Help support TMP


"This is why I hate Art History" Topic


21 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Art Plus Board



925 hits since 8 Sep 2013
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2013 1:21 p.m. PST

New Van Gogh has been recognised. Previous owner kept it stashed in the loft, because it was previously judged to have been a fake or a copy of the style of Van Gogh – and so uninteresting and not valuable. Now it's a been decided that in fact it is genuine – so it's suddenly a much better and more interesting painting.

link

altfritz09 Sep 2013 1:30 p.m. PST

Yes – its 90% BS!

galvinm Inactive Member09 Sep 2013 1:46 p.m. PST

Eye of the beholder.

What some think of as art, I think of as trash.

And vice versa….

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2013 3:19 p.m. PST

I think authorship has some degree of puissance. After all, it's not just the painting itself, but its place in the entire body of work that has meaning. I learned about this from a kick-ass Humanities teacher. We looked at the entire run of Piet Mondriaan's work (that was in) the Gementemuseum in the Hague. Never had an appreciation of the Partridge Family bus until then; it actually does make sense in context.

If we didn't have some sense of this, recasting would simply be an intellectual property crime. I think most of us have some sense of it being "lame" as well. I bet many here also have the idea that simply mimicking someone else's figure design is also lame and lessens the value of the figure, independent of the quality of the product.

I think you are hinting at something I call the "innocent experience" of art. That is, the experience of a piece of art in the complete absence of context about the movement, author, history, etc. The value of the piece is simply the value of the piece as it exists. I'm a big fan of this type of experience, and frequently take crap from others because I have chosen not to study up on a new (to me) subject matter before experiencing it. The innocent experience of art is limited.

Also, yes, there are a lot of phonies in the art world. In the technology world, too. And finance. And …

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2013 3:49 p.m. PST

You never find a mint Maus in the attic…

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2013 4:03 p.m. PST

I think you are hinting at something I call the "innocent experience" of art. That is, the experience of a piece of art in the complete absence of context about the movement, author, history, etc.

That is the main point exactly – I do understand the authorship argument, and that it gains some intellectual value if it can be demonstrated to sit within an acknowledged master's oeuvre. It can then be appreciated in the context of the artist's development. However I find this very hard to reconcile with the concept that yesterday this painting was an unimportant piece hardly worth hanging onto, and today it's a masterpiece to fawn over and admire the incredible ability of the artist who has communicated through their brush strokes something elusive pertaining to the very nature of the world. My main problem with the fawning being that yesterday it was crap – at best an intellectually empty copy of another's style.

If it is solely the authenticity of the signature on the bottom that makes it wonderful, then there is something wrong with the system of appraisal.

I feel the same when a painting is demoted – yesterday it illuminated the soul of man, today it's just some cheap knock-off by a second rate hack. Err ? What ?

altfritz09 Sep 2013 5:32 p.m. PST

I recall Dali was once offered a lot of money to sign some blank canvases, which he was all to happy to do but the authorities put a stop to it for some reason

Space Monkey09 Sep 2013 10:00 p.m. PST

I used to be much more skeptical about these things until I took a great art history class while chasing my MFA.
There is a lot of BS in the art world… a lot of celebrity worship and just plain junk. My teacher was quick to call out someone like Jeff Coons as being suspect despite his acclaim.
But there is also real history, reflections of the time and place and thoughts of people who were there.
I never really appreciated Pollock or Warhol until I understood more about the things that were going on around them and how their art commented on that environment.

Ascertaining that it is really a Van Gogh is less about its individual qualities as a painting and more about how it slots in as part of a bigger story.
Otherwise it's a bit like saying, "So what if this is the gun that shot Lincoln, up until I knew that it was just an old gun… so why make a big deal about it?"

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2013 12:49 a.m. PST

So what if this is the gun that shot Lincoln, up until I knew that it was just an old gun… so why make a big deal about it?"

That's a mildly interesting historical fact – but Lincoln would have been just as dead if the gun before or the gun after on the production line had been used. There is nothing really magical about that particular gun. It's attraction would be as a curiosity – "wow the actual one". It doesn't, of itself, tell me much about the assasination.

As usual I've been sloppy with my initial condemnation – I am interested in history, I can understand how a complete series of paintings illustrate the artists mind – it's the hero worship part of it that seems to be BS. This painting had been dismissed as unimportant – now it's a masterpiece. Instead of dismissing it initially shouldn't the real artists have been attributed, and his/her story told ? Perhaps they deserved to be admitted into the pantheon of demi-gods?

This painting will now increase in value considerably – because it has the right name on it. This is little better than high prices for Magic the gathering ultra-rare cards. In some ways it is worse – this painting is just as rare today as it was yesterday, when it wasn't so very valuable.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2013 4:03 a.m. PST

By a sublime coincidence I have jsut reached, in my present enthralled reading of John Mortimer's "Rumpole" stories, "Rumpole and the genuine article" which nicely encapsulates my feelings on attribution and quality.

Space Monkey10 Sep 2013 9:24 a.m. PST

Oh sure, if you want to approach life in a completely rational way… no sentimentality whatsoever… then one gun is the same as another and any painting/song/book is left to stand only on its own merits, if you can enjoy them at all, being so ultra-rational.
That sounds kind of mechanistic and dead to me.
Value is an objective thing and isn't all or nothing. It's not 'hero worship' if I just happen to like Van Gogh's work and am interested to see a new discovery. Doesn't mean I think the guy walks on water or that I'd pay the huge price it's going to generate at auction.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2013 10:14 a.m. PST

That sounds kind of mechanistic and dead to me.

