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Bernice Loui
20-Dec-2014, 11:28
With the on going discussion and verbiage over "Print sold for 6.5 Million Dollars", The question of why.

Visual arts much like music, math or other forms of human expression is a language. To gain fluency in any language requires time, effort, study and understanding of intellect to gain literacy in any of these means of human expression.


Pop music, fast food, fashion trends and all that are similar are intended to appeal to the masses who have no interest to gain or appreciate the deeper meaning of what might be. Instead, the appeal and sales of these items rely on initial appeal and instant gratification. This appears to be the bulk of marketed products world wide. This is also where bulk sales produces much return on investment for their investors and all involved. Think of this as fleecing the flock.

In the case of photographic images, it requires much study, sensitivity to what is being conveyed, and understanding to fully appreciate what the artist is trying to say with their work, deep fluency of the visual arts language with an appreciation of what is being said. This is often more than most would like to invest in these endeavors, for others it is their passion and calling in life.... limiting the number of individuals who deeply appreciate watch has been done.



Bernice

Heroique
20-Dec-2014, 14:51
I have a lot of sympathy with your claims Bernice, but you make it sound like people need a lot of special training before they can fully appreciate art.

I'm curious if you think people without any formal education have a chance.

Should we turn them away from a direct experience art, and toward school, books, and instruction?

Bernice Loui
20-Dec-2014, 15:10
Fully appreciate art with no formal or related education, ABSOLUTELY !!!

Brett Weston is just one of many, many examples.

Point being, appreciation of art and related human expression takes effort. Be that effort done as part of formal education or visiting exhibits or web search, it is a matter of exposure, sensitivity and working to understand what specific works are about and what might make them special.

;)
Bernice



I have a lot of sympathy with your claims Bernice, but you make it sound like people need a lot of special training before they can fully appreciate art.

I'm curious if you think people without any formal education have a chance.

Should we turn them away from a direct experience art, and toward school, books, and instruction?

Doug Howk
20-Dec-2014, 15:19
Many photographers have espoused the view that the taking of an image should be intuitive. Why should the appreciation of an image be not also intuitive?

Jody_S
20-Dec-2014, 15:27
If someone pays X $ for a print to frame and hang on their wall, I would hardly call that a fleecing. Peter Lik may indeed fleece his buyers if he tells them his prints are an investment.

As for needing an education to appreciate the visual arts, what do I know? I didn't go to art school. I can still appreciate symbolism, etc. and situate works historically and in movements, without bothering with the art world meta that seems inseparable from anything from postmodern til now.

Bernice Loui
21-Dec-2014, 12:13
Peter Lik = Michael Jackson's Thriller album (sold about 50 million copies, churned a lot of dollars), what might be the difference?

Compair Micheal Jackson's Thriller album sales to the sales number of any recording Saint-SaŽns 3rd symphony. Michael Jackson sells millions, Saint-SaŽns sells a few ten-thousand and it would be considered very successful.

Point being, in music as much as in the visual arts, requires some degree of learning, understanding and appreciation to discern the difference. This belief and attitude often comes off as elitist and snobby, yet there are very real humanistic reasons why one of these musical works has stood the test of time and the other has not.



Bernice




If someone pays X $ for a print to frame and hang on their wall, I would hardly call that a fleecing. Peter Lik may indeed fleece his buyers if he tells them his prints are an investment.

As for needing an education to appreciate the visual arts, what do I know? I didn't go to art school. I can still appreciate symbolism, etc. and situate works historically and in movements, without bothering with the art world meta that seems inseparable from anything from postmodern til now.

Old-N-Feeble
21-Dec-2014, 12:43
Careful, Bernice. The worms are wriggling out of the can.:D

Bernice Loui
21-Dec-2014, 12:50
Wiggling out of the can trying to find their way home.

:eek:
Bernice


Careful, Bernice. The worms are wriggling out of the can.:D

mdarnton
21-Dec-2014, 13:41
One of my favorite things to learn was that George Solti apparently once told the Chicago Symphony in a rehearsal that not more than 5% of the audience really understands what's going on, so what you (the players) do, you do it for yourselves.

