Art and production
Machine, human, artistic, or immaterial. What do we mean when we talk about production?
What is 'production' and why does it matter?
pro·duc·tion Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin productio(n-), from producere ‘bring forth’
This year at Tate Exchange we’re exploring the idea of production.
'Production' is a word with many meanings. It can refer to the making of something , or to a final product , like a theatrical performance. It can be the process of bringing a song or musical work to life. Or honing that work to perfection. 'Production' might conjure images of factory production lines , or the theories of Karl Marx. Production is labour, capital, and the invisible groundwork of modern society. And it can be as simple as making a clay pot with your hands . Production is at once mechanical and biological – think of 'reproduction' – and ultimately human .
What does it have to do with art?
Production is at the heart of making art. Artists and theorists have long acknowledged its importance as both an artistic action and an idea to be explored. And as the role of production has shifted in our lives, so have the ways in which artists have responded to it . While some contemporary artists foreground production as a tool , others use their work to explore ideas around production we might otherwise overlook.
Take a look at some of the ways in which production appears in our collection. How have artists addressed and responded to the idea of production through their work?
Edgar Degas Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1880–1, cast c.1922) Tate
Henri Matisse Studio Interior (c.1903–4) Tate
© Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2023
Taryn Simon Nuclear Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility, Cherenkov Radiation Hanford Site, U.S. Department of Energy Southeastern Washington State (2007) Tate
© Taryn Simon, Courtesy Gagosian
Eileen Agar The Autobiography of an Embryo (1933–4) Tate
© The estate of Eileen Agar
Shozo Shimamoto Holes (1954) Tate
© Shozo Shimamoto
Andy Warhol Marilyn Diptych (1962) Tate
© 2023 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by DACS, London
Want to find out more? Visit Tate Exchange and explore production in its many forms through our year-long programme. Come back to this page for more production stories in the collection. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter . And join the conversation on #TateExchange.
Find out how art can make a difference to society and share your stories.
Tate Modern Workshop
Factory: the seen and the unseen.
Clock in to the factory and get hands on with clay
What does making look like in the age of digital production?
TENT X Tate
Explore the spaces and communities where culture happens
A weekend of workshops, music and discussion exploring what culture means to creative young Brits
Tate Modern Performance
Kaputt: academy of destruction.
Who decides what is destructive and who gets to destroy? Take a trip with your family through the Academy of Destruction and explore destruction as a creative force
SUPERFLEX: At Tate Exchange
Create your own cube lamp and investigate questions surrounding global production and copyright
But We Are Still Here
Join us for conversations and activities to re-consider how culture is produced
Time Well Spent
How do you spend and value your time? Explore the value of different types of activities and ways of freeing yourself from current restraints
BBZ x Tate Exchange
Join BBZ collective for an exploration of the duality of the queer, trans and non-binary black identity in the UK
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Global cultures 1980–now
Unit 1: lesson 1.
- Introduction to Contemporary Art
Art in the 21st Century
- Big questions in modern and contemporary art
- What is appropriation?
Globalization, visual culture, public and participatory art, want to join the conversation.
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Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
Writing Essays in Art History
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These OWL resources provide guidance on typical genres with the art history discipline that may appear in professional settings or academic assignments, including museum catalog entries, museum title cards, art history analysis, notetaking, and art history exams.
Art History Analysis – Formal Analysis and Stylistic Analysis
Typically in an art history class the main essay students will need to write for a final paper or for an exam is a formal or stylistic analysis.
A formal analysis is just what it sounds like – you need to analyze the form of the artwork. This includes the individual design elements – composition, color, line, texture, scale, contrast, etc. Questions to consider in a formal analysis is how do all these elements come together to create this work of art? Think of formal analysis in relation to literature – authors give descriptions of characters or places through the written word. How does an artist convey this same information?
Organize your information and focus on each feature before moving onto the text – it is not ideal to discuss color and jump from line to then in the conclusion discuss color again. First summarize the overall appearance of the work of art – is this a painting? Does the artist use only dark colors? Why heavy brushstrokes? etc and then discuss details of the object – this specific animal is gray, the sky is missing a moon, etc. Again, it is best to be organized and focused in your writing – if you discuss the animals and then the individuals and go back to the animals you run the risk of making your writing unorganized and hard to read. It is also ideal to discuss the focal of the piece – what is in the center? What stands out the most in the piece or takes up most of the composition?
A stylistic approach can be described as an indicator of unique characteristics that analyzes and uses the formal elements (2-D: Line, color, value, shape and 3-D all of those and mass).The point of style is to see all the commonalities in a person’s works, such as the use of paint and brush strokes in Van Gogh’s work. Style can distinguish an artist’s work from others and within their own timeline, geographical regions, etc.
Methods & Theories To Consider:
Social Art History
Visual Cultural Studies
Stylistic Analysis Example:
The following is a brief stylistic analysis of two Greek statues, an example of how style has changed because of the “essence of the age.” Over the years, sculptures of women started off as being plain and fully clothed with no distinct features, to the beautiful Venus/Aphrodite figures most people recognize today. In the mid-seventh century to the early fifth, life-sized standing marble statues of young women, often elaborately dress in gaily painted garments were created known as korai. The earliest korai is a Naxian women to Artemis. The statue wears a tight-fitted, belted peplos, giving the body a very plain look. The earliest korai wore the simpler Dorian peplos, which was a heavy woolen garment. From about 530, most wear a thinner, more elaborate, and brightly painted Ionic linen and himation. A largely contrasting Greek statue to the korai is the Venus de Milo. The Venus from head to toe is six feet seven inches tall. Her hips suggest that she has had several children. Though her body shows to be heavy, she still seems to almost be weightless. Viewing the Venus de Milo, she changes from side to side. From her right side she seems almost like a pillar and her leg bears most of the weight. She seems be firmly planted into the earth, and since she is looking at the left, her big features such as her waist define her. The Venus de Milo had a band around her right bicep. She had earrings that were brutally stolen, ripping her ears away. Venus was noted for loving necklaces, so it is very possibly she would have had one. It is also possible she had a tiara and bracelets. Venus was normally defined as “golden,” so her hair would have been painted. Two statues in the same region, have throughout history, changed in their style.
Compare and Contrast Essay
Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces – examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece. Then the comparison can include attention to detail so use of color, subject matter, or iconography. Do the same for contrasting the two pieces – start small. After the foundation is set move on to the analysis and what these comparisons or contrasting material mean – ‘what is the bigger picture here?’ Consider why one artist would wish to show the same subject matter in a different way, how, when, etc are all questions to ask in the compare and contrast essay. If during an exam it would be best to quickly outline the points to make before tackling writing the essay.
Compare and Contrast Example:
Stele of Hammurabi from Susa (modern Shush, Iran), ca. 1792 – 1750 BCE, Basalt, height of stele approx. 7’ height of relief 28’
Stele, relief sculpture, Art as propaganda – Hammurabi shows that his law code is approved by the gods, depiction of land in background, Hammurabi on the same place of importance as the god, etc.
Top of this stele shows the relief image of Hammurabi receiving the law code from Shamash, god of justice, Code of Babylonian social law, only two figures shown, different area and time period, etc.
Stele of Naram-sin , Sippar Found at Susa c. 2220 - 2184 bce. Limestone, height 6'6"
Stele, relief sculpture, Example of propaganda because the ruler (like the Stele of Hammurabi) shows his power through divine authority, Naramsin is the main character due to his large size, depiction of land in background, etc.
Akkadian art, made of limestone, the stele commemorates a victory of Naramsin, multiple figures are shown specifically soldiers, different area and time period, etc.
Regardless of what essay approach you take in class it is absolutely necessary to understand how to analyze the iconography of a work of art and to incorporate into your paper. Iconography is defined as subject matter, what the image means. For example, why do things such as a small dog in a painting in early Northern Renaissance paintings represent sexuality? Additionally, how can an individual perhaps identify these motifs that keep coming up?
The following is a list of symbols and their meaning in Marriage a la Mode by William Hogarth (1743) that is a series of six paintings that show the story of marriage in Hogarth’s eyes.
- Man has pockets turned out symbolizing he has lost money and was recently in a fight by the state of his clothes.
- Lap dog shows loyalty but sniffs at woman’s hat in the husband’s pocket showing sexual exploits.
- Black dot on husband’s neck believed to be symbol of syphilis.
- Mantel full of ugly Chinese porcelain statues symbolizing that the couple has no class.
- Butler had to go pay bills, you can tell this by the distasteful look on his face and that his pockets are stuffed with bills and papers.
- Card game just finished up, women has directions to game under foot, shows her easily cheating nature.
- Paintings of saints line a wall of the background room, isolated from the living, shows the couple’s complete disregard to faith and religion.
- The dangers of sexual excess are underscored in the Hograth by placing Cupid among ruins, foreshadowing the inevitable ruin of the marriage.
- Eventually the series (other five paintings) shows that the woman has an affair, the men duel and die, the woman hangs herself and the father takes her ring off her finger symbolizing the one thing he could salvage from the marriage.
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Introduction to Art 30,000 years of human creativity
The history of art is a vast story of human creativity, a record of our passions and struggles from before written history through today. Obelisk is a free, online art history textbook, sharing the wild, tragic and inspiring stories of artists and their work from 30,000 BCE through Modern Art. Obelisk is designed for discovery, a cross-linked web of artworks, biographies and writings, a choose-your-own-adventure where every path leads you to something new and interesting.
Meet the artists , discover artwork , or explore the timeline . But if you'd like to learn more about how to look at and understand art, the next few pages describe the visual language of art, the ways we can understand it, and why art is important. So dig in!
Is there such a thing as Bad Art?
Yes, but it's complicated
Can we make sense of it all?
Advanced Composition Techniques
Let's get mathematical
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Related terms:, visual arts.
- Art Education
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Bingxin Wu , in Consumption and Management , 2011
Enterprise management rule: production art decides the production mode; the production mode decides the management mode; the marketing mode decides the marketing management mode.
Enterprise is the economic cell of society. A new concept of enterprise management is proposed in this book. Enterprise management should be people-centered and adopt technical instruments, working methods, enterprise culture and management mode to serve enterprise scientific research, production and sale, make a systematic integration with a combined management of hard and soft management and relative low consumption cost to produce high-quality consumption commodity so as to achieve a good dual-beneficial goal.
Enterprise leadership management philosophy and ever-developing enterprise culture are the soul of an enterprise. Enterprise leadership management requires the clear understanding of the relations between enterprise management benefit and development benefit, macro benefit and micro benefit, and the strategy, tactic, and plan of the development of the enterprise. Suitable thoughts and ideological methods, leadership measures, and art should be adopted to employ the organic management of hard and soft management, to minimize consumption in the production and commodity exchange process, to increase production efficiency, and finally to achieve the best production and management goals.
The aims of household living consumption management are to increase consumption fund (income) and to improve consumption level.
Marcia Sue Cohen-Liebman , in Encyclopedia of Psychotherapy , 2002
Art therapy is a human service profession that utilizes art media, images, the creative process, and patient/client responses to art productions as reflections of an individual's development, abilities, personality, interests, concerns, and conflicts. Art therapy practice is based on knowledge of human developmental and psychological theories, which are implemented in the full spectrum of models of assessment and treatment.
Art therapy is an effective treatment for the developmentally, medically, educationally, socially, or psychologically impaired. It is practiced in mental health, rehabilitations, medical, educational, and forensic institutions. Populations of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds are served by art therapists who provide services to individuals, couples, families, and groups.
Creativity, Self-Generated Thought, and the Brain’s Default Network
Roger E. Beaty , Daniel L. Schacter , in The Creative Self , 2017
Brain Networks Underlying Creative Cognition and Artistic Performance
Researchers have used a range of tasks to probe the neural basis of both domain-general and domain-specific creative performance, including insight problem solving, divergent thinking, visual art production , musical improvisation, and many more ( Arden, Chavez, Grazioplene, & Jung, 2010 ; Gonen-Yaacovi et al., 2013 ). Despite this active body of work, the field was initially marked by largely contradictory and inconsistent findings. This lack of clarity leads many to question whether creativity is too complex to distill down to a given region of the brain ( Dietrich & Kanso, 2010 ). Another contention in the literature concerned whether creative thought involves more or less cognitive control. On the one hand, several studies reported activation of brain regions tied to executive processes, suggesting that creative thought may benefit from the focused attention and cognitive control. On the other hand, a substantial number of studies reported activation of default network regions, pointing to the involvement of spontaneous, self-generated cognition ( Wu et al., 2015 ).
Recently, a series of neuroimaging studies sought to address these controversies by employing new methods in brain network science (for review, see Beaty, Benedek, Silvia, & Schacter, 2016b ). Network approaches can overcome limitations of conventional fMRI analysis by examining the interaction of multiple brain regions. One such study explored the role of the default and control networks during performance on a divergent thinking task ( Beaty, Benedek, Kaufman, & Silvia, 2015 ). The task paradigm presented a series of common objects, and participants were asked to either generate alternates uses or simply think of the objects’ characteristics (cf. Fink et al., 2009 ). Whole-brain functional connectivity analysis revealed a distributed network of brain regions associated with divergent thinking, including several regions of the default and control networks. Follow-up analyses showed direct functional connections between these network hubs during the task. Moreover, a dynamic connectivity analysis examined network patterns over time and found that default-control network coupling tended to occur at later stages of the task. The notion that creative cognition involves increased cooperation of the default and control networks receives further support from other recent work showing default-control connectivity during performance on other creative thinking tasks (e.g., Green, Cohen, Raab, Yedibalian, & Gray, 2015 ). Such findings suggest that creative thought involves cooperation among networks involved in self-generated thought and cognitive control.
