Now, Thomas: Quite a while back, I raised the issue of the German National Socialists taking a stance on modern, degenerate art that I thought might interest you. You responded that the fact that I reached all the way back to the 1930s somehow demonstrated how desperate I was. I don't really understand what you thought I was trying so desperately to do. I was just mentioning a historical precident that I thought you might have found interesting.

    -------------------

    As to the thirties and your comments, I got the impression that you were trying to compare myself to these attitudes as I'm very much aware of the Nazi behavior. Since I was born in 1952 and having lost a Grandfather to the German's in WWI and lost my Father to the Cold War (SAC bomber pilot, B-47 who was a WWII vet and being a Vietnam era vet myself, Navy, I'm painfully aware of the hateful nature of the Nazi's and don't even like this part of history being brought up in conversations such as this. The Nazi's were so over the top in their behavior that they have no purpose, to me, in conversations such as this, with the exception of being inflamatory. I hope the above helps.

    --------------------

    In your subsequent comments, you describe modern "artsy" photography as out-of focus, super-saturated, distorted. (I didn't think to cut and paste your exact words. Forgive me if I mis-stated.) If you look at the on-line images by 99 percent of the photographers you are arguing with on this topic, you will find that there are many, many sharply focused, subtly colored, beautifully crafted images. I stated earlier and I state again, I think you paint the comunity of artists with too broad a brush. I find a tremendous quantity of very accessible, yet very absorbing and powerful images that are NOT out-of-focus, NOT super-saturated, not generally technically kitchy.

    ---------------------

    As to your comments. Yes. I find many, many artists making overly saturated images that have been hammered with Photoshop masks. I do have to correct you on one point, with the advent of AF, there aren't too many that are OOF:) I find many images overly interpretive and they are so over done that you get dizzy and a headache looking at these images. I'm sure what you find powerful, I'll find, as you said, kitchy.

    You're right in that my comments were very broad sweeping and wrongfully so. I won't argue that my comments can be at times, far too wide in scope. But considering the childish nature of some of the above arguments, it's the pithyist way to make a statement. Yes, there's room for me to fine tune my comments.

    --------------------------

    I disagree with your points, but I can disagree without being offended. I find your attitude to be offensive.

    ---------------------

    As to my attitude, I'm sorry you find it offensive. People say they like opposing opinions and yet when I oppose them, I'm considered in offense. I'm probably the opposite of you politically, so we'll both bare with the differences:)

    -------------------------

    You stated in an earlier post that "I leave this thread." What happened?

    ------------------------

    It's reasonable to reply to people's comments. That's called baiting when you posted a question such as your above. Not nice:)

    Here's an image from tonight that expresses my feeling about the art community. Please take it tongue in cheek. The problem that I see with the art community, is that they're so locked into their way of thinking that somebody who thinks differently then they, is treated with disrespect. So in response, I act accordingly to the offense that these posters dish out.

    I photograph the way I want, too bad these people don't understand my work. It's their loss, not mine. I'm happy to take the time to understand their images but the reciprocation isn't there on their part. We're talking one way here. You either photograph the way they find acceptable or your out of here. And when someone such as myself won't bow down and pay homage to these selfish individual, the insults start pouring in.

    Anyhow, thanks for the thoughtful reply and my appologies for causing you offense.
     
  64. Thomas:
    >And to what extent is it the responsibility of the artist to choose the venue of viewers so this doesn't happen? Maybe it's the right message, just the wrong crowd.

    His responsibility is to speak in a language others can understand.
    And even if they dont understand- as long as they get some inspiration, enthusiasm - it is good. If the artist has caught a "spark" in a particular piece of work and if he is a good craftsman then this his inspiration is bound to reveal something to some or many.

    Nice picture by the way, but since you are a nice man, as you stated, you can also show a picture how artists should be? :)
     
  65. "there seems to be an unwillingness to accept images requiring intellectual consideration"

    I wonder which images are classed as requiring more intellectual consideration than others. I suspect that considering most of the ones labelled as "challenging" would be the intellectual equivalent of slowing down to look at a car accident.

    Why can't a typical pastoral scene call for us much cogitation as something ugly? There is no reason why people should force themselves to embrace anything that doesn't interest them. It's one thing to broaden your horizons and develop an appreciation for art that isn't at first readily accessable, but if a picture doesn't generate anything positive in you, then why bother with it?

    It seems that, rather than exploring more ways to discover beauty around them, photographers have instead taken the lazy way out by heading in the other direction. It's far easier to delve into entirely new territory than to come up with something original in a well known area. And, naturally, being "shocking" results in far more attention.

    I don't think there's ever been an issue of art being distrusted; it's the art critics and the artists who don't have anything worthwhile to show who are distrusted. Good thing, too.
     
  66. Thomas, I'm always happy to join in intelectual debates. This one is getting a bit out of hand at 15,000 words, but hey :)
    I don't agree with your definiton. "Art is anything that's made by a person to stimulate the visual. " Art can be music, poetry, literature, drama, ballet - as well as photography, painting, sculpture etc. It has to connect with audience. But how big an audience ? If it only connects with one or two people is it still art ? It doesn't have to do it in a positive way. There have been several references to pictures combining crucifixes and urine. Linking two things with a lot of symbolism is something artists have done for hundreds of years. The fact that you have been visually stimulated and moved to anger says that the "art" has worked. I don't buy into "The only art is 'beauty art' " school of thought, "hate-art" or "lust-art" are still art. I bring up "Lust-art", because you brought pornography in. Is it possible for something to be simultaneously pornographic and artistic ? I think so (I think floris Andrea's work on here includes some examples)
    While on the subject I don't trust people who want to tell me what is pornographic, any more than I trust people who tell me what is art. One set wants to tell me what should offend me (with implicit criticism of my morals if it is not what offends them), and the other wants to tell me what should connect with me (with implicit criticism of my intelligence if it is not what connects with them).
    I'm into the eye of the beholder thing, beauty, art, porn are all in the eye of the beholder. I think you called this "the pornography defense. "I can't define it but I sure know it when I see it." Everybody knows what pornogoraphy is but nobody wants to define it because then pictures of naked ladies will have had boundries put on them, sensibilities, and the little perves won't be able to make their sick, hateful images of women anymore. Actually I take pictures of women without their clothes. You can have a look at the most recent. In another thread I have explained why definitions of pornography are problematic: in that folder there are pictures with obvious nudity, but no erotic content; and I have seen pictures on p.n. which are intentionally erotic where the model is fully dressed. If you look at mine you'll see that they are
    (a) My take on the human body
    (b) Trying to engage people visually (and their aesthetic, rather than erotic side)
    So I think I can claim to be making art. Other people will say anything with a bare breast is Porn (I ask them if they would call Botticelli's "Birth of venus" 'art' or 'a smutty picture of some bint with her tits out' - or is Michealangelo's David, a masterpiece, or "just some guy showing his knob" that tends to get them flustered). It's pretty easy to prove by example that porn is not about which parts of the body are showing. It's about how you show the body - if it is what you call "sick" and "hateful" and made by a "perve" (not words I would choose, but they serve quite well to indentify a class of pictures) they're probably not art; though they may be accomplished photography. What defines the boundary between that and work like mine is the artist's take on the body; interpretation.
    I was thinking about what I said about the criticism that could be made of your pictures - they were a record, a "snap" of what was there and lacked artistic interpretation. A passport photo is a record, a portrait is interpretation. If you look at a good one say, Karsh's picture of Winston Churchill, it is quite definitely the photographer's take on his subject. There is no obfuscation. It's perfectly valid for you to say of your pictures that they are how you see the subject, and that IS your interpretaion: there's no reason why should you adopt whatever is in fashion as a way of expressing oneself if it moves the result further away from how you think of your subject.
    There are people - especially with the rise of digital techniques - who are so bound up with the medium that their interpretation gets lost. It doesn't stop their work being art, it just moves it into the category of unsuccessful art.
    One last thing on interpretation. Years ago a friend of mine went to disneyland (I think) and came accross one of the signs saying "This is a good subject for a picture". And people queued up and took a picture. He photographed the sign with the view in the background. A member of staff thought he was a bit hard of thinking, and said "Sir, I don't think that is the idea". He made a picture about how people behave, about the nature of attactions like this and so on. His was the art; other people made pretty pictures.
     
