Miller vs. California

March 6th, 2007 § 0 comments

Could we put the whole “vacuous” argument between art and craft to rest with the same definition the supreme court found for pornography? “I know it when I see it?” As much as I like the idea of putting this issue to rest, I find this completely inadequate, the two I’s in the sentence worry me that everyone who sees art/craft will “know” they are seeing “it” and “it” will be different from person to person. This could be the main flaw with the collectors who came to lecture last night in the hopes of opening our eyes to what they (and others) are looking for, how they pick what they buy, and what we are going to do after school to make money. While they were an interesting couple and fine supporters of some lucky artists, sorry, “craftsmen”, their assessment of what is good/bad art sounds like it is coming from non art makers of considerable wealth—gotten I am not sure how. For them, it seemed, what they called “the hunt” was a very large part of collecting, it was not about having the work but in finding “new artists with promise”. They meant well, but my mind wandered.

If I investigated the lives of every person who died in 9/11 could I prove that there is no God? Would it in fact prove anything? (yes this does sound like The Bridge of San Louis Rey but with hope of a different outcome).

I would like to pick a season of Friends and see how many gay jokes are in each episode and compile some sort of thesis about the promotion of mainstream sexuality through the show. (you could also do one that goes the other way).

Their definition of what they were calling “craft” seemed to go along with VCU’s unreasonable stress upon the material and how it was made without the balancing why; good design, superior aesthetics, and “must be well made”. I find this one interesting because of the general line of thought here that if you spend an unprecedented amount of time hammering a piece of metal than somehow it is more interesting/better art. Perhaps it is better craft. When did things need to be well made in the history of art? I thought that sort of ended with all of the painters who broke the rules of what a painting should be and how it should look. Perhaps this is not part of the history of craft, where they still love the thing for the thing, perhaps this is why they never care what their art is saying.

Marc the collector never stopped for breath in three hours, so it was not really possible to get a question in. He would ask and then never give anyone time to actually answer. His overall stress in finding a way to fit into our cultural system in order to make money did not offend my artist sensibility so much as it made me wonder. I can’t help thinking our lifestyle is going to have to change sometime in the near future, and I never have had much desire in participating in a system I dislike. I also sat there thinking about how we are destroying the earth, killing people here and there, etc. and here we all are talking about art/craft and the place in capitalism for artists. The best use of time and money? We are all white middle class kids so I guess we are doing exactly as we ought. While I am really good at treading water it does not mean I like it.

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