Further evidence for the cooperative role of default and control networks comes from research on musical improvisation. Like divergent thinking research, early improvisation studies provided mixed evidence on the role of the control and default networks. A recent review of the improvisation literature reported activation across several brain regions, many within the default and control networks ( Beaty, 2015 ). In a seminal study of piano improvisation, Limb and Braun (2008) reported widespread deactivation of control network regions (e.g., dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and increased activation of default network regions (e.g., medial prefrontal cortex) in professional pianists during musical improvisation. This pattern was further reported in a study of freestyle rap artists ( Liu et al., 2012 ), pointing to the involvement of spontaneous, self-generated processes in both instrumental and lyrical improvisation.
Because improvisation happens “on the spot” with seemingly little time for planning, one might expect the default network to benefit spontaneous generation at the cost of decreased cognitive control, thus reflected in the deactivation of control network regions during improvisation. On the other hand, improvisation has also been characterized as a complex and cognitively demanding task, requiring the real-time generation, evaluation, and selection of musical sequences ( Beaty, 2015; Pressing, 1988 ). The notion that improvisation involves cognitive control has received support from neuroimaging research showing increased activation of lateral prefrontal and premotor cortices ( de Manzano and Ullén, 2012 ), brain regions involved in cognitive and motor control. The involvement of executive control regions leads some researchers to hypothesize that improvisation may require top-down performance monitoring via idea selection and goal maintenance ( Pinho, de Manzano, Frannson, Eriksson, & Ullén, 2014 ). Nevertheless, such findings were seemingly at odds with research showing decreased activation of cognitive control regions in previous studies of musical improvisation.
Recently, Pinho and colleagues sought to address this paradox by examining brain network interactions during musical improvisation ( Pinho, Ullén, Castelo-Branco, Fransson, & de Manzano, 2016 ). Professional pianists were asked to either express a specific emotion (e.g., joy) or use a specific set of piano keys (“pitch sets”) as they improvised on a keyboard during fMRI. The emotion condition was hypothesized to induce greater default network activity while the “pitch sets” condition was expected to induce greater control network activity. Univariate analysis confirmed these predictions. Critically, a functional connectivity analysis revealed increased coupling of default and control network regions during the emotion condition, suggesting that expressing a specific emotion engages both the strategic functions of the control network and the self-referential functions of the default network. In a similar vein, Ellamil, Dobson, Beeman, and Christoff (2012) examined brain activity during idea generation and evaluation in a sample of visual arts students. They found that whereas idea generation was associated with default activity, idea evaluation was associated with control network activity. Moreover, functional connectivity analysis revealed increased coupling of the default network with the control network, but only during the idea evaluation condition.
These findings provide support for the notion that creative cognition can involve goal-directed, self-generated thought. They also provide much needed nuance to the creativity literature by revealing conditions where the default and control networks are more or less engaged. For example, when artists are asked to spontaneously improvise without task constraints, they tend to exhibit increased default activity and decreased control activity ( Liu et al., 2015 ), suggesting that artists rely more on spontaneous and self-generated cognition in the absence of explicit task goals. On the other hand, when artists are asked to tailor their ideas to meet some goal (e.g., expressing a specific emotion), they tend to show increased cooperation of the default network with executive control regions ( Pinho et al., 2016 ). Taken together, the involvement of the control network appears to be a function of whether creative cognition is constrained to meet task-specific goals.
Another approach to understanding the role of the default network and self-generated thought in creativity is to study the creative personality. The creative person is typified by the personality trait Openness to Experience, one of the so-called “Big Five” factors of personality associated with a tendency to engage in imaginative, creative, and abstract cognitive processes ( McCrae & Costa, 1997 ). A recent study explored whether individual differences in default network functioning could be explained by variation in Openness to Experience ( Beaty et al., 2016a ). Because both Openness and the default network are tied to imagination and creativity, it was hypothesized that Openness would be related to default network “global efficiency”—a network science metric used to assess information integration within complex systems. Using graph theoretical analysis of resting-state fMRI data, two studies explored whether Openness was related to efficient information flow across a functional network made up of default network nodes and corresponding edges. Across both studies, Openness significantly predicted increased default network efficiency. Thus, as Openness increased, the default network showed more efficient information flow. In this context, the ability to efficiently engage the neurocognitive resources of the default network may account for the ability of highly Open people to generate creative ideas.
Assessment in Schools – Creative Subjects
T.E. Costantino , L. Bresler , in International Encyclopedia of Education (Third Edition) , 2010
With the prevailing approach to art education being creative self-expression in the first half of the twentieth century, assessment of students' artwork was considered detrimental to their learning and creative development. This is reflected in the prominent textbooks prior to the 1970s, including several editions of Lowenfeld & Brittain's Creative & Mental Growth and Wachowiak's Emphasis Art . Art-education curriculum began to change significantly at mid-century with the Russian launch of Sputnik, the cognitive revolution and the resulting emphasis on disciplinary knowledge in curriculum reform (under the leadership of Jerome Bruner). In the 1960s, influenced by Bruner's writings on the structure of knowledge in the disciplines, educators in higher education, most notably Manuel Barkan, Elliot Eisner, Harry Broudy, Ralph Smith, and Edmund Feldman began to apply these ideas to art-education curriculum. These concerns for art-education-curriculum reform were articulated at the Penn State Seminar in 1965 and subsequent book publications by Eisner & Ecker ( Readings in Art Education ) and Smith ( Aesthetics and Criticism in Art Education ) in 1966 and Broudy in 1972 ( Enlightened Cherishing ) emphasizing the disciplinary structure of art and the role of evaluation. This work was the precedent for the development of discipline-based art education (DBAE) in the 1980s, which emphasized a written sequential curriculum balanced with content from the four art disciplines of art production , esthetics, art criticism, and art history, and structured assessment of student learning. With the support of the Getty Center for Education, DBAE had a significant influence on art-education curriculum and the development of systematic assessment of student knowledge of and ability in art. The development of DBAE in the 1980s and 1990s closely follows the standards movement at the national level in the US. The national visual arts content standards and most states' visual arts standards reflect a DBAE approach to curriculum by addressing art production and art history and responding to works of art (aesthetics and art criticism).
With a DBAE approach reflected in the standards, assessment of visual arts knowledge and ability could potentially be more concrete. A recent in-depth study of K-12 visual arts assessment in the US documents teachers' common practices ( Dorn et al. , 2004 ). The most common tools, listed in order of priority, include: “work samples, professional judgment, teacher-developed tests, portfolios, discussions, critiques, sketchbooks, checklists, exhibits, reports, and research papers” (p. 16). The majority of these tools are performance-based, reflecting the emphasis on art making in US schools. This study also found that elementary-level art teachers use the fewest types of measures and secondary level, the most. Secondary-level teachers also use written assessments more often (reports, journals, research papers). With the emphasis on art production in US schools, the researchers in this study asked art teachers at all levels how they determined their evaluative criteria for art work. There was wide agreement on five criteria out of a participant-generated list of 23; these five included elements of art, the principles of design, composition (use of space), and creativity (p. 25).
Contemporary, twenty-first-century arts-education curriculum is becoming significantly influenced by social reconstructionist aims, embodied especially in the visual-culture approach to art education (VCAE) ( Chalmers, 2005; Duncum, 2002 ). VCAE emphasizes developing students' visual literacy skills and abilities to critique visual culture represented especially in the popular media, with art production serving as a means of reflection and representation, often, of this critique. With this new curricular emphasis on critique in greater proportion to art making for creative self-expression, it remains to be seen to what extent and in what ways this might influence teachers' assessment practices.
Culture Policy Regimes in China
Yue Zhang , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition) , 2015
An Unsolvable Conflict: Political Control vs Creative Freedom
A critical issue facing the cultural realm in China is the tension between political control and creative freedom. As in many authoritarian regimes, political censorship is pervasive in China. Creative imagination and content are subjugated to active state surveillance. According to Wang's report of the censors' latest activities ( 2004 ), distributors of ‘cultural products’ via the Internet have required state licences since 1 July 2003; content censorship of imported video games is to be strengthened; and, finally, only 10 firms approved by the state can now run National Internet Cafe Chains. These state-sanctioned chains will soon push independent operators out of the market. The setback to the Internet in recent years – the medium theoretically most immune to boundary policing and centralized monitoring devices – is highly symptomatic of China's ongoing problems with censorship and creativity.
Under the scheme of ‘Building a Harmonious Society’, the government strictly controls the channels of art publication, exhibition, and circulation. In her study of contemporary Chinese arts, Zhang (2014) discovers that Chinese artists seem to enjoy more autonomy in art production than their Eastern European counterparts in the communist era. Chinese artists can address political issues in their works as long as they do not go beyond the ‘redline’, i.e., not to directly condemn the CCP or its major leaders such as Chairman Mao and President Hu. The secret to the artists' autonomy, Zhang (2014) argues, lies in the fact that the government effectively controls the channels of art publication, exhibition, and circulation. In other words, although artists can produce politically controversial artworks, there are very few chances for them to circulate the works domestically so that they have little impact on Chinese society. Given that the channels of art publication, exhibition, and circulation are under strict state control, many artists have to send their work overseas in order to reach a broader audience ( Li and White, 2003 ; Barmé, 2000 ). As a result, most politically charged works become ‘quarantined domestically’ and are intended ‘for export only’.
Censorship and Transgressive Art
S.C. Dubin , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
1.1 The Contemporary Coalescence
Generally speaking, since the last quarter of the nineteenth century—with the rise of Impressionism, and the breakdown of the Academy system throughout Europe—artists have veered between two major aesthetic strategies. One approach has been ‘art for art's sake,’ where artists produce work primarily for a small group of like-minded individuals, using what could be compared to an exclusive language of expression. The other style is producing art aimed for the wider public, incorporating social and political themes. The first strategy is aesthetically daring but hermetic; the second has often been aesthetically conservative but liberally accessible. Dada and Abstract Expressionism are examples of ‘art for art's sake’; the social realism that dominated art production in the United States during the Depression of the 1930s, or the work of muralists such as Diego Rivera who were active throughout the same era in Mexico, represent socially and politically oriented art.
But contemporary artists are distinctive: they frequently have mobilized both approaches, combining inventive techniques with urgent social issues. What has been the impetus for this dramatic innovation? Artists have been pulled from the cloister of their studios by larger social events since the mid-1980s. The AIDS crisis hit American artists in disproportionate numbers. They responded to inadequate or biased media coverage, and the relative dearth of official political responses to the epidemic, by treating this subject with an activist stance (the now-ubiquitous ‘Silence=Death’ logo was originally a neon installation in the window of New York City's New Museum of Contemporary Art). Furthermore, the empowerment movements that gained strength during the 1960s—particularly the civil rights movement, feminism, and gay liberation—affected the art world by expanding opportunities for artists and art administrators from these groups, as well as making artists more self-reflexive about the structure of the art world and communities beyond. Finally, conservative religious and political leaders in the United States who reacted to the success of the disenfranchised in expressing themselves led a series of attacks to cut off public funding of the arts, targeting unconventional expression. Contemporary artists have used both traditional and transgressive strategies to confront these pressing issues and resist these assaults.
RITUAL, RELIGION, AND IDEOLOGY
Mary Ann Owoc , in Encyclopedia of Archaeology , 2008
The relation between the symbolic production of rock art and its creator's experience of the landscape in which it was created has been a subject of recent interest in the archaeology of religious practice ( see ROCK ART ). The association of rock art with unmodified places of the natural landscape is a common denominator among these sites. Studies of this phenomenon have extended their inquiries beyond the content of the images to include the process of their production, and the location, variable accessibility and remoteness, and natural qualities of the sites in which it was created. This active experiential component of rock art production characterizes the recent avenue exploration of this phenomenon and enhances its potential to inform on past religious behavior. Such studies situate the production of rock art within a larger context of terrain inhabitation and construction, such that it may be better understood within the context of settlement patterning, subsistence activities, and movement. Further, such work has been enhanced by in-depth analyses of the symbolic and metaphoric qualities of the pictorial images themselves.
Rock art as ritual practice has been considered by David Robinson in a review of California Chumash image production. Robinson notes that the unfolding of meaning in Native American practices such as dance or rock art takes place through actions or motion such that images, for example, presence this enactment, and reference other related activities such as body painting. He considers the extent to which the perceived powers of particular places within Chumash myths and oral tradition, as well as their physical qualities, influenced the use of pigments and the location of designs, noting that rock art is a polyvalent act referencing powers of place, design enactment, and material attributes.
Chris Tilley's analysis of motif form and patterning on first millennium BC southern Scandinavian rock art panels at the site of Högsbyn, in southwest Sweden, reveals the extent to which this form of evidence may be used to understand past cosmologies and their influence on social relations. Further, his work highlights the importance of landscape context to both the meaning of the images, and the ritual enactment of particular carving episodes. Tilley suggests that timed north/south directional movement from one rock art panel to another by participants, as well as pictoral trends in the images themselves and their metaphorical associations, served to construct a complex cosmological narrative in which the human life cycle, as well as social and sexual identity, were connected with ideas of regeneration, time, celestial movement, and seasonality.
Art, Anthropological Aspects of
Nelson Graburn , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition) , 2015
Ethnic and Tourist Arts
Early anthropological analyses focused on embedded ‘authentic, traditional’ arts, known as ‘primitive’ or ‘non-Western’ arts ( Gerbrands, 1957 ). In Ethnic and Tourist Arts (1976), Graburn examined their entry into the ‘World Art System,’ ( Becker, 1982 ) looking at the primary audience (locals or the external market) and the sources of aesthetic forms (traditional, external models, or novelties). Others have focused on such arts, in Africa and the Americas where traditional ‘primitive’ arts were found, and in literate civilizations, which have fallen under Western influences ( Phillips, 1992 ). Questioning the historically contingent distinctions hybrid/purebred, Morphy (1992) revealed identical structural and aesthetic patterns underlying functional (locally directed) and commercial (market) Yirrkala bark paintings. Neich (1993) examined a colonial era (1870–1910) form of Maori figurative painting stylistically influenced by pakeha (white) culture but expressing Maori cosmology.