It's certainly not necessary to fully understand something to appreciate it, so sure, someone who's not educated or even informed can understand or appreciate anything, to some extent. However, the danger here is that all of us, we only know what we know, and there's a tendency to think what we know is all there is to know. From my experience, that's wrong, wrong, wrong.

But most people still believe that. Especially the most vocal ones saying that they do get it, all, already--those are the ones who get it the least. Here's the definitive work in that area: http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/teaching/p7536_heurbias/p7536_readings/kruger_dunning.pdf
Further amusement: some of the dumbest people I know have been the most vocal in protesting this article, just as the writers would probably suggest, so watch how you respond. :-)

Peter Lewin
21-Dec-2014, 14:11
I'm having a lot of trouble getting past the "elitist, snobby" ideas in this thread. Mdarnton's story about Solti is interesting, but how about Toscanini conducting, he was famous for "singing" along with the music, a purely emotional response to something he loved. I'm not sure how much music theory one needs to love, lets say, classical music. I don't even know where I fit in the spectrum described in this thread, I know zip about music theory, can't play an instrument, but grew up with a mother who as a professional ballerina had performed all over the world, and a father who took me to my first opera probably before I was a teenager. So no formal training, but a lot of exposure. Would someone with musical training "get" more out of a composition? Probably, but I'm not sure they would get more enjoyment out of listening.

And I worry about the Michael Jackson - St. Saens comparison. When I go to any classical music performance, I have a hard time finding many young people in the audience (and I certainly am not young). There is a real concern that classical music won't be able to support itself in another generation, while it is possible that Michael Jackson will still be remembered. Cage, and even Stravinsky, have not replaced Beethoven, but I'm not sure how much longer any of them will be listened to by more than a small niche audience.

Yes, we find Mr. Lik's work to be kitsch, but then I suspect we are going too far in the other direction, essentially (but not quite saying it out loud) complimenting ourselves on our superior aesthetic taste, reinforcing how we are different from "them" (those suckers who buy Lik's works).

mdarnton
21-Dec-2014, 14:56
I'm not sure how much music theory one needs to love, lets say, classical music..

I admit that I do not really understand classical music nearly as well as my classical musician friends. No, you certainly do not need theory to appreciate something, but I am absolutely certain that there is much about it that I am missing, and that was my point. There are layers and layers beyond what your endocrine system responds to. Most of us are at the "Gee, what a cute cat in that picture" level of understanding classical music.

I never really got into jazz until a couple of years ago. I was very surprised to discover that many of the most popular jazz greats of the 50s and 60s had a solid foundation in music theory. Bill Evans? Yup. Miles Davis. Yup, Juilliard. Thelonius Monk arranged his most famous concert with the composition professor at Juilliard. It goes on and on. I ultimately was not surprised that the one sax player I couldn't get into at all was the most untrained of all of them, and it sounded that way, even to me.

If by "elitist" you mean, as one definition has it "considered superior by others or by themselves, as in intellect, talent, power, " I don't have any problem with that. What I do have a problem is people who look down on other people who are smarter or better informed or more talented than them because it means they have to admit they themselves aren't the best--the glorification of ignorance, in short . . . . well, that's the commonest usage I see, unfortunately.

Peter Lewin
21-Dec-2014, 16:41
What I do have a problem is people who look down on other people who are smarter or better informed or more talented than them because it means they have to admit they themselves aren't the best--the glorification of ignorance, in short . . . . well, that's the commonest usage I see, unfortunately.
But I think that the converse, looking down on others who may have not had your education, or experiences, or opportunities, is just as bad. And that is where I am afraid much of this thread takes me.

Jody_S
22-Dec-2014, 05:34
Peter Lik = Michael Jackson's Thriller album (sold about 50 million copies, churned a lot of dollars), what might be the difference?

Compair Micheal Jackson's Thriller album sales to the sales number of any recording Saint-SaŽns 3rd symphony. Michael Jackson sells millions, Saint-SaŽns sells a few ten-thousand and it would be considered very successful.

Point being, in music as much as in the visual arts, requires some degree of learning, understanding and appreciation to discern the difference. This belief and attitude often comes off as elitist and snobby, yet there are very real humanistic reasons why one of these musical works has stood the test of time and the other has not.