  67. James,

    I don't agree with your definiton. "Art is anything that's made by a person to stimulate the visual. " Art can be music, poetry, literature, drama, ballet - as well as photography, painting, sculpture etc.

    -----------------------

    Of course it can. I agree with you. But the question was subject centric, so I kept the definition around photograpy. I was not trying to be exclusionary to any of the "other" arts. Just eliminate the word visual, a modifier, and you'll be left with senses and then nothing will be left out.

    ------------------------

    It has to connect with audience. But how big an audience ? If it only connects with one or two people is it still art ? It doesn't have to do it in a positive way.

    ----------------

    There in lies the rub. When you go after the negative, an icon of a group, when the artist knows they're being disrespectful and they have no other intent then being hurtful towards others, it then becomes hate and not art. Pissing people off is about the easiest thing one can do. Being inconsiderate towards others is easy. How about we all get into name calling and denegrate each others family members. How about we start slamming, each other and purposfully hurt each other with words. That wouldn't be acceptable and might even cause this thread to be removed. There's no difference. Hateful is hateful, even if it wears a shawl like cover of being art.

    ------------------------------

    There have been several references to pictures combining crucifixes and urine. Linking two things with a lot of symbolism is something artists have done for hundreds of years. The fact that you have been visually stimulated and moved to anger says that the "art" has worked. I don't buy into "The only art is 'beauty art' " school of thought, "hate-art" or "lust-art" are still art.

    ---------------------

    If you want to have "hate-art" then be genuose and say, "This crap is here to piss you off, did I do a good job?" Pissing people off is child's play. Being hateful, is easy. How about we have some perfoming art where the pissed off people show their hurt feeling and beat the living crap out of this avante garde artist. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot, hateful art is a one way street where it's okay for the artist to be hurtful but the person experiencing the hurt is not allowed to hurt in return. No. Hate is easy, it's not art. Yes there's valid and invalid art and when you set about to hurt, that's invalid, unless you state up front, "I'm here to piss you off." That's the distrust. I don't want anything to do with those that set about to piss me off. You need counseling if you hang out with that sort of behavior. And no, using visual to piss people off and be hurtful, is not valid art unless the artist is willing to accept the hate they've created. Other then that, they're using the law to protect them from the results of their hatefulness. That's not playing fair:)

    ---------------------------------

    I bring up "Lust-art", because you brought pornography in. Is it possible for something to be simultaneously pornographic and artistic ? I think so (I think floris Andrea's work on here includes some examples)

    ----------------------

    Dumbing down people's sensibilities is the purpose of social anarchists. That way no one will look upon them with the condemming eye of being the perve they are. Now you get into religion and why they attack religion. They're not clever. They're very transpartant in their purpose. I want nothing to do with this sort of anti-social behavior. That's a personal choice. I see women and men in a more respectful eye then just being some sort of sex toy or a hand towel if you will. And no, I don't buy into the human form excuses. We're talking a lot of whooey when you get into people waxing poetically about the human form. There's a reason why people find the human form so facinating, it's called sex. It's not an enigma.

    -------------------------

    While on the subject I don't trust people who want to tell me what is pornographic, any more than I trust people who tell me what is art.

    --------------------------

    So far, you've done everything in your power to cooberate my definition. Everything you speak about is visual stimulation. But I'm not telling you what to think or do. But don't trust me as I'm only stating the obvious in my definition.

    ------------------------

    I'm into the eye of the beholder thing, beauty, art, porn are all in the eye of the beholder. I think you called this "the pornography defense. "I can't define it but I sure know it when I see it." Everybody knows what pornogoraphy is but nobody wants to define it because then pictures of naked ladies will have had boundries put on them, sensibilities, and the little perves won't be able to make their sick, hateful images of women anymore. Actually I take pictures of women without their clothes. You can have a look at the most recent. In another thread I have explained why definitions of pornography are problematic: in that folder there are pictures with obvious nudity, but no erotic content; and I have seen pictures on p.n. which are intentionally erotic where the model is fully dressed. If you look at mine you'll see that they are
    (a) My take on the human body
    (b) Trying to engage people visually (and their aesthetic, rather than erotic side)
    So I think I can claim to be making art. Other people will say anything with a bare breast is Porn (I ask them if they would call Botticelli's "Birth of venus" 'art' or 'a smutty picture of some bint with her tits out' - or is Michealangelo's David, a masterpiece, or "just some guy showing his knob" that tends to get them flustered). It's pretty easy to prove by example that porn is not about which parts of the body are showing. It's about how you show the body - if it is what you call "sick" and "hateful" and made by a "perve" (not words I would choose, but they serve quite well to indentify a class of pictures) they're probably not art; though they may be accomplished photography. What defines the boundary between that and work like mine is the artist's take on the body; interpretation.

    -----------------------

    Pesonnaly, I think guys just like women's breasts and use art as an excuse to lay their eyes on them. I truly think it's that shallow of a concept and all this artiness is just a cover up. How many guys jump the gals they've conned into the studio. In my mind, it's all about sex and getting the next chick in bed. Again, art's just the vehicle. That's my take on all this need to take pics of naked ladies. It's not that I'm that shallow, it's that the photographers are that transparent. "I'm an artist." No you're not, you're just a dude that likes naked chicks.

    ---------------------

    I was thinking about what I said about the criticism that could be made of your pictures - they were a record, a "snap" of what was there and lacked artistic interpretation. A passport photo is a record, a portrait is interpretation. If you look at a good one say, Karsh's picture of Winston Churchill, it is quite definitely the photographer's take on his subject. There is no obfuscation. It's perfectly valid for you to say of your pictures that they are how you see the subject, and that IS your interpretaion: there's no reason why should you adopt whatever is in fashion as a way of expressing oneself if it moves the result further away from how you think of your subject.

    ---------------------------

    But that's what the nimrods want. And that unacceptance is what I have to fight. If it's they're way, it's cool. If it's anyway that doesn't fit their mold, it's out. Personally, I don't see art in the way you do. Churchill's portrait to me, was just a record of another famous person, nothing more. I think artist like to bulid themselves up and have filled themselves so full that they don't realize what they've become. I guess maybe I just wasn't amazed by all the crap floating around as intellectual content in art school.
    ----------------------

    There are people - especially with the rise of digital techniques - who are so bound up with the medium that their interpretation gets lost. It doesn't stop their work being art, it just moves it into the category of unsuccessful art.

    ----------------------

    And by saying it's "unsuccessful art" you denigrate it and put the same boundries on it that you yourself hate, instead of encouraging it, which is bigotry in the definitive sense. How about a simple, "It doesn't work for me." and move on. But to declare it "unsucessful" is to condemn it within your value system. At least say, in honesty, "I think it's crap and the reason why is." Then you're being genuine. At least the artist will know why it failed to communicate.

    ---------------------------

    One last thing on interpretation. Years ago a friend of mine went to disneyland (I think) and came accross one of the signs saying "This is a good subject for a picture". And people queued up and took a picture. He photographed the sign with the view in the background. A member of staff thought he was a bit hard of thinking, and said "Sir, I don't think that is the idea". He made a picture about how people behave, about the nature of attactions like this and so on. His was the art; other people made pretty pictures.

    ---------------------------

    And now your friend has taken the fun out of it. Everybody understands what's going on and your friend, unbeknownst to him or you, thinks he's being cool. Taking pics of people in their environment isn't original thinking, neither is taking pics of monkeys in a zoo. I can go back over two thousand years and there will be pics of people going about their daily lives and being entertained. If it floats his boat, cool, but it's not a unique concept.

    The subject line deals with distrust. The reason for the distrust is many artists like to hold themselves out as being something special, all that, when they're not. They think they're clever when they're not. They think they're special by pissing people off when all they are is a thoughtless, inconsiderate, one way cad, not something to be held in high esteem. The distrust is earned through years at thumbing their collective noses at the general public and when some, like myself comes along who respects the general public, the artist then heap insults on me.

    Not all artists are this way. My ire is towards those that think hate is cool and insulting the general publics intelligence somehow makes them better then everybody else.

    So don't be surprised if I hold the art community in low stead. They wanted the criticism and they earned the criticism.
     