Cole (1985) , Appadurai (1986) , Clifford (1988) , and Thomas (1991) have shown the historical depth and sociocultural complexity of art production in colonial or postcolonial, often touristic, contexts. Dealers, curators, and tour directors may present historical artifacts as ‘purebred’ symbols of rich heritages, but practically everything in our ethnographic collections was acquired in colonial situations. They may be trade replicas or, like the carved arts of the Northwest Coast Indians of North America, they may have enlarged and proliferated with new tools and economic stimuli. Often, colonists both consumed and imitated contact arts, attempting to assume a new ‘ethnic’ identity by appropriating the culture of the conquered.
Recent works have focused less on the objects and more on the agency of the personnel of the art world. Ethnohistorical analyses: Cohodas (1997) , Batkin (1987) and Phillips (1998) , and ethnographic research ( Steiner, 1995 ), reveal the complex activities of artists, intermediaries, and consumers. Artists may consciously work in a variety of styles, aiming at a number of consumer markets ( Jules-Rosette, 1984 ), or they may themselves play the role of intermediaries.
When artists and consumers are culturally or geographically separated, mediating agents assume greater importance ( Steiner, 1994 ). They not only transmit the physical art object from the producer to the consumer but also control the flow of information about its origin, age, meaning, and status as a commodity or a treasure ( Appadurai, 1986 ). They also transmit back the demands and the ideology of the collectors, in terms of price, repeat orders, or information about form, content, color, and materials.
Artists dependent on the cross-cultural market are rarely socialized into its symbolic and aesthetic system, knowing little about the art world, or even ‘art’ itself. They live in a minefield of rules that they overstep at their peril, unless they assimilate into the ‘art world’ ( Graburn, 1993 ). The Australian Aborigine watercolorist Namatjira painted successfully in the style of his white mentor, engendering both praise and jealous racism among the Australian public, leading to his downfall ( Batty, 1963 ). Today's Third and Fourth World peoples have increasing exposure to mainstream arts and art materials. Many have attended art schools and assumed the burdens of (Western) art history and the ideological values of originality, artistic freedom, and individual creativity.
The separation of the art circuits for Native arts and mainstream (Euro-American) arts is eroding. Many Native artists work in genres of the metropolitan world art. The contents of their art may not be recognizable as ‘ethnic,’ possibly because white artists have appropriated so many ethnic motifs. When competing in the world market, Native artists signal their ethnicity through presentation of traditional content, inclusion of stereotypical motifs and color schemes; choice of title or use of a Native name (or ‘tribal’ designation with a nonethnic name); or the inclusion of written statements expressing a Native point of view ( Sturtevant, 1986 ; Smith, 2009 ). Inclusions of non-Native contents, motifs, names, and titles may draw criticism or rejection by the market.
Ethnic artists are everywhere pressured to create arts conforming to the image desired by the mainstream market. Even the ‘Magiciens de la Terre’ ( Martin, 1989 ), which exhibited ‘world artists’ in Paris, revealed by juxtaposition how the ‘ethnic’ artists were expected to create something stereotypically traditional, but the metropolitan (white) artists drew their motifs or materials from natural or cultural alterity (otherness) without limitation.
Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture
Jason Potts , in Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture , 2014
Technological change leads to changed cultural consumption. The purpose of this chapter is to examine this process using neoclassical and evolutionary frameworks of economic analysis. We find that technological change, particularly in digital computation and media technologies, has multiple effects on the quantities, mixes, and varieties of cultural consumption, and even on our preferences over types of cultural consumption. Technological change does not just mean more, but also means different.
How new technology effects cultural consumption is – perhaps surprisingly, given its ubiquity – a little-studied branch of economic analysis. Although the conditions of demand for arts and culture has received considerable attention (e.g. Throsby, 1994; Blaug, 2001 ), as has the question of how new technologies affect the supply of arts and culture (e.g. Caves, 2000; Baumol, 2006 ), there has been a deficit of attention in the economics of arts and culture to examining the connection between new technology and changed patterns of cultural consumption. The default assumption has for the most part been that new technology primarily affects arts and cultural production, which then flows through to changed consumer behavior by shifts in relative prices or new goods and services, or by feedback effects operating on changed consumption opportunities. The effect may also be understood as operating directly from new technology to new consumption behaviors. Or it may work in the opposite direction, when changed cultural consumption affects the incentives associated with new technologies. There is a great deal of research to be done and what follows in this chapter is only an outline of the key dimensions of that task.
There are two obvious starting points: broadly, ‘creative industries’ or the ‘cost disease’, depending upon the nature of new technologies’ impact on cultural consumption. In the creative industries model, new technology is the powerful trajectory associated with epochal changes in digital new media and its transformative impact on cultural consumption (e.g. Howkins, 2001; Hartley, 2005 ). This focuses on large falls in price including to zero ( Anderson, 2009 ) associated with the crisis of business models in some domains (music, film, newspapers), increased propensity to pay in others (subscription TV, mobile telephony), and radical segmentation of markets (divergence) in the context of technological convergence. Driving this are new technologically driven opportunities over cultural consumption possibilities, particularly in respect of digitally mediated socially interactive possibilities. This ‘new media’ line focuses on the rise of the amateur ( Leadbeater and Miller 2004; Leadbeater, 2008 ), consumer co-creation, and ‘convergence culture’ ( Banks and Potts, 2010; Jenkins, 2006 ), among other factors. Wider economic analysis of this approach to the effect of new technology on patterns of demand can be found in Cowen (2002, 2008) and Potts (2011) , both of whom also connect this to a context of globalization and economic evolution. Sections 9.3–9.5 draw on this interpretation of new digital technology, and its implications for cultural consumption in re-shaping patterns of demand and preferences.
A second way to connect new technology to cultural consumption analytically is via a generalization of the ‘cost disease’ model from its initial analytic domain in the live arts to consideration of a broader production context ( Baumol and Bowen, 1966; Baumol, 2006 ). Baumol’s argument was that new technology has a lesser productivity effect on live cultural production than most other sectors. This raises the real cost of such production (in Baumol’s example, a string quartet performance) and therefore the price, leading to reduced consumer demand ( Felton, 1994; Heilbrun and Gray, 2001, p. 139; Preston and Sparveiro, 2009 ). The ‘cost disease’ model makes specific conjectures about the relative strength of income and substitution effects. It has found a range of empirical support in certain classical or core segments of live cultural production ( Throsby, 1994; Blaug, 2001 ). Yet Cowen (1996) argues that the model does not account for the positive effects on cultural consumption of new technology in cultural production, particularly in distribution and embedding in other products. This point was readily conceded by Baumol (2006) .
Thus, we have a model in which technological change affects cultural consumption by lowering its price and furnishing new consumption possibilities, and also a model of new technology affecting other sectors to a greater extent than culture, raising the relative cost and price of cultural consumption. So, does technological change increase or decrease the marginal price of cultural consumption? The answer depends upon which parts of cultural consumption we refer to. Technological change affects the relative price of cultural consumption, but also the relative price of cultural substitutes and complements. It offers new cultural consumption possibilities and shapes new cultural preferences. Technological change and the dynamics of cultural consumption are perhaps therefore best understood as co-evolving.
This chapter outlines the standard model of how technological change affects cultural consumption as a normal good with special features ( Throsby, 1994; Caves, 2000 ). It also examines the co-evolution of technological and cultural economies, considering endogenous preferences, entrepreneurial opportunities, and broad shifts in behaviors, including those associated with risk. This advances an evolutionary economic approach to how digital and new media technology effect cultural consumption and vice versa .
Art: Anthropological Aspects
N. Graburn , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
4 Art in the Contemporary World
Early anthropological analyses focused on embedded ‘authentic, traditional’ arts, known as ‘primitive’ or ‘non-Western’ arts (Gerbrands 1957 ). In Ethnic and Tourist Arts ( 1976 ) Graburn examined their entry into the ‘World Art System,’ looking at the primary audiences (locals or the external market) and the sources of aesthetic forms (traditional, external models, or novelties). Others have focused on such arts, in Africa and the Americas where traditional ‘primitive’ arts were found, and in literate civilizations such as Thailand which have fallen under Western influences (Phillips 1992 ). Questioning the historically contingent distinctions of hybrid/purebred, Morphy ( 1992 ) revealed identical structural and aesthetic patterns underlying functional (locally directed) and commercial (market) Yirrkala bark paintings. Neich examines a colonial era (1870–1910) form of Maori figurative painting influenced stylistically by pakeha (white) culture, but expressing Maori cosmology.
Cole, Appadurai, Clifford, and Thomas have recently shown the historical depth and sociocultural complexity of art production in colonial or postcolonial, often touristic, contexts. Dealers, curators, and tour directors may present historical artifacts as ‘purebred’ symbols of rich heritages, but practically everything in our ethnographic collections was acquired in colonial situations. They may be trade replicas or, like the carved arts of the Northwest Coast Indians of North America, they may have enlarged and proliferated with new tools and economic stimuli. Often colonists both consumed and imitated contact arts, attempting to assume a new ‘ethnic’ identity by appropriating the culture of the conquered.
Recent works have focused less on the objects and more on the agency of the personnel of the art world. Ethnohistorical analyses (Cohodas, 1999 , Batkin 1999 ) and ethnographic research (Steiner 1995 ) reveal the complex activities of artists, intermediaries, and consumers. Artists may work consciously in a variety of styles, aiming at a number of consumer markets, or they may themselves play the role of intermediaries.
When artists and consumers are culturally or geographically separated, mediating agents assume greater importance. They not only transmit the physical art object from the producer to the consumer, but they also control the flow of information about its origin, age, meaning, and status as a commodity or a treasure (Appadurai 1986 ). They also transmit back the demands and the ideology of the collectors, in terms of price, repeat orders, or information about form, content, color, and materials.
Artists dependent on the cross-cultural market are rarely socialized into its symbolic and aesthetic system, knowing little about the art world, or even about ‘Art’ itself. They live in a minefield of rules which they overstep at their peril, unless they assimilate into the ‘art world’ (Graburn 1993 ). The Australian Aborigine watercolorist, Namatjira, painted successfully in the style of his white mentor, engendering both praise and jealous racism among the Australian public, leading to his downfall. Today's Third and Fourth World peoples have increasing exposure to mainstream arts and art materials. Many have attended art schools and assumed the burdens of (Western) art history and the ideological values of originality, artistic freedom, and individual creativity.
The separation of the art circuits for Native arts and mainstream (Euro-American) arts is eroding. Many Native artists work in genres of the metropolitan world art. The contents of their art may not be recognizable as ‘ethnic’—possibly because white artists have appropriated so many ethnic motifs! When competing in the world market, Native artists signal their ethnicity through the presentation of traditional content, inclusion of stereotypical motifs and color schemes; choice of title or use of a Native name (or ‘tribal’ designation with a nonethnic name); or the inclusion of written statements expressing a Native point of view (Sturtevant 1986 ). Inclusions of non-Native contents, motifs, names and titles may draw criticism or rejection by the market.
Ethnic artists are everywhere pressured to create arts conforming to the image desired by the mainstream market. Even ‘Magiciens de la Terre’ which exhibited ‘world artists’ in Paris in 1987, revealed by juxtaposition how the ‘ethnic’ artists were expected to create something stereotypically traditional, but the metropolitan (white) artists drew their motifs or materials from natural or cultural alterity (Otherness) without limitation.
Very few anthropologists have tackled the core institutions and activities of the metropolitan art world itself. De Berlo, Gerbrands, Graburn, Krech ( 1999 ), and Sally Price have all examined how this art world has classified and examined non-Western arts. Myers, in his work on contemporary Australian aborigine dual purpose (sacred and commercial) arts has best analyzed the Western art discourse about such arts (Marcus and Myers 1995 ). Plattner ( 1997 ) has showed how hierarchies of prestige, stemming from New York, control economic rewards which dictate the life choices of a range of professional artists in St. Louis. This is the field in which the disciplinary boundaries between anthropology, art history, and cultural studies dissolve in synthetic collections in books and in journals such as Res , Art in America , or Visual Anthropology Review , reflecting the final breakdown of the boundaries between art, craft, material culture, and perhaps of the singularity of ‘Art’ itself.
What is art essay (521 words).
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Art is the product of creative human activity in which materials are shaped or selected to convey an idea, emotion, or visually interesting form. The word art can refer to the visual arts, including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, decorative arts, crafts, and other visual works that combine materials or forms. Art is the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects that can be shared with others. It involves the arranging of elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions and acts as a means of communication with the viewer as it represents the thoughts of the artist.
While art is an action, the person who performs the action is known as an artist. The word artist is a descriptive term applied to a person who performs activities that are said to be art. Artists use their art as a mean of communication. Jamaican artists have been known to portray strong feeling through their works of art. These works of art either appear in two dimensional or three dimensional forms and each form in its own way portrays some feelings, emotions or ideas. Their works of art have been known to tell stories or depict ideas and can either be a realistic piece or an abstract. For most people, the main enjoyment in art is that pieces of art seem to stir the emotions and feelings of the viewer.
Osmond Watson is considered one of Jamaica’s most prominent artists having compiled some of Jamaica’s most collectible pieces of artwork. He has excelled in both 3d and 2d art as he is both a painter and a sculptor. Osmond Watson once stated “my philosophy on art is simple- my aim is to glorify Black people through my work with the hope that it will uplift the masses of the region giving dignity and self respect where it is needed and to make people more aware of their own beauty”. This is exactly what his pieces seem to do. The combination of simplified forms, dark outlines, bold and acidic colours easily distinguish his painting. It is sometimes combined with frames that are hand-crafted and ornate, his choice of subject matter, and his wit and his idiosyncratic style confirm that Osmond Watson is a unique and significant Caribbean artist.