Bernice

Oddly enough, I probably appreciate Saint-Saens more than Michael Jackson's thriller, because I have no natural rhythm and can't dance for sh!t. But I can lose myself in a lot of classical music. However, I know even less about classical music than I know about visual arts, and make no pretenses to being an expert in either. The point remains that I am not being fleeced if I buy a ticket for $125 to the local opera's production of Carmen, any more than I am being fleeced if I buy an abstract painting for $125 from a local artist that I don't 'get', just because I want to encourage him or her to continue. We do what we do for a lot of reasons, and the mixture of money and art is a particularly murky area.

mdarnton
22-Dec-2014, 05:42
But I think that the converse, looking down on others who may have not had your education, or experiences, or opportunities, is just as bad. And that is where I am afraid much of this thread takes me.

That's reasonable. I don't have anything to say about anyone else's taste until they try to push it on me or others. Me, I just try to stay aware that I don't know everything about everything, so I'm constantly trying to push my own limits outwards. But that's for my personal entertainment, nothing else.

edit: What you object to is a two-edged sword, though: Intolerance goes in two directions. It's just as bad to look down on others who have had different education, experiences, or opportunities when those are more rather than just less. Take the post that just showed up below, for instance.

MDR
22-Dec-2014, 05:52
Kitsch is great, kitsch is super Thomas Kincade and Lik are superb and this is not meant as a joke. I believe they are much more accomplished artists than say Pollock and Gursky imo. It's the same with music Michael Jackson was a great artist and the reason why I consider those three great artists is because the were able to bring happiness and beauty into people's homes. The work they created is neither deep nor very difficult to understand but that what makes them great they can be understood by everyone and not only an elite. People who buy a Kincade think that it's a beautiful piece of art they are happy with their choice. I think the biggest accomplishment for an artist is to give people a good feeling and to make them dream. The latter is the most important part art should make people dream and draw them in. Overly elitist or smart art makes people feel dumb or less worthy this is absolutely not something that should be encouraged. Artists of the Renaissance, Baroque and up to the early 20th century understood that and made art that could be understood by the little guys and have some mind games for the educated, and upper crust elitists. In the early 20th century something changed fundamentely art was not longer made to be understood by anyone other than the artist and a select few who could feel superior to the lesser human beings.

P.S. I also appreciate art that makes people think or that is supposed to change society. But the whole art for the art clique is something I really dislike. BTW the language of images is well understood even by non educated people it's exactly the destruction of this language that has been in vogue for quiet some time.

John Kasaian
22-Dec-2014, 07:42
Art, in my view, is ultimately a signature.
The economic value is driven by an artificial market.
The making of Art pre-dates the earning of money.
How much money did the painter who painted the cave paintings in France earn for his efforts?
Getting back to the signature idea---what does Lik's photograph tell us about Lik and contemporary tastes?

Drew Wiley
22-Dec-2014, 09:45
That alleged 6.5M incident is really in a different category, since that particular individual has zero credibility in the haute art world, which I pick on from time to time too. About all we learn from this is that money can't buy brains. And never ever underestimate the role of conspicuous consumption ... people keeping up
appearances, even though they don't have any taste of their own and can't make decisions for themselves. That's what the interior decorators and art critics are for. In this frequently wealthy Bay area the different species of the obscenely rich are largely segregated: Old money with classical tastes (Atherton), New techie money generally with good taste (Woodside), and New money with no taste (Blackhawk - sports and entertainment celebs, drug importers)... and perhaps yet one more category a bit more dispersed, A few surviving rich 60's and 70's rock stars who are still seeing flashing colored lights but not much else.

Bernice Loui
22-Dec-2014, 11:22
One example of how 5% of the audience really understands the music and performance can be found during the opening Gala of the San Francisco Symphony at Davies. This is where more than a few San Francisco patrons, socialites and related dressed up in their newest finery hang out at the open bar located on the mezzanine loading up on drinks just before the performance. This is THE place to be to be seen and noted as one of them.
These folks do make major contributions to SSF allowing MTT to do what he does best and keeps the doors open and lights on at Davies and SSF playing performances much of the year.

Solti knowing this gap in musical appreciation and understanding worked with Dudley Moore to produce a program to help those interested to gain an better understanding of classical music in a way that is very approachable, fun and educational. This work, Orchestra! can be found as a video on various video media today.
http://www.amazon.com/Solti-Orchestra-Sir-Georg/dp/B000T9QFAG

Sample clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUaof2DLEQ0

Dudley Moore went on after this production to produce a few more presentations of this sort with Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) titled Concerto! Before Dudley's death in the later 1990's. The results and educational value of producing this series with Dudley resulted in MTT producing more of these with PBS.

If one were to spend time watching and taking in what these presentations offer and worked to gain a deeper understanding of Classical music, it has the potential to make the classical music experience more enjoyable, a greater appreciation and understanding for the works and performances. No understanding or knowledge of musical theory is needed, just the basic understanding, an open mind and the willingness to listen and hear what is to be said. Over time, this can grow to a further and deeper understanding of musical language and what it can mean for the individual, for culture, for society and it's place in history.

The world of photography and still image making could used a body of work much like this.


On this study:
http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/teaching/p7536_heurbias/p7536_readings/kruger_dunning.pdf

"The wise know their weakness too well to assume infallibility; and he who knows most, knows best how little he knows." - Thomas Jefferson,

What does it mean to know something, really know something? To know the truth of most anything requires work, serious work as it is so very easy to deceive oneself with superficial observation and draw a conclusion from that. This brings up the scientific method where an idea is proposed (theory) implications of this idea or observation calculated, experiment carefully designed, experiment executed and the results-data compared to calculations or predicted expectations. Do they agree or not? If not then why?

Human beings have a great talent and great ability to deceive themselves in many ways as most tend to want and desire to create the belief of what will provide them relief or escape from their discontent or harsh reality of how the world might really be. There are many, many examples of this over the course o human history. Why is this?

Self deception is one of the reasons why propaganda-marketing works so very effectively. It does much to help individuals believe in their self deception. That is to give that slight nudge to their innate bias or beliefs using this to steer them towards the agenda or goal of a specific individual, group or similar.



Bernice



One of my favorite things to learn was that George Solti apparently once told the Chicago Symphony in a rehearsal that not more than 5% of the audience really understands what's going on, so what you (the players) do, you do it for yourselves.

It's certainly not necessary to fully understand something to appreciate it, so sure, someone who's not educated or even informed can understand or appreciate anything, to some extent. However, the danger here is that all of us, we only know what we know, and there's a tendency to think what we know is all there is to know. From my experience, that's wrong, wrong, wrong.

But most people still believe that. Especially the most vocal ones saying that they do get it, all, already--those are the ones who get it the least. Here's the definitive work in that area: http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/teaching/p7536_heurbias/p7536_readings/kruger_dunning.pdf
Further amusement: some of the dumbest people I know have been the most vocal in protesting this article, just as the writers would probably suggest, so watch how you respond. :-)

Old-N-Feeble
22-Dec-2014, 11:46
One example of how 5% of the audience really understands the music and performance can be found during the opening Gala of the San Francisco Symphony at Davies. This is where more than a few San Francisco patrons, socialites and related dressed up in their newest finery hang out at the open bar located on the mezzanine loading up on drinks just before the performance. This is THE place to be to be seen and noted as one of them.
These folks do make major contributions to SSF allowing MTT to do what he does best and keeps the doors open and lights on at Davies and SSF playing performances much of the year.

Solti knowing this gap in musical appreciation and understanding worked with Dudley Moore to produce a program to help those interested to gain an better understanding of classical music in a way that is very approachable, fun and educational. This work, Orchestra! can be found as a video on various video media today.
http://www.amazon.com/Solti-Orchestra-Sir-Georg/dp/B000T9QFAG

Sample clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUaof2DLEQ0

Dudley Moore went on after this production to produce a few more presentations of this sort with Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) titled Concerto! Before Dudley's death in the later 1990's. The results and educational value of producing this series with Dudley resulted in MTT producing more of these with PBS.

If one were to spend time watching and taking in what these presentations offer and worked to gain a deeper understanding of Classical music, it has the potential to make the classical music experience more enjoyable, a greater appreciation and understanding for the works and performances. No understanding or knowledge of musical theory is needed, just the basic understanding, an open mind and the willingness to listen and hear what is to be said. Over time, this can grow to a further and deeper understanding of musical language and what it can mean for the individual, for culture, for society and it's place in history.

The world of photography and still image making could used a body of work much like this.


On this study:
http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/teaching/p7536_heurbias/p7536_readings/kruger_dunning.pdf

"The wise know their weakness too well to assume infallibility; and he who knows most, knows best how little he knows." - Thomas Jefferson,

What does it mean to know something, really know something? To know the truth of most anything requires work, serious work as it is so very easy to deceive oneself with superficial observation and draw a conclusion from that. This brings up the scientific method where an idea is proposed (theory) implications of this idea or observation calculated, experiment carefully designed, experiment executed and the results-data compared to calculations or predicted expectations. Do they agree or not? If not then why?

Human beings have a great talent and great ability to deceive themselves in many ways as most tend to want and desire to create the belief of what will provide them relief or escape from their discontent or harsh reality of how the world might really be. There are many, many examples of this over the course o human history. Why is this?

Self deception is one of the reasons why propaganda-marketing works so very effectively. It does much to help individuals believe in their self deception. That is to give that slight nudge to their innate bias or beliefs using this to steer them towards the agenda or goal of a specific individual, group or similar.



Bernice

Bernice,

I appreciate all your posts and your views on classical music. While there is some classical music I enjoy and dearly love, I'm more of a 'Pink Floyd' and 'The The' fan, probably because I tend to have an unhealthy negative view of life on earth and of humanity in general.:rolleyes:

Mike

Bernice Loui
23-Dec-2014, 10:55
Pink Floyd, Another Brick In The Wall was banned in South Africa under the belief this song was the cause of riots. Does this work have artistic merit, ABSOLUTELY...

More than a few consider art to be the heart, soul and identity of their nation. This belief is why some art is considered national treasures and of great worth.

Consider for a moment why there are photographic images made that have become a part of national identity and of historical significance.


Bernice




Bernice,

I appreciate all your posts and your views on classical music. While there is some classical music I enjoy and dearly love, I'm more of a 'Pink Floyd' and 'The The' fan, probably because I tend to have an unhealthy negative view of life on earth and of humanity in general.:rolleyes:

Mike

Jim Jones
24-Dec-2014, 09:08
Humanity evolves. Within humanity, individuals evolve. For example, 70 years ago I enjoyed Huckleberry Finn and Treasure Island as great adventures. Now I can appreciate them as fine examples of the craft of storytelling, and in the case of Huckleberry Finn, a biting and enduring commentary on human character. We had no music education in school. However, shortly after WWII electricity and a hand-me-down radio came to my farm. In those days there was little profound music competing with popular ballads and country tunes, but it was enough to pique a naÔve kid's interest. While the available broadcasts satisfied the innate interest in music that most people had, the Bell Telephone Hour, the Firestone Hour, and the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts teased a few with a hint of something far richer. Photography offers an even greater dichotomy between family snapshots or Facebook selfies and the monumental portraits of Karsh. Pictures of friends, however poor technically, provide the comfort of the familiar. True art invites us into another World; perhaps intimidating, but infinite in its possibilities.

jnanian
24-Dec-2014, 21:41
Yes, we find Mr. Lik's work to be kitsch ...

??

sorry to ask this but ..

how is his work any different than anyone on this forum who has taken the same exact photograph
( whether it was in color, black and white or some exotic process ) ... besides he is well known
and might have people who pay lots of $$ for the images he makes ..

Peter Lewin
25-Dec-2014, 08:45
??

sorry to ask this but ..

how is his work any different than anyone on this forum who has taken the same exact photograph
( whether it was in color, black and white or some exotic process ) ... besides he is well known
and might have people who pay lots of $$ for the images he makes ..
John: From Wikipedia: "Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal."

Mr. Lik's work, mass-produced and certainly calculated to have popular appeal, seems to fit that description. I would argue that precisely because so many people have made exactly the same image of Antelope Canyon, we could say that it is "using a popular or cultural icon," and at least in my opinion, the work is "gaudy" (over saturated Photoshop colors). The most debatable part of the definition would be "low-brow," and the general thrust of most of the posts in the various "Lik threads" is that the images are not original, "merely" pretty. So "kitsch" seemed to me an appropriate descriptor.