  68. If you look at a good one say, Karsh's picture of Winston Churchill, it is quite definitely the photographer's take on his subject.

    -------------------

    Just a follow up thought.

    Isn't that the shot where Karsh got the image because he swiped Churchill's cigar:) I like pics of happy people not people mad because somebody swiped something of their's.

    Sorry, I the guy sitting on the other side of the isle:)
     
  69. James

    I stopped by your portfolio. Some very nice, tastefully done stuff. No complaints on my part...... save one. :)

    If the human form is so interesting and it's not about sex, then why no sensitive images of fat chicks. It's just an observation but only the pretty are photographed and none of this sensitivity is pushed in the direction of the not so pretty.

    That's being intellectually dishonest.

    Humans come in all shapes and sizes. We all know this but somehow "art" photographers conveniently, for the most part, leave the rest of the population out of their portofolio but they'll put into their portfolio the hate and angst of the human condition.

    Yes, this lack of inclusion exposes naked lady artist, to me, for what they are, using art as a venue of voureism:)

    Tried to find your e-mail. Here's another shot from last nights effort. It doesn't make fun of the art community:)
     
  70. His [the artist's] responsibility is to speak in a language others can understand. And even if they dont understand- as long as they get some inspiration, enthusiasm - it is good.
    If I don't understand German, does that mean German writers lack talent or a valid message? I would hope the answer is, "Of course not!" but, as applied to visual art, some in this thread seem to be arguing that, no, since the message is not universally understood and well received, the "artist" has failed. Let's take Serrano's "Piss Christ" as a concrete example. I see it as an interesting commentary on how a message of love and acceptance has been subverted over the millenia to justify bloodshed, intolerance, and persecution--to a large extent, the subject of the work is hate. Others see that one of their symbols isn't being treated with the veneration they think it deserves, so the artist must be making a hateful attack on their cherished beliefs. So which of us is right? Does everyone have to get Serrano's message in order for the work to be a valid statement? Is it invalidated because people can find an interpretation they find offensive? Again, I don't think artists should be trusted because it's not their role to be trusted--I take it as a sign of success that people should question what the artist is trying to say.
    I second Ward's suggestion that people take a closer look at the Nazi position on "modern" art and compare it to what they think is the proper role for art. The Nazis also felt that they were on the side of righteousness and morality . . .
    And again, I suggest that people base their views of art and artists on more than what they see in cheesy movies or hear in sensationalist media reports. Mentions that the purpose of nude photography is to get the model in bed and that only thin, pretty models are represented in art are further signs of ignorance, not insight.
     
  71. Mike.

    You really do need to dig a little bit deeper then your below. I'll elaborate a bit to help.

    -------------------------------

    His [the artist's] responsibility is to speak in a language others can understand. And even if they dont understand- as long as they get some inspiration, enthusiasm - it is good.

    If I don't understand German, does that mean German writers lack talent or a valid message?

    ---------------------

    No. It sure doesn't but it doesn't hurt to try to learn German if you're going to present your written work to Germans. It has a bunch more meaning to them that way. I don't speak German or any other language for that matter but it doesn't mean that I'm not capable of understanding what the intent of their words are, should they be accurately translated.

    ---------------------

    I would hope the answer is, "Of course not!" but, as applied to visual art, some in this thread seem to be arguing that, no, since the message is not universally understood and well received, the "artist" has failed.

    -------------------

    And what some don't want to see, this failure to communicate is exactly that a failure to communicate. It at no time invalidates the artist, it just means the audience doesn't get his message. No biggy. But if the artist wishes to communicate to a particular audience, then they're gonna have to either change their message to one the audience understands or politely accept the fact the audience doesn't get their message. It seems the standard tact is to insult the audience. Now there's adult behavior.

    -----------------------------

    Let's take Serrano's "Piss Christ" as a concrete example. I see it as an interesting commentary on how a message of love and acceptance has been subverted over the millenia to justify bloodshed, intolerance, and persecution--to a large extent, the subject of the work is hate. Others see that one of their symbols isn't being treated with the veneration they think it deserves, so the artist must be making a hateful attack on their cherished beliefs. So which of us is right? Does everyone have to get Serrano's message in order for the work to be a valid statement? Is it invalidated because people can find an interpretation they find offensive? Again, I don't think artists should be trusted because it's not their role to be trusted--I take it as a sign of success that people should question what the artist is trying to say.

    -------------------------

    I, as a Christian, will completely agree with the hateful behavior the leadership of the Catholic Church has represented themselves over the years but the cross is a symbol of christ, not the church. So Serrano attacked Christ, who was innocent of the crimes you mentioned. If he wants to take a picture of King Ferdinand and hang it in piss water, then he's going after the right person.

    "The Spanish Inquisition was an aberration under
    the auspices of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, and not
    under the control of the Apostolic See. It was the Pope that actually
    ordered the King and Queen to shut it down because they were using it to persecute people and to stamp out dissent."

    ----------------------

    I second Ward's suggestion that people take a closer look at the Nazi position on "modern" art and compare it to what they think is the proper role for art. The Nazis also felt that they were on the side of righteousness and morality . . .

    -----------------------

    I have no problem with this discussion but it was posted out of context with relationship to our conversation and this sort of out of context posting will cause uncessary misunderstandings. This Nazi message has nothing to do with today's mistrust of the art world nor would anybody outside of a person of the Nazi party, consider Nazi thinking moral.

    ---------------------

    And again, I suggest that people base their views of art and artists on more than what they see in cheesy movies or hear in sensationalist media reports. Mentions that the purpose of nude photography is to get the model in bed and that only thin, pretty models are represented in art are further signs of ignorance, not insight.

    -------------------------

    If you go to his web site, there's no fat chicks. And please, very little are in the art world of today. Rare does not count. When you don't leave examples, then you leave the answer all to yourself. Post the context that you mean your statement to be seen in. The robust women of the Middle Ages? The idea of beauty on the Serengeti? New Age, drug infested scrawney? Very little in today's art, includes the ugly, fat woman in their images. So please, post your examples of how wrong I am. I just don't get this need to take pics of naked chics. And don't get me wrong, I dig a good looking babe. "Yes, dear, I'll be right there." :) Married man here:)

    Just because you're in support of the art world and their methods, doesn't make you omnicent. Just because I don't support everything in the art world doesn't make me omnicent. But it doesn't make me unaware either.
     
  72. So Serrano attacked Christ, who was innocent of the crimes you mentioned.
    Serrano didn't attack anyone. As I said, he used an icon that many take as symbolic of Christ and immersed it in blood and urine to represent the subversion of Jesus's message of love and acceptance. Using a symbol of Christ is an essentail to conveying that message. I'm sure there are hundreds of millions of Hindus who find it offensive that people are eating cows--are you attacking people of Hindu faith every time you eat a hamburger?
    This Nazi message has nothing to do with today's mistrust of the art world nor would anybody outside of a person of the Nazi party, consider Nazi thinking moral.
    The "proper" role of art is inextricably tied to whether people trust (or should trust) artists. I think your failure to see any connection is more an indication of your refusal to see than a lack of connection.
    Very little in today's art, includes the ugly, fat woman in their images. So please, post your examples of how wrong I am. I just don't get this need to take pics of naked chics.
    Your failure to see "ugly, fat" women in current art may be because the artists are not presenting them as ugly and fat. What you see as a need to "take pics of naked chics [sic]" may in fact be a cooperative effort between the model and artist to include the physical and sexual facets of the subject. Your tone on the subject is insulting to everyone involved--it insults the artists because it presumes that their motivations are base and manipulative, and it insults the models because it presumes that they are stupid and powerless.
    Just because you're in support of the art world and their methods, doesn't make you omnicent. Just because I don't support everything in the art world doesn't make me omnicent. But it doesn't make me unaware either.
    Congratulations on refuting a claim I never made. I would dispute, based on the tone and content of your arguments, that you have much awareness about the range of motivations and methods that artists have.
     
  73. Mike

    So Serrano attacked Christ, who was innocent of the crimes you mentioned.
    Serrano didn't attack anyone.

    ---------------------

    Of course he did. Now you're peeing on my leg.