“Peace and Love” is a famous painting done by Watson. He uses the elements and principles to deliver this message. The most obvious and dominant element he uses is colour. He uses the colour blue to represent peace and this is the first notion that one gets when one first looks at this piece. A small amount of red is used throughout the piece and this supports the aspects of love, strength and power among blacks. Brown in this is also used to represent a feeling of comfort and home. In the background Watson uses blue with a hint of zigzag lines that coupled with the subject’s hair adds non-tactile texture and depth to the piece. Watson uses a Rastafarian as the subject of his piece due to the fact that Rastafarians are usually associated with meditation and peace.
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- Conceptual Art: Challenging Existing Conventions of Art Production
Conceptual Art: Challenging Existing Conventions of Art Production - Essay Example
- Subject: Visual Arts & Film Studies
- Type: Essay
- Level: High School
- Pages: 27 (6750 words)
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Extract of sample "Conceptual Art: Challenging Existing Conventions of Art Production"
Center of discussion in this paper is conceptual art as a major art style following the decline of Modernism in the 1960s. Conceptual art is an exciting echelon that has produced artists that have amplified the very essence of what art is conceived to be. Its intention is to create art that will philosophically question and generate discussions based on ideas. The piece itself opens up debate, controversy and analysis. Unlike visual art, this type of art ‘idea’ may only survive afterwards through text, photography or sketches.
It’s revolutionary, exciting, challenging, confusing and not necessarily aesthetically pleasing, all contrary notions to the way art has classically been judged. Its presentation is at times impersonal, modular and sometimes serial. Nothing within conceptual art is exempt from political, social, or economic critiques. It uses and challenges the shape and complacency of the art world. Still, conceptual art is still evolving it’s a term and art form that has many definitions, expanding the reference of art.
This essay takes a broad account of the nature of conceptual art, arguing that conceptual artists challenge existing conventions of art production and display. To the uninitiated, conceptual art may not seem to be art at all, just a group of objects. Consider Marcel Broodthaers sculptural work that consists of poetry books cast in plaster. This work is an idea that depends upon an arrangement or combination of events set in progress by the artist and is allowed to find it’s own resolution. .
an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made before hand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art4 In examining the nature of conceptual art, it’s necessary to situate it within its historical context. In the 1950s, conceptual art emerged, inspired by artists from earlier periods such as Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968). Duchamp was linked with Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism but he avoided making affiliations and chose art by using humour and his individual attitude to push his artistic boundaries.
The legacy that Duchamp gifted us was to expand our minds to allow art to be about ideas. Duchamp raised questions about the beauty of art, the skill of the artist and even the need for the artist to make the work themselves. He questioned art’s purpose in today’s world. Duchamp moved to New York in 1915 and for eight years (1915-1923) he spent time working on 23 pieces which he called “Ready-mades”.5 They were ordinary items that became art by taking them from their normal environment, arranged in such a manner that the object changed it’s perspective and titled; it was an instrument in trying to change the mindset.
The combination of objects and the juxtaposition of them against one another was a kind of rebellion to push existing art barriers and to stand out of step with convention. Marcel Duchamps took a mass produced postcard of Leonardo de Vinci’s Mona Lisa and drew on it in pencil a graffiti type moustache and beard and re-title it L.H.O.O.Q. The crudeness was meant to shock, the French sentence,6 ‘Elle a chaud au cul’, which loosely translated to English means “She has a hot arse”. 7As with many of his ready-mades Duchamp did twelve other versions in
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Production Process Essay Paper
- June 8, 2012
- Posted by: essay
- Category: Sample essay papers
Production process is considered to be divided into several stages, the component positions of which may vary depending on the production process peculiarities, film budget and the crew itself. Some experts think that production process consists of three main stages, which are: pre-production, production and post-production; others suppose that there is a separate stage called development followed by pre-production.
If to consider development a separate stage of production process, it deals mainly with the screenplay writing which is done over the period of several months. The producer makes an outline of events, visualizes key points, finds the message of the story he has chosen, etc. this stage usually bends with the pre-production stage. This stage covers everything that is to happen before the camera is on, starting with the screenplay preparation. People involved in this stage are the director, the producer, the scriptwriter, the researcher, the make-up artist, the costume designer. The producer hires his crew, a group of people for film production which id divided into different departments, each specializing in a specific aspect of the production. Producer helps to coordinate everything, is responsible for the financial, legal, administrative and artistic aspects of any production. There are also assistants of producer, who are associate producer, assistant producer, coordinating producer, supervising producer, executive producer, segment producer, etc. The producer is to hire a director, who is in charge of working out pre-production. Consequently, the producer sets things in motion, while the director is in charge of taking the screenplay from the beginning to the very end of the production process. Director is assisted by a technical director, who is responsible for ensuring the technical aspects of production; he coordinates the set design, lighting and set construction and any other technical details. There are other production assistants; director is assisted by a lighting director and a set director. Lighting director develops the lighting plan, coordinates lighting instruments. There is also a gaffer who works with light, he is usually the head electrician who reports to the Director of Photography and other electricians. A set director also called set designer, production designer or scenic director is responsible for visual appearance of a production. He works in close collaboration with a lighting designer and master carpenter. Master carpenter has to turn a set design into the actual set pieces, to coordinate the real construction. It is necessary to point out the most important members of a crew aside from the director is the cinematographer also called the director of photography. He creates the visual texture of the film and makes us have this or that impression of the film watched. The director of photography is the main person in the lighting crew, who takes on decisions, chooses the correct aperture, lighting to achieve the desired effect on the viewer. Such positions as casting director, researcher, make-up artist, production designer and costume designer take active part in pre-production as well as production process. Casting director chooses actors and actresses for the film; a lot depends on the choice of this person. As for the researcher, he studies the screenplay long before the beginning of shooting, he finds out if the facts are truthful, ideas original, all the events described are consistent, what is more, a researcher has to inform the producer and director what scene has to be included to bring all components in good working order. As the make-up artist, his task is to create a person’s image on the screen, to manipulate actor’s screen appearance, make them look the way it is needed according to the script. The same is with costume designer who has to make all costumes worn by actors on the screen, to influence the style of the film, to show the characters through how they look like in costumes.
It is natural that every production of a film relies on a number of people who participate not only in pre-production but also in production stage and even more actively. The pre-production stage smoothly flows into the production process itself, which is sometimes called principal photography. In production process there act such positions as director of photography, cinematographer or camera operator, cinema operator, who uses camera under the guidance of the director of photography, first and second assistants camera. One more position of production process is floor manager with his assistant, who are to give directions to a crew. Production manager and unit manager supervise physical aspects of the production including scheduling, budget, etc. Production manager often works under the guidance of line producer and supervises the production coordinator, who organizes the logistics starting from hiring a crew and finishing with renting equipment. Here also work boom operators, a gaffer, a dolly grip, a person moving a dolly where required, and a key grip, the one who creates shadow effects with lights, they do a lot of work under a sharp eye of the producer or the art director. There will seldom be a production without a props manager, who needs to prepare everything that will be carried by actors, they see to it that props are taken from somewhere or even made.
The next stage after production is post-production led by the film editor mainly, though he is assisted by sound editors, Foley artists, publicists and a composer or composers. The chief editor has to build a rough cut from scenes based on individual shots. He should see to it that the story follows smoothly; the cut is to be approved by the director and the producer. Then the film passes on to the sound department, where voice recordings are synchronized and final sound mix is created. A sound editor also decides which sound effects to use and which to neglect. A sound editor takes the sounds prepared by the Foley artist, who creates and records sound effects. Foley artist also fabricates the sounds which cannot be correctly recorded during the filmmaking. The publicity manager is to advertise the film, this is done rather long before the new production is made and ready for broadcasting.
Production process is a complicated process which involves a great number of people including those who never appear on the screen, but are as important for the film as the cast.
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Art makes society: an introductory visual essay
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Introduction: art is doing, not viewing!
Art as material culture, art as action, conclusions, notes on contributors, acknowledgements, guest editorial.
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In this visual essay that serves as an introduction to the set of articles presented in this issue, we illustrate four ways that art makes society. We adopt a stance informed by recent perspectives on material culture, moving away from thinking about art purely in aesthetic terms, instead asking how art objects have significance in particular cultural and social contexts. Arguing that art is participatory as well as visually affecting, we first suggest that art creates sites of activity for shared interaction. Second, we discuss the varied ways that people use art to create and assert representational models for social relations. Third, we consider the varied roles of art as cultural capital, marking out members of society through shared forms of knowledge or access to art. Finally, we document the ways that art serves as a medium of exclusion and as a means for resisting authority or challenging power relations. We highlight the layered meanings inherent in many artworks.
- material culture
- social relations
Anthropological perspectives on art have changed radically in the last three decades. In the modern West, ‘art’ has traditionally been understood as a form of high culture, participated in through norms of connoisseurship, patronage, and individual expression. Images and objects have been primarily seen as things to view, set apart in museums, galleries, and other public places. Archaeologists and anthropologists have traditionally treated art in a parallel way, as symbolic expressions of meanings and values. In such an approach, scholars viewed art with the aim of interpreting (or decoding) an act of communication expressed in conventional symbolic forms.
Recently, however, scholars in both anthropology and the various disciplines focused on art studies have expressed scepticism that such a perspective can encompass the realities of art as it is experienced, thought about, and engaged with, both in Western settings and in the wider world. In art studies, a material turn has foregrounded the presence of objects more than their interpretation (Moxey Citation 2008 ). Anthropologists argue that concepts of the uniqueness of artworks, for example, may be emphasised more in the West than elsewhere. In line with developments in material culture theory (Miller Citation 2005 ; Tilley Citation 1999 ; Tilley et al. Citation 2006 ), art is now seen more in terms of its participation, engagement, and actions with people, rather than simply as objects and images to be passively viewed (Gell Citation 1998 ; Morphy and Perkins Citation 2006 ).
Regarding art as a behaviour – an instance of ‘making special’ – shifts the emphasis from the modernist's view of art as object or quality or the postmodernist's view of it as text or commodity to the activity itself (the making or doing and appreciating), which is what it is in many pre-modern societies where the object is essentially an occasion for or an accoutrement to ceremonial participation … (Dissanayake Citation 1995 , 223)
In this introduction to the special issue ‘Art makes society’, we explore the implications of this approach. We do not consider the theoretical arguments in depth, but instead illustrate with examples the range of ways that art helps to constitute social relations. Our aim is to provide a general context for the articles which make up this issue.
Writing as archaeologists and anthropologists exploring a topic which stands at the crossroads of many fields, we wish to position ourselves clearly. One goal of the contributors to this issue is simply to provoke archaeologists and anthropologists to think about art in relation to societal dynamics. In response to doubts about the relevance of a traditional, Western category of ‘art’ for the understanding of other cultures, many anthropologists have abandoned the term altogether in favour of a focus on material culture. Exceptions are anthropologists working at the interface of Western and non-Western cultures, who ask how the specifically Western conceptions of art are used in appropriating and commodifying indigenous creations (Küchler Citation 1988 ; Marcus and Myers Citation 1995 ; Thomas Citation 1991 ). Archaeologists generally follow suit. As a consequence, art is left untheorised, except through a semiotic/representationalist paradigm that limits what we can do, beyond trying – often fruitlessly and usually contentiously – to interpret the content. If instead we acknowledge that art is material culture with specific properties and capacities, we can understand much more. Looking beyond the disciplinary boundaries of archaeology and anthropology, we also recognise important theoretical developments in fields such as art history and visual culture studies. The movement towards regarding the art object as influential through its presence and material qualities (Moxey Citation 2008 ) is parallel to the material turn happening across the humanities and social sciences more broadly, an art-theory cognate to ‘thing theory’ in literature (Brown Citation 2001 ) and approaches to materiality in anthropology (Miller Citation 2005 ). Indeed, since these themes are already commonly explored in the archaeological literature, we see great potential for studies of art to open up a rich dialogue across disciplines.
The shift in perspective described above is intertwined with broader transformations in anthropological approaches to art. Some of the impact of art certainly derives from its aesthetic properties; for example, in ritual, emotional impacts may derive in part from the beauty or tactility of the objects or aspects of performance, or from the virtuosity displayed by an artisan (DeMarrais Citation 2013 ). In most cultures, some objects are fashioned with effort and skill to create a strong aesthetic impression (Coote Citation 1992 ; Morphy and Perkins Citation 2006 ); the natural world similarly has aesthetic qualities that inspire artists as well as viewers. At the same time, anthropologists have traditionally and rightly been cautious about imposing a high culture, aesthetic view of ‘art’ on non-Western peoples and, indeed, on European works before the Renaissance. The category of ‘art’ is often problematic, as ethnographers have repeatedly demonstrated (Gell Citation 1998 ; Layton Citation 1991 ; Myers Citation 1991 ). As Appadurai ( Citation 1986 ) pointed out over 25 years ago, an object's significance is as dependent on its cultural context and history as on its intrinsic properties. Indigenous ‘art’ often operated within completely different frames from those which Westerners habitually impose on things designated as art. An excellent example is Küchler's (1988) study of Malanggan statues, which were never intended to last. Although Western collectors treat the statues as art, purchasing them for display in museums, the statues were meant to decay, with the making of the statue serving to cement and to secure the memory of the deceased. Thus, the things archaeologists and anthropologists understand as ‘art’ include images and objects produced for uses that range well beyond what ‘art’ does in our own society. Further examples include numerous medieval paintings framing ritual settings (as altarpieces for example), the sculptures of Classical Antiquity that became objects of veneration, and much prehistoric and non-Western rock art executed as acts of participation with perhaps little concern for creating permanently visible or lasting designs (Fowles and Arterberry Citation 2013 ).
… These boards are richly carved and painted, and they are the first thing that the Trobrianders’ overseas exchange partners get to see when the Trobriand flotilla arrives on their shores, before exchange operations get under way. The purpose of these beautiful carvings is to demoralize the opposition … Neither the Trobrianders nor their exchange partners operate a category of ‘art’ as such; from their point of view the efficacy of these boards stems from the powerful magical associations they have … (Gell Citation 1998 , 69)
As both Gell ( Citation 1998 ) and Dissanayake ( Citation 1995 ) have argued, from different starting points, the visibility of the objects, their social effects, and their distinctiveness (often indicated by the time and effort put into their making) reveal that these objects were intended to have an impact.
