Essay – The evolution of decorative art


The evolution of decorative art

ESSAY

04-Essay - The evolution of decorative art

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The evolution of decorative art : an essay upon its origin and development as illustrated by the art of modern races of mankind (1893)

By Balfour Henry

 

PREFACE

In presenting this short and, as I am well aware, imperfect essay to the public, I feel that it is necessary  to say a few words in justification of my action.  Although, for a proper comprehension of the growth  of Art, it is necessary that its evolution should be  studied from its very simplest beginning, this aspect  of the subject has hardly been touched upon by  writers of so-called * Histories of Art.’ In these,  frequently very excellent works, the history of art is  traced back perhaps to Assyrian and Ancient Egyptian civilisations, and a few writers dwell briefly upon the  characteristics of modern Savage Art. Few of them,  however, offer any study of the Art of the more  primitive of the living races of mankind, with a view  to explaining, by a process of reasoning from the  known to the unknown, the first efforts of Primaeval  Man to produce objects which should be pleasing to  the eye, and gratify his growing aesthetic feelings.

The Art of Design must, we know, have had a continuous history, and have grown up gradually  from simple beginnings, at first by easy stages,  involving but slight intellectual efforts, steadily  progressing until it has become an essential element  in our surroundings, absorbing a vast amount of  complex reasoning, the result of the accumulation  and combination of simple ideas, which are the outcome of experience during countless ages.

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Exoticism in the Decorative Arts


Exoticism in the Decorative Arts

 03-Exoticism in the Decorative Arts

[ Source Info:  http://www.metmuseum.org  ]

 

 

European interest in non-Western art was first stimulated by trade with the East in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (17.190.2045). By the nineteenth century, with the advent of the railroad and steamship, lands that were little known to Westerners became easier to access. As more Europeans traveled beyond the established routes of the Grand Tour, their experiences abroad began to influence their tastes at home. Other influences were a result of England’s massive imperial control over lands in China, India, Africa, and the Pacific. By mid-century, many non-Western forms and ornamental motifs had found their way into the vocabulary of European decorative arts.

“Like Orientalist subjects in nineteenth-century painting, exoticism in the decorative arts and interior decoration was associated with fantasies of opulence and “barbaric splendour,”

 

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http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/exot/hd_exot.htm

 

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Defining Decorative Arts


Defining Decorative Arts

 01-Defining Decorative Arts

[ Source Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decorative_arts   ]

 

 

The decorative arts is traditionally a term for the design and manufacture of functional objects. It includes interior design, but not usually architecture. The decorative arts are often categorized in opposition to the “fine arts”, namely, painting, drawing, photography, and large-scale sculpture, which generally have no function other than to be seen.

The distinction between decorative and fine arts has essentially risen from the post-Renaissance art of the West, where it is for the most part meaningful. It is much less so when applied to the art of other cultures and periods, where the most highly-regarded works often include those in “decorative” media, or all works are in such media. For example, Islamic art in many periods and places consists entirely of the decorative arts, as does the art of many traditional cultures, and in Chinese art the distinction is less useful than in Europe. Even in Europe, the distinction is unhelpful for Early Medieval art, where although “fine arts” such as manuscript illumination and monumental sculpture existed, the most prestigious works, commissioned from the best artists, tended to be in goldsmith work, cast metals such as bronze or other techniques such as ivory carving. Large-scale wall-paintings were apparently much less regarded, relatively crudely executed, and rarely mentioned in contemporary sources; they were probably seen as a cheap but inferior substitute for mosaic, which in this period must be treated as a fine art, though in recent centuries contemporary production has tended to be seen as decorative. The term “ars sacra” (“sacred arts”) is sometimes used for medieval Christian art in metal, ivory, textiles and other high-value materials from this period, though this does not cover the even rarer survivals of secular works.