I think the huge difference from the work on this forum is that when someone here posts a photograph of Antelope Canyon, or any of the Southwestern slot canyons, they aren't presenting it as high art, because they are usually aware of the hundreds (?) of similar images. They are posting it because they enjoyed the experience of making the image, and are pleased with the result. They are not mass-producing copies in various sizes and claiming them to be investment-grade art.

Incidentally, I am hoping to see the new movie "Big Eyes" when it is released, because it is about the woman who painted those portraits of children with huge eyes which were popular in the 1960s, and are now considered stereotypical "kitsch." The reviews say that the film explores the relationship between commerce and art, precisely what the Lik threads are dealing with.

John Kasaian
25-Dec-2014, 09:31
John: From Wikipedia: "Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal."

Mr. Lik's work, mass-produced and certainly calculated to have popular appeal, seems to fit that description. I would argue that precisely because so many people have made exactly the same image of Antelope Canyon, we could say that it is "using a popular or cultural icon," and at least in my opinion, the work is "gaudy" (over saturated Photoshop colors). The most debatable part of the definition would be "low-brow," and the general thrust of most of the posts in the various "Lik threads" is that the images are not original, "merely" pretty. So "kitsch" seemed to me an appropriate descriptor.

I think the huge difference from the work on this forum is that when someone here posts a photograph of Antelope Canyon, or any of the Southwestern slot canyons, they aren't presenting it as high art, because they are usually aware of the hundreds (?) of similar images. They are posting it because they enjoyed the experience of making the image, and are pleased with the result. They are not mass-producing copies in various sizes and claiming them to be investment-grade art.

Incidentally, I am hoping to see the new movie "Big Eyes" when it is released, because it is about the woman who painted those portraits of children with huge eyes which were popular in the 1960s, and are now considered stereotypical "kitsch." The reviews say that the film explores the relationship between commerce and art, precisely what the Lik threads are dealing with.
Exactly when does an icon become kitsch? Many fine photographs would have to have crossed over at one time or another. Would it be when they are mass produced for market?
Would Fine Art prints of, say Renoir or Degas there for be considered kitsch since they, like Kincaid's work, have been reproduced in considerable numbers?

mdarnton
25-Dec-2014, 09:33
I guess that makes the whole of Renaissance art, which was almost invariably made on contract to fill empty spaces, be appropriately ostentatious, have popular appeal, and was done mostly by high-production workshops under the guidance of a master who rarely touched "his" work, "kitsch". Kinkade and Lik appear to be working in an honorable artistic tradition, then!

Christopher Barrett
25-Dec-2014, 09:55
I wanted to understand this thread. I really did. There were just too many words, though and I can't invest that kind of reading time. So... I've decided to buy a much shorter thread that had a really pretty sunset.

Peter Lewin
25-Dec-2014, 11:06
I really have to remember to send this thread to my daughter who is working on her Master's in Art Education. We have succeeded in equating the 1960's Big Eyed Waifs (since they meet the definition of kitsch) to all of Renaissance Art, and even to Renoir and Degas. I need to find out what her grad school art teachers feel about that proposition ;).

mdarnton
25-Dec-2014, 11:47
Remember: I didn't say the Renaissance was kitsch. I said it fit your definition. If she's bright, she'll tell you.to stop using Wikipedia. :-)

baro-nite
25-Dec-2014, 13:18
I think Wikipedia's definition (as quoted, anyway) omits a crucial aspect of kitsch. The nature of kitsch's appeal (such as it is) is its cheap sentimentality. Thomas Kincaide, perfect example. Lik, I think not. His appeal is based on the cheap (aesthetically) spectacle of huge prints in gaudily over saturated colors, but I wouldn't call it sentimental. Bright colors are like loud sounds -- hard to ignore, and triggering a visceral reaction. Some find this thrilling, while others find it nauseating. it is of course a very old truism that there's no disputing taste. But artists don't merely reflect and respond to taste, they create and influence it.

jnanian
25-Dec-2014, 19:25
John: From Wikipedia: "Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. Kitsch generally includes unsubstantial or gaudy works or decoration, or works that are calculated to have popular appeal."

Mr. Lik's work, mass-produced and certainly calculated to have popular appeal, seems to fit that description. I would argue that precisely because so many people have made exactly the same image of Antelope Canyon, we could say that it is "using a popular or cultural icon," and at least in my opinion, the work is "gaudy" (over saturated Photoshop colors). The most debatable part of the definition would be "low-brow," and the general thrust of most of the posts in the various "Lik threads" is that the images are not original, "merely" pretty. So "kitsch" seemed to me an appropriate descriptor.

I think the huge difference from the work on this forum is that when someone here posts a photograph of Antelope Canyon, or any of the Southwestern slot canyons, they aren't presenting it as high art, because they are usually aware of the hundreds (?) of similar images. They are posting it because they enjoyed the experience of making the image, and are pleased with the result. They are not mass-producing copies in various sizes and claiming them to be investment-grade art.

Incidentally, I am hoping to see the new movie "Big Eyes" when it is released, because it is about the woman who painted those portraits of children with huge eyes which were popular in the 1960s, and are now considered stereotypical "kitsch." The reviews say that the film explores the relationship between commerce and art, precisely what the Lik threads are dealing with.

hi peter

i know what the definition of kitch is ... i was going for the iconic-image sentimentality part of the definition. :)

i still see no difference ... other than the fact that people seem to have sour grapes about mr lik thinking their work is so much better and has
much more of an impact and they didn't sell out ...

i know i am generalizing and there are plenty of people who are happy just making photographs for themselves and their work
is beautiful ... but just the same ...
if mr lik's work is considered kitch than pretty much everyone else who is photographing similar subjects should be considered kitch as well
.. ( whether they are selling for hundreds of thousands / millions of dollars,
or mass quantities as posters or "high end" ink jet prints or hand made prints out of their home / studio )

( again, i mean no disrespect to people who work i have described )

i couldn't agree with john kasaian more ...

John Kasaian
26-Dec-2014, 10:00
I've been thinking about this thread quite a bit and about how humans embrace Art---what makes an illustrative image or object something you'd feel important or desirable enough to include in your life somehow. There is quite a paradox when an Artist or an Artistic style is promoted for whatever reason because to "elevate" one higher trivializes the others, and to trivialize Lik (or Kincaid, or Adams, or waifs with big eyes) effectually "elevates" everything else.
Not to diss critical discussion (in fact I enjoy reading what's going on here,) but this is a double edge sword---one "camp" in visual combat with another and like in Iron Chef--asking the question "whose Art will reign supreme?." Perhaps that's good for business. It certainly give students something to write papers about. But it doesn't express the desires which humanity addresses when moved to paint a bison on the wall of a cave, or clip an image out of last years calendar and have it framed, or enshrine an 8x10 Ektalure print of a grinning ancestor in a GI uniform atop the family piano (the enshrined photo, not the GI!)
I think in order to celebrate something as "Art" isn't dependent on the price tag as much as how humanity connects through it.
I could be wrong. But I don't think so.

John Kasaian
26-Dec-2014, 10:13
One more thought.
I enjoy landscapes. What gets me excited about a print of a landscape is the near instant realization that I want to be there.
This is accompanied by the sensations of, say hearing the wind blow though the trees or the smell of salt air (or perhaps wild mint) but mostly because I want to be there.
Maybe I've never actually been there but this feeling is best described as revisiting a memory. I'll go so far as to say a common memory shared with everyone else who enjoys that same landscape print.

baro-nite
26-Dec-2014, 10:34
I wouldn't call it a paradox. To the extent that we have a common culture, some artworks, styles, and particular qualities of art have more value, as art, than others. The culture declares one artwork a masterpiece, another one not. It is necessarily elitist. To the extent that each of us is independent of such a culture, it's all just a matter of taste and one's opinion matters only to oneself. I dare say we all fall somewhere between those two poles, but I am decidedly toward the elitist end of the scale. To deny the possibility that some art is superior is to undermine the whole enterprise.

Jac@stafford.net
26-Dec-2014, 11:23
[...] To deny the possibility that some art is superior is to undermine the whole enterprise.

If there were no bad art there would be no art at all.
.

