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Monday, February 11, 2013

What is art for? and our place in art history.

11:13 AM By Franz , ,

What is the point of art? Why have millions of dollars, hours and even lives been put at risk for it? Why would anyone bother getting up and ready at the crack of dawn just to paint or take a picture? More intriguingly, why do people readily pay millions and laud some of these as masterpieces? Because art works.

Art -when looked at objectively- is the most primitive form of communication. At least musical, visual and plastic arts are so because they represent a human attempt to communicate a feeling, theme or idea through raw materials into a physical form.(The only thing I excluded then is writing, which is through and through a human invention, made for practical purposes first and artistic ones later.) Ultimately, art's purpose is to communicate these things. It's why an artist must be well in tune with feelings and human experiences, because art that does not relate is not good art.

Art works. Whether the audience is conscious of how it takes effect or not, art is effective at one thing and it is to communicate. This is where a lot of conflict rises, particularly with modern art. Before modern art(during the renaissance,) the perception of art for many was purely decorative. Therefore, it had to be beautiful.





The rise of Manet's speckled painting, Dali's deformities and Picasso's distortions went completely against that train of thought. Whether the style was modern impressionism or abstraction, the artists at the forefront of these movements were trying to truly capture the feelings of their subjects. And yet, modern thinkers and open minded collectors eventually recognized how well these styles represented the truth of the times and accepted it.

The same goes for the diverging styles of Rothko and Pollock in postmodern times. These painters not only changed the style of painting, they changed the subjects. Rather than simply defining a painting as the portrayal of a subject(whether deformed or stylized or not,) their emphasis was on the painting as a subject to be analyzed and experienced on its own.

I reference all these painters because actually, I study painting more closely than I study film. However, these respective movements have their members in music, film, and every other medium. The point is that all of these painters had one thing in common. They attempted(and succeeded) to communicate feelings, experiences or stories through their medium. Failure to communicate makes for bad art and unfortunately, a lot of post modern imitators have made their fame and life's work behind art that is completely unfeeling and merely serves to entertain fellow artists.

Our place in history is a sort of "world new wave." The inexpensiveness of camera equipment, the rapid ease of sharing through the internet and the millions of artistically minded people are developing a sort of new movement repelling the intellectualism of art and attempting to make it human(and relatable) again.