Modern understanding of the art of many cultures tends to be distorted by the modern privileging of fine art media over others, as well as the very different survival rates of works in different media. Works in metal, above all in precious metals, are liable to be “recycled” as soon as they fall from fashion, and were often used by owners as repositories of wealth, to be melted down when extra money was needed. Illuminated manuscripts have a much higher survival rate, especially in the hands of the church, as there was little value in the materials and they were easy to store.

The promotion of the fine arts over the decorative in European thought can largely be traced to the Renaissance, when Italian theorists such as Vasari promoted artistic values, exemplified by the artists of the High Renaissance, that placed little value on the cost of materials or the amount of skilled work required to produce a work, but instead valued artistic imagination and the individual touch of the hand of a supremely gifted master such as Michelangelo, Raphael or Leonardo da Vinci, reviving to some extent the approach of antiquity. Most European art during the Middle Ages had been produced under a very different set of values, where both expensive materials and virtuoso displays in difficult techniques had been highly valued. In China both approaches had co-existed for many centuries: ink and wash painting, mostly of landscapes, was to a large extent produced by and for the scholar-bureaucrats or “literati”, and was intended as an expression of the artist’s imagination above all, while other major fields of art, including the very important Chinese ceramics produced in effectively industrial conditions, were produced according to a completely different set of artistic values.

The lower status given to works of decorative art in contrast to fine art narrowed with the rise of the Arts and Crafts movement. This aesthetic movement of the second half of the 19th century was born in England and inspired by William Morris and John Ruskin. The movement represented the beginning of a greater appreciation of the decorative arts throughout Europe. The appeal of the Arts and Crafts Movement to a new generation led, in 1882, to the English architect and designer Arthur H. Mackmurdo organizing the Century Guild for craftsmen, which championed the idea that there was no meaningful difference between the fine and decorative arts. Many converts, both from professional artists’ ranks and from among the intellectual class as a whole, helped spread the ideas of the movement. The influence of the Arts and Crafts Moovement led to the decorative arts being given a greater appreciation and status in society and this was soon reflected by changes in the law. Until the enactment of the Copyright Act 1911 only works of fine art had been protected from unauthorised copying. The 1911 Act extended the definition of an “artistic work” to include works of “artistic craftsmanship”. For the first time works of decorative art could be classfied as works of art rather than design and benefit from the full period of copyright protection previously available only to works of fine art.

 

 

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Revival of Design and Handicraft


Revival of Design and Handicraft

 

 04-Revival of Design and Handicraft

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THE REVIVAL OF DESIGN AND HANDICRAFT

WITH NOTES ON THE WORK OF THE ARTS AND CRAFTS EXHIBITION SOCIETY

 by Walter Crane

The decorative artist and the handicraftsman have hitherto had but little opportunity of displaying their work in the public eye, or rather of appealing to it upon strictly artistic grounds in the same sense as the pictorial artist; and it is a somewhat singular state of things that at a time when the Arts are perhaps more looked after, and certainly more talked about, than they have ever been before, and the beautifying of houses, to those to whom it is possible, has become in some cases almost a religion, so little is known of the actual designer and maker (as distinct from the proprietary manufacturer or middleman) of those familiar things which contribute so much to the comfort and refinement of life — of our chairs and cabinets, our chintzes and wall-papers, our lamps and pitchers — the Lares and Penates of our households, which with the touch of time and association often come to be regarded with so peculiar an affection.

Nor is this condition of affairs in regard to applied Art without an explanation, since it is undeniable that under the modern industrial system that personal element, which is so important in all forms of Art, has been thrust farther and farther into the background, until the production of what are called ornamental objects, and the supply of ornamental additions generally, instead of growing out of organic necessities, have become, under a misapplication of machinery, driven by the keen competition of trade, purely commercial affairs — questions of the supply and demand of the market artificially stimulated and controlled by the arts of the advertiser and the salesman bidding against each other for the favour of a capricious and passing fashion, which too often takes the place of a real love of Art in our days.

