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Art Theory: Idea workshop. Warning, not the truth here, just a venture. Examining what makes an image worthy of saving and what it does for us.

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  #1  
Old December 3rd, 2016, 04:45 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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The Oxford Dictionary announced a couple weeks ago that "post-truth" is its 2016 word of the year. According to the dictionary's website, the word is "an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.' " The word even had an article in Nature (the scientific magazine), as scientists are apparently puzzled by the idea that outright lies may become the new norm.

Obviously, the word was chosen in connection to its use in Post-truth politics. But the idea of truth being a subjective social concept has been with us for a long time. And one domain where the concept has been widely used is modern art.

Remember the saying: there is no truth in art. "Art" is what the critics tell you is art, art is what hangs in galleries or museums. As Richard Prince demonstrated last year: take a picture from Instagram, hang it in a gallery and, voilà!, instant art, fame and money. Just as post-truth politics, modern art also evolved its own language where words can have any meaning but the one the readers most expect. Just as in post-truth politics, the artist value is measured by social networking and the number of followers.

Not that the works can't be interesting, beautiful or engaging, mind you. It is just that the quality of the work is irrelevant to the exercise, like in politics: the actual political program may be good or bad, that is not relevant for the exercise.
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Old December 3rd, 2016, 07:59 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Jerome,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
The Oxford Dictionary announced a couple weeks ago that "post-truth" is its 2016 word of the year. According to the dictionary's website, the word is "an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.' " The word even had an article in Nature (the scientific magazine), as scientists are apparently puzzled by the idea that outright lies may become the new norm.

Obviously, the word was chosen in connection to its use in Post-truth politics. But the idea of truth being a subjective social concept has been with us for a long time. And one domain where the concept has been widely used is modern art.

Remember the saying: there is no truth in art. "Art" is what the critics tell you is art, art is what hangs in galleries or museums. As Richard Prince demonstrated last year: take a picture from Instagram, hang it in a gallery and, voilà!, instant art, fame and money. Just as post-truth politics, modern art also evolved its own language where words can have any meaning but the one the readers most expect. Just as in post-truth politics, the artist value is measured by social networking and the number of followers.

Not that the works can't be interesting, beautiful or engaging, mind you. It is just that the quality of the work is irrelevant to the exercise, like in politics: the actual political program may be good or bad, that is not relevant for the exercise.
This interesting passage appeared in a recent article in the online Huffington Post (editorial comments mine):
"One thing that’s been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts [sic]. They’re not really facts,” Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes [a "journalist and political commentator"] said on “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR. “It’s kind of like looking at ratings or looking at a glass of half-full water [sic]. Everybody has a way of interpreting them to be the truth or not true. There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.”
Now of course we are well aware of the fact that often we cannot we determine the "truth" from what we (at a certain point) are able to observe. I see what appears to be an electric shaver in a display cabinet at a store. But it is fact an inoperative display model. We see in a photo what seems to be two people of the same height. But that is a misconception wrought by perspective. And then there is Heisenberg's Principle, which tells us that it is impossible to determine two properties of a particle by measurement.

But, sadly, I think this is not what Hughes is speaking of.

In any case, I am fascinated by the concept of the "half-full water" of which Hughes speaks, postulating a glass of it.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old December 3rd, 2016, 09:53 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Jerome,

I value your attention to this troubling phenomenon. Man has evolved an avidity to belief systems that require no proof at all. When such concepts are used as scaffolding to elevate man, the shortcuts are justified. Unfortunately, such scaffolding easilly becomes support for "hanging"people or the scaffolding is mistaken for the building of civilization itself that we still need to construct for our future.

Consider that the Trump folk, here in the USA, are certain that "Charter Schools" are the most desirable educational system, when they stand in the lowest 35 percentile in performance! Likely as not, those folk don't generally even imagine that they lie to us and their followers. It could even be that their brains are utterly devoid of intent of dishonesty in making their claims. They just have no concept here of truth, as their false belief system trumps their facility for rationality!

Consider that there is not a single record, (or even one obtuse reference), in the highly prolific contemporary Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Syrian or local history, left by myriads of official and independant "scribes" of even the existence of Nazareth or a man from there who preached, never mind "walked on water" and so forth. ....and remember this age was very literate and everything was recorded! Yet billions of folk are convinced that he did what it is said he did! I am not saying he did not, but all this "certainty" is based on what? Still notwithstanding complete lack of documentation for an historical Jesus, who can argue with the ancient Hebrew precept of "Love your neighbor as yourself" which summarizes this wonderful theology? So the "post fact" period started long ago and is resilient. Perhaps because it is an economical way of uniting masses of populations under on banner. That benefit may have evolutionary tactical survival benefits in recruiting manpower for some "cause". In a mass movement, the droves must be resistant to rebellious argument and contagonists. Therefore it is uniquely beneficial for culture to suppress logical protest to delegitimization authority!

