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Re: [BKARTS] Book Art Criticism



This discussion has been interesting and I agree that politics, war, religion are all vital to any discussion of art. Perhaps there is a NY style. I lived in NY for five years and I remember once being parked in by someone who had double parked and being quite irate. Two guys walking down the street stopped and told me to "lean on the horn" - a trick I hadn't thought of - and sure enough someone stuck their head out of 5th floor window and then appeared to move the car. (not sure if this was NY style or luck!). Without labouring the contentious issues already discussed, but in the vein of moving it on a bit..what sets the standard? where do we get this standard that we hold things against to say they are "bad". I recently attended an exhibition of visual art on the Gold Coast (Australia) and found an exhibit of a string woman which you could walk into and around and be part of..I found it stimulating but the person with me had such a strong reaction against it, I thought they might throw up. Is art criticism different from regular everyday street criticism? I can say "That repulses me" but can I really say "that artist is an idiot or incompetent" and call that art criticism? Does art criticism have some criteria we hold the work against, and if so who sets this criteria..the public, the artist, the market, the academic world? or the professional critics? My 'take' is that it is the intent of the artist that has to set the criteria, because other criterion move over time, place, and personal taste so much as to not be reliable and consistent enough to hold in front of your work and try to paint or create in order to please something outside yourself.. and is that art? . I find as I look back on things I painted even 7 years ago, I have different criteria and can see improvement in my own work. In the end, what else counts? Having said this, there are things that seem to matter in the wider world and form a basis for art criticism over time. There is an impressionist exhibition on here at the moment and these paintings have such wide appeal, it is hard not to think that there is some standard that is generally known and agreed upon that we all bow to....Where does this standard come from? What is art criticism?

Jessica




----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard Minsky" <minsky@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2006 8:44 PM
Subject: [BKARTS] Book Art Criticism



I agree with Paul B that the relationship of an artist's work to politics, war, and religion is appropriate to this list. And with Paul W's observation that NY style discussion is not for all.

Book_Arts-L is not all about how to make an N-guard binding or what adhesive to use on Mylar. These technical details are important to share, but the great thing about this list is that we do discuss the philosophical foundations of what we do. And criticism is SO lacking in this field that I am thrilled to see people like Sally Jackson, Cari Ferraro, Lavinia Adler, James Tapley and Paul T Werner voice their opinions.

When things get out of hand our leader does pull the plug on offenders. The current discussion is not yet over the top in offensiveness, though it clearly has evoked the passion of several contributors. Some people think Pepper's work is lacking in skill and discipline, others see it as refreshingly spontaneous. It certainly has spawned discussion of some broader underlying issues.

I love a good rant, and am prone to them. Albert M. Fine, the grand master of rant and First Majority Cosmic Elder Consciousness, was the artist in residence at the Center for Book Arts for two years. Walter Hamady and Henry Morris gave back-to-back rants at a CBA conference. Henry's "Song of Solomonitis" rant was a classic.

Hiding your opinion or trying to make everything nice for everyone all the time does not advance the culture.

We're talking about art and artists here, not children. If someone presents themselves in public as an artist, they should be treated as an adult. If you want to be kind to an artist whose work sucks, let them know. And be specific about what the problem is. If their skin is so thin that they have a nervous breakdown about it maybe they shouldn't be showing it in public. The artist can decide whether the criticism has merit. And through the criticism we learn more about the critic, and about ourselves.

To discuss the relationships of an artist's work to religion, philosophy, or craft discipline certainly are reasonable areas of discussion here, and perhaps the word should be ESSENTIAL areas of discussion.

Let's remember that James Pepper brought up the issue of the relationship of his work to the tradition of religious iconography, and the work IS a religious text. To leave religion out of the discussion would be absurd. And contributors delved further into this-- the craft and art traditions of religious calligraphy, the economics of scribedom, the relationships between religion, art, and politics. Aesthetics and ethics are closely interwoven.

I was brought up with the dictum that one doesn't discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. Perhaps those who have sensitive stomachs should not read this list at meal times.

--
Richard
http://minsky.com

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***********************************************
Now Online - The Bonefolder, Vol. 2, No. 1 at <http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder>
For all your subscription questions, go to the
Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information
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