• Ilya B Shambat
    110
    One claim constantly made about artistically inclined people is that they lack realism. My response to that is that reality of human world is what people make of it; and such things are only unrealistic if people choose to make them so.

    If something is not in demand, then those who are willing to supply it either go starving or have to do something else. The problem is not with those who are willing to form the supply, but with those who undermine the demand. I see no reason at all why America, with 300 million people and per capita GDP of $50,000 a year, should have less good art than Renaissance Italy, with 3 million people and per capita GDP of $1,500 a year. The problem is not with realism or lack of realism. The problem is one of values. Clearly there have been times in history in which it was completely realistic to produce and distribute art. And the times and places where that was the case are the times and places to which we continue to look back now.

    So now we’ve come to a completely ridiculous point: Seeing artistic interest as psychopathology. You might as well say that it’s pathological to want to make money or to worship God. Treating such things as a psychopathology takes more resources than it would take to allow such people to be artists, and it does not produce any kind of benefit.

    There have been times in American history when that was not the attitude. In 1920s there was a magnificent artistic blossoming even at the same time as there was a great economic boom. Economic prosperity and artistic blossoming coexisted. They worked together with one another. And it was in this time – one that combined economic prosperity with artistic excellence – that America became the greatest country in the world.

    This means the following. Not only is it completely realistic to produce – and consume – art, but doing so is fully consistent with America’s values and America’s greatness. It is not for “snobs” or “liberal elites” or “pretentious Europeans.” It is something that has been done by patriotic Americans at the time that America rose to its greatest glory. It is fully realistic, as well as completely American, to produce and to consume art. The problem is lack of demand. The solution is increasing the demand while also producing supply of good art that people want to buy.
  • old
    76
    Hi. I'd like to suggest that TV/movies are the dominant forms of art these days, and that just about everyone loves some kind of TV or movie. The demand is great. The product is sometimes great. And, for a few, the profit is great. For consumers the situation is arguably better than ever. For producers however the situation is arguably more difficult than ever. Perhaps I'm the best actor, director, or writer in my town or mid-sized city. I may still be uninteresting to a consumer who takes seeing the very best actors, directors, and writers in the world for granted.

    Of course it's possible that I'm ahead of my time, but this is probably the 'unrealistic' fantasy that many critics of the artistic personality have in mind. I'm far more likely to be behind my time than ahead of it, and I am less willing to explore that possibility than the consumer whose money I want. From such a perspective, it's more realistic (safer) to learn a technical skill that is clearly in demand in my pursuit of making a living and achieving status.

    I realize you may have had paintings and sculpture foremost in your mind, but I suggest that those are just not the forms of our electronic time.
  • wax
    301
    one of the real problems in the art world is that art is often used simply as a way to invest money; it is also sometimes used for money laundering.

    This can lead to artists, who make their art look esoteric,and bound up in some kind of mysterious high-minded philosophy which is hard to criticised, more popular...these paintings, sculptures etc, are worth millions, and there has to be a way to defend these high prices. And the defence opted for is in something which is portrayed as being beyond the understanding of mere ordinary people....this process also has the feedback effect of making rich people seem highly sophisticated, and above everybody else.....this approach to art is simply a bubble which needs popping.
  • praxis
    1.1k
    The solution is increasing the demand while also producing supply of good art that people want to buy.Ilya B Shambat

    Can you explain how this solution might work? Or why it would be a good thing if it did work.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k
    Criticizing artworks for a lack of realism is a pet peeve of mine. I call it the "realism fetish."
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    The solution is increasing the demand while also producing supply of good art that people want to buy.
    — Ilya B Shambat

    Can you explain how this solution might work? Or why it would be a good thing if it did work.
    praxis

    Well, for one, it would give a sense of purpose to the millions of the so-called mentally ill in this country who otherwise are undervalued or devalued by society.
  • praxis
    1.1k
    Western culture is highly materialistic/rationalistic. How do you increase aesthetic values in such a cultural environment?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    How do you increase aesthetic values in such a cultural environment?praxis

    Good question. I don’t know, and I don’t know if it’s possible in this society where corporate profits are of paramount importance.
  • Ilya B Shambat
    110
    "Western culture is highly materialistic/rationalistic. How do you increase aesthetic values in such a cultural environment?"

    Look back to 1920s and the Italian Renaissance. In both situations there was economic boom and cultural blossoming.
  • Ilya B Shambat
    110
    "Can you explain how this solution might work? Or why it would be a good thing if it did work."

    It can work because it has worked in the past. It was called 1920s. It is desirable because we will see a vast legacy of beauty being created, and with it a golden age that people will cherish for ages to come.
  • Brett
    434


    I’m not sure where the benefit lies in this for people today, unless you’re saying it will lead to an economic boom. I can’t find your connection between art and the economy, if that’s your point?

    But using the twenties as an example doesn’t help me either. The art movements that dominated the world were not from America but from Europe, and I had always though America’s greatness peaked after WWII.

    Not only is it completely realistic to produce – and consume – art, but doing so is fully consistent with America’s values and America’s greatnessIlya B Shambat

    That I agree with.

    Edit: though the twenties were obviously a hedonistic age for Americans, so I take your point there.
  • Brett
    434


    I think their art in terms of realism blossomed in literature more than anything else and became popular world wide. Is that what you’re referring to in terms of art?
  • Ilya B Shambat
    110
    "I think their art in terms of realism blossomed in literature more than anything else and became popular world wide. Is that what you’re referring to in terms of art?"

    I am saying that there is nothing contradictory between prosperity and culture, and that in the best case scenario the two work together.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    I am saying that there is nothing contradictory between prosperity and culture, and that in the best case scenario the two work together.Ilya B Shambat

    Ancient Athens comes to mind, but they also had slaves so I don’t know where that fits into the picture.
  • Brett
    434


    In your opinion, because I can’t tell from your post, is good art being produced today?
  • Brett
    434
    So now we’ve come to a completely ridiculous point: Seeing artistic interest as psychopathology. You might as well say that it’s pathological to want to make money or to worship God. Treating such things as a psychopathology takes more resources than it would take to allow such people to be artists, and it does not produce any kind of benefit.Ilya B Shambat

    Can you explain this for me?
  • Brett
    434


    This is how I interpret your post. Correct me if I have it wrong.

    As I understand it what you’re saying is that supply of art is undermined by interference in the demand. This suggests the world of artists and production of art is being perverted by someone or something, and that the work produced is not the work people want. You also seem to suggest that the consumption of art should be at a higher level, that people would buy more art if they could relate to it.
    This then means the art produced should be consumer driven, then it will be ‘real’ artwork.

    If that happens then it becomes a commodity. But I think we already have that with the books, films and music available today.

    First of all, I don’t think the world needs more art. But it always needs good art. The thousands of best seller books (airport lounge) compared to what we regard as literature, is not art, and neither are all the works turned out in the same way in music or the visual arts. That’s just commerce. There’s nothing wrong with that, it serves a market, and its popularity and production costs make it affordable for the people who want that.

    The number of great works of every era are very slim. The nature of the work itself means that the artist can only produce so much if it, and even then its quality varies from work to work.

    I don’t think great work needs money to come into being. Writers produce their work before they know if it will be picked up by a publisher, (Though for some time writers have received big advances to create that work.), visual artists prepare their work before a gallery accepts it (again, except for those who have a following. So this is virtually commerce). Artists, being what they are, are compelled to produce work regardless of the future.

    So I can’t see how creating a demand for art necessarily leads to good art being produced. If you purposely work this out by demand then it’s a commercial transaction and we already have that. Nor can you create a demand for good work, because one of the qualities of good work is its originality, which can’t be anticipated.
  • Ilya B Shambat
    110
    Some good art is being produced today. Some of it is appreciated and some is not.
  • Brett
    434


    Do you actually read these posts.
  • Joshs
    548
    Rather than starting with a presumed definition of 'art' and then pontificating about its current status in comparison with previous eras, its useful to note how the meaning of art changes along with cultural shifts. For instance , Lets look at the world today vs the 1920's. The amount of wealth is astronomically higher than it was, and in the hand of individuals in a greater number of countries. This means art as an investment is more important than it has been before , and this has spanned a culture of rapid commoditization.
    Every large and mid-sized city has a thriving arts scene today as more money is drawn into urban culture.
    Meanwhile, the definition of art is more fluid than it was in the 1920's. performance, event, installation, political expression, and much more can be called art today. Today's individualizing technologies splinter artistic communities into infinite subgroups so that there are no longer dominant determinations of what constitutes a movement or trend. You can find art everywhere but your determination of worth and category will differ from your neighbor's.
  • Ilya B Shambat
    110
    "Can you explain this for me?"

    Treating artistic interest as psychopathology results in a hideous waste of resources in "treating" people capable of artistic output, as well as in a giant waste of potential when such can be utilized to create something like 1920s America or Renaissance Italy. The result is bad for everyone except people who profiteer from this arrangement.
  • Ilya B Shambat
    110
    " As I understand it what you’re saying is that supply of art is undermined by interference in the demand. This suggests the world of artists and production of art is being perverted by someone or something, and that the work produced is not the work people want. You also seem to suggest that the consumption of art should be at a higher level, that people would buy more art if they could relate to it."

    Basically, when people have no value for the arts, there is inadequate demand for the arts. The problem is compounded by the wrongful movements in art scene itself.

    "The number of great works of every era are very slim. The nature of the work itself means that the artist can only produce so much if it, and even then its quality varies from work to work."

    Sure.

    "So I can’t see how creating a demand for art necessarily leads to good art being produced. If you purposely work this out by demand then it’s a commercial transaction and we already have that. Nor can you create a demand for good work, because one of the qualities of good work is its originality, which can’t be anticipated."

    I am not saying that demand for art would lead to good art being produced. That is up to the artist. Demand for art will however make it possible for more people to make their ends meet as artists. As for good art, that once again is up to the artist. We need to move away from avant garde and postmodernism and produce art that actually achieves things such as beauty and passion.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    Do you actually read these posts.Brett

    I don’t think he does with much enthusiasm. He doesn’t seem interested in the Socratic dialogue of philosophy. He’s more interested in pontificating than having a discussion. He doesn’t need to engage. He has money.
  • Olly
    3
    Wider cultural appreciation of fine art may be at an all-time low, which has several contributing factors behind it. "Art world" type post-modern works may be too divorced from aesthetic sensibility to appeal to most people, and there is an over-abundance of "lowbrow" entertainment. Certainly, people are far more distracted now than they've ever been- it's much easier for most people to sit in front of their tv/computer than to read a thought-provoking book or look at paintings. But people on the whole haven't changed fundamentally, appreciation of art was always something possessed by a minority of people, not the majority. The average person in the past didn't have much more contact with or appreciation for art outside a religious context, appreciation for high art and such is something that is most often cultivated by oneself or inherited by experience, and most people don't really grow up being taken to art galleries or having paintings in their homes. Still, art in all forms is still being bought and appreciated by people substantially- it just isn't in most people's line of sight.
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