Of late years, however, a kind of revival has been going on, as a protest against the conviction that, with all our modern mechanical achievements, comforts, and luxuries, life is growing “uglier every day,” as Mr. Morris puts it. Even our painters are driven to rely rather on the accidental beauty which, like a struggling ray through a London fog, sometimes illumes and transfigures the sordid commonplace or everyday life. We cannot, however, live on sensational effects without impairing our sense of form and balance — of beauty, in short. We cannot concentrate our attention on pictorial and graphic art, and come to regard it as the one form worth pursuing, without losing our sense of construction and power of adaptation in design to all kinds of very different materials and purposes — that sense of relation — that architectonic sense which built up the great monuments of the past.

The true root and basis of all Art lies in the handicrafts. If there is no room or chance of recognition for really artistic power and feeling in design and craftsmanship — if Art is not recognised in the humblest object and material, and felt to be as valuable in its own way as the more highly rewarded pictorial skill — the arts cannot be in a sound condition; and if artists cease to be found among the crafts there is great danger that they will vanish from the arts also, and become manufacturers and salesmen instead.

It was with the object of giving some visible expression to these views that the Exhibitions of the Arts and Crafts Society were organised.

As was to be expected, many difficulties had to be encountered. In the endeavour to assign due credit to the responsible designer and workman, it was found sometimes difficult to do so amid the very numerous artificers (in some cases) who under our industrial conditions contribute to the production of a work.

It will readily be understood that the organisation of exhibitions of this character, and with such objects as have been stated, is a far less simple matter than an ordinary picture exhibition. Instead of having an array of artists whose names and addresses are in every catalogue, our constituency, as it were, outside the personal knowledge of the Committee, had to be discovered. Under the designation of So-and-so and Co. many a skilful designer and craftsman may be concealed; and individual and independent artists in design and handicraft are as yet few and far between.

However, in the belief, as elsewhere expressed, that it is little good nourishing the tree at the head if it is dying at the root, and that, living or dying, the desirability of an accurate diagnosis while there is any doubt of our artistic health will at once be admitted, the Society determined to try the experimentand so opened their first Exhibition.

The reception given to it having so far justified our plea for the due recognition of the arts and crafts of design, and our belief in their fundamental importance — the amount of public interest and support accorded to the Exhibition having, in fact, far exceeded our anticipations, it was determined to hold a second on the same lines, and to endeavour to carry out, with more completeness than was at first found possible, those principles of work, ideas, and aims in art for which we contended, and to make the Exhibition a rallying point, as it were, for all sympathetic workers.

Regarding design as a species of language capable of very varied expression through the medium of different methods and materials, it naturally follows that there is all the difference in the world between one treatment and another, both of design and material; and moreover, every material has its own proper capacity and appropriate range of expression, so that it becomes the business of the sympathetic workman to discover this and give it due expansion.

For the absence of this discriminating sense no amount of mechanical smoothness or imitative skill can compensate; and it is obvious that any attempt to imitate or render the qualities peculiar to one material in another leads the workman on a false track.

Now, we have only to consider how much of the work commonly produced, which comes under the head of what is called “industrial art,” depends upon this very false quality of imitation (whether as to design or material) to show how far we have departed in the ordinary processes of manufacture and standards of trade from primitive and true artistic instincts. The demand, artificially stimulated, is less for thought or beauty than for novelty, and all sorts of mechanical invention are applied, chiefly with the view of increasing the rate of production and diminishing its cost, regardless of the fact that anything in the nature of bad or false art is dear at any price.

Plain materials and surfaces are infinitely preferable to inorganic and inappropriate ornament; yet there is not the simplest article of common use made by the hand of man that is not capable of receiving some touch of art — whether it lies in the planning and proportions, or in the final decorative adornment; whether in the work of the smith, the carpenter, the carver, the weaver, or the potter, and the other indispensable crafts.

With the organisation of industry on the grand scale, and the enormous application of machinery in the interests of competitive production for profit, when both art and industry are forced to make their appeal to the unreal and impersonal average, rather than to the real and personal you and me, it is not wonderful that beauty should have become divorced from use, and that attempts to concede its demands, and the desire for it, should too often mean the ill-considered bedizenment of meaningless and unrelated ornament.