    ---------------------

    As I said, he used an icon that many take as symbolic of Christ and immersed it in blood and urine to represent the subversion of Jesus's message of love and acceptance.

    ---------------------

    Which was highly offensive and by nature hateful. But now we're into the childish debate of yes it is, no it isn't.

    ----------------------------

    Using a symbol of Christ is an essentail to conveying that message. I'm sure there are hundreds of millions of Hindus who find it offensive that people are eating cows--are you attacking people of Hindu faith every time you eat a hamburger?

    --------------------

    Now you're running with the ball. Eating hamburgers isn't attacking anybody's faith, it's feeding one's body. Now if I were to act like Serrano, I'd go into their church and chow down. That's jerk behavior and I wouldn't do that. There's a clear cut behavior pattern difference. I could claim that I'm making a statement of hunger around the world and how some are causing their own starvation/sanitation problems. Oh, I might suggest that if I attack, yes attack, an individuals icons, then I need to understand that I've become a hateful person. To not do so is being intellectually dishonest. When one treats religious icons, purposefully in an in your face, disrespectful manner, you're no longer a loving individual but a hateful one. Leave people's religious icons alone. There are other things you can stick in offensive material to make your statement with. But when you go for the jugular, then it exposes you for the person you really are. My quote to describe a person is: "A person is not what they say but what they do, for what a person does on a daily basis, is who they really are." You can cash that check any day of the week. And if a person reviles in hateful behavior, they're a hateful person. Most people will just think of them as being a jerk.

    --------------------------

    This Nazi message has nothing to do with today's mistrust of the art world nor would anybody outside of a person of the Nazi party, consider Nazi thinking moral.

    ---------------------------

    The "proper" role of art is inextricably tied to whether people trust (or should trust) artists. I think your failure to see any connection is more an indication of your refusal to see than a lack of connection.

    -------------------

    I notice that you left the connection part out of the conversation. This intentional leaving of context out is patently clear. It was a comment that was tied into my conversation when I never espoused any ideals of the Nazi party and to tie the comment of the Nazi party in with my comments was not a nice thing to do and I commented. Try keeping my comments in context.

    -----------------------

    Very little in today's art, includes the ugly, fat woman in their images. So please, post your examples of how wrong I am. I just don't get this need to take pics of naked chics.

    -----------------------

    Your failure to see "ugly, fat" women in current art may be because the artists are not presenting them as ugly and fat.

    -----------------------

    And I noticed that you only speak the part when I asked for you to post examples. The artists aren't presenting them in any light. And if they are, the examples are far and few in between.

    ----------------------

    What you see as a need to "take pics of naked chics [sic]" may in fact be a cooperative effort between the model and artist to include the physical and sexual facets of the subject.

    -------------------

    Which is just code for "I want to see your body".

    -----------------------

    Your tone on the subject is insulting to everyone involved--it insults the artists because it presumes that their motivations are base and manipulative, and it insults the models because it presumes that they are stupid and powerless.

    ----------------------

    And your tone is sincere:) I never said it wasn't a cooperative effort. But guys do use this as an excuse. Even you tie the sexual into the conversation in your above. Pretty women and sex, yepper, there's a tie there. And where did I ever say the models were stupid and powerless. Of course they can be conned. Men have been duping women for thousands of years, just as women have been duping men during the same time. Women, men, sex and power, it's not an enigma.

    ----------------------------

    Just because you're in support of the art world and their methods, doesn't make you omnicent. Just because I don't support everything in the art world doesn't make me omnicent. But it doesn't make me unaware either.

    --------------------

    Congratulations on refuting a claim I never made.

    ------------------------

    Yes you did. The fact there's no middle ground in your written conversation indicates that you consider yourself to be the sole possesor of knowledge and that my awareness is woefully lacking. You've taken my comments out of context and when I comment you don't directly address the issues I raise. When you have a one way conversation, it rightfully breeds distrust.

    -------------------------

    I would dispute, based on the tone and content of your arguments, that you have much awareness about the range of motivations and methods that artists have. And then you finalize with your comment about me not having much of a clue.

    ------------------------

    What you have is a disagreement of acceptability and that your way works for you and if I don't like it well too bad. You're also living in a pretend world. Sorry, life is a two way street as in tolerence. And tolerence includes acceptence of others that disagree with you; including my view point. You're not as open minded as you like to think you are, based upon your above comments. And just because some button head thinks it, who ever that person might be and then follows up on it, considering the morals of the supporting group, I'd say that I'm quite comfortable with my awareness that you're so disenchanted with.

    We'll let you have the last word and I'll look forward to those thoughful fat, ugly person art pics that you say is so prevelent in the art world that I haven't been seeing. Oh! And no fair baiting your post:)
     
  74. When one treats religious icons, purposefully in an in your face, disrespectful manner, you're no longer a loving individual but a hateful one. Leave people's religious icons alone.
    So use of religious icons is okay as long as they seem to reaffirm the beliefs those icons represent? If the message is something that might make people uncomfortable, then that use is unacceptable? (And if you're sincere in your belief that we should leave people's religous icons alone, I assume you're going to end any support of the beef industry.)
    It was a comment that was tied into my conversation when I never espoused any ideals of the Nazi party and to tie the comment of the Nazi party in with my comments was not a nice thing to do and I commented.
    No one has accused you of being a Nazi. If you had actually followed the suggestion to take a look at the Nazi perspective on art, you might (or might not) have recognized the similarity between how they used art to reaffirm party ideology and viewed any challenge to that ideology as a form of antisocial radicalism and how you have defined acceptable and unacceptable forms of artistic expression.
    You're also living in a pretend world. Sorry, life is a two way street as in tolerence. And tolerence includes acceptence of others that disagree with you; including my view point.
    The problem with accepting your viewpoint is that you claim you know the real motivations and goals of artists and that they are arrogant, deceitful, unoriginal, etc. (see your numerous posts above). My viewpoint is that I have met many artists and exposed myself to a lot of artwork that doesn't match up with your descriptions. In this case, alternatives exclude. Either you don't know nearly as much as you claim, or I'm horribly deluded ("living in a pretend world"). I agree that continuing the conversation is rather pointless. I trust that people can read what we've written, do their own research, look at their own experiences, and make their own decisions.
     
  75. Wow, there is a lot of ill will going on in this thread. I will just
    speed through my contribution in order not to add too much to
    the many thousand words here already. It's complicated, but
    here's a synopsis of how it happened.

    The beginnings of the rift between the art world and the rest of
    the world starts in the industrial revolution and is completed by
    the Nazi take over of Germay. The industrial revolution takes
    farmers who have their own culture, moves them to the city,
    teaches them to read so they can work in factories and then
    houses them in boring tenements that are ugly and cheap.

    Stripped of their own culture and in need of something to
    brighten their weary lives, these workers turn to easy pop culture
    and Kitch is born. That is, cheap, easy entertainment that
    requires no effort to consume (one doesn't have much energy for
    culture after a 12 hour day in a factory.)

    Flash forward to the beginnings of the Nazi takeover of Germany.
    A powerful medium is needed to help win the minds of the
    desperately impoverished Geman public. Socialist Art is born. It
    is beautiful, using the human form to illustrate the triumphs of
    the Wotan Archetype, or, the Aryan Race. The Nazi's rally around
    this vision of Germany and conscript artists to make more
    Socialist Art.

    Those artists who are creating a different vision of Germany, the
    German Expressionists, see an ugly, corrupt, decadent,
    exploitive culture in the Wiemar elite and they paint them that
    way. These are difficult, ugly paintings of a currupt and perverted
    culture. They are also honest about the dark side of Nazi
    Germany. Those artists of course are told either to change their
    art or die. Many are killed, the others flee Germany. A similar
    thing happens in Russia as well.

    Before the exodus of artists from Germany in the early years of
    Nazi rule, Germany was developing a lot of exciting movements
    in art and design. Those teachers and artists went into exile,
    many of them coming to the United States, and many of them
    coming to New York City.

    Having seen the power of representative art to capture and move
    people who don't understand or question it's message to do
    horrific things like killing other people and participating in
    genocide, those artists in exile sought another form of
    expression. Increasingly that expression developed into
    abstraction and abstract expressionism.

    The artists themselves are deeply distrustful of "easy" art, since
    it was used to motivate people to kill their friends and family and
    to drive them from their countries of origin. It is hoped that
    abstraction can not be co-opted for propaganda use. Much
    interesting and meaningful art comes out of this, but the general
    public, now very used to Kitsch as it's art, does not buy it.

    Hurt by their public reception, artists say a big f__ you to the
    public in general and continue to make art that avoids the pitfalls
    of the art they hate, propaganda. Now the rift is solidified.

    There is great danger in the unquestioning acceptance of
    images. Anyone who tells you differently should look at the
    effects of art used to further the regimes of Nazi Germany,
    Communist Russia, Communist China, Fascist Italy and Spain,
    Cambodia, North Vietnam etc. etc. ad nausem.

    Admittedly, the art world would do well to work to bridge the gap
    a bit themselves, too. But the truth is, culture takes work. If one
    doesn't want to do the work, then one isn't going to get it.

    Whoops, company is coming... got to go.
     
  76. Thomas. You've missed my point with "hate art". Art doesn't have to be about the beautiful, and the happy. My questions to answer "is it art" are: Did the artist bring something to it, does it connect, does it make you feel something. ? If it provokes and makes you think, and question things that is valid. If the viewer is not willing to think or question, it doesn't succeed as art. In some ways, your anger is what the "artist" wants when he goes after the negative, an icon of a group, when the artist knows they're being disrespectful and they have no other intent then being hurtful towards others, it then becomes hate and not art. I'm guessing we're still with "Piss Christ" then ... I looked at this, and thought "You want to attack the Christian religion and this is the best you can do ? How lame. 10/10 for being provocative, but minus serveral million for thought. Looks to me like a publicity stunt".
    Dumbing down people's sensibilities is the purpose of social anarchists. The corollary of this is being the guardian of public sensibilities of the purpose of social fascists. Making people think about these things isn't dumbing down, quite the reverse. Some people prefer not to think and keep their minds closed; the only art that works for them is the immediate. There is a difference between (a) An artist saying "You're too stupid to get my art" (b) A viewer saying "I won't think about this; if I have to think about it's not art", and (c) A viewer saying "I've considered it, and I see what you're driving at but for me, this doesn't do it."
    I think guys just like women's breasts and use art as an excuse to lay their eyes on them. I truly think it's that shallow of a concept and all this artiness is just a cover up. How many guys jump the gals they've conned into the studio. In my mind, it's all about sex and getting the next chick in bed. OK now you are being insulting. Guys like breasts. No dispute there, but the rest of it is tosh. I can't say no man has ever used a camera to con a woman into bed. But I only work with professional models, and it doesn't happen in the circles I move in. Everything I have done with nude work is about the body as something beautiful independent of sex. I've said before, any man who gets an erection looking at the stuff I do needs to see a doctor. As for breasts, the satistics are against you. I have 80 "nudes" on photo.net, and 3 have two models in. That's 166 breasts I could have shown, I did a quick count, I've shown 40 of them. The two most obviously sexual pictures Zoe with Leighann and Strike dear mistress and cure his heart don't show nakedness.
    It's not that I'm that shallow, it's that the photographers are that transparent. "I'm an artist." No you're not, you're just a dude that likes naked chicks. I shouldn't trade insults with you, but you're not shallow; if you developed a lot more depth you could aspire to be shallow in 10 years. But with only your postings here to go by, lack of depth is not your problem, but lack of width, as in "He was so narrow minded he could look through a keyhole with both eyes". When I see someone who refers to women as "Chicks" and people with different views as "pervs" it sends up a big warning that they may be a bit lacking in the respect of others department. One can be an artist and like breasts, it's not mutally exclusive. The last part of that could be turned back on you To say "you're not an artist, you just like pretty pictures." (which would be silly, right ?) But hang on ...
    unacceptance is what I have to fight. If it's they're way, it's cool. If it's anyway that doesn't fit their mold, it's out. Personally, I don't see art in the way you do, well the last bit's true for sure. But the first bit - you do feel a lack of acceptance because you like "pretty pictures" ? There is a difference between my view - which is art can be provocative and/or ugly, and require some thought from the viewer and the Clique view that art MUST do these things. There's no such requirement, and that's where I line up with you. From what you've posted you do leave yourself open to the charge of displaying the same intolerence as you are trying to fight against.
    saying [over manipulated work is] "unsuccessful art" you denigrate it and put the same boundries on it that you yourself hate Not really; good/bad, successful/unsucessful, art/not-art are all things from the mind of the viewer. "For me this doesn't work because of xyz" is something I'll post. I try not to condemn other's efforts as "crap" though (see above about respect for others).
    Karsh's picture of Churchill - the photographer knew how he wanted Churchill to appear. Even if you do not know who Churchill was you get a sense of the man from the picture, but it is with the artists interpretation. Whatever you think of taking the cigar, and preference you have for "Smiley happy people", had Karsh done nothing the photo would just have been a record, a passport snap, and his role would have been camera minder, not artist.
    I stopped by your portfolio. Some very nice, tastefully done stuff. No complaints on my part...... save one. :) If the human form is so interesting and it's not about sex, then why no sensitive images of fat chicks. It's just an observation but only the pretty are photographed and none of this sensitivity is pushed in the direction of the not so pretty. That's being intellectually dishonest. "
    Well first off I thank you for the compliment. As for the complaint ... I flinch at the term "fat chicks". If you use a label like that then you'd probably apply it to my wife; who is unwilling to be photographed clothed, never mind nude. I work with professional models - I'm interested in a narrow band who do art nude work and whose main interest isn't in the adult industry. In London there are a couple of hundred such models, they are almost exclusivly young, female, and thin-ish. I want to do some male nudes, and I've worked with a model in her late 40s but the number models in these categories in the whole of southern England is in single figures. I don't know any "BBW" art-nude models. I make no secret that I don't like my models skinny or flabby or musclebound; I like the body to be defined but not overly so; outside the studio, like many men I like big breasts, but they don't photograph as well as small ones.
    Maybe it's because it is late, and maybe I'm being obtuse but are you saying now that I can't claim to be producing art (and it's a claim I am always hesitant to make) because I only produce "pretty" pictures of medium build women: but if I produced ugly pictures of "fat chicks", that could be appreciated only by the artistically enlightened then I would be on better ground. Doesn't fit with the rest of what you've said.
     
  77. James

    First, before I start in, I'd like to preface my comments with a comment; rational thought can be a pain:) That being said, I'll try to fill in the blanks that you asked about.

    --------------------------

    Thomas. You've missed my point with "hate art". Art doesn't have to be about the beautiful, and the happy. My questions to answer "is it art" are: Did the artist bring something to it, does it connect, does it make you feel something. ? If it provokes and makes you think, and question things that is valid. If the viewer is not willing to think or question, it doesn't succeed as art. In some ways, your anger is what the "artist" wants when he goes after the negative, an icon of a group, when the artist knows they're being disrespectful and they have no other intent then being hurtful towards others, it then becomes hate and not art. I'm guessing we're still with "Piss Christ" then ... I looked at this, and thought "You want to attack the Christian religion and this is the best you can do ? How lame. 10/10 for being provocative, but minus serveral million for thought. Looks to me like a publicity stunt".

    -----------------------

    Assuming we're on the same wave length with your above, to me, if done for the publicity and just to provoke, makes it hateful behavior.

    -------------------------

    Dumbing down people's sensibilities is the purpose of social anarchists. The corollary of this is being the guardian of public sensibilities of the purpose of social fascists. Making people think about these things isn't dumbing down, quite the reverse.

    Thinking about something and tearing down socialbilities are two different items. It's one thing to challenge a law, no pot. Okay and why shouldn't someone be able to blow a joint at night. Well around here, it's against the law. Challenging the law, that's cool but when people start getting hurt, death and such, that's a bad thing. I also think that drinking any alcohol and driving should be made illegal. So there's a point of social constructionism and destructionism that I'm in support of. But beating up on a religions icon, purposfully, with full knowledge of the uproar that it's going to cause, then you're nothing but a common $hi+ stirrer and you become hateful by the intentional act. Thought or no thought of purpose, this is the behavior of hateful people.

    ------------------------

    Some people prefer not to think and keep their minds closed; the only art that works for them is the immediate.