In this collection of papers, in line with ongoing theoretical debate, contributors emphasise not aesthetic qualities per se , but the material realities of art (objects and images) in their social contexts. If art is seen as (visual) material culture, we need to look past approaches to art as meaning, as symbols and as representation (and beyond aesthetics) to consider how art – as material culture – has direct and lasting influences on human beings. Contributors explore how art mediates power relations, establishes ideational realms, as well as influencing the routine encounters and engagements of everyday life. Similarly, art – as material culture –has political significance, expressed in varied ways, often tied to the acquisition and circulation of desired objects by the powerful (Helms Citation 1992 ). While art can be displayed or used in rituals to generate consensus (DeMarrais Citation 2011 ), contributors to this collection also explore cases in which the shared act of making art may generate new social ties or reinforce sentiments of solidarity (Fowles and Arterberry Citation 2013 ). Art can innovate, express cosmological themes, engage with a narrative, or re-work elements of an existing cultural tradition. All of these effects are elements of the way art facilitates social action and agency, rather than remaining a passive object of viewership.
In understanding art as action, the question we ask is: What does an (art) object do, and how? The interpretative movement involves recognising that what we call art is a form of material culture intended to have specific social effects. To examine its material and design characteristics is to begin to understand how it worked. In the following section, we consider the implications of an approach to art as action.
To the extent that art grows out of performance and participation, it involves a sequence of gestures that may draw groups of people together. In this way, art may constitute a group of participants, involve them in making it or using it in ritual and other ways. These social activities will frame art for discussion or reaction as well as, in some cases, involve viewing by an audience. These approaches to art are distinct from recent conventions invoking a solitary artist producing work for the museum or gallery wall.
In modern society, art allows people to ‘remake themselves and their worlds, while commenting on their values and beliefs’ (from the World Art website, http://www.tandfonline.com/action/aboutThisJournal?show=aimsScope&journalCode=rwor20 ). Archaeologists, of course, rarely have access to thought processes; however, the range and diversity of art from past societies is, in our view, testament to the importance of this ongoing ‘commentary’ among human beings. The archaeological record contains not only the objects and images (‘art’) of past societies, but also the locations where they were made, displayed, or used. Further insights come from art that decorated buildings, was erected as monuments, or made visible in other settings in which fixed objects or images are found. The scale, visibility, and accessibility of these objects and images are further sources of information about their cultural significance.
In the rest of this essay, we present a range of examples to consider the varied ways in which art makes society. We consider: (1) the ways art can frame a setting; (2) art as participation; (3) art as representational models for social relations; and (4) art as a medium for exclusion or resistance.
Art creates sites of activity
Art establishes settings for action, framing architectural or open air spaces used for gatherings, public events, or collective action. Large-scale or monumental installations, such as memorials, create sites for the re-enactment of shared memories. Visual art can help to create a ritual setting by setting it apart, distinguishing ritual space from quotidian contexts; art may also help to set the scene through references to liturgical narratives. At a more intimate scale, a framed reproduction of an Impressionist painting in a doctor's waiting room can establish an unthreatening atmosphere of middle-of-the-road gentility to comfort anxious patients.
In acts of monumentalisation, people deploy large-scale artworks to create settings in which group memory is established and experienced. Often, as is the case with war memorials, these settings involve rites of commemoration ( Figure 1 ). On other occasions, memories may actually be created or invented through the art, as in the African Burial Ground monument in New York City.
Figure 1. Ypres, Belgium: memorial arch for British war dead of World War I. The walls are covered with the names of the dead, in a form of textual art; note space for ceremonial assembly within monument. Photo: J. Farr.
Large-scale art framing a ritual setting is visible in Figure 2 , a rock art panel from the American Southwest. These murals were widely distributed and highly visible; this image of San Juan anthropomorphs was pecked into an outcrop in Butler Wash (south-eastern Utah) during the Basketmaker II Period (AD 50–500). It shows a central figure who is ‘life-size’ (about 5 feet tall) flanked by additional figures wearing ritual adornments and headdresses. Rock art panels were often created at open-air sites, near locations used for autumn gatherings for ‘… exchange of marriage partners, trading, gaming … and political maneuvering among shamans’ (Robins and Hays-Gilpin Citation 2000 , 234). Rock art was highly visible and public, created on alcove walls, cliffs or on boulders near water sources. Reuse of some locations is indicated by the crowding of images or superimposition, suggesting ongoing modification (Charles and Cole Citation 2006 , 194).
Figure 2. Prehistoric rock art panel, Basketmaker II period, AD 50–500, Butler Wash, Utah. Photo: Robert Mark and Evelyn Billo of Rupestrian CyberServices.
‘Decorative’ rather than political or ritual art is far from unknown in the ancient world, as in the famous frescoes and mosaics from Roman Pompeii ( Figure 3 ). While ancient people no doubt took aesthetic pleasure in such settings, we cannot simply regard them as ‘art for art's sake’ in the modern sense; much as in the example of paintings in a doctor's waiting room, the choice of content, style and placement for such imagery – whether theological and mythological, naturalistic or erotic, or geometrical – may have helped create appropriate spaces for particular activities or social relationships.
Figure 3. Decorative frescos and mosaics in a bedroom from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor, Pompeii, Italy, first century AD. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.14.13a-g), photographed by Schecter Lee. Image: © Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Art is participatory
Art often invites participation, creating a focus or medium for relational action (Fowles and Arterberry Citation 2013 ). Adornment of the body through use of masks, costumes, body paintings, or tattoos transforms the body temporarily or permanently, while drawing attention. Figure 4 shows a mask from the Torres Strait. Made from turtleshell, wood, feathers, coconut fibre, resin, shell, and paint, this mask not only demonstrates the skills with which ritual adornments were produced, but also reminds us of the dramatic impressions they likely generated when worn. Masks are quintessentially participatory art; they enrol people into temporary assemblages of people and artifice, or create composite, living moments of altered realities.
Figure 4. Mask, Torres Strait, nineteenth century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1967 (1978.412.1510). Image: © Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Beyond specific events, the wearing of badges, insignia, or regalia in daily life also generates shared identities, marking out individuals as members of groups. Figure 5 shows a pilgrim badge from England, worn to display the pilgrim's active participation in pilgrimage and his or her wider affiliation with Christianity. Such forms of dress not only allowed people to objectify and to categorise themselves; they also enmeshed others in political relations such as colonialism (Loren Citation 2013 ).
Figure 5. Pilgrim badge, England, fourteenth century. British Museum 1898,0720.1. Image: © The British Museum.
In addition, the making or using of art objects or images may involve multiple participants, who forge bonds of solidarity through shared activities. The making of the art may be as (or more) important as the final product, seen for example in the collective endeavour of sewing a handmade quilt. Handprints attesting presence and participation are among the oldest motifs in human art, occurring in Palaeolithic painted caves. Around the world, rock art often consists of repeated motifs, surprisingly inconspicuous and sometimes ephemeral, which may result from gestures that comprised parts of a performed narrative of some kind. In modern settings, graffiti can attest to a human wish to assert one's presence. Figure 6a shows a monument marking the location where Garibaldi, hero of the Italian Risorgimento , was wounded in a minor skirmish; Figure 6b shows graffiti applied by school children during a visit to the site. The epigraphs, all along the lines of ‘Peppe loves Maria’, convey anything but the patriotic sentiments that the monument is supposed to evoke, but they do attest participation in the spirit of a school trip.
Figure 6a. Garibaldi monument, Aspromonte, Calabria, Italy: monument. Photo: J. Robb.
Figure 6b. Garibaldi monument, Aspromonte, Calabria, Italy: school-child graffiti on base of monument. Photo: J. Robb.
In archaeological settings, decorated pottery was often used to distinguish feasts as special events. In northwest Argentina, libation vessels decorated with modelled figures of animals are common in sites of the Regional Developments Period (AD 950–1430). Figure 7 shows a libation bowl; adorned with a feline head at one end, the bowl has an opening on the opposite side to facilitate drinking of its contents. More generally, the sharing of food and drink in ritual settings helps to sustain social ties; in the south Andes, the use of animal depictions probably also referenced shamanic or cult activity.
Figure 7. Prehispanic libation bowl with feline head, Regional Developments Period, AD 950–1430, northern Calchaquí Valley, Argentina. Photo: E. DeMarrais.
Finally, some art objects require considerable expertise or skill to make but are consumed or destroyed during their intended use. Malanggan objects, mentioned above, are excellent examples since they are implicated in forging memory. Other art objects whose appropriate use involves destruction include Mexican piñatas, elaborately decorated wedding cakes, ritually punctured Mimbres bowls of the American Southwest, and ‘Celtic’ metalwork deposited as votives in rivers and bogs. As a further archaeological example, the earliest clay figurines, made during the Palaeolithic of Central Europe, may have been ‘action art’ intended to explode dramatically when placed in a fire (Farbstein Citation 2013 ).
Art creates representational models for social relations
Art frequently represents social relations. Over time, images are internalised as people absorb cues that guide behaviour and ensure conduct appropriate to a given social setting. Bourdieu's ( Citation 1977 ) insightful analysis of habitus made clear that children and others learn by doing (and by observing others), rather than through direct instruction. Since art objects are often lasting, durable, and visible, they reinforce a vision of ‘the way things are’ that may be difficult to contest. This dynamic encompasses varied aspects of identity and social conduct as prescribed by gender, age, social position, or ritual status. Many images are ideologically loaded, such as the Greek red-figure drinking cup in Figure 8 , which inculcates the privileged position of males, depicted here sharing drink in the ritualised male-only setting of a symposium.
Figure 8. Greek red-figure cup with scene of male bonding in ritualised drinking at symposium, Vulci, Italy. British Museum 1836,0224.212. Image: © The British Museum.
Even more common is the commissioning of richly detailed and aesthetically pleasing art objects, made from rare materials by skilled artisans, to legitimate the privileged position of elites. Veblen's ( Citation 1899 ) insightful comments about conspicuous consumption resonate particularly well with the crafts produced for elites in many archaic states, including those of coastal Peru before the Incas. Figure 9 shows an image in silver of a ruler seated on a throne, its iconographic theme of hierarchy meshing seamlessly with the use of privileged materials such as rare metals and the virtuosic skill of Chimu artisans.
Figure 9. Silver ‘throne vessel’ depicting hierarchical group, fifteenth century, Chimu, Peru. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1969 (1978.412.170). Image: © Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Art is also almost always concerned with the wider social group, promoting ideas about the nature of the collectivity through representation (temporary or lasting) or by inviting participation in an event (a rite, a moment of creative activity, or a shared experience of viewing and appreciating) (DeMarrais Citation 2011 ). Figure 10 shows La Venta Offering 4 from pre-Hispanic lowland Mexico, shown here during its excavation, rightly famous for its revealing insight into Olmec social relations and ritual. Like many other works of art from around the world, it represents a moment when people are assembled to create a group, highlighting an idealised collectivity as a model for social participation. Spielmann ( Citation 2013 ) devotes considerable attention to this potential role for art, as part of ritual, in generating cohesion among Hopewell villages and for bolstering the claims of ritual specialists.
Figure 10. La Venta Offering 4, Mexico, showing a leader conducting a group ritual, Olmec, Formative Period. Photo: John Clark and Pierre Agrinier.
Art as cultural capital
Art also represents cultural capital – concentrated, privileged access to items of value. In this sense, art can be a vocabulary for the shared habitus of members of the same social class, a tangible yet dynamic means for relating or dividing groups. This may often be simply through shared styles or ways of doing things. Farbstein ( Citation 2013 ), for example, shows how small prehistoric communities creatively formulated different artistic representations as part of creating local networks of shared identity.
In class-stratified societies or power-laden colonial relations, art has the capacity to unite, divide, or position people (Bourdieu Citation 1984 ), since not all people are equally able to decode or to appreciate art and since art may be used to encode values privileging dominant groups. Herring ( Citation 2013 ) eloquently traces the ways that Andean art has been appropriated, and misunderstood, in the unfolding discourses of Western Modernist art history. Architectural styles provide a particularly prominent way of asserting cultural capital; in recent European and American history, for example, there have been two architectures of power: the Classical and the Gothic. Both were deliberately revived and reworked to be widely used in public buildings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ( Figure 11 ), asserting institutional legitimacy by evoking the imagined splendours of a Classical or medieval past.
Figure 11. Senate House, University of Cambridge (1730): as on many university campuses the Classical columns and façade proclaim the university's role as heir of ancient Greek civilisation, as well as partaking in a more general architectural aesthetic of power. Photo: J. Robb.
Maya art is similarly well-known for evoking a world of privilege and power surrounding elites and their entourages. Evidence increasingly suggests that Maya elites were in some cases also the artisans. Inomata argues that craft production by elites during the Classic Period ‘… was at once a highly political act closely tied to power and an expression of elites ascribing to cultural and aesthetic values’ ( Citation 2007 , 137). He suggests that the willingness of high-status individuals to engage in demanding craft production work is evidence of their commitment to cultural ideals. Figure 12 shows a relief panel depicting a ruler in full regalia. Both the personae represented and the creation, control and use of such objects tied high status people to a world of symbolic capital. Virtually all ancient civilisations, from the Egyptians through the Incas, engaged in a similar materialisation of the cultural capital of their rulers in large-scale or finely-worked art.
Figure 12. Classic Maya relief with enthroned ruler. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1047). Image: © Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Art as a medium of exclusion, resistance, or layered meanings
Art does not simply present and reinforce dominant ideologies or assert social models; it may contain hidden, layered, or contested messages or meanings. Likewise, the knowledge asserted in (or by) an artwork may be contested. For example, Brumfiel ( Citation 1996 ) provides a compelling case that healthy-looking, standing female figurines, produced by local communities in the Aztec hinterland, were intentional forms of alternative art, produced in response to negative depictions of women (often shown dismembered or kneeling in submission) promulgated as part of the Aztec imperial ideology.
Arts of protest and resistance are two manifestations of this phenomenon. Both may be expressed through unsanctioned, counter-authoritarian genres. The graffiti example above seems innocent of political critique, but graffiti and defacement often express political sentiments. The spray can may be an ubiquitous tool for contemporary dissent, and sometimes this contestation of meaning is intentionally foregrounded in art. In a recent article on the BBC website, the artist Antony Gormley described his experience of erecting an early sculpture of a life-size human figure in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1987, during the Troubles, a time of often violent political conflict (McCann Citation 2011 ). Intending his work to be ‘a poultice, and a benign piece that related to the feelings of the people in that place and their situation’, he remembers the vigorous attack on the work as it was being placed in the ground. ‘They were throwing stones and sticks and then spitting on the sculpture. The sculpture came over the top dripping with saliva, the missiles kept coming.’ The work was eventually doused in petrol and set alight. Gormley continues, ‘This was excellent. This was the work as poultice throwing violence and evil onto itself that would otherwise be experienced in other ways.’
Moreover, art allows ambiguity, or layers of interpretation, that facilitate multiple understandings, as explored in Robinson's article ( Citation 2013 ) on the significance of graffiti in Barcelona. Ambiguous or multi-layered imagery is common in the European medieval period, for instance, where images may express visual puns. An artist might playfully portray himself (or others) in mythological or Biblical scenes in a manner undetectable to those unfamiliar with his visage, giving the work both public and personal significance. Medieval manuscript illuminations and woodcarvings often show obscene or grotesque imagery in the margins of sacred texts or settings. For instance, underneath a carved church seat from King's Lynn, England, lurk two grylluses ( Figure 13 ), imaginary creatures thought to embody humans’ baser instincts, a suggestion underlined by their ambiguously phallic noses and by their intended proximity to churchgoers’ backsides. Is this the illustration of an obscure theological text? Satire? Permissible playfulness? The answer may have been as ambiguous to medieval people as it remains to us.
Figure 13. Hidden misericord imagery on the bottom of a carved wooden church seat, King's Lynn, England, fourteenth century. Victoria and Albert Museum W.7-1921. Image: © Victoria and Albert Museum.
We have argued, through examples from past and present, that art is deeply embedded in everyday life as well as integral to special occasions of ritual, political or biographical importance. As one would expect from a profoundly varied phenomenon, no single explanation can encompass the diverse ways that art establishes, sustains, or transforms social relations. Through its making, using, and display, art helps people share underlying understandings of the world, allows individuals and groups to create and express values, to assert social capital, and – finally – art creates venues and media for the performance of identities and social relations. In the collected articles of this issue, contributors illustrate these varied perspectives; the case studies range across world archaeology from Palaeolithic to historic periods.
Elizabeth DeMarrais and John Robb teach archaeology in the Division of Archaeology, University of Cambridge. Working in the Americas and Europe, respectively, they share broad interests in art, material culture, theory and social relations in the past. Two years ago, they established a Material Culture Laboratory to provide a setting for students and researchers interested in theory and material culture to meet and to exchange ideas in an interdisciplinary setting. The current collection of papers was initially presented as part of a symposium entitled ‘Art Makes Society’, organised for the Society for American Archaeology meeting in April 2012, in Memphis, TN, USA.
We are grateful to John Clark and Pierre Agrinier for permission to use Figure 10 , to Johanna Farr for the use of Figure 1 , and to Robert Mark and Evelyn Billo of Rupestrian CyberServices for use of Figure 2 . We thank The British Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Victoria and Albert Museum for use of varied images as noted in the captions, and the two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments. We thank George Lau and Veronica Sekules for their editorial oversight and helpful comments.
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- National Gallery of Art - The Printimaking Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France
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Read a brief summary of this topic
printmaking , an art form consisting of the production of images, usually on paper but occasionally on fabric, parchment, plastic, or other support, by various techniques of multiplication, under the direct supervision of or by the hand of the artist. Such fine prints, as they are known collectively, are considered original works of art, even though they can exist in multiples.
To the modern reader, the word print might suggest mechanically mass-produced commercial products, such as books, newspapers, and textiles. In this article, however, print refers to the original creation of an artist who, instead of the paintbrush or the chisel, has chosen printmaking tools for expression.
The fine print is a multiple original. Originality is generally associated with uniqueness, but a print is considered original because the artist from the outset intended to create an etching , woodcut , or other graphic work and thus conceived an image within the possibilities and limitations of that technique. Without doubt, early printmaking was strongly influenced by a desire for multiple prints. Artists quickly discovered, however, that when a drawing is translated into a woodcut or engraving , it takes on totally new characteristics. Each technique has its own distinctive style, imposed by the tools, materials, and printing methods. The metamorphosis that takes place between drawing and print became the strongest attraction for the creative artist. It is important to understand that artists do not select printing methods arbitrarily but choose the ones in which they can best express themselves. Thus, any of the proofs printed from an original plate is considered an original work of art, and, although most fine prints are pulled in limited quantities, the number has no bearing on originality, only on commercial value.
What is the difference between a reproduction and an original print? In the very early days of printmaking, this was not a serious problem, because the print was not looked upon as a precious art object and prices were low. The question of originality became an issue only in the 18th century, and in the 19th century artists started to hand sign their prints. Since then, the signed print has been accepted by most people as the proof of its originality.
With regard to the names with which they signed their works, Japanese artists followed a bewildering custom: adopting and discarding names at will. Artists simply adopted names of other artists they admired. Thus, in the art history of Japan, it is common to find several unrelated artists bearing the same name and one artist bearing many names; during his long life, Hokusai , for example, used about 50 different names. In fact, a signature by itself means little or nothing. For instance, Pablo Picasso issued many signed reproductions of his paintings; on the other hand, many of his original etchings have been published in split editions, some signed and some not. These unsigned etchings are original, while the signed reproductions are not. The crucial difference is that Picasso made the plate for the original print, while the signed reproduction was photomechanically produced.
In 1960 the International Congress of Plastic Arts drafted a resolution intended to regulate contemporary prints. The crucial paragraph reads:
The above principles apply to graphic works which can be considered originals, that is to say to prints for which the artist made the original plate, cut the woodblock, worked on the stone or any other material. Works that do not fulfill these conditions must be considered “reproductions.”
Although this is a straightforward statement, later developments have proved it to be highly controversial. Since the rise of the Pop and Op movements, a great number of photographically produced prints have been published and sold as signed originals. Because museum curators, art critics, and artists have not taken a firm stand on the question, any print that the artist declares to be original is now accepted as such, regardless of how it was made. Although the art world is divided on the solution, nearly everybody agrees that something should be done to clarify the situation. The state of New York , for example, has passed a law requiring complete disclosure by the dealer of how, and by whom, the print was made.
Many artists believe that the answer lies in the giving of honest information. In the 17th and 18th centuries in the West, most prints carried all the relevant information on their margins. The names of individuals were followed by Latin abbreviations indicating their role in the work. Common examples are del. ( delineavit ): “he drew it”; imp. ( impressit ): “he printed it”; and sculp. ( sculpsit ): “he engraved it.” This type of information, together with the total edition number, should be furnished by the artist or the dealer to the buyer. Clearly, it is impossible to make completely rigid rules to define originality. Probably the most realistic solution is to establish degrees of originality, based on the degree of the artist’s participation in the various steps in the creation of the finished print.
There may also be confusion about edition numbering. In contemporary printmaking, an original print in limited edition should carry information about the size of the total edition and the number of the print. A problem can arise because, in addition to the regular edition, there are “artist’s proofs” or the French “H.C.” ( hors de commerce ) proofs. These are intended for the artist’s personal use and should be no more than 10 percent of the edition, but, unfortunately, this practice is often abused. All of the prints pulled between working stages are called “trial proofs.” These can be of great interest because they reveal the artist’s working process and of great value because the number of proofs is small.
With prints of old masters in the West, originality is a very complex and difficult issue. These artists did not publish their prints in limited editions but printed as many as they could sell and without signing or numbering their works. There are arguments even between experts about the authenticity of many old prints. Important works of the masters are documented in catalogs and, although these must be revised from time to time, they furnish the only firm information available. After the edition is printed, the modern artist usually either destroys the plate or marks (“strikes”) it in a distinctive manner to guarantee that any reprint from the plate is identifiable.
The 19th-century U.S. painter and etcher James McNeill Whistler was one of the first Western artists to hand sign his prints. Signing is now regulated by a convention . Upon completing the edition, the artist signs and numbers each print. Usually the signature is in the lower right corner; the edition number is on the left. Some artists put the title in the centre.
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The meaning of art as viewed by various philosophers:
Tolstoy Hegel Wittgenstein Maritain
Leo Tolstoy on What is Art?
Aetheticians have attempted to work backwards by first listing acknowledged works of art, and then trying to find a theory to fit them all. So now, no matter what insanities appear in art, once they find acceptance among the upper classes of society, a theory is quickly invented to explain and sanction them, just as if there had never appeared in history people who produced false and deformed art, which was afterwards discarded and forgotten. And one may see now in the art of our circle, to what lengths the insanity and deformity of art may go.
So that theory of art is nothing but the setting up as good whatever pleases us, that is, pleases a certain class of people. In order define any human activity, it is necessary to understand its sense and importance; to do that one must examine the activity itself, and its causes and effects, not merely in relation to the pleasure we get out of it. If we say that the aim of any activity is merely pleasure, and is defined by that pleasure, our definition will be false. If we compare it to the food question, nobody would affirm that the importance of food consists in the pleasure we get from eating it. We know that the satisfaction of the taste buds is no infallible guide to the best food from a health point of view, in the same way the pleasure we get from a painting is no indication of its worth. People who consider the meaning of art to be pleasure cannot realise its true meaning, in fact, people will come to understand the meaning of art only when they cease to consider that the aim of art is pleasure.
So then – what is art?
The latest definitions are:
The first definition is inexact, because instead of speaking of the human activity itself, it only speaks of the derivation of it The second definition is inexact because a man may express his emotions by means of lines colours etc, and yet may not act on others by his expression so the result is not art. The third definition is inexact, because in the production of objects or actions affording pleasure, conjuring tricks or gymnastic exercises may be included, which are not art. Furthermore, the production of a play which does not afford pleasure to the producer or audience, may yet be a work of art. The inaccuracy of all these definitions arises from the fact that, in them all, the object considered is the pleasure art may give, and not the purpose it may serve in the life of man and of humanity.
In order to define art correctly, it is necessary to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure, and to consider it as one of the conditions of life. Viewed in this way, we see that art is one of the means of communication between man and man.
Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship, both with the artist and all who receive the same impression. Just as words transmit thoughts, so art transmits feelings. The activity of art is based on the fact that when we witness a man experiencing an emotion, we to some extent share it. To evoke in oneself a feeling that one has once experienced, and to transmit that feeling to others through forms and colours, sounds or movements.
That is art. Art is not pleasure, but a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for life and progress towards well-being of individuals and of humanity. Thanks to his capacity to express thoughts by words, every man may know the debt he owes to the past, and be able to hand on what he has acheived to future generations. If humans lacked this capacity, we would be like wild beasts, and if people lacked this capacity for being infected by art, people might be more savage still, and more separated from one another.
All human life is filled with art, from cradle songs to fashion in clothes, but by the word ‘art’, we mean that part of artistic activity which we select as having special importance. This special importance has always been given to that part of art which transmits feelings flowing from religious perception. This was how Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle looked on art, and how all the great religious teachers understood it. Plato was so convinced of the power of art, that he suggested that artists should be banned from his ideal republic. Yet that is a less harmful attitude than the attitude in our European society today, where art is regarded as a good thing only if it affords pleasure.
How has our society come down to this? It is because the estimation of the value of art (that is, the feeling it transmits) depends on man’s perception of the meaning of life. Humanity unceasingly moves forward from a lower, more partial view of life to a higher and broader view. Religions are the exponents of the highest comprehension of life accessible to the best and foremost people at a given time. Later the rest of society follows their lead. Therefore religions have always served as bases for the valuation of human semtiments. If feelings bring men nearer the ideal their religion indicates, they are good, if they oppose it, they are bad.
Thus in the case of the Greeks, if the religion places the meaning of life in earthly happiness, in beauty and strength, then art transmitting the joy and energy of life would be considered good, but art transmitting despondency would be bad. If the meaning of life is seen in the well-being of one’s nation, or in honouring one’s ancestors, as in the case of the Romans and Chinese, then art transmitting joy in self sacrifice for one’s country or exalting one’s ancestors would be good, and the contrary, bad. If the meaning of life is seen in freeing oneself from the yoke of animalism, as in Buddhism, then art which elevates the soul and humbles the flesh is good, whereas art exalting bodily passions would be bad. But art in our society has been so perverted that not only has bad art come to be considered good, but even the very perception of what art really is, has been lost.
In order to find out why, we must distinguish art from counterfeit art. Real art must be infectious – the receiver of a true artistic impression is so united to the artist that he feels as though the work were his own – as if what it expresses was what he had been longing to express. A real work of art destroys the separation between himself and the artist, and even between himself and all those others who also appreciate this art. In this freeing of our personality from its isolation, and uniting it with others, lies the great attractive force of art. Not only is infection a sure sign of art, but the degree of infectiousness is the sole measure of excellence in art.
This depends on three things: 1. The individuality of the feeling transmitted. 2. Its clarity. 3. The sincerity of the artist – ie, the the degree of force with which the artist feels the emotion he transmits.
If the viewer feels that the artist works for himself, he is affected, but if he feels that the artist is not infected, but is trying to influence him, the viewer feels a resistance, and is repelled instead. All can be summed up in a word – sincerity. The artist should be impelled by an inner need to express his feeling. Now, just as the evolution of knowledge proceeds by truer and more necessary knowledge displacing previous knowledge, so the evolution of feeling proceeds through art – feelings more kind and needful to humanity replace the older feelings. That is the purpose of art. In every age there exists an understanding of the meaning of life which represents the highest level which has been attained.
If it appears that in our Society there is no religious perception, this is not because there is none, but because we do not want to see it. And often this is because it exposes the fact that our life is inconsistent with that religious perception. In our times religion is regarded as a superstition which humanity has outgrown, and yet if humanity is to progress there must be a guide to the direction of that movement. Religions have always furnished that guide throughout history. So there must be some form of religious perception today – and in its widest and most practical application, it is the consciousness that or well-being – materially and spiritually – lies in the growth of brotherhood among men – in their loving harmony with one another.
The chief mistake made by the people of the upper classes at the time of the Renaissance was that they set up in place of religious art, an art which aimed only at giving pleasure. It is said that the great evil is not that we do not know God, but that we make a god of something lower. Instead of art which feeds the spirit, an empty and often vicious art is set up, which hides from us our need for true art. And true art for our time would demand the union of all people without exception – above all virtues it sets brotherly love to all men.
G.W.F.Hegel (1770 -1831) on the Philosophy of Fine Art
Art can serve many puposes, and even be a pastime, but we want to examine the kind of art that is free in its aim and means. This is the only true art. Its highest function is only served when it has established itself in a sphere which it shares with religion and philosophy, becoming thereby a mode and form through which the Divine, the profoundest interests of mankind, and spiritual truths of the widest range, are brought home to consciousness and expressed. It is in works of art that nations have deposited the richest ideas they possess, and often art serves as a key of interpretation to the wisdom and understanding of peoples. Philosophy and religion also do this, but art appeals to the senses and is nearer to Nature and to our sensitive and emotional life.
Art is the primary bond of mediation between the external world of the senses and the medium of pure thought and understanding. It could be objected that art was unworthy, being of the world of appearances and its deceptions.
But in the world of Nature appearance is essential to reality.There could be no such thing as truth if it did not actually appear for some person. And appearance in Nature itself is deceptive. It is only beyond the appearance of everyday life that we shall discover reality in any true sense. At least art does not pretend to be reality, whereas Nature, pretending to be the only reality,is more deceptive.
There are three factors determining a work of art:
1. A work of art is not produced by Nature; it is brought into being by the agency of man. 2. It is created essentially for man, and it is addressed to his senses 3. It contains an end bound up with it With regard to the first factor; a work of art cannot be imitated by mere dexterity, art is an activity of the soul, constrained to work out of its own wealth, and to bring before the mind’s eye a wholly other and far richer content; a unique creation.
The essential point to maintain is that although talent and genius imply natural power, yet it is indispensable that
(a) this power be thoughtfully cultivated (b) reflection should be brought to bear on the particular way it is exercised (c) it should be kept alive with use and practice in actual work.
A work of art possesses a purely technical side – that of craft. This is most obvious in architecture and sculpture, less so in painting and music, least in poetry.
Added to this the more exalted the rank of the artist the more profoundly he ought to portray depths of soul and mind. Study is the means by which the artist brings to consciousness such a content.
Is art inferior to Nature? Art originates in the human spirit, it has received the baptism of the human mind and soul of man. The spiritual values are seized in the work of art and emphasized with greater purity and clarity than is possible in ordinary reality, therefore the work of art is greater.
What is the human need that stimulates art production?
Man is a thinking consciousness; he makes explicit to himself all that exists. He has a need to bring himself in his own inner life to consciousness. He needs to assert himself in that which is presented him in immediacy, external to himself, and by doing so at the same time to recognize himself therein. This purpose he achieves by the alteration he effects in external objects, upon which he imprints the seal of his inner life. He does this in order that he may divest the world of its alienation from himself.
A boy throws stones into a stream, and then looks with wonder at the circles which follow in the water, seeing there something of hs own doing. This need runs through everything up to the level of art. Man satisfies his spirit by making explicit to his inner life all that exists, as well as further giving a realized external embodiment to the self thus made explicit. And by this reduplication of what is his own he places before the vision and within the cognition of himself and others what is within him.
The second factor; art is addressed to man’s senses. Writers have asked what feelings art ought to excite. But feelings are subjective and passing, although powerful at the time, which is why people are so proud of having emotions. The trouble is that they do not attempt to study their emotions, which would help by creating thereby a distance from them. Art can give this distance, because by depicting emotions, it helps the onlooker towards the study of his own emotions.
Is art there to excite a feeling for beauty? To appreciate beauty people have cultivated taste, but taste is superficial, and cannot grasp the real profoundity of art. Art scholarship is too often concerned only with externals. Art therefore is not just for the senses. The mind is intended to be affected as well and to receive some kind of satisfaction in it. The creative imagination of a true artist is the imagination of a great mind and a big heart, it grasps the profoundest and most embracing human interests in the wholly definite presentation of imagery borrowed from objective experience.
The third factor: What is the end or aim of art?
Art is not meant to be a mere imitation of Nature – if it attempts a mere copy it will always lag a long way behind. Nevertheless the artist must learn the laws of Nature; of colour and chiaroscuro; of line and form. So what is the true content of art, and what is its aim? One opinion is that it is the the task of art to bring before us everything that the spirit of man can concieve. Is it the task of art to enflame man’s passions and set them staggering about in a Bacchantic riot?
Sensual desire is more brutal and domineering the more it appropriates the entire man, so that he does not retain the power to separate himself, and loses touch with his universal capacity. Sometimes art showing such passions can awaken man to the horror of his condition, he can see them outside himself, they come before him as objects rather than part of himself – he begins to be free from them as aliens.
In the same way, wailing women were hired at funerals, to create an external expression of grief, so that the sufferer can see his sorrow in an objective form and in reflecting on it, his sorrow is made lighter. So art, while still remaining in the sphere of the senses, faces man from the might of his sensitive experience by means of its representations.
It has been said that art’s aim is the purification of passions, that it is its duty to instruct. Is this true? We have seen how art instructs by revealing to man the contents of his nature, but if art tries to bluntly teach, it becomes merely a maxim, with the art added on as bait. Thereby the very nature of art is abused. For a work of art ought not to bring before the creative imagination a content in its universality as such, but rather this universality under the mode of individual concreteness and distinctive sensuous particularity.
An external morality would limit the subject matter of art, but art, unlike history and the sciences, which have their subject matter determined, has a free choice in the selection of its subjects. So when we ask what is the end of art, we must be careful that we are not saying in effect, what is the use of art, as if art had to have a reason for existing other than for itself. On the other hand we must maintain that it is art’s function to reveal
Truth under the mode of art’s sensuous or material configuration, to display reconciled differences and therefore prove that it possesses its final aim in itself. For other ends such as instruction, purification, improvement, riches, fame and honour have nothing to do with a work of art as such, still less with the concept of art.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951)
Wittgenstein has said that in his opinion the subject of aesthetics is very big and entirely misunderstood. The use of the word “beautiful” is even more apt to be misunderstood. He would like a book on philosophy to contain chapters on words, and confusions that come up with them. He compares language to a tool chest; words are used together in a family of ways – yet the tools could be very different.
As to the word “beautiful”, a child hears the word mainly as an interjection. It is remarkable that in real life adjectives such as “beautiful”, “lovely” etc. play hardly any role at all. The words used are more like “right” or “correct”.
For example, take the question, “How should poetry be read?” For example you might discuss in reading blank verse, how to stress the rhythm correctly. A man says: “It ought to be read this way!” and reads it out, and you say, “Oh yes! Now it makes sense!”
What does a man ordering a suit at the tailor’s say? “That’s the right length. That’s too short!”.
In the case of the word “correct” you have a variety of related cases. In one case you learn the rules. A tailor learns how to measure and cut the coat. A customer comes in and says “This coat is too short!” but the tailor disagrees because he says “I made it according to the rules!”
So judgement is needed as well as rules.
Nevertheless we need the rules. In art, if someone hasn’t learned the rules he wouldn’t be able to make an aesthetic judgement. In learning the rules, you get a more and more refined judgement; in fact learning the rules actually changes your judgement.
The rules of harmony in music came about because they expressed the way most people wanted the chords to follow – their wishes crytallized in these rules. All the greatest composers wrote in accordance with these rules, and yet you can say that every composer changed the rules, but the variation was very slight, not all the rules were changed.
In the Arts, a person who has judgment also changes and develops. We can distinguish between a person who knows what he is talking about and one who does not.
A word we can discuss is the word “appreciate”. What is appreciation? If a man at the tailor’s looks at a great many patterns and says, “This is too dark” or “This is a little too loud’, he is what we call an appreciator of material. Similarly in music he might say, “Does this harmonize? No, the bass is not quite loud enough.”
Although we can see when someone appreciates something, it is impossible to describe. To do this we would have to describe the whole environment. On the subject of correctness, a good tailor won’t use any words except words like “Too long” or “All right”. But when we talk of a symphony by Beethoven we don’t talk of correctness. Entirely different things enter. One wouldn’t even talk of appreciating the really tremendous things in art. In a style of architecture a door may be correct, and you appreciate it, but in the case of a Gothic Cathedral, we do not just find it correct – it has a different role to play in our lives. It is as different as if we were talking about a man and said on the one hand “He behaves well.” and on the other “He made a great impression on me.”
To describe what you mean by a cultured taste, you have to describe a culture. What we describe as a cultured taste perhaps didn’t exist in the Middle Ages. An entirely different game is played in different ages. In order to become clear about aesthetic words you have to describe ways of living. A landlady might love a sentimental painting, you might want to throw it in the fire …. alright! That’s that..
Jacques Maritain b. 1882
Art and poetry come from a deeper part of the intellect – not the reasoning part alone.
There is an interpenetration of art and nature – so that a place comes alive because of its history.
Oriental artists try to forget themselves, and meditate on the subject of nature, rendering it as truly as they can, becoming one with things but leaving their egos out.
In the West, artists evolved from studying things, to the portrayal of the Divine after the Christian Church was established. Man passed from a sense of the human self as object, to the sacred art which depicted Christ’s self as man, to a sense of human self as subject, and then became absorbed in his own inward development. Later artists such as Cezanne became intent on revealing the buried significance of the visible world. Man’s longing for order and harmony emerges from the brute universe of the eye in the act of seeing and brings forth a quality of emotion which finds an echo in other human beings. Three rules on art.
First: the very idea of rules in the fine arts changes and becomes transfigured through the impact of beauty on the activity of art. So the rules must be continually reborn, and the artist is forever exploring the unknown.
Second: the work to be made is unique, and an end in itself. Each time, and for every single work, there is for the artist a new and unique way to strive after the making of his art.
Third: because the work is an end in itself, and a unique participation in beauty, reason alone is not enough for the artist. Because in art as in contemplation, intellectuality at its peak goes beyond concepts and reason, and is achieved through union with the subject, which love alone can bring about.
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My Reflection Of Art
My reflection of my writing.
Over the course of the semester, we have studied a variety of styles of writing, from the perspective paper to the
My understanding of the meaning of art has changed dramatically through this course as well as my perception of art and how I view art. Through this course, I have gained a great deal of knowledge as well as the accompanying vocabulary necessary to view, evaluate, critique, find meaning in, and interpret a work of art based on its visual elements and the principles of design and style. I have a newfound appreciation of art and now realize that art can be visual, functional, cultural or found in the architecture of not only where I live, but throughout the world. Just a few months ago, I did not even realize how many types of art, styles, and various forms and functions there were. Through this eight week course, I have learned how to study a piece of art to decipher its meaning, gain appreciation for the
Reflection Of Western Art
This week, we studied and talked about Paleolithic Art, Greek Art, Roman Art, Byzantine Art, and Islamic Art in our history class by reading Janson’s History of Art. Even though I have no background or contexts of knowledge of these western art, I still learned a lot from western art. According to the reading material and video, I have a probably understanding about these distinct, different and interesting western art.
My Reflection Of Me
I don’t know about you, but I don’t often star at myself in the mirror, studying my own face. Does anybody? The longest amount of time I spend looking at myself is when I’m shaving, and even then, I’m just concentrating on not being a klutz and cutting myself open. I’m not being down on myself or looking for attention or any such nonsense like that. I mean, I don’t even have a Facebook. It’s just that, gazing upon my reflection is just not something I do. I get out of the shower, I shave, brush my teeth, and I’m gone, on to whatever the day has in store for me. Another thing I’m not used to is the clarity of the face.
The relationship I have with life is what I see as my reflection. Always wondering how to make it better, and if it’s possible to fix pass problems that still arise today. I love myself, but my reflection is curious, always wondering. I think we all have had this problem not being sure of what direction to take in life. I think about how my reflection has impacted my life every day, all the things that has happened to me these past twenty-four years of my life.
Throughout my years in writing and taking English courses I have always been a faulty writer and never have been strong in this aspect. Truthfully my writing was the same until I came to college and took English 104 with Professor Horjus. Horjus had taught me things about myself and my writing that I never gave my full attention too and explaining my thoughts. Professor Horjus had started off class on making us say things we could work on after turning in an essay and feel we lacked or felt very strongly about. Being able to talk about the lack of my writing skill or even the strong aspects in my writing let me see that everything teachers have taught me in the past has honestly not really helped. College English has defiantly shined a new light on writing for me.
Reflective Essay On Art
Before you begin organizing your ideas (outline, draft, etc.), take stock of what you know and what you need to find out.
Personal Narrative: Hi I M Kiara
I’ve have always felt like I didn’t know how to appreciate art and comprehend it importance, from individual pieces to art as a culture and field. I am not artistic myself, not in any traditional way, so I have had trouble stepping into the perspective of an artist. Still, I do understand the phenomenon of being moved, and greatly influenced, by art and I have discovered and explored some of the many ways in which it can be expressed. I hope to gain the skill of being able to really understand the depth and technique behind what I see and hear, so that I am able to complete my role as the audience and do the works justice.
