Friday, January 16, 2009

What is art for? A discourse...

Enjoy or loathe this video compiled by The Art Newspaper. After watching the video, lets have a discussion in the comment section shall we?

What is art for?
Share your personal take on this question or your personal reactions to the video.I will chime in as well.
Major update on Fire and Noise next week!


  1. Just to kick start..
    Marc Glimcher is everything that is wrong with art.

  2. Thanks for the kick start...
    I wasn't going to name names... but yeah.. why do they show him so much in this clip.. It is like they are egging us on.

    But what is art for?
    "not to be uh.... too corny about it"

  3. I'll be back I keep on being interrupted while watching the video. I don't know who Marc Glimcher is? Was he an artist at some point?

  4. Heather- please come back when you get a chance. Marc Glimcher is the guy talking at the first of the video and he keeps talking through out(I didn't know him until I saw this). I don't want this post to turn into a judgment festival on these people (high end art world sophisticates).
    But I am curious about what they say and how we think about what art does? I am not sure I ever really think that much about it. I have still to comment on what art does- so I will be back as well.

  5. To me, art is for REACTION... evoking the emotions is the goal, the choice/reaction is the hope...

  6. me...

    It definitely more than pleasure.
    Like Amber said. Reaction is what you do...Emotion is what it is...
    Every piece of art is a literal piece of whoever created it. It is what they where feeling at the time...What they were thinking. It is another world...Art is a portal to the soul...It is why some people connect with one piece while others do not...I could go on Forever...Art in one word is incredible.

  7. For your own reaction or for others?
    There are days when I am painting and it just works and I jump up and down and scream "Hell yes!"
    So, my own art did that for me, but there is no guarantee it will do that for others... If your art doesn't garner a reaction/emotional response are you still pleased with it? It is still serving its purpose.. I am just thinking in type.. We might get a better conversation this way than from that video..;)

    What does art do? It saves and takes lives, it creates discomfort, it gives purpose and identity, it makes us feel things we don't want to. It gives us gifts we never thought we would receive. It is a wonderful escape and yet it confronts us at the same time.

  8. Glimcher is totally that guy thats drunk at the end of your party and wont leave your house, and insists that 'dude, your my best friend'-when actually you just met him.

  9. Alright, I hope this thread heats up- I think I like where it's headed.

    "you're my best friends...."

  10. For anyone who is curious- Marc Glimcher is the president of PaceWildenstein galleries in New York. So diss him on your own accord- but I doubt you will ever get a show in his gallery...
    copy and paste this link to see who his galleries represent.

  11. for the non-artist, art is to consume. for the artist, art is to continue.

  12. Oh dear, people are gonna hate me for this, but everything that was said in the video is true! Its their OPINION!! Everyone has a right to that opinion. What differs is the person behind the opinion. For example I hate peas, but the rest of my family love them. We all have a different taste, view and connection with art and different art. What art does for us is feed us all on different levels, depending on our curiosity and our personality.
    As a creator of art, I just can't help but create. Art for me is food. It is life. It is reflection, connection and expression.
    Remembrance or investment, art has a purpose.
    Its spiritual, historical, provoking and soothing.
    Its universal...

  13. I don't think I've finished yet...I shall watch it again... it has provoked me!!!

  14. Thomas- "for the artist, art is to continue..." I do like this idea very much, thank you for visiting.

    Debs- I don't think people were completely disagreeing with the video or what was said, just in the manner that it was expressed...
    I don't know but I am glad you are provoked.. Truly it is not something I think of much. What art does? I am not asking it to do anything for me. I ask myself to do for it. But yes, just like what makes something art is highly subjective so is the idea of what art does..

  15. Wait.. I would be lying if I didn't ask art to pay my bills on occasion..Bills are due- pay up art!
    How dirty of me...

    but it's reciprocal.

  16. OK, you asked for it ;)
    My opinion: Reaction for both the artist and the viewer... it receives some sort of a response once viewed in an emotional context whether it be liked or disliked, thought provoking, deeply felt or otherwise, the idea of sharing a perspective creates change even on the smallest of scales. maybe just a glimmer of it sticks with the viewer on a subconcious level, but art can change perspective, challenge one's viewpoint... As its been said before, even the smallest pebble cast into the body of water has a ripple effect. May each time the art is seen, felt heard or smelled/tasted it be impactful that is my opinion of what art is for, it changes us... May the ripples get bigger and bigger and bigger...

  17. Art is so much bigger than the does what people want it to.
    There. I wanted to get it into a nutshell... :)

  18. What is the purpose of art? Art is totally useless.
    You can't take shelter in it, you can't eat it. Art can't heal you, you can't wear it. Art doesn't teach us anything, it can't hold secrets.
    Totally useless.

    That's the first thing that came to mind.

  19. I am not sure. It was last thing I read before sleeping and I thought hmm.I need to sleep on that before responding....I am still waiting.

  20. I gave my 18 month-old grandson some fingerpaints for Christmas, rigged his high-chair to sit at the dining table, spread out the butcher paper, and let him go to town.

    He doesn't have words for what happened next, and maybe it's better that he doesn't. His eyes took on a different light. His breathing changed. The whole universe became his fingers and the paint and what they made.

