07 October 2010

The New "Where" and "How" of Art

I have published a little article about Street Art and Pop Surrealism in The Curator. It explores what these two genres are, then discuss how Street Art is coming into galleries and Pop Surrealism is going outdoors. I take into consideration questions of technique and communication. Take a read!


Annelise Holwerda said...

I sent this along to my Art teacher from school; having commented in that message, I thought the same thoughts were fitting here as well :)

I don't know if you'd be interested in this, but am sending it along in case... A short article on Street Art and Pop Surrealism. It brings up a nice emphasis: that the question now (well, the answerable one; there are good questions without end points, of course) is less 'What is Art?', than 'Where is Art?' and 'How is Art?' That fits in nicely with the discussion you raise in your theory classes, giving a nice, meaningful way to go with all the existential mayhem.

It's just the sort of discussion that applies not just ideologically but also practically to what are we doing now... Stretching the way we think, while allowing the non-binding descriptions that allow Art in its essence to be both meaningful and always-new. I guess this also allows for both aesthetically-based and socially-situated value judgements, because it's descriptive on a local scale and not the well-worn Philosophical one (except as material, the medium reflecting on itself). This always seems to be the way to go when it comes to tapping into the Real or the Good for the sake of smaller personal spheres :) "

Iambic Admonit said...

Wow, Annelise, thank you very much! Your comments are extremely literate and insightful (read: complicated!) So, your art teacher... did you take an entire course on Art Theory? A whole course in Aesthetics? I'd love to hear more about that!

One response to your comment: Yes, I suppose my descriptions and/or these new genres allow for "aesthetically-based value judgements," but in the article I wasn't talking about that (or not trying to): I was talking, in the Pop Surrealism section, about technique-based value judgements. You see the difference? Let me know what you think.

Rosie Perera said...

Great article, Sorina!

A related genre to Street Art is the "guerilla knitting" phenomenon (aka "urban knitting," "graffiti knitting," "yarn bombing"). Here are some links about it:

urban knitting: the world's most inoffensive graffiti
Knitta (Wikipedia)
The history of guerilla knitting (video, Rose White at 24c3 conference)

Dance is another genre that has a Street Art component to it. I saw this video the other day and was blown away by both its beauty and its amazing technique. It's kind of a blend of Michael Jackson's moon dancing, Marcel Marceau, break dancing, hip hop, Russian army dancing, and ballet.

Annelise Holwerda said...

I just took the ordinary Higher School Certificate Art course, where our last year involved creating a body of work to submit for marking and also sitting a theory exam. So about once a week we'd look at Art movements and artworks, focusing specifically on the ones we might wish to use as examples in answering the final essay questions. We also had a 'documentary hour' each week, which was great. I haven't taken Philosophy or Art History classes since school, but that class was a really useful foundation of thought.

I was mainly referring to our ongoing debate, which centred around the 'What is Art?' question- causing both philosophical and personal outbursts and confusion :) It was good fun, and very well taught (a lot of higher order thinking and engagement), but we always struggled to align the traditional view of Art as something whose value can be understood in absolute terms with the new subjective- but largely valid- concept of Art. "Ideas are the new paint", etc. We couldn't land on answers, though the flights were enjoyable :) Where do you 'draw the line' when art is all about innovation, new visual communications and appreciations, but there is such a thing as good Art?

So your ideas (and the ones I imposed on them in that other conversation, inspired by them...) seem a really relevant place to move on to from there. We have established solidly enough that all art is both socially situated and inherently worth something more or less; that these two fields work on each other in an intricate and organic way (that's the key), instead of being totally separate Notions of the 'objective' and 'subjective'. But the definitional question is still good, since Art is very much about the mystery of defining without constraining. 'How?' and 'Where?' play well into that.

I think I do see a difference between aesthetic and technical judgements of value. Do you mean by aesthetic the intuitive, affective power of a piece (whether or not that contains surface notions of 'beauty'), and by technique the level of skill involved in the work- just as other fields of craftsmanship, expertise and literature have much value inherent in the skill they contain?

I guess that only works perfectly in a conversation of public Art, as opposed to personally communicative art... For example, when I write poems that are not brilliant but that mean something, or use a painting (of very average skill!) to give a friend a piece of 'meaning' that only the visual can portray. The two interact. But in terms of Art the institution, I think I agree that if we ask for more quantitative measure (a real part of the whole process of enjoying), then technique-based judgements are the main thing.

Perhaps technique refers anyway to skill with aesthetics, meaning and concept; and perhaps it falls itself under the broad umbrella of aesthetic response. This door on the fabric of brim-filled, rich Creation may be why Art itself holds such value to us, rather than only facilitating things of value- which it also does, as we are in all our worlds are allowed to interact with it :)

Iambic Admonit said...

Rosie: Yes, actually, I wrote a later version of this article including geurilla knitting, and I guess the editors posted the wrong version! Hum.

Here's an article of interest on the same topic: