Defining Art

  • PolaroidSwing...

    Posts: 1131

    Apr 04, 2012 4:45 PM GMT
    Photography major here; I'd like to throw out a survey of sorts. Within our student body, a recurring debate that arises among my peers/faculty, is how one goes about distinguishing "fine art". The general consensus here seems to be that a works artistic value correlates to the intent of the creator. However I'm very interested in hearing some opinions from outside the bubble of academia. What is your criteria for separating "art" from "non-art"?  What makes art "fine art"?


  • PolaroidSwing...

    Posts: 1131

    Apr 04, 2012 5:23 PM GMT
    Interesting, so for you the term might apply more to the technical skill involved in the creation of the work than the theoretical concept behind it? (I also agree the term is probably a little subjective.)
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    Apr 04, 2012 5:56 PM GMT
    Anyone can make art. I can sit for hours and sketch out a pencil drawing and it is art. But fine Art comes from knowing all the rules of art and then proceeding to break/make anew whatever rules existed before.
  • jaded57

    Posts: 85

    Apr 04, 2012 5:59 PM GMT
    How it makes you feel when looking at it is more less my definition of fine art. As an artist Im constantly asked questions like this from people at my shows. My usual response especially if it is an academic is just to say. Go look at it and if it makes you feel any kind of emotion then Id say thats just fine. And of course its art you can tell because its framed and hanging from a wall. So that would make it fine art.
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    Apr 04, 2012 6:04 PM GMT
    It's completely subjective and a lot of the time 'fine art' is defined by the work's price tag/ class biased interpretations.

    It's just like the high/low culture debate. What makes classical music more valuable culturally than pop music ? Often it's a class issue.
  • PolaroidSwing...

    Posts: 1131

    Apr 04, 2012 6:14 PM GMT
    Well I am up for an oral defense of my work, and this topic is bound to come up, but it's really more of a general interest inquiry. I hear a lot of the same arguments bouncing around in my classes and I'm fishing for fresh/unique perspectives.


    So from your point of view it's really about the work effectively communicating somthing to (you) the viewer, I gotcha.
  • PolaroidSwing...

    Posts: 1131

    Apr 04, 2012 6:33 PM GMT
    I think the class issue is an interesting one definitely, especially in the commercial art world. What would you say to one who made the case that the disproportionate longevity of interest in classical music to pop music made it more culturally valuable?

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    Apr 04, 2012 6:33 PM GMT
    As I see it, art is anything people call art.

    But if you think about it, in our days art is what mass media, museums and galleries say is art. No matter how good, relevant, and innovative your technique is, if you don't get visibility your work won't be able to change society.

    Hint: would we know anything about Pollock if it hadn't been publicized at Time magazine?
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    Apr 04, 2012 8:22 PM GMT
    Interesting topic, it brings memories of an art history class that I had in college and I learned about a lot that I still remember some of the lessons.

    The instructor started the class on the 1st day...with a similar question to the class..What is Art? and on our screen was Convergence, a painting by Jackson Pallock, as well as some Lichtechstein's paintings. The debate then ensued some in class thought that the Pallock was not, and that the Lichenstein's were just commercial art, and not fine art. The instructor then said...'that is your main thesis question for the term of the class'- we will be learning about techniques, time period of the artist, world events, etc. that shaped the artist concept of the world. etc.

    So the main question that I got and lesson is what does art does to the viewer? What is the artist trying to invoke? It opened my mind to look at things in a different manner, and to hold my preconceive notions of what I thought art should be, and I think that was the greatest lesson.

  • AlexGuess

    Posts: 364

    Apr 04, 2012 10:46 PM GMT
    In a nutshell,
    1.- Art has to represent the reality of mankind through the subjectivity of the artist, so it goes without saying that it has to be original, we all have our own way of seeing things that´s what makes subjectivity important.
    2.- It has to represent a culture, that´s why certain branches of art develop through the years, how can you represent world war II if you where born in the eighties? That´s why representations exist, those are the "artists" that use old styles or techniques to create their work. Since they are not really representing their own ideas, or cultures, for me its more of an artesanal work than art.
    3.- And last but not least, it has to respect rules, elements, technique, have in account the creator and the spectator. Of course you could say, most of the great artist of all times didn´t respected rules, but they sure did, their own, they had their own logic that made a lot of sense, wich made way to new tendencies and techniques.

    I really don´t understand what do you mean when you separate art from "fine art" if you are refering to what the media sells as art and "fine art" as real art, media isn´t contemporary, and art HAS to be contemporary, if it isn´t then it´s just a representation or recreation of something that has already been done, an example, how media is starting to show installations, exhibitionism, performances, flash mobs and common objects found in our surroundings as art when that´s a movement that had their origins in the 70´s.

    I apologize for my english, it´s not my main language and I feel I can´t express as fluidly as I would like to.