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Thread: ART and other things

  1. #1

    Cool ART and other things

    The folks who decide what print is accepted and what is not are a puzzle. My tastes tend to run to what Brooks Jensen publishes in Lenswork, and it appears many if not all the "Art" professors and the like do not have my tastes.
    A show I went to last weekend had a judge that was the head of a Univ Art dept, who chose some pretty weird stuff for the show, only maybe 10% of what I like, the rest pretty much gimmicky.
    Is my reaction common among LFers? I don't have a problem with people liking whatever they like, but this guy was bored by things that would be printed in Lenswork, calling such "cliches", where I would be impressed by the simple feeling produced by the images that Brooks chooses.
    Perhaps the choosing of judges is what I need to research??

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: ART and other things

    Some judges are just interested in quality (me), some are most interested in images that are pushing the boundaries. University professors are more often of the later group. IMO it doesn't mean much either way beyond one judges personal tastes. No one should put much emotional energy into being accepted or rejected into a juried event. Even if you get accepted in a few short months it means nothing more than a line on your resume.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

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    photobymike's Avatar
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    Re: ART and other things

    When i was a kid just beginning in photography, i went to a photo exhibit at a community college i went to. The herds of people were raving over photos of the artist's nude mother sitting in a dentist chair. Upon closer inspection of this guys "art" , he pasted macaroni on the pictures at just the right spots. While the photography was poor, and the display was juvenile, i never forgot this art show.... it was more like remembering trauma to my spirit. But it did settle me with a question that i have spent my whole life trying to figure out. What is art? and more specifically; photo art.

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  4. #4
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: ART and other things

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    Some judges are just interested in quality (me), some are most interested in images that are pushing the boundaries.
    There's also enormous subjectivity involved in what we deem "quality" or "pushing boundaries." Find ten curators or editors who claim to be interested in quality, for example, and you might find ten very different kinds of choices.

    I do think tastes run very conservative around here. That's not even the right word. I would call them outright anachronistic. My tastes (in photography) are probably conservative, and I get lambasted a lot and lumped with the evil and trendy in a lot of art discussions.

    This is all ok ... it's a big world, with room for many different kinds of tastes. It is not the duty of any artist or curator to please me. Or you. Artists should do what interests them. Curators should show art that they think is relevant, important, characteristic of what's happening now—or that fits whatever other criteria is determined by the vision of their institution.

    Commercial galleries are mostly obligated to show what sells ... but it's a hard business, so in general you'll find it only attracts people with a genuine passion for what they push. Here too, tastes run the whole imaginable range.

  5. #5
    Richard M. Coda
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    Re: ART and other things

    Don't get me started... I feel your pain.

    Most of what I see today (not here on LF) I would classify as "cliche". If I see one more series of photographs of tiny toys in out of focus "sets" I will puke, especially to push a political agenda. Same thing with "deadpan" portraits and images of things that really don't belong together or occur naturally (WHY is that brand new piano out there in the middle of a dirt road?) - sure it makes me think, for a millisecond, but then I give up trying because I live in the real world and have real responsibilities. Like I say... "nothing I would put on my wall, but something I might see in a magazine while I'm getting my hair cut."
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    Re: ART and other things

    Time is the great leveler. Many people making great art make no pretence about it, Gursky for example does not believe he is making art. Fine art appears to be a category reserved by photographers for pointless rubbish. I would say if you can get people to give you millions for your pointless rubbish you can call it whatever you like.

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: ART and other things

    Quote Originally Posted by mdm View Post
    Time is the great leveler. Many people making great art make no pretence about it, Gursky for example does not believe he is making art. Fine art appears to be a category reserved by photographers for pointless rubbish. I would say if you can get people to give you millions for your pointless rubbish you can call it whatever you like.
    In Gursky's case I find that statement humorous. Who? WHO! Is better at playing the art game than Gursky?
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #8
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: ART and other things

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard M. Coda View Post
    Don't get me started... I feel your pain.

    Most of what I see today (not here on LF) I would classify as "cliche". If I see one more series of photographs of tiny toys in out of focus "sets" I will puke...
    Fair enough, but I would likewise say the same thing about contemporary work that looks like Ansel Adams or Edward Weston or like a nature calendar.

    These are examples of showing things in as familiar a light as possible. There is no seeing, only reminding and reassurance ... the essence of kitsch. It's utterly divorced from the experience of seeing this kind of work (or making it) back when it was revolutionary and new.

  9. #9

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    Re: ART and other things

    Photography finally broke down the doors to the art world in the later part of the twentieth century, but with the acceptance--photography is now judged as part of the larger world of art. If you aren't aware of the current trends in art, you're likely to run into brick walls with some curators and gallerists. However, photography still exists as its own independent craft, and I think that's a good thing; photography shouldn't be reduced to just another choice of media by conceptual artists. Good work will usually find its place.

  10. #10
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: ART and other things

    Quote Originally Posted by BarryS View Post
    Photography finally broke down the doors to the art world in the later part of the twentieth century, but with the acceptance--photography is now judged as part of the larger world of art
    I think that's a good way of understanding it. I also think it's a good thing in general. It would be lousy if the "larger world of art" were something homogenous and closed, but this isn't the case. The effect on photography of these barriers dropping has been expansive, not reductive. Photograph's horizons and possibilities are broader by a lot than they've ever been.

    Now, I understand how it can seem like this isn't so. The work that's gotten the most attention in the last couple of decades has often looked surprisingly narrow and predictable. And if your explorations into what's going on stop after a glance or two, you might not see anything else. But there's a lot going on.

    In my own luddite opinion, we live in an interesting time more because of the possibilities hinted at than for the work itself. I don't find a whole lot of new work that excites me, and I get bored easily while looking for it. So it becomes a self fulfilling profecy … you stop looking, you stop finding. Not the best state of affairs, and I have take some responsibility for it.

    I'm also distracted by what's going on in some other art media. Music and literature especially. It's hard to worry about what I'll find (or not) at the armory show this weekend when I'm listening to the new Radiohead album for the 12th time.

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