    ---------------------

    And there's not a thing wrong with this sort of behavior. If someone wants to keep themselves closes, that's perfectly fine with me.

    --------------------

    There is a difference between (a) An artist saying "You're too stupid to get my art" (b) A viewer saying "I won't think about this; if I have to think about it's not art", and (c) A viewer saying "I've considered it, and I see what you're driving at but for me, this doesn't do it."

    ------------------

    Sure there's a difference but there is something wrong with condemming the viewer but there's nothing wrong with not wanting to open your mind. Yes the third possibility is the most desirable but the middle one is not a social crime but the first one is.

    -------------------------

    I think guys just like women's breasts and use art as an excuse to lay their eyes on them. I truly think it's that shallow of a concept and all this artiness is just a cover up. How many guys jump the gals they've conned into the studio. In my mind, it's all about sex and getting the next chick in bed.

    ------------------

    OK now you are being insulting.

    -----------------

    Then consider my written word art and I'm trying to provoke thought in my choice of words. Do you think that I considered the impact of my words before I chose them. I'm not stupid and I'm very much aware how people will react to my written word:) If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander:) You've just been given the equivalent artsy world treatment via the written word:) I know when my written words become inflamatory:) Just as artist know when their art work is going to become inflamatory.

    ---------------------
    Guys like breasts. No dispute there, but the rest of it is tosh.

    ---------------

    Not in the least. I can see no other purpose for naked lady pics.

    ---------------------

    I can't say no man has ever used a camera to con a woman into bed. But I only work with professional models, and it doesn't happen in the circles I move in. Everything I have done with nude work is about the body as something beautiful independent of sex.

    --------------------

    The reason the woman's body is beautiful, by natural design is to get you to want to have sex with her. It's all about genetics which we'll never rise above. Our destiny as men is to think about sex. That's why the normal male thinks about sex, once every five minutes. It's what we are. No big deal. Some get use to this and others perpetually deny but either which way, it's our human cross to bear.

    -------------------

    I've said before, any man who gets an erection looking at the stuff I do needs to see a doctor.

    ------------------

    I won't argue with that, unless you're ten but it does have a sensual content as opposed to a lewd content and yes the models are sexually attractive, so to deny the part of sexuality in your work is to only deny the truth of who and what we are as well as who and what you're working with.

    As for breasts, the satistics are against you. I have 80 "nudes" on photo.net, and 3 have two models in. That's 166 breasts I could have shown, I did a quick count, I've shown 40 of them.

    --------------------

    I didn't say to share the pics for the purpose of but for you're own personal visual pleasures. Please. I feel you're peeing on my leg with this one:) What makes a gal beautiful, physically? Her sexual attractiveness. By definition of being phsically appealing. It's not enigmatic.

    -----------------------

    The two most obviously sexual pictures Zoe with Leighann and Strike dear mistress and cure his heart don't show nakedness.

    I can assure you, if sex wasn't a part of it, gals wouldn't need to take their clothes off for guys. "No, no." "Keep the clothes on, what do I want to see you naked for?" Playboy is always looked at for the articles:) Venus, she was a dog:)

    ---------------------------

    It's not that I'm that shallow, it's that the photographers are that transparent. "I'm an artist." No you're not, you're just a dude that likes naked chicks. I shouldn't trade insults with you, but you're not shallow; if you developed a lot more depth you could aspire to be shallow in 10 years. But with only your postings here to go by, lack of depth is not your problem, but lack of width, as in "He was so narrow minded he could look through a keyhole with both eyes".

    ------------------------

    It's a matter of convenience to see my sensibilities as being narrow minded instead of being a man of conviction. But seeing me as narrow minded is the easy thing to do as it makes your analogies simple.

    --------------------

    When I see someone who refers to women as "Chicks" and people with different views as "pervs" it sends up a big warning that they may be a bit lacking in the respect of others department.

    ----------------------

    And when people insult other people's cultural icons, these same flags don't go up. Again, I'm chosing words to make you think by intentionally chosing inflamatory words. Pissing a person off is just as easy as insulting cultural icons. Not a wit of difference. I'm just being a bit more surgical in my efforts:) Hopefully, with the affect my words have had on you, I've caused you to stop and think about condemming those that see certain artists as hateful in their behavior. Going over the edge is easy. Walking the fine line and being thought provoking but not going over the edge is hard.

    -------------------------

    One can be an artist and like breasts, it's not mutally exclusive. The last part of that could be turned back on you To say "you're not an artist, you just like pretty pictures." (which would be silly, right ?)

    --------------------------

    Not at all as I do like pretty pictures. I don't have much use for all this thought provoking stuff. Why, it only breeds discontent and unhappiness. So I'm up to my eyeballs in hate around the world. A little bit of beauty for a mind to rest is a good thing. Pretty is not all that bad and being noncontroversial is also not a bad thing. Stirring things up and making people mad, that's easy.

    -----------------------

    But hang on ...

    -----------------------
    unacceptance is what I have to fight. If it's they're way, it's cool. If it's anyway that doesn't fit their mold, it's out. Personally, I don't see art in the way you do, well the last bit's true for sure. But the first bit - you do feel a lack of acceptance because you like "pretty pictures" ? There is a difference between my view - which is art can be provocative and/or ugly, and require some thought from the viewer and the Clique view that art MUST do these things. There's no such requirement, and that's where I line up with you. From what you've posted you do leave yourself open to the charge of displaying the same intolerence as you are trying to fight against.

    ----------------------

    There's a difference between being willing to work within social limitations and being unwilling to tolerate total social anarchy and the conveninet distruction of all social rules to benefit those that don't want to have any rules. Point out where I've been intolerant as opposed to being in support of being thoughtful towards others that think differently then the artists do.

    ---------------------------

    saying [over manipulated work is] "unsuccessful art" you denigrate it and put the same boundries on it that you yourself hate Not really; good/bad, successful/unsucessful, art/not-art are all things from the mind of the viewer. "For me this doesn't work because of xyz" is something I'll post. I try not to condemn other's efforts as "crap" though (see above about respect for others.

    -----------------------

    And if you put my comments back into the context they were made, the comments will stand on their own. You took my words out of context, of course they're not going to sound right.

    --------------------------

    Karsh's picture of Churchill - the photographer knew how he wanted Churchill to appear. Even if you do not know who Churchill was you get a sense of the man from the picture, but it is with the artists interpretation. Whatever you think of taking the cigar, and preference you have for "Smiley happy people", had Karsh done nothing the photo would just have been a record, a passport snap, and his role would have been camera minder, not artist.

    ------------------

    I guess then I'll never get it if I don't agree with it after all these years:) If someone wants that sort of portrait, that's fine, but you're not going to even get a portrait out of me. I don't believe in portraits even though I've done my fair share of them. But that's another story that has nothing to do with the distrust the general public has of artists. The thought provoking attitude in of itself causes the distrust. Why? Because the artist thinks they're way is the correct way and the general public needs to be educated. That's arrogance on the part of any artist to think anybody needs to be awakened.

    ------------------------

    I stopped by your portfolio. Some very nice, tastefully done stuff. No complaints on my part...... save one. :) If the human form is so interesting and it's not about sex, then why no sensitive images of fat chicks. It's just an observation but only the pretty are photographed and none of this sensitivity is pushed in the direction of the not so pretty. That's being intellectually dishonest. "

    ------------------

    Well first off I thank you for the compliment. As for the complaint ... I flinch at the term "fat chicks". If you use a label like that then you'd probably apply it to my wife; who is unwilling to be photographed clothed, never mind nude.

    ------------------------

    And unlike some artists, I would never want to do anything to harm her mentally should my comment apply to her situation. I suppose you could say that if artists have a right to wake people up then I should be able to go around trying to wake people up, fat, because it's for their health. If I tried to do this, they'd have me arrested and tell me to rightfull pi$$ off. Funny, we can easily see where in society, certain behaviors by a commoner are unacceptable but if others, artists, do it then somehow it's okay. I don't think so. The same social conditions that would apply to me speaking to your wife, applies to religious icons such as a cross.