Artist Reflection Essay
I grew as an artist this semester because I learn a lot techniques that I can use for the future like screen printing or using objects that I already have and putting them together as an art piece. I improve on drawing realistic objects like animals. Last year, I had a hard time drawing realistic objects like my landscape painting. I improved from that and learned a lot from my teacher.
My writing has changed in a few ways since the beginning of this class. I wouldn't go so far as to say I like to write but it is not as much of a challenge anymore. While it is still a challenging thing it is nowhere near as hard to do as it was. Being in this class I have become more aware of the mistakes in grammar I make. While I am still not great with grammar I have gotten better. Being part of a writing group has helped me in more ways than just developing my writing, but in being more confident. I am more confident in reading my writings out loud as well is being able to talk about myself.
Reflection Of My Mentees
My mentees never felt discriminated against, but they definitely did mention there were a couple of times they felt uncomfortable enough to interact with their peers. After a couple of months, I realized that my mentees' 'were experiencing racial microaggression from their peers-- unintentional and subtle but yet harmful discrimination. I had once heard of microaggession through a presentation at the Counseling Center on campus, but I was not well educated on it. For the following days I did a lot of research on it on my own.
Beautiful Mind Reflection
The film A Beautiful Mind is drama, romance, biographical film produced by Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, and Imagine Entertainment. The film, directed by Ron Howard, include memorable names such as, Russel Crowe as John Nash, Jennifer Connelly as Alicia Nash, Ed Harris as Parcher, Paul Bettany as Charles, Christopher Plummer as Dr. Rosen, and Adam Goldberg as Sol. This film gives much of its credit to the novel written by Sylvia Nasar. The book, A Beautiful Mind, is a biography of John Forbes Nash and the book covers Nash’s years in college and his struggle with schizophrenia. For the film, the writing credits go to Akiva Goldsman. Though this film has its flaws, it is still one of the best eye-opening films out there.
This lesson was the first one I did during practicum week and I thought it went very well. I did this lesson in the morning pretty much after calendar time. We had to wait a couple minutes for some of the students to get back from extra reading practice. When I went up to the front of the room a lot of the students got excited. Considering I was somebody new, they thought it would be fun for me to teach them. I first asked the students what long vowel sounds they have been working on and almost all of the students raised their hands. I was very proud of the fact that I did not have any trouble with names when I was calling on them. I started the lesson with those questions in order to get them ready for the lesson, it was a quick warm up in order to start thinking about what we will be doing.
When I had first passed my TSI test that I needed in order to get college classes, I was pretty excited to find out that I was taking art appreciation. At first it was nothing like I had expected, I thought it was just another class. We learn about famous paintings that are very popular in the modern times, stuff dating back a really long time.
This semester my art practice has primarily focused on utilising carefully constructed language as opposed to previous stream-of-consciousness techniques, while further investigating participatory projects, and assemblage as a new form of installation. The importance of memory and the handwritten repeatedly warranted further consideration during the course of the semester and became a fundamental element in each work. Conceptually, my practice has evolved into a critique of diaristic language by exhibiting private confessions in public spaces and inviting strangers to participate in the perverse act of reading my most personal thoughts. This notion is challenged by the introduction of secondary texts and blurs the line between what is real and what is fiction within the work. These evolving elements within my practice are best observed through works warm under orange (standstill), the pitiful militia, my mother and raymond carver, and the library respectively.
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Introduction to Art
Art is an expression of emotions by use and arrangement of different elements like color, sound, form and etc. As it is, it tells a lot about the personality of the one who created it and the time he belongs to. The kinds of people who existed in different periods of history are reflected by the different forms of art created during that time. It tells a lot of interesting stories. By essence, art can be considered as a story-teller; thus, one should be able to view art, not merely seeing it.
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Seeing art is simply laying one’s eyes to the work. It may be appreciated, but in a very shallow way. The value of the art is not fully understood because what’s prized is the façade. The initial reaction and perceptions towards a work of art may be totally different to what it really is. Thus, one should view art instead of just seeing it. In viewing art, all the elements that contribute to its development are taken into careful and meticulous consideration. The technical together with the aesthetic facet are all painstakingly given attention and value. Take for example “God Bless America” by Faith Ringgold, by merely seeing it, one will see that it’s an art work with a face of an old man on the flag of the United States of America. But when view it, you will ask several questions like who is that old man? Why is his image place in front of the flag? What does it signify? What is its maker thinking? From one image, you can extract hundreds of questions that will lead you to better understanding of what it is. And as a consequence, you will appreciate it even more.
The main difference between seeing and viewing art is knowing the story. In seeing, you only go through the pages of the story; while on the other hand, in viewing art, you carefully read each lines and places yourself as if part of the story. In everyday life, seeing and viewing art may be described and differentiated by the analogy of acquaintances versus friends. Acquaintances are people that we recognize because we met them somewhere, sometime. While friends are people who we deeply know and can connect with. Consequently, everybody should view art instead of just see it. With viewing, a lot can be learned and interesting stories can be heard.
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AMA Journal of Ethics ®
Illuminating the art of medicine, what does multiple production of artworks teach us about authenticity and germline editing.
This article considers ethical questions about artwork reproduction and how they can be applied to germline editing. Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” is a good starting point, as it discusses how the concept of authenticity is ethically and aesthetically relevant when considering works of art intended to be created as multiples or in editions of identical works: photographs and cast sculpture. When producing multiples of a work of art, authenticity tends to be perceived in proximity to an artist’s original intention. In germline editing, this concept can help generate insights to guide future research.
Reproduction and Authenticity
In 1935, philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin published his seminal essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” 1 Grappling with new technologies—and especially with the proliferation of photography—Benjamin defined what set original works of art apart from copies or reproductions, proposing that original artworks possess an aura , which “withers in the age of mechanical reproduction.” 1 This aura, he posited, is linked to the artwork’s original context or purpose, from which a reproduction is necessarily removed.
In the years since this still-influential essay was published, printing and digital technologies that allow for the limitless production of seemingly identical copies of artworks have emerged. At the same time, some works of photography and cast sculpture are designed from the start to be produced as multiples or in editions of identical works. These technological progressions may prompt us to wonder, Can Benjamin’s conception of the aura extend to such works? Which ethical questions should we consider when faced with the possibility of creating an endless stream of duplicates? Exploring these quandaries in the context of artistic production can perhaps help us think ethically about similar questions related to cellular reproduction and germline editing.
Authenticity and Proximity
Photography. Benjamin asserted, “From a photographic negative, for example, one can make any number of prints; to ask for the ‘authentic’ print makes no sense.” 1 In hindsight, Benjamin underestimated the artistry of photographic printing and failed to anticipate the value scholars of photography would place on the date of a print and, by proxy, its proximity to an artist’s original intention. Printing a photograph from a negative involves controlling variables like exposure, and, in the process, mutations can occur that move the final product further away from the artist’s original vision. According to Baldwin and Jürgens in Looking at Photographs: A Guide to Technical Terms , “a photographic print made close to the date of its negative, by or under the direct supervision of the photographer, is thought to most clearly capture the photographer’s original inspiration.” 2 Although vintage and newer prints might appear similar to the untrained eye, this distinction is important for curatorial and connoisseurial purposes.
It’s worth questioning whose interests the idea of authenticity promotes when arbitrary distinctions are drawn between identical works.
Still other photographs were made famous precisely because of their reproduction and the popular press that distributed them widely. For example, the Art Institute of Chicago recently featured Margaret Bourke-White’s Fort Peck Dam, Montana in the exhibition, “Iconic: Photographs from the Robin and Sandy Stuart Collection.” 3 The photograph of an imposing public works project entered 380 000 American homes on the cover of Life magazine in November 1936. 4 Mass production altered the appearance of the image due to the newsprint substrate and the commercial printing process, which is qualitatively different from the luscious tones of the gelatin silver print in the museum’s collection. Although there are technical and aesthetic distinctions between a fine art print and a mass-produced magazine cover, the latter allowed the image to achieve ubiquity. In this case, ubiquity was an ethical value that superseded the imperative to hew closely to the artist’s original medium and format.
Sculpture. Cast sculpture, a medium often intended to be produced in multiples like photographs, can present similar questions about authorship and authenticity. Auguste Rodin, the 19th-century French sculptor, left the molds for his celebrated body of work, including such well-known sculptures as The Thinker and The Walking Man , to the French government after his death. 5 French regulations have since capped the number of authorized sculptures made from each mold at 12. 5 But what about sculptures made beyond this somewhat arbitrary limitation? In 2001, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto caused a stir when it exhibited a group of Rodin plasters and bronzes cast from Rodin’s molds in 1999 and 2000. The curator of sculpture at the Rodin Museum in Paris, Antoinette Romain, called the exhibition “a scandal, a forgery, a delusion.” 6 The argument from photography connoisseurship about the distance of a work of art from the intention of the creator being a measure of its authenticity can be drawn upon here: Should casts made during Rodin’s lifetime be regarded as more authentic than those made later? If additional molds are produced from existing sculptures and casts made from those molds, small mutations and flaws can appear in the mold, resulting in sculptures at a remove from the appearance of the original. But what about casts made from the original molds? On one hand, as art critic Blake Gopnik argued in 2001, “So long as there’s good reason to believe that a sculpture shows just what Rodin had in mind for a piece … then the issues of authenticity that the Musée Rodin is making so much noise about are artistically irrelevant.” 7 On the other hand, to take Benjamin’s formulation, it does seem aesthetically and ethically relevant that these reproductions are so far removed from the context of Rodin’s workshop: they lack the essential aura of original works of art.
The idea of authenticity is frequently invoked in order to protect the vision and intention of an artist. But it’s worth questioning whose interests it promotes when arbitrary distinctions are drawn between identical works. In these cases, perhaps the concept of authenticity is being used to create a false sense of scarcity that impedes wider access to works of art. Such discussions of authenticity and multiples in art can perhaps shed light on parallel, if more freighted, debates about the ethics of human germline editing.
Auras and What Makes Us Human
Like printing technologies in the first half of the 20th century, genome editing capabilities have developed at a rapid clip in recent years. Using technologies like CRISPR/Cas9, it is now possible to precisely target problematic DNA segments and to cut them out or replace them in order to repair a mutation or eliminate disease. 8 Germline editing refers to these technologies’ uses in egg or sperm cells or in embryos. Changes made to the genome of reproductive cells or embryos, including unintended secondary consequences or off-target effects, are passed down to future generations. 9,10 The November 2018 announcement of the birth of gene-edited twin babies in China generated further controversy within the scientific community about the ethics of germline editing. 11 In the wake of this event, some scientists have called for a global moratorium on human germline editing. 12
Ethical discomfort with germline editing could have its roots in a fear that modifying characteristics of future offspring could quickly progress from “correcting” mutations to creating genetic enhancements perceived by some as desirable. 12 Risks of unintended consequences also loom large: in attempting to make a positive change, scientists could incidentally cause off-target effects that reverberate for generations to come. 12 (In an art context, a parallel situation would occur if a photographic negative or a sculpture mold were altered; imperfections would carry on through all subsequent editions.) A larger ethical concern about germline editing is whether humans should be meddling in such natural processes as the makeup of an individual’s DNA in the first place. What about authentic human experience—about human aura (as Benjamin might say)—is interrupted or undermined when humans have the hubris to design, customize, originate, and replicate the genome of their descendants?
When first confronted with the technologies that made it possible to create visually similar reproductions of artworks, Benjamin critically underestimated the artistry of processes like photographic printing and cast sculpture. Subtleties of germline editing, too, might not be immediately obvious and could manifest generations after an original intervention. As germline research continues to progress, we should consider which criteria we use to assess authenticity and what these criteria suggest about the source of our unease with new technologies and the proximity of their effects to our best intentions.
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Benjamin W. The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. In: Frascina F, Harrison C. Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology . London, UK: Harper & Row; 1982:218-220.
Baldwin G, Jürgens M. Looking at Photographs: A Guide to Technical Terms . Los Angeles, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum; 2009.
Art Institute Chicago. Iconic: photographs from the Robin and Sandy Stuart collection. May 11-August 4, 2019. https://www.artic.edu/exhibitions/9040/photography-photography-iconic-photographs-from-the-robin-and-sandy-stuart-collection . Accessed August 28, 2019.
Life (magazine). New World Encyclopedia . https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Life_(magazine) . Accessed August 28, 2019.
Carvajal D. Recasting Rodin’s life and work. New York Times . October 30, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/arts/design/recasting-rodins-life-and-work.html . Accessed April 1, 2019.
Eidemariam A. I think, but I’m not quite sure who I am. Guardian . October 2, 2001. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2001/oct/02/artsfeatures.arts . Accessed April 1, 2019.
Gopnik B. What’s the Rodin fuss really about? Money. Globe and Mail . August 29, 2001. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/whats-the-rodin-fuss-really-about-money/article1338787/ . Accessed April 1, 2019.
Callahan D. Gene editing: hope, hype, and caution. Center for Genetics and Society Aggregated News . December 8, 2015. https://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article/gene-editing-hope-hype-and-caution . Accessed April 1, 2019.
US National Library of Medicine. What are genome editing and CRISPR-Cas9? https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/genomicresearch/genomeediting . Published August 2017. Accessed April 1, 2019.
National Human Genome Research Institute. What are the ethical concerns of genome editing? https://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/policy-issues/Genome-Editing/ethical-concerns . Published August 2017. Accessed April 1, 2019.
Kolata G, Wee S, Belluck P. Chinese scientist claims to use CRISPR to make first genetically edited babies. New York Times . November 26, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/26/health/gene-editing-babies-china.html . Accessed April 1, 2019.
Lander E, Baylis F, Zhang F, et al. Adopt a moratorium on heritable genome editing. Nature . 2019;567:165-168.
Also in this Issue
How Should Gene Editing Be Managed by Risk Managers?
How Should “CRISPRed” Babies Be Monitored Over Their Life