Bernice Loui
26-Dec-2014, 11:47
Art, soul of a culture?
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/03/nazis-looted-modernist-masterpieces-germany-police

Nazi Approved Art?
http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/arts/ARTREICH.HTM


Another way to bring art to an audience, Pageant of the Masters:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cfBwnP81rY



Bernice

Kirk Gittings
26-Dec-2014, 11:53
I wouldn't call it a paradox. To the extent that we have a common culture, some artworks, styles, and particular qualities of art have more value, as art, than others. The culture declares one artwork a masterpiece, another one not. It is necessarily elitist. To the extent that each of us is independent of such a culture, it's all just a matter of taste and one's opinion matters only to oneself. I dare say we all fall somewhere between those two poles, but I am decidedly toward the elitist end of the scale. To deny the possibility that some art is superior is to undermine the whole enterprise.

and deny human nature.

Jac@stafford.net
26-Dec-2014, 12:40
The culture declares one artwork a masterpiece, another one not. It is necessarily elitist.

Necessarily elitist, undemocratic and capitalized. Value is determined by a more rarefied part of society extracting capital from the larger part. Then there are the elite of the elite in similar proportion. Pareto Principle (or rule) recursing in terms of generations comes to mind. Such process continues to whatever level society permits which ultimately becomes a huge disparity of value.

One part of creating value by this principle is to sell the art to as many as possible, and to do this there has to be a certain something that appeals to the market. The market likes a lot of stuff. The market makes another market of market-makers and the makers select work from the earlier value creators, and to survive the work has to be more remarkable than the rest, and the makers pare down the works/artists, creating remarkable via critiques, moving value to the greater elite AKA, the next market-makers.

Kirk Gittings
26-Dec-2014, 12:54
monetary value is just one form of value. Deciding something is good or bad art can be done without even entertaining what its dollar value might be.

John Kasaian
26-Dec-2014, 23:03
Art predates money, which why it doesn't jive that money can lend credibility to what is Art. It can be used to establish a monetary value as Kirk mentions, but Art essentially isn't about money but something far more elemental to the human experience. Yes, an education can lead to a greater appreciation of what exists within a work of Art as well as the making of Art, but that won't change what humanity finds appealing.
Renaissance works were brought up earlier. These are rich with symbolism not well known today (maybe even not even well known during the Renaissance) yet they still "spoke" to humanity and are still considered important because of that.
I recently finished reading The Brother Karamazov and I admit there were plenty of pages where I just didn't "get" what was going on---I'm sure a good professor would have enabled me to have a greater appreciation of the novel, but when I had finished it I still knew it was a great book and I had enjoyed it immensely in spite of the parts which I couldn't seem to fathom. I think good Art is kind of like that.

Jac@stafford.net
28-Dec-2014, 16:59
Art predates money, which why it doesn't jive that money can lend credibility to what is Art. It can be used to establish a monetary value as Kirk mentions, but Art essentially isn't about money but something far more elemental to the human experience .

Great sentiment but a political or social politic wish assertion.

In early civilization there was no "art" as we know it today. There was craftsmanship. Art as a thing hardened into social values did exist but only as an ineffective level. IOW, no matter the the people's aesthetic response, the artist's patron made qualitative and monetary judgement. If (a big if) the peoples' opinion mattered, then it only mattered to the degree to which it elevated the patron's power. Artist be damned.

Capital-A Art today is real only as a consequence of revolutionary liberties of expression being insinuated upon critics through the relatively new for-the-time. It is still about Capitalism. Look to Da Da for a milestone.

Jac@stafford.net
28-Dec-2014, 17:19
monetary value is just one form of value. Deciding something is good or bad art can be done without even entertaining what its dollar value might be.

True especially among similarly minded persons, likely a group I consider Artists Unconcerned of Convention - my peers, and perhaps yours as well.

John Kasaian
28-Dec-2014, 17:42
In early civilization there was no "art" as we know it today.
.
You were there, Jac?

Kirk Gittings
28-Dec-2014, 17:51
As I don't seriously collect or invest in art (mainly trade with friends), the price of art to me is little more than a curiosity. A recent exception was the William Clift exhibit at the NM Museum of Art where there were a number of prints I would love to "live" with but at 9K+ they were completely out of my price range. So I had to settle for the book which is also exquisite. A book (even a well done book) is a poor substitute for an original print but I guess helps one relive the experience of an original.