    ---------------------

    I work with professional models - I'm interested in a narrow band who do art nude work and whose main interest isn't in the adult industry. In London there are a couple of hundred such models, they are almost exclusivly young, female, and thin-ish. I want to do some male nudes, and I've worked with a model in her late 40s but the number models in these categories in the whole of southern England is in single figures. I don't know any "BBW" art-nude models. I make no secret that I don't like my models skinny or flabby or musclebound; I like the body to be defined but not overly so; outside the studio, like many men I like big breasts, but they don't photograph as well as small ones.
    Maybe it's because it is late, and maybe I'm being obtuse but are you saying now that I can't claim to be producing art (and it's a claim I am always hesitant to make) because I only produce "pretty" pictures of medium build women: but if I produced ugly pictures of "fat chicks", that could be appreciated only by the artistically enlightened then I would be on better ground.

    ---------------------

    Not at all. I'm saying that there's no balance in the art world. The guys like to say, I'm only doing chick pics because I'm in it for the art but I don't see them doing fat gals. There's no balance to cooberate they're comments that they see the female human form as a facinating shape. If that were so, then physical beauty wouldn't be a prerequsite. All manners, shapes and forms would be in demand, not just the good looking ones. Remember, a person's behavior, belies their intent.

    -----------------

    Doesn't fit with the rest of what you've said.

    -----------------

    Sure it does. How? If guys were to have balance of different sorts of gals in their portfolio, tall, short, fat, scrawney, ugly, beautiful and there was a poporri, then I might believe what you're saying but when it's clearly onesided and there's a difinite discrimination going on, then I'm rightfully inclined to accuse the person of peeing on my leg.

    I hope my above has fleshed things out a bit more and help you better understand the nature of the distrust the art world has created and brought upon themselves. I'm just trying to help answer the question from a person that's not in the art world and yet all the while is an artist. I don't want to be a part of the art community. Why? They've made their attitudes very well known. And that is, they have no room for a stripe of a different color.

    I'm cool with that and again, I hope I've helped. Below is a pretty picture where the tired mind can wander. I'll give you a clue to understanding the image. The trees are not the subject matter.
     
  78. Thomas: staying with "Piss Christ" for a second. You're upset with an artist using your icon in that way. Nazis have been mentioned in this thread, so if he had done "Piss swastika" you'd have been OK with that ? He took a swing at the church (the icon) not the teachings. Forgive me, but the church has a pretty shameful history - we've done the spanish inquisition (you can go back to the Crucades, or look at the Church's stance on slavery) but if you think of modern times you only have to look at the way church sat idly by and allowed genocide to happen in Nazi Germany, and in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Do you think the church telling people in Africa that they must not use condoms has a connection to the spread of AIDS in that continent, or to over-population and resulting starvation? Did Jesus say that if a person was attracted to someone of the same sex then rights granted to others should be denied to them? Can you defend what the church has done when it has become aware of people within its hierarchy abusing children ? There's a degree of Orwellian doublethink required to both beleive in the teachings of Jesus, and to be loyal to institutions of which have grown up around them. If the artist had a point then the fact the people get worked up about what he has done with their icon, while staying silent on child abuse, oppression and genocide serves only to to reinforce it. I would describe my beliefs as "basically Christian", but I have an antipathy towards the church, which is similar to your view of yourself and the "artistic community".
    I guess you and I are not going to agree on whether it is valid for art to be provocative, if it is ONLY trying to provoke and make the artist infamous it's claim to be art is pretty weak. That's as close as we're going to get.
    I'm not sure what point you are trying to make around pot. People become violent when drunk, but "mellow" when stoned. Living in England where we have a problem with football hooliganism, I have said that not only should pot be legalised, it should be made mandatory for (say) attending football matches. Tobacco and alcohol are more damaging to health, but they are very valuable sources of income to governments. Making pot illegal only makes it more attractive to young people. It wasn't illegal in Victorian times (indeed I think Queen Victoria was partial to opium) so it is perfectly valid to ask Why was it made illegal, do we still think those objectives are valid, and do we think making pot users into criminals helps meet those objectives ?
    As for closed minds, yes absolutely people have a right to be closed minded, but having one is a pretty poor basis for attacking others, wouldn't you say ?
    [me] :OK now you are being insulting.
    [you]:Then consider my written word art and I'm trying to provoke thought in my choice of words.
    Nice try. But you've already defined that behaviour as being hateful not artistic. I'll judge your actions by your own standards thanks all the same.
    [me:] [what you say about nude art] is tosh.
    [you:] Not in the least. I can see no other purpose for naked lady pics.
    Just because (as an advocate of keeping the mind closed) you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. And if it were true, explain why it is I get better reactions to my nudes from heterosexual women than I do from men. Explain why, as a heterosexual man I would want to male nudes ?.
    The reason the woman's body is beautiful, by natural design is to get you to want to have sex with her. I've heard this argument before that evolution has made us feel positive about seeing those attributes in prospective mate that would make that mate good to breed with. Large breasts = good milk supply, good legs = ability to avoid danger etc. So why do I find beauty in backs and shoulders - parts of body which are the same in both sexes and don't relate to breeding quality ? Why do I find it in a woman past child bearing age ? And why is a tree beautiful ? Nature doesn't need me to have sex with trees. So why can't one see beauty in a body the same way one does in a tree or a flower ? And please remember I've stayed with a mate I picked nearly 20 years ago for a whole bunch of non-visual reasons. Your argument may look attractive, but it doesn't stand scutiny.
    [My portfolio]does have a sensual content as opposed to a lewd content and yes the models are sexually attractive, so to deny the part of sexuality in your work is to only deny the truth of who and what we are as well as who and what you're working with. Two things here, if you were right, then wanting to do male nudes would make me a bisexual in denial. Secondly there is a fair criticism to make that I am lazy: in my first year's work I have shot 8 models, and they've all been reasonably attractive, that's not the same as being sexually motivated and in any case I'd question your ability to judge my motivation better than I can myself.
    What makes a gal beautiful, physically? Her sexual attractiveness. By definition of being phsically appealing. So if children are beautiful we are sexually attracted to them ? Or would you say we were but we surpress it ?
    The journey to taking nude photos started watching a table dancer in 1998 - table dancing is a way of conning your subconsious into think there is sex in the offing, in the same way that roller coaster makes it think you are in danger; in reality neither is actually the case. I've seen maybe 30 such dancers and done well it brings out a feeling that went beyond beyond sex. I went digging back to find something I wrote in 98, about the dancer who first made me think a back was a thing of beauty. "Her moves were becoming familiar, as were the shapes of her body, the complex curves where the neck meets shoulder, thigh meets abdomen or breast meets rib cage; but I might almost have been studying a race horse" - this thing about looking at her like a fine horse is the turning point. That's when it stopped being about sex.
    if sex wasn't a part of it, gals wouldn't need to take their clothes off for guys. "No, no." "Keep the clothes on, what do I want to see you naked for?" Playboy is always looked at for the articles:) Venus, she was a dog:) :) Actually, you may have noticed there is quite a big industry in sexy underwear; many men find a woman in stockings more of a turn on than one who is completely naked. I'm going to raise the idea of having sex with (most of) your clothes on and then close it off again. And it is interesting you mention playboy, which is faring better than more explicit magazines at the moment. No one buys Playboy just for the articles, but why do they buy it in preference to Hustler ?
    It's a matter of convenience to see my sensibilities as being narrow minded instead of being a man of conviction. But seeing me as narrow minded is the easy thing to do as it makes your analogies simple. You can be both narrow minded and a man of conviction. Indeed it probably helps conviction. But being serious, yes I am aware that I have simplified the views you express to the point of caricature in places for ease of constructing an argument. I'm chosing words to make you think by intentionally chosing inflamatory words. Pissing a person off is just as easy as insulting cultural icons. Not a wit of difference. I'm just being a bit more surgical in my efforts:) Hopefully, with the affect my words have had on you, I've caused you to stop and think about condemming those that see certain artists as hateful in their behavior. I hope I haven't condemned anyone; because I try not to do that. You are the one who condemned what some call art as "hateful", and now you say you are setting out to do the same thing. Maybe you should condemn your own behaviour as hateful; I won't. I disagree with a portion of your views, just as I think "piss christ" is a piss poor peice of art. But right at the core of my beliefs is that people have the right to be respected as individuals, and that includes the right to their opinions. What follows on from that is right of anyone to reject having anothers definition of art (or porn) foisted upon them - which gives Serrano the right to create his work and call it art. To me the idea of calling an unmade bed "art" is a nonsense, but that doesn't take away Tracy Emin's right to do exactly that.
    I don't beleive you call people "perverts" to provoke debate, I beleive that's how you think of them, and I do question your respect for others - it may be there, but it doesn't come across in what you post.
    I'm saying that there's no balance in the art world. The guys like to say, I'm only doing chick pics because I'm in it for the art but I don't see them doing fat gals. There are no pictures of naked children either ... and I'm not going to start doing those. I don't say I'm only doing it for the art. It's the other way round, I like to photograph attractive women (and I don't see fat as automatically unattractive) and I try to do it artistically, rather than as cheesecake, or porn. I've never thought of what I do as "chick pics" and I've already said I hesitate to lay claim to "art", what I have said in one of my prsentations was:
    "There are a lot of BAD nudes on the internet; not bad - in the sense that they are immoral - but BAD in the sense that Paul Fussell uses it in his book "BAD or the dumbing of America", something "phoney, clumsy, witless, untalented, vacant or boring that many Americans can be persuaded is genuine, graceful, bright, or fascinating.". In November 2002 I told my wife what I had in mind, booked a model called Red Lilly and a convenient studio and decided to see if I could produce something which wasn't BAD."
    I find all my models via web sites (for starters you can look at www.onemodelplace.com, and www.themodelsclub.co.uk) if you can find what you term a "fat chick" who does art nude work in the southern half of England, I'll photograph her. Maybe when I have a bit more experience and confidence I might ask someone I know - but asking the only current candidate could cost me my job. regards
     