The very producer, the designer, and craftsman, too, has been lost sight of, and his personality submerged in that of a business firm, so that we have reached the reductio ad absurdum of an impersonal artist or craftsman trying to produce things of beauty for an impersonal and unknown public — a purely conjectural matter from first to last.

Under such conditions it is hardly surprising that the arts of design should have declined, and that the idea of art should have become limited to pictorial work (where, at least, the artist may be known, in some relation to his public, and comparatively free).

Partly as a protest against this state of things, and partly to concentrate the awakened feeling for beauty in the accessories of life, the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society commenced their work.

The movement, however, towards a revival of design and handicraft, the effort to unite — or rather to re-unite — the artist and the craftsman, so sundered by the industrial conditions of our century, has been growing and gathering force for some time past. It reflects in art the intellectual movement of inquiry into fundamental principles and necessities, and is a practical expression of the philosophy of the conditioned. It is true it has many different sides and manifestations, and is under many different influences and impelled by different aims. With some the question is closely connected with the commercial prosperity of England, and her prowess in the competitive race for wealth; with others it is enough if the social well-being and happiness of her people is advanced, and that the touch of art should lighten the toil of joyless lives. The movement, indeed, represents in some sense a revolt against the hard mechanical conventional life and its insensibility to beauty (quite another thing to ornament). It is a protest against that so-called industrial progress which produces shoddy wares, the cheapness of which is paid for by the lives of their producers and the degradation of their users. It is a protest against the turning of men into machines, against artificial distinctions in art, and against making the immediate market value, or possibility of profit, the chief test of artistic merit. It also advances the claim of all and each to the common possession of beauty in things common and familiar, and would awaken the sense of this beauty, deadened and depressed as it now too often is, either on the one hand by luxurious superfluities, or on the other by the absence of the commonest necessities and the gnawing anxiety for the means of livelihood; not to speak of the everyday uglinesses to which we have accustomed our eyes, confused by the flood of false taste, or darkened by the hurried life of modern towns in which huge aggregations of humanity exist, equally removed from both art and nature and their kindly and refining influences.

It asserts, moreover, the value of the practice of handicraft as a good training for the faculties, and as a most valuable counteraction to that overstraining of purely mental effort under the fierce competitive conditions of the day; apart from the very wholesome and real pleasure in the fashioning of a thing with claims to art and beauty, the struggle with and triumph over the stubborn technical necessities which refuse to be gainsaid. And, finally, thus claiming for man this primitive and common delight in common things made beautiful, it makes, through art, the great socialiser for a common and kindred life, for sympathetic and helpful fellowship, and demands conditions under which your artist and craftsman shall be free.

“See how great a matter a little fire kindleth.” Some may think this is an extensive programme — a remote ideal for a purely artistic movement to touch. Yet if the revival of art and handicraft is not a mere theatric and imitative impulse; if it is not merely to gratify a passing whim of fashion, or demand of commerce; if it has reality and roots of its own; if it is not merely a delicate luxury — a little glow of colour at the end of a sombre day — it can hardly mean less than what I have written. It must mean either the sunset or the dawn.

The success which had hitherto attended the efforts of our Society, the sympathy and response elicited by the claims which had been advanced by us on behalf of the Arts and Crafts of Design, and (despite difficulties and imperfections) I think it may be said the character of our exhibitions, and last, but not least, the public interest and support, manifested in various ways, and from different parts of the country, went far to prove both their necessity and importance.

We were therefore encouraged to open a third Exhibition in the autumn of 1890. In this last it was the Society’s object to make in it leading features of two crafts in which good design and handicraft are of the utmost importance, namely, Furniture and Embroidery; and endeavours were made to get together good examples of each.

