Art as defined by Man

Art is hard topic to talk about because believe it or not is just something that explains itself. For the most part art is not something that is regulated, there is not one uniform way in which are can be. It can be a multitude of things and from all different parts of the world, with so many different meanings for so many different people it has so many interpretations. Thats what makes art creative everyone can see something different from the same work.
The problem that often arrives with art is the feeling that it must be critiqued, that otherwise to not talk about it would render the work useless to society and an essence would strip it of the honor of being dubbed art. The thought is that if this art is something significant in our lives that it must be looked at “under a high powered microscope” and some how an explanation must come as to why the said creator chose to use a certain medium rather than another, why certain colors were used, and anything else that may come to mind when looking at a work of art.
Art is everywhere and largely talked about especially in the Western part of the world. Importantly is the fact that is thought by some men that to successfully critique art that you must have a complete understanding of it. That art has a lot to do with our everyday lives the sounds, sites, behaviors and etc. What seems to get lost is the fact that each piece of art work is an expression of an individual’s life, at any given time, a reflection of their life and the world that surrounded them. Also how it affected them because life affects everyone very differently, now two people see the world exactly the same, which debunks the theory of art being a reflection of a whole society. Since the prehistoric period and even now society continues to find direct correlations between the specific workds of art and how it relates to out everyday life. That is impossible because no two cultures are the same from individual to individual, from village to village and religion to religion. The idea of universal art does not exist nor will it ever.
Art is talked about though like anything else in our lives that don’t necessarily fit out definition of whats normal in any given culture the way that it is talked about is how art form originated, the creator, what might have inspired them to do it. I must say that it is true that for every piece of art there is an inspiration there is a reason for the choices made in a tone of a poem, in the way a sculpture is built, and in the way the shades of a color is used to depict a feeling the artists heart at the time of creation. An example used to show how art and life are inseparable is the Yoruba sculpture where the clarity of the line is what is criticized. Not only is the sculpture lines important but also the lines in which are carved on Yoruba faces to show their personality, their status in a society, like our social security card its their means of identification. The Yoruba carver’s lines is not just a hobby like a lot of westerners would like to believe but a direct reflection of their traditions. The functionalsit view which believes that art defines social relationships, sustaining social rules and sustaining social values, this is not the case for Yoruba or any cultures for that matter.
We need to understand that art cannot be defined, art is like life it just is. We just control what it looks like and how others can most of the time perceive it.

3 Comments on Art as defined by Man

  1. Dana E.
    December 7, 2007 at 6:37 AM (12 years ago)

    “For the most part art is not something that is regulated.”

    Unfortunately Merli, I can not agree with this sentiment, whatsoever…granted this was the first blog post ever, and we both were somewhat less knowledgeable back then, so with that in mind, I’ll go easy on you.

    Granted nonwestern art, western art, and the greater plithera of art in the world does have a variety of meanings, but still in terms of strictly western art, for hundreds of years we see it being created by a bounty of institutional standards, After we watched “Who the F*** is Jackson Pollack” I’m sure you’d be in somewhat more agreement with me, when viewing art in a museum both regulations of time, place, consistency, and sex, ruled whether or not a particular piece was even worthy of being called “Modern”. So in the movie and in class, we reviewed two dreaded P words, presense and Provenonse, and simply stated; what creates these things? Why the culture and institutions that regulated them at the time of course. Art is supposed to be an internal expression of self. But if you wanted to ever make a living off art, well, thats a whole other sack of potatos my friend. First and foremost you had to be recognized by a given institution, whether, political, educational, or otherwise, then they have to accept what you create, etc etc. Not an easy thing and certainly regulated. For example think of females in art…ever hear of a female artist being called a genius?? Of course, occasionally you’ll hear O’keefe or Frida Kaula being thrown in their for good measure, but the only reason they ever recieved any critical attention for their work was because of their association through men. For example O’keefe was the wife of Alfred Steiglitz a huge art dealer in NYC during the early modern art era, and Kaulo was wife to Diego Rivera, perhaps one of the biggest mexican artists, ever. So this begs me to further ask myself about this sentiment of yours…art is not something that is regulated??

    – Dana E.

  2. Alexa Alifonso
    December 13, 2007 at 4:57 PM (12 years ago)

    “Art is supposed to be an internal expression of self.”
    That’s reaching. Art is art and to say that it is “supposed” to be something is already putting a restriction on what you are going to consider “art”.
    I think we are all guilty of occasionally having some sort of narrow view of what art is and is not, but what separates us is the fact that some people get so caught up in what art ‘means’ to them and what qualifies as art to us that they forget about the actual ART.
    Maybe it’s time to stop talking about art and actually experience it.

  3. Kendra Lee
    December 17, 2007 at 8:49 PM (12 years ago)

    How does one even begin to talk about art when it speaks a different language? How can the verbal fully describe the visual? Are there even words in the English language to fully describe the essence of a piece. In most art classes critiques are almost mandatory and thus seem absolutely crucial. Teachers stress that one must not only be able to make art but talk about it as well. To make art and not be able to defend it or explain it into a nice verbal package that is suppose to be as appealing as the art itself than one is only half an artist. I think its interesting that in many peoples’ minds, especially those who do not produce art the topic of being an artist is romanticized. To some of us making art is “an internal expression of the self” and to others its a business. I interned at a gallery last year and at first I was really excited. I felt that I would almost feel at home in that setting because I had such a passion for art and here it all was, the very goal of every artist. Weeks went by and my excitement dwindled. I almost started to feel sick. And it was then that the I realized something that felt like it should have been extremely obvious all along. Art is a business and buying painting is no different than buying stock. The customers could have been buying a couture dress, prada boots and a painting and in that world all those things seem the same once there is an expensive price tag. I feel like a good painting would the coach logo and think for how much that would sell 🙂


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