  79. You ran wide of the mark in your comments. And I find people do this a lot. When someone sticks to their guns, spicious arguments come out. And the further you get into an argument, the wider of the mark the argument becomes.

    I'll try to simpify.

    Nazi symbols in piss would not create an outrage.

    Naked children pics are illegal and the creator would be arrested.

    In the beginning of time ten and eleven year old girls were being impregnated because life only lasted a bit more then twenty-five years. So there was sexual attraction in the beginning and yes there still is today. But it's been rightfully made illegal because life is more complicated then it was twelve thousand years ago.

    There's a difference between examples and actually commiting the act as in choice of words to make a point and going out and doing it to create a world wide outrage.

    I submit that you, though your words have showed a typical close minded artistic attitude. Your way is the way to truth and light and those that disagree are not acceptable. You spoke about using art to wake someone up and then when the tables were turned, you refused to see the similarity. That's disengenuous. Either you're for it and you applaude it or you're not for it and you condemn it. I condemn it and don't condone it. My examples were mild in comparison but you raised them to the same level of defiling religious symbols when one was clearly an example of the smallest size. You also have left out the disengenuous nature of only going after one religion as opposed to being even handed. This is also convenient behavior.

    I could go through your last missive, line by line, as we have done, but you're running further and further wide of the mark as I'm trying to stay central. And no purpose will be served.

    When you bring up nakedness of a child and sexual attactiveness but leave out the social history in how we got where we are today, you're being argumentative.

    When you try to compare Nazi symbols to religious symbols, you're trivializing.

    When you take my comments out of context, then you are being intellectually dishonest.

    When you try to speak without understanding about purposful closemindedness to bad ideas, as being bad, you're being arrogant.

    I'm in agreement with you on most points but you ran wide of the mark on many points and they come accross as intentional and convenient.

    That's fine but I see them in a truthful, nonconfused light and will stay central to the original idea; mistrust the art world has created.

    To try to seperate the back out from sexuality is nutty thinking. To compare sexy clothing to being fully clothed is specious. Why? The back is an integral part of the human body and sexy clothing is an enhancement device. You can't seperate out sex from the human body. Why. It's the essance of being human. Why? No sex, no humans and we'll cease to exist.

    I'm not the closed minded one here. I see things very clearly. Obfuscation is a wonderful invention of the human mind.

    As I commented, my choice of words are by intention and to exemplify. And in stating so, I was accused of being hateful when I was trying to make a point. The point was, it's easy to be hateful. If I wanted to be hateful, my choice of words would continue to not be screened and there would be an outpouring of hateful words being added to my screen. But I consider this wrong and don't do it. But sometimes to make a simple point, to wake a person up out of their malaise, or to make a comparative point, it's necessary. But to go wide with it, is wrong.

    To keep to the intent of the original question.

    You, yourself, via the dishonesty in your photography, further the distrust. You don't see it, I do. So do others. But! You're right and I'm wrong. And if you ask people that are like minded to you, of course they're going to agree with you. Birds of a feather and all that rot.

    That's the easist form of handling the critic, to dismiss them.

    So ignore my comments. Disavow the truth of what I'm sharing and enjoy your life. Even artists have the ability to be blind. You, nor I have a lock on truth.

    I'm not going to be dragged into a world of denial because someone chooses to call me narrow minded. I'll stick with being honest and I'll stick with going through your two eyed keyhole if you will because the alternative is too distasteful for me. Why? I won't live a lie.

    Just a suggestion, your wife won't let you photograph her because she doesn't feel good about herself and/or her value system stops her. Tell her that you're only going to do images of her back and that there won't be anything suggestive or that she should feel ashamed of and if she doesn't like the images, you'll destroy the digital positives. That and offer her the same wages that you offer your models would provide additional incentive:)

    If you're being genuine, she won't mind.

    I'll look forward to seeing the images.

    I purposfully didn't address your last comments because they were out of control and ran way wide of the mark. I'm happy to go to e-mail, continue this conversation, one point at a time. bee(removespam)man458@aol.com. Just enter an appropriate heading as I delete any headings I don't recognize and I spam lock all thet I recognize as spam.

    Looking forward to the future.
     
  80. Thomas, there is a difference between beleiving in the validity of your own opinion (which we both do) and allowing others to have their own.
    Read what I said; I defended peoples' right to have a different view to mine.
    Read what you said: you defended having a closed mind; you even call being open minded too distasteful for you. You say now that I have an arogant view about people who prejudge what is good and bad and close their minds
    I love the way you can say "Your way is the way to truth and light and those that disagree are not acceptable."... "you ran wide of the mark on many points and they come accross as intentional and convenient. That's fine but I see them in a truthful, nonconfused light". Sorry, remind me again which of us is the one claiming the corner on truth ?
    You said I'm chosing words to make you think by intentionally chosing inflamatory words. Pissing a person off is just as easy as insulting cultural icons. Not a wit of difference. " and when I said you were being insulting consider my written word art and I'm trying to provoke thought in my choice of words. Do you think that I considered the impact of my words before I chose them. Sorry, I read that as saying "I'm pissing you off on purpose which is what you say artists should be free to do - aha - I've turned the tables on you". But you condemned those same artists saying when someone "knows they're being disrespectful and they have no other intent then being hurtful towards others, it then becomes hate".
    Don't tell me that I can't seperate out sex from the human body. I've done it. If you can't, don't project that onto everyone else.
    You've insulted me (calling my photography dishonest here and saying earlier How many guys jump the gals they've conned into the studio. In my mind, it's all about sex and getting the next chick in bed. ), You find the fact I haven't photographed models who don't actually exist to be grounds to attack my integrity. You're disrespectful to women (the whole "chicks" thing) and dismiss people with other views as perverts. You seem proud of your prejudices, and prefer not to consider any view you don't already agree with. That makes batting ideas back and forth with you a rather pointless activity, and one I shall now cease.
     
  81. After eating Thanksgiving dinner and left-overs at a relative's house for 3 days, I thought I knew what "bloated" was. Then I returned to this thread which now has more words than an article in the "New Yorker"!!

    I think you all should turn off your computers and go out and take some pictures. If you're good enough, you might create some Art. Then show them to someone. Your viewer(s) could like what they see, or be full of distrust. :>]
     
  82. this is like a really bad, long novel, that i aint readin...
     
  83. Some people should look at #4 in the forum rules.
     
  84. Amazing! Actually people do trust art. What else is there to trust? Nobody trusts science. I'll illustrate this by pointing ou that we flock to the polls to vote for artists like Ronald Reagan and Arnold S.!
     

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