It may be noted that while some well-known firms, who had hitherto held aloof, now exhibited with us, the old difficulty about the names of the responsible executants continued; but while some evaded the question, others were models of exactitude in this respect, proving that in this as in other questions where there is a will there is a way.

The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, while at first, of necessity, depending on the work of a comparatively limited circle, had no wish to be narrower than the recognition of certain fundamental principles in design will allow, and, indeed, desired but to receive and to show the best after its kind in contemporary design and handicraft. Judgment is not always infallible, and the best is not always forthcoming, and in a mixed exhibition it is difficult to maintain an unvarying standard. At present, indeed, an exhibition may be said to be but a necessary evil; but it is the only means of obtaining a standard, and giving publicity to the works of Designer and Craftsman; but it must be more or less of a compromise, and of course no more can be done than to make an exhibition of contemporary work representative of current ideas and skill, since it is impossible to get outside our own time.

In some quarters it appears to have been supposed that our Exhibitions are intended to appeal, by the exhibition or cheap and saleable articles, to what are rudely termed “the masses”; we appeal to all certainly, but it should be remembered that cheapness in art and handicraft is well-nigh impossible, save in some forms of more or less mechanical reproduction. In fact, cheapness as a rule, in the sense of low-priced production, can only be obtained at the cost of cheapness — that is, the cheapening of human life and labour; surely, in reality, a most wasteful and extravagant cheapness! It is difficult to see how, under present economic conditions, it can be otherwise. Art is, in its true sense, after all, the crown and flowering of life and labour, and we cannot reasonably expect to gain that crown except at the true value of the human life and labour of which it is the result.

Of course there is the difference of cost between materials to be taken into account: a table may be of oak or of deal; a cloth may be of silk or of linen; but the labour, skill, taste, intelligence, thought, and fancy, which give the sense of art to the work, are much the same, and, being bound up with human lives, need the means of life in its completion for their proper sustenance.

At all events, I think it may be said that the principle of the essential unity and interdependence of the arts has been again asserted — the brotherhood of designer and craftsman; that goes for something, with whatever imperfections or disadvantages its acknowledgment have been obscured.

In putting this principle before the public, the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society has availed itself from the first of both lecture and essay, as well as the display of examples. Lectures and demonstrations were given during the progress of the Exhibitions, and essays written by well-known workers in the crafts of which they treated have accompanied the catalogues. These papers have now been collected together, and revised by their authors, and appear in book form under the editorship of Mr. William Morris, whose name has been practically associated with the revival of beauty in the arts and crafts of design in many ways before our Society came into existence, and who with his co-workers may be said to have been the pioneer of our English Renascence, which it is our earnest desire to foster and perpetuate.

Every movement which has any substance and vitality must expect to encounter misrepresentation, and even abuse, as well as sympathy and support. In its work, so far, the Society to which I have the honour to belong has had its share of both, perhaps.

Those pledged to the support of existing conditions, whether in art or social life, are always sensitive to attacks upon their weak points, and it is not possible to avoid touching them to any man who ventures to look an inch or two beyond the immediate present. But the hostility of some is as much a mark of vitality and progress as the sympathy of others. The sun strikes hottest as the traveller climbs the hill; and we must be content to leave the value of our work to the unfailing test of time.

 

©WALTER CRANE

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About Crafts


About Crafts

03-About Crafts

[ Source Info: http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=36295   ]

 

 

Craft

 

Art (ärt)n. · Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.· The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.

 

Craft (kr ft)n.

 

· Skill in doing or making something, as in the arts; proficiency.

 

· To make by hand.

 

· To make or construct (something) in a manner suggesting great care or ingenuity.

 

Craft, the word has been with man for ages. There are unique mysteries in life that are usually provoking the true nature of reality, as us humans become aware of it. The genealogy of a man is equal to the idea that the term “craft” has evolved so beyond the understanding of the human mind. A skill in the form of an advanced, detailed, or progressive (movement) in the ability to perform with great skill in one view of behavioral science cannot be determined by meaning alone. It is a difficult word to be defined.