Such suppression of fact based decision making is highly selective.

So we do maintain solid limits of our susceptibility to fact-less belief. No one alive, as far as I know, believes that the very closely similar entire "Hercules" mythology is related to any truth or reality. We accept, at least today, that this ancient story, (however well told), is just something to entertain and set example and inspire children!

We not only have selective dismissal of need for facts and proof in religious belief systems but more tragically in our lack of any expression of outrage to mass murder occurring every day right now Imagine that every day Turk war planes bomb Kurds, Saudis pulverize Yemeni Shiites and Russians and Syrian government planes slaughter the helpless in Aleppo. For none of these horrors are there protests in Munich, Paris, Buenos Area, New York or London.

Why not? It is simple: we have selective and very isolated occasional outrage and these folk simply are not our faves! Think of mass heartfelt and energized demonstrations against the Serbs or the Israelis in their past conflicts!

So we are in an age of post-fact and post-outrage and we have been there for a long time!

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; December 4th, 2016 at 10:21 AM.
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Old December 3rd, 2016, 12:02 PM
Peter Dexter Peter Dexter is offline
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Thank heavens there are scientists still working hard to unravel the mega complexity of existence.
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Old December 3rd, 2016, 01:56 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Hello Jerome,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
The Oxford Dictionary announced a couple weeks ago that "post-truth" is its 2016 word of the year. According to the dictionary's website, the word is "an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.' " The word even had an article in Nature (the scientific magazine), as scientists are apparently puzzled by the idea that outright lies may become the new norm.
Thanks for bringing this up - it is my word of the year (and not only this year) for some time.

Some time ago someone paraphrased this trend in a way that matches the related state of mind quite well in my eyes.
The phrase was - if I remember correctly - 'My ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'

Interesting times (like in the Chinese curse) ahead...

Best regards,
Michael
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Old December 3rd, 2016, 02:00 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dexter View Post
Thank heavens there are scientists still working hard to unravel the mega complexity of existence.
Peter,

Do we really need to have a grasp on that in order to be humane and civilized .....and look after the weak .....and the planet over which we have claimed dominion?

Asher
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  #7  
Old December 3rd, 2016, 10:05 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Truthiness.

Coined by Steven Colbert some 5-6 years ago.

Is it the truth?

Yeah, maybe.

Is telling a piece of fiction as if it were factual, lying?

Oscar Wilde had something to say about lying. He suggested that if a lie required explanation them we may as well have told the truth. A good lie requires no support. It must stand alone, without explanation.
Belief is enough and there is no room for proof, facts or argument.

Like religion.

Mark Twain argued for the art of lying. He felt it was lost.

I think not. Trump has joined the ranks of any other who will not allow any facts to ruin a good story.

Now he is in charge.

Ouch!
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Old December 4th, 2016, 04:42 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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I would also like to correct a misconception. Post truth is not about lying. Politicians (and artists) have been lying all the time. It is not even about lying openly and getting away with it: we have had double thinking since Orwell's 1984 (in politics, and written as a criticism of Stalin's excesses) or the surrealists (in art).

Post truth is about crowds. It is a social construct. Let me explain on the basis of Orwell's book. In the novel 1984, truth is controlled by the Inner Party. The population of Oceania accepts the propaganda, but does not embrace it. It just has no real choice. In post truth politics, the crowd not only embraces the constructed reality but actively participates in spreading it. In their collective minds, the more people embrace the constructed reality, the more real it becomes.

There is also as strong emotional aspect. Post truth manipulates a whole range of feelings, the strongest one being the feeling of belonging to the largest, most influential group. Followers become blind to rational arguments, because they experience a real feeling of distress when their constructed reality is put in doubt.

Coming back to modern art, my modest contacts with the vernissage following crowds have left me with mixed feelings. I see the same feelings of belonging to a "higher", "enlighten" crowd. I see the same efforts by the crowd to spread the constructed reality that this or that "artist" is valuable. The parallels are striking.

Side note to Asher: Jesus is discussed by 3 Roman historians: Flavius Josephus, Suetonius and, most notably, Tacitus in his final work, Annals. Also: I do see protests against some of the abuses you cited in Munich. It just so happens that the route chosen by most demonstrations runs right under my living room windows (it helps that I live in the city centre). The protests do not gather huge crowds and are rarely reported in the press, however.

Jerome

Last edited by Asher Kelman; December 4th, 2016 at 10:25 AM.
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Old December 4th, 2016, 10:00 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
..........



Side note to Asher: Jesus is discussed by 3 Roman historians: Flavius Josephus, Suetonius and, most notably, Tacitus in his final work, Annals. Also: I do see protests against some of the abuses you cited in Munich. It just so happens that the route chosen by most demonstrations runs right under my living room windows (it helps that I live in the city centre). The protests do not gather huge crowds and are rarely reported in the press, however.
Jerome,

Thanks for the response.

Josephus, I have studied and his very brief mention is not only not contemporaneous, but considered added by church writers subsequently. Tacitus, once again, reports from hearsay. The writings of Suetonius, however I am not so familiar with. I will have to catch up there! However, it is obvious, his reports came many decades after the estimated Jesus period and so, once again, just hearsay. Moreover it is hardly certain that the "Christos" he refers to is anything in common with the "Jesus of Nazareth".

.......and the subsequent Pauline letters just refer to a spiritual figure not anyone with parents or an earth-bound history.

Asher
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Old December 4th, 2016, 10:24 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Jerome,

Thanks for this clarification. Your explanation makes sense and also seems coherent with my own, (albeit, less well-informed), statement:

" So the "post fact" period started long ago and is resilient. Perhaps because it is an economical way of uniting masses of populations under on banner. That benefit may have evolutionary tactical survival benefits in recruiting manpower for some "cause". In a mass movement, the droves must be resistant to rebellious argument and contagonists. Therefore it is uniquely beneficial for culture to suppress logical protest to delegitimization authority!"
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Old December 4th, 2016, 12:55 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Jerome,

If folk knew the channigans that sometimes make famous art work "famous" and treasured for art galleries sales, they would be shocked. Followers of a gallery are "told" or "advised" who is "hot" as market-makers literally carve out a path to fame for someone productive and unique enough to be able to commoditize, invest in books, brochures and art shows and provide a stock of saleable money-earners for the next 20 years!

These elite and the crowds work together to spread a quality of assumed value and originality, special vocabulary and insight, so that, like Republicans "knowing" George W. Bush was a great leader, the art crowd are certain they are a special group, up to date and in the know that this art I am following is worthy of devotion, praise and being collected, as if it were a golden sword bequeathed by Sir Lancelot! Now a diversion that might perhaps provide more insight to this process.

I know we have to keep this train on the O.P.'s track on "post-truth in art", still, it's timely to look in parallel to the apparently "post-truth"-related phenomenon in current U.S. politics, and not just recent, but going all the way back to Ronald Reagan. At least, retrospectively, we can figure out that some of Reagan's tales were the ramblings of Alzheimer's interpreted as "wisdom". Trump has no such excuse. Lies, well told, are received as truer that facts recounted to expose their falsehoods and fabrication.



A good lie crafted to the taste, assumptions and beliefs
of an audience, will brush aside scholarly fact-checking
efforts as mere posturing by enemies of "our group"!



Asher
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Old December 5th, 2016, 12:32 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Jerome,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Coming back to modern art, my modest contacts with the vernissage following crowds have left me with mixed feelings. I see the same feelings of belonging to a "higher", "enlighten" crowd. I see the same efforts by the crowd to spread the constructed reality that this or that "artist" is valuable. The parallels are striking.
Somehow this reminds me of an exposition of small to medium sculptures with organic shapes that remembered me much of - err- things that you prefer to avoid marching on when walking in the street.

I was probably not enlightened enough to appreciate and cherish this art.

I do not have that many leads to the vernissage crowd, but enough to know of struggling artists that - from my very personal point of view - have more talent and vision than some of the higher-valued artists. But this is maybe because I am not enlightened enough

Best regards,
Michael
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Old December 5th, 2016, 01:03 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Somehow this reminds me of an exposition of small to medium sculptures with organic shapes that remembered me much of - err- things that you prefer to avoid marching on when walking in the street.
Wim Delvoye designed cloaca, a machine to produce feces. Several copies are exhibited at various museums. This is the copy exhibited in Beijing:


Reality is stronger than fiction...
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Old December 5th, 2016, 01:16 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Reality is stronger than fiction...
I use to say/write this as well, but there are moments where I am not comfortable with this inconvenient truth...