    At some point he'd stop and laugh and reach his hands out and say "more" because this piece was finished and he had to begin another.

    Now when he wants to paint he holds up his fat little fingers, swishes them in the air, and says, "more." THAT'S what art is for.

  21. Monda- beautiful response..
    That is how it starts for so many of us. Butcher paper and paint and fingers and the world disappears.


  22. Thomas, it is irony... The point is art does all of those things, for different people in different ways. We have to decide (or do we?) what art is... then what it is for.

    There are as many purposes for... reasons to make, to enjoy, to collect, to dislike art as there are stars in the universe.

    I don't think I could think of one single purpose, how terribly narrow that would be.

  23. Hmmm...great question.
    I'm an artist, and my partner is in grad school for painting, and so this question has been brought up many many many times.

    Personally, I think art has a different use for different people. I think that on a large scale arts purpose is to share a culture. To represent different ides, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, technology, and so on.

    We can certainly learn a lot from a certain time period just based on the art that was being produced at the time.

    So I think that art is really important when it comes to that.

    art can also be useful in the context of self, and the idea that one must make art in order to be right with the world. I think that's a totally valid use.

    I know art makes me happy. It's the only thing that I have ever really been good at. The only thing that I have ever really felt confident doing. I don't think I would wither and die without it...but it makes my life better ;)Happier. and sometimes it makes it more difficult. But, for the most part it makes me pretty content.

    So yeah, I mean that's how it's useful for me. Oh! and it pays my bills too Megan! So pay up art! Rents due in two weeks.

  24. art is a contribution...a leveraged diagnosis born of relative perspective...a cry of self expression with an unspoken desire to be understood and/or interpretation of vision, fate, future, desire, remorse , hate, love, life, death, renewal, chaos, hope and reality. art is "human" for "human" about "human" and beyond "human" “is” the journey before, during and after…

  25. Firstly, Hello Megan :)

    In short, there really isn't a "hit the nail on the head" answer to this question simply because art is, in itself, ambiguous. However, generally speaking art is just another form of communication.

    We communicate various messages, either our own or for someone else, through our final works, do we not? These messages range from our emotions at the time of production to how we feel about a particular subject (i.e. political stance, our feelings towards someone or something, etc.).

    The fun and exciting thing about art is that no two people will truly feel exactly the same about a particular piece. Sure, the artist's message may come through but each and every person will mix their own experiences and feelings into their final and ultimate answer as to what is being said. Thus, the fun and interesting aspect of talking to various individuals about their feelings towards your piece or other public works emerges. On the other hand, some people may have a feeling or viewpoint that is way off from the artist's and that too is fun and interesting.

    Just like what was said in the video, art is many different things to many different people; however, the fundamental thing happening, regardless of the answer to "what is art?", is feelings, emotions, and messages are being communicated.

  26. I love that this simple post of a found video on you tube could spark this much conversation.I must confess I thought I was taking the easy way out this week as I prepare for my upcoming show but I am so glad I that I did.
    Art is subjective in it's value, meaning, as well as it's purpose and that is why it it is so wonderful and so confounding to so many. Thanks to everyone who has commented on this post. To the new visitors I do hope that you will come back and chime in again. The more the merrier!

  27. Hi Megan I'm back. It took me a few days to think this through for myself. Something that I read somewhere yesterday resonated with me deeply "Art is the voice of the soul" and I have no idea who said this. But in my life I chose (subconsciously, pretty close to consciously) at the age of seventeen to repress myself and not continue to make art. I did this for the vary reason of art being the voice of the soul. In my mind and life this was for survival of sorts keep who you are, what you are, your truths, and your passion way down under the surface. Needless to say it didn't work so well, and that's an understatement.

    Fast forward to just a few years ago and I had a complete turn around I realized the hard way that if I didn't make art I wouldn't survive this life of mine.

    Do we as humans need art to be part of our survival , I don't know, maybe in a way. But I do know that art connects the deepest parts of me to living, beauty, truth, pain ect... to others who are creators of their art and myself. We need relationships for humanity to survive and art has been around since the earliest times.

    I have my discussions in my head a lot so this was great to be able to add my own thoughts to and also to read others thoughts.

  28. I really like that, "The voice of the soul."

    No matter what your medium, when it comes from the heart, it reaches the heart.

  29. What makes me laugh, makes me remember. And how can I laugh in answering the query about what is art for? Welllll, there use to be a song called "The Streak"...about a streaker...a person who exposes himself. At least in the song it was a "him"...but it'll work for women too. And dogs. I think art is for us to expose ourselves. Here is me. Here is what I value. Here is what I want to spend time on. Share. Reflect on. Offer to the world or hide in my basement. It is still opening that raincoat and letting just a bit of what's underneath out. Whether anyone is watching.....

  30. Such a wonderful and inspiring video, thanks for sharing it!
    I think I agree with Philomene Magers: 'Art enriches your life. It's a wider perception of the world, it's about beauty, to make you see the world in another way than you see it when you look at it in your daily lie.' And someone else said; Art is about the act that the artist needs to do to express himself. And someone else said 'It's a chance to have a better life' I agree with them all!