 

The term craft I would mainly determine to be defined as the assemblage of objects that has some sort of interconnection to art, but it depends on the complexity of what is being built. After doing the many projects in class I have many different views on how craft is defined. A good example that would sort of involves both, primitive art and art deco in a small sense. Some of the African statues that are carved would have some geometric designs, (which relates to the way in which the style of art deco slightly falls in) is that would sometimes mean something in its own way. A person who could be making it for any kind of reason would usually make these sculptures by hand. Using his or her tools to be cutting into the material so that they can successfully make something with such craftsmanship, worth looking at. That is craft. Something like a fireplace with a few different color tiles that make a minor design, I deeply hesitate to call art or craft because of the fact that it seems to be so simple and isn’t really hand crafted completely. That is just one example of art deco. When you look at the way some of the different buildings interior is made, in terms of the sculptures, paintings and furniture you may have a completely different view in what you think in your mind. Whatever technique they use to build the items with the different combination of colors etc. makes the final product look alluring to the eye. But with a mind creative enough it can done by anyone. Which makes me conclude my own opinion that art deco is not a craft that requires much skill.

 

Whether it is a plaster plate, a personal icon made of a cardboard tube, beading, or maybe even a mosaic pot. Art is to me the end result of an individual or a groups crafting. There are some numerous different ways of making crafts, and what we have covered in class is not a fraction of a percent of the contrasting types that is out there. Some people can have a tendency to take it more to heart then others, as well as get inspired from various kinds of things. Although some of the contrasting styles are old and ancient, the different styles are used across the world everywhere by the diverse artists that have a great competence in those areas. To people who have not yet fully explored the fundamentals of craft would not see most of the complexity that has to do with it. So they are not able to express their feelings and emotions through their work in what ever they may be making.

 

 

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Classificatory disputes about art


Classificatory disputes about art

 

05-Classificatory disputes about art

 

[Source Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classificatory_disputes_about_art   ]

 

 

Art historians and philosophers of art have long had classificatory disputes about art regarding whether a particular cultural form or piece of work should be classified as art. Disputes about what does and does not count as art continue to occur today.

 

Defining art can be difficult. Aestheticians and art philosophers often engage in disputes about how to define art. By its original and broadest definition, art (from the Latin ars, meaning “skill” or “craft”) is the product or process of the effective application of a body of knowledge, most often using a set of skills; this meaning is preserved in such phrases as “liberal arts” and “martial arts”. However, in the modern use of the word, which rose to prominence after 1750, “art” is commonly understood to be skill used to produce an aesthetic result (Hatcher, 1999).

Britannica Online defines it as “the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others”.But how best to define the term “art” today is a subject of much contention; many books and journal articles have been published arguing over even the basics of what we mean by the term “art” (Davies, 1991 and Carroll, 2000). Theodor Adorno claimed in 1969 “It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident anymore.” It is not clear who has the right to define art. Artists, philosophers, anthropologists, and psychologists all use the notion of art in their respective fields, and give it operational definitions that are not very similar to each other’s.

The second, more narrow, more recent sense of the word “art” is roughly as an abbreviation for creative art or “fine art.” Here we mean that skill is being used to express the artist’s creativity, or to engage the audience’s aesthetic sensibilities. Often, if the skill is being used to create objects with a practical use, rather than paintings or sculpture with no practical function other than as an artwork, it will be considered it as falling under classifications such as the decorative arts, applied art and craft rather than fine art. Likewise, if the skill is being used in a commercial or industrial way, it will be considered design instead of art. Some thinkers have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with value judgments made about the art than any clear definitional difference (Novitz, 1992). The modern distinction does not work well for older periods, such as medieval art, where the most highly regarded art media at the time were often metalwork, engraved gems, textiles and other “applied arts”, and the perceived value of artworks often reflected the cost of the materials and sheer amount of time spent creating the work at least as much as the creative input of the artist.