I'm neither dead nor an android – but thanks for your concern wink

XRaysVision10 Sep 2013 11:21 a.m. PST

Art is a form of communication and the intrinsic value of art is found in the creativity of the expression. Thus a copy in not as "valuable" as the original.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2013 12:29 p.m. PST

Yes – but this was an original and not a copy. It's the same object.

Space Monkey10 Sep 2013 12:39 p.m. PST

Part of the value is in the artwork's story… it's creator, what he was thinking, when he lived. Without a known author those elements are lost. It might still be a great painting… but it's lessened by not having that larger story. If that larger story is connected to an interesting character like Van Gogh, all the more value… to people who value such things.
Saying it's all nonsense is just ignorance, even if it's not your own source of pleasure.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2013 1:03 p.m. PST

Hmm….so Roman statues are less valuable than Greek statues not because the Greek's had a better technique (which was my understanding) but because the unknown Romans sculptors have a less interesting story than the unknown Greek sculptors ?

That doesn't seem believable.

Thanks for pointing out my ignorance though.

Dan Cyr10 Sep 2013 1:11 p.m. PST

Watch the play, "Art". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/'Art'

Lays it all out and is quite enjoyable.

Dan

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Sep 2013 2:16 p.m. PST

I feel the same when a painting is demoted yesterday it illuminated the soul of man, today it's just some cheap knock-off by a second rate hack. Err ? What ?

I think there has to be a balance between the value of the artwork as it stands alone, and the value of the artwork in the context of a specific body of work.

I agree in the art market there is disproportionate value given to one side. And it is very hypocritical to say that the intrinsic value of the work is changed when the contextual value is changed. The use of line, space, color, symbolism, etc. do not change.

The ironic thing is that by saying that the value of the work changes so much by being authenticated, you are saying that that the sum of all intrinsic values is low. Transitively, you are devaluing the artist you revere; you are saying that the inherent nature of the work doesn't have value out of context.

I would bet that there are works of art by great artists that are actually like that. Not every iota of effort by every artist is a world-changing artistic triumph. The painting in question, however, is a killer.

Still, I have a hard time blaming art history or art criticism for what the art market does. Or what the phonies do. After all, this isn't even the art community doing the flip-flop. It wasn't even a collector. It was a guy who inherited a "masterwork" without a pedigree and believed a random opinion about it. Would have made a great Antiques Roadshow episode, though … "Uuuuuuh … er … um, no. No! It's just trash. But I kinda like it for some odd reason. It might look good in my bathroom. I'll take it off your hands for twenty bucks."

Space Monkey10 Sep 2013 5:03 p.m. PST

Hmm….so Roman statues are less valuable than Greek statues not because the Greek's had a better technique (which was my understanding) but because the unknown Romans sculptors have a less interesting story than the unknown Greek sculptors ?
I know nothing about the perceived value of ancient statuary. I'm guessing that the motivations of buyers there are different than collectors of contemporary art… but I'd suppose such collectors would be more interested in authentic Greek/Roman sculptures than modern ones done in similar techniques. They'd prefer the ones that are really old… have some sort of implied history to them.
Maybe not.
Thanks for pointing out my ignorance though.
Why take things so personally?

And it is very hypocritical to say that the intrinsic value of the work is changed when the contextual value is changed. The use of line, space, color, symbolism, etc. do not change.
I'm not clear on your use of the word 'hypocritical' there. Most art collectors I know value the painting on its own terms AS WELL AS any information they have about the artist and his other works. A piece of art is not made in a vacuum. Even if they're just collecting art by talented locals, collectors will generally be able to tell you a bit about each piece and the person who made it. It's part of the enjoyment they get out of that hobby.

I've got a very nice oil painting of raw turkey meat hanging next to me. It's well done. I like it. I like it even more because I met the artist, visited her studio, know a bit about her and how she ended up painting meat (she used to paint ice cream cones).
Tomorrow I might find a equally well done painting of raw turkey meat at the flea market. I probably won't enjoy it nearly as much though because it's anonymous and has nothing to offer besides its visual qualities.

XRaysVision11 Sep 2013 5:00 a.m. PST

What is more valuable, an original manuscript or the one millionth copy of a paperback to roll of the press.

True, the story has it's own value. However the manuscript has that same value in addition to being a representation of the creativity of the author. In addition, the manuscript is one-of-a-kind and is therefore rare.

All of the this value is subjective. The story, the rarity and the representation of creativity are only worth what each person thinks it's worth. When we talk about the value of art (or anything for that matter) what we are talking about is the consensus of valuation.

My opinion about the value of an artistic object adds into the consensus as does everyone else's. Discussion of the merits of the painting as art, the artist as an artist, and even a comparison of the my valuation compared to the consensus are fair discussions. To claim, though, that the consensus has no merit would display a fundamental mispprehension of the factors that contribute to art's value on my part or simply denial of reality.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2013 6:21 a.m. PST

I refer my learned friends once more to "Rumpole and the genuine article", and await with bated breath their analysis on the nature of truth and beauty and intrinsic value contained therein.

' "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all
ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.