Best regards,
Michael
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Old January 14th, 2017, 11:53 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Hello Jerome,


Thanks for bringing this up - it is my word of the year (and not only this year) for some time.

Some time ago someone paraphrased this trend in a way that matches the related state of mind quite well in my eyes.
The phrase was - if I remember correctly - 'My ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'

Interesting times (like in the Chinese curse) ahead...

Best regards,
Michael
Then you may enjoy that cartoon which I found yesterday:

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Old January 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Then you may enjoy that cartoon which I found yesterday:

Yes and especially the last paragraph is striking.

Being wrong might not be that funny sometimes, but it is such a great occasion to learn...

Thanks!

Best regards,
Michael
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Old January 15th, 2017, 09:39 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Then you may enjoy that cartoon which I found yesterday:

..........but if one has power and influence, one can dismiss and ban opposition to one's, (knowingly), false statement. All one does is deny what one said, even though it is recorded on news video, and declare that the "News", (ie CNN), is rigged and false! Then they project a claim that the video which everyone has seen is nonsense. Amazingly, such behavior works to a considerable extent. Eventually we are called to disregard what we have seen with our eyes as some artifact and not the "truth"! That to me, the "deconstruction of facts", (as opposed to "unintended errors", due to failure to fact-check, as in the clever cartoon conflating a "6" with a "9", is becoming a daily staple of USA news these days.

We read about it in Stalin's time and hear stories like that from North Korea, but to have it happen daily in the USA is one of the saddest tragedies of our time.

Asher
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Old January 15th, 2017, 01:19 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Wim Delvoye designed cloaca, a machine to produce feces. Several copies are exhibited at various museums. This is the copy exhibited in Beijing:


Reality is stronger than fiction...
Jerome,

Are the pigs sculptures or live? Is that the "art", those pigs, or the giant camera like machine behind.

Is "Cloaca" label led art a parody of a Duchamp "Urinal" as art?

Are they just humorous or do they propose this as art?

Or is it merely a commentary of what art has become.....or always was?

BTW, to me it's puzzling that one would join urinogenital tracts to a single opening. We are not birds! Still, I do feel there is some humor going on but it does not resonate with me. Maybe I am too reactionary....or just too old and cling to beauty in vain!

Asher
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Old January 15th, 2017, 02:08 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Jerome,

Are the pigs sculptures or live? Is that the "art", those pigs, or the giant camera like machine behind.

Is "Cloaca" label led art a parody of a Duchamp "Urinal" as art?

Are they just humorous or do they propose this as art?

Or is it merely a commentary of what art has become.....or always was?

BTW, to me it's puzzling that one would join urinogenital tracts to a single opening. We are not birds! Still, I do feel there is some humor going on but it does not resonate with me. Maybe I am too reactionary....or just too old and cling to beauty in vain!

Asher
Just click on the link: cloaca.
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Old January 15th, 2017, 04:13 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Just click on the link: cloaca.
Jerome,

Thanks again for the link and your patience with me, as I seem to be the only one who is left flummoxed. I looked at that, but it left me as puzzled. Is it funny? Does it relate to Duchamp style designation of excretion receptacle, (i.e. The Urinal), as Art....... and is "Cloaca art" an extension of that?

Maybe I have lost my sense of fun or appreciation for clever twists of meaning. These drawings are well executed but what do they mean? I am not being coy or sarcastic. I am truly passed over in any appreciation apart from perhaps some extension of Duchamp's ideas.

I do not want to give any impression that I don't think this is art, I just am being honest that it does not reach me except in the recognition that the drawings are well done.

I think there is some kernel that I do not know that would help me appreciate all this. Or else perhaps, having had a heart attack, perhaps I cling to images of hope, inspiration and beauty. It could very well be that I am become narrowed in my view of things.


Asher
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Old January 15th, 2017, 04:40 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Jerome,

Of course I am trying to catch up!

But wait, I found a more detailed exposition of this work, here and realize the enormous effort the artist made to make something worthless out of good food.

So this is something like a morality play, perhaps, in telling us what King Solomon expressed so well, "Vanity of vanities, in the end, all is vanity!" So it seems that he has gone beyond Duchamp in not merely having "Found Art" repurposed from pre made urinals, but actually made the even higher order ex cement, feces from scratch. So he conbines Art of the absurd with performance art to deliver more feces to us, to join the rest of the questionable collectibles.

Then, all the posters and drawings make sense as marketing ploys for his franchise, "Cloaca".

Asher
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Old January 15th, 2017, 04:43 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Jerome,

Of course I had to try to catch up! So I am learning about the Belgium artist Wim Delvoye.

I found a more detailed exposition of this work, here and realize the enormous effort the artist made to seemingly, "accurately", make something worthless out of good food.

So this is something like a morality play, perhaps, in telling us what King Solomon expressed so well, "Vanity of vanities, in the end, all is vanity!" So it seems that he has gone beyond Duchamp in not merely having "Found Art" repurposed from pre made urinals, but actually made the even higher order excrement, (i.e. feces), and from scratch. So he combines "Art of the absurd" with "performance art" to deliver more worthless feces to us, to join the rest of the questionable art collectibles.

Then, all the posters and drawings make sense as marketing ploys for his Franchise, "Cloaca".

Asher
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Old January 15th, 2017, 10:42 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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So this is something like a morality play, perhaps, in telling us what King Solomon expressed so well, "Vanity of vanities, in the end, all is vanity!" So it seems that he has gone beyond Duchamp in not merely having "Found Art" repurposed from pre made urinals, but actually made the even higher order excrement, (i.e. feces), and from scratch. So he combines "Art of the absurd" with "performance art" to deliver more worthless feces to us, to join the rest of the questionable art collectibles.
It is also an answer to the common criticism that "modern art is sh*t". Indeed it is.
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Old January 15th, 2017, 11:03 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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It is also an answer to the common criticism that "modern art is sh*t". Indeed it is.
Jerome,

The artist Wim Delvoye doesn't take any simple or casual swipe at the current attitude of collectors and museums as to what might be art. Instead he committed years and a lot of funds to creating a formidable set of works.

Why the monumental effort. This is major work! I wish he would explain why he would go to such extraordinary and obsessional persuit of feces! We already know about $hitty art and artistic $hit! So we have learned nothing new. Or am I again missing something?

Asher
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  #25  
Old January 16th, 2017, 10:02 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
The artist Wim Delvoye doesn't take any simple or casual swipe at the current attitude of collectors and museums as to what might be art. Instead he committed years and a lot of funds to creating a formidable set of works.
You are right in saying that the effort is neither casual nor simple. I think you are wrong in thinking that it cannot be a swipe at the current attitude of collectors and museums as to what might be art.

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Why the monumental effort. This is major work! I wish he would explain why he would go to such extraordinary and obsessional persuit of feces! We already know about $hitty art and artistic $hit! So we have learned nothing new. Or am I again missing something?
Central to Duchamp's obsession with the ready made was the study of what makes art. This is a variation on the same theme. If you want, it is a social study about the art scene, a way to examine why the emperor has no clothes yet the courtisans praise the fabric. If is fascinating, really.
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Old January 16th, 2017, 10:23 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
You are right in saying that the effort is neither casual nor simple. I think you are wrong in thinking that it cannot be a swipe at the current attitude of collectors and museums as to what might be art.
0f course, Jerome!

.......not "casual nor simple" but rather purposeful and complex, being inferred and understood, was my intent!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
Central to Duchamp's obsession with the ready made was the study of what makes art. This is a variation on the same theme. If you want, it is a social study about the art scene, a way to examine why the emperor has no clothes yet the courtisans praise the fabric. If is fascinating, really.
But we are given a paradox. The works themselves then become a new standard for our "Art"! It is no longer a comment on the self-indulgence and arrogance of the art scene.

At one Venice Biennale, ~10 years ago, I saw the USA seminal work: two ordinary concrete paving stones on top of one another at an angle. Perhaps the top one was cracked or broken, but to me it was stunning as the best of the best representing the continental USA.

To me it was a pointless joke! Like Rap representing the last 500 years of Weatern Music!

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; January 24th, 2017 at 01:27 PM.
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  #27  
Old January 24th, 2017, 10:06 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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I think I need to refer to this thread in this discussion:

http://www.openphotographyforums.com...763#post176763
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Old January 25th, 2017, 12:50 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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There is also a nice example in music:

Does anybody remember Gerald Bostock who's epic poem 'Thick as a Brick' was adapted by Jethro Tull for the identically named album?
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Old January 27th, 2017, 12:25 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
There is also a nice example in music:

Does anybody remember Gerald Bostock who's epic poem 'Thick as a Brick' was adapted by Jethro Tull for the identically named album?
One of my all time favorites!
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Old January 27th, 2017, 09:37 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Last edited by Jerome Marot; January 27th, 2017 at 02:43 PM.
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