 

Theories of art classification

 

The traditional Western classifications since the Renaissance have been variants of the hierarchy of genres based on the degree to which the work displays the imaginative input of the artist, using artistic theory that goes back to the ancient world. Such thinking received something of a boost with the aesthetics of Romanticism. A similar theoretical framework applied in traditional Chinese art; for example in both the Western and Far Eastern traditions of landscape painting (see literati painting), imaginary landscapes were accorded a higher status than realistic depictions of an actual landscape view – in the West relegated to “topographical views”.

Many have argued that it is a mistake to even try to define art or beauty, that they have no essence, and so can have no definition. Often, it is said that art is a cluster of related concepts rather than a single concept. Examples of this approach include Morris Weitz and Berys Gaut.

 

Another approach is to say that “art” is basically a sociological category, that whatever art schools and museums, and artists get away with is considered art regardless of formal definitions. This institutional theory of art has been championed by George Dickie. Most people did not consider a store-bought urinal or a sculptural depiction of a Brillo Box to be art until Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol (respectively) placed them in the context of art (i.e., the art gallery), which then provided the association of these objects with the values that define art.

Proceduralists often suggest that it is the process by which a work of art is created or viewed that makes it, art, not any inherent feature of an object, or how well received it is by the institutions of the art world after its introduction to society at large. For John Dewey, for instance, if the writer intended a piece to be a poem, it is one whether other poets acknowledge it or not. Whereas if exactly the same set of words was written by a journalist, intending them as shorthand notes to help him write a longer article later, these would not be a poem.

Leo Tolstoy, on the other hand, claims that what makes something art or not is how it is experienced by its audience, not by the intention of its creator.

Functionalists, like Monroe Beardsley argue that whether a piece counts as art depends on what function it plays in a particular context. For instance, the same Greek vase may play a non-artistic function in one context (carrying wine), and an artistic function in another context (helping us to appreciate the beauty of the human figure).

 

Disputes about classifying art

 

Philosopher David Novitz has argued that disagreements about the definition of art are rarely the heart of the problem, rather that “the passionate concerns and interests that humans vest in their social life” are “so much a part of all classificatory disputes about art” (Novitz, 1996). According to Novitz, classificatory disputes are more often disputes about our values and where we are trying to go with our society than they are about theory proper. For example, when the Daily Mail criticized Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin’s work by arguing “For 1,000 years art has been one of our great civilising forces. Today, pickled sheep and soiled beds threaten to make barbarians of us all” they are not advancing a definition or theory about art, but questioning the value of Hirst’s and Emin’s work.

On the other hand, Thierry de Duve[3] argues that disputes about the definition of art are a necessary consequence of Marcel Duchamp’s presentation of a readymade as a work of art. In his 1996 book Kant After Duchamp he reinterprets Kant’s Critique of Judgement exchanging the phrase “this is beautiful” with “this is art”, using Kantian aesthetics to address post-Duchampian art.

In the late 19th century, photography and cinema were both considered not to be art, and prominent critics argued that early cubist paintings were not art.

 

Conceptual art

 

The work of the French artist Marcel Duchamp from the 1910s and 1920s paved the way for the conceptualists, providing them with examples of prototypically conceptual works (the readymades, for instance) that defied previous categorisations. Conceptual art emerged as a movement during the 1960s. The first wave of the “conceptual art” movement extended from approximately 1967 to 1978. Early “concept” artists like Henry Flynt, Robert Morris and Ray Johnson influenced the later, widely-accepted movement of conceptual artists like Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, and Douglas Huebler.

More recently, the “Young British Artists” (YBAs), led by Damien Hirst, came to prominence in the 1990s and their work is seen as conceptual, even though it relies very heavily on the art object to make its impact. The term is used in relation to them on the basis that the object is not the artwork, or is often a found object, which has not needed artistic skill in its production. Tracey Emin is seen as a leading YBA and a conceptual artist, even though she has denied that she is and has emphasised personal emotional expression.

 

 

 

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