Reading About Art
Art history: The Basics Extract
– Make notes on further research points
– Notes on parts particularly meaningful
– Look up new words /create glossary
What is Art and what is art history?
– Research one day closer to Paradise incident (interesting insight into subjectivity of art)
– Research Gombrich
So what is art?
– Art is something artists do. Wide verity of examples – Ceramics, construction, performance art, photomontage. All have aesthetic status but are disparate (different) objects, practices and processes. The label ‘art’ connects them.
– Research Fernie (1995:326)
– Art Categories –
Craft Based (traditional): Painting, drawing, sculpture.
Functional (decorative): Ceramics, jewellery, textiles, needlework, glass.
Contemporary (Difficult to categorise): Wide verity of media – eg. Ceramics, embroidery – loose boundary between functional design still primarily for display
– Research Grayson Perry (contemporary ceramics)
– Research Tracey Emin (contemporary embroidery)
– Art also includes activities which produce work with aesthetic value – film, performance, architecture.
– Research Bauhaus aesthetic of the 1930’s (integrated fine art, design, craft and architecture)
– Contemporary definitions of art are not medium specific or restrictive of nature or aesthetic value.
– The institutional theory of art recognises that art can be a term designated by the artist and institutions of the art world rather than an external process of validation.
– This creates an expansive framework for art but could be considered to be so broad as to be virtually meaningless.
– Buy ‘Art History: The Basics’ for further reading
– All definitions of art are mediated through culture, history and language.
The Classical concept or ‘Art’
– Art ad craft has the longest history in western context.
– No word in Greek for ‘art’ or ‘artist’ but the word ‘techne’ denoted skill or craft and ‘technites’ craftsman.
– Research Sorbom
– In classical world, crafts such as statues and mosaics had practical, public and ceremonial roles judged on technical standard and how it fulfilled social and civic roles expected from craft
– Main role was belief that representation should be in the most life like and realistic way.
– The western tradition of art originated from Greek and Roman practices.
– In Europe and N. American culture, assumptions of art were linked to origins and development of the academic subject.
– Central importance were the social institutions (academies and museums) est. late 16th century.
– These establishments defined idea of what art should look like and should do.
– To label something as ‘art’ implies an evaluative judgement about the piece.
– Meaning and attributions of art are particular to different contexts, societies and periods.
Fine Art as an exclusive category
– Avant-Garde artists began to make work that questioned primacy of the durable and hegemonic categorisations of fine art and what they signified.
– Look at work from Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Georges Braque (1882-1963)
– Bryson (1990) underlined the importance of still life as a genre to the birth of modernism.
– Overseas trade, colonisation and imperialism stimulated interest in tribal masks, carvings, fabrics and fetish objects which, with the indigenous cultures they represented, contributed to widespread interest in non-western art and artefacts.
– Research Braque, Andre Derain, Ernst Kirchner, Henri Matisse, Picasso and Maurice De Vlaminck
– ^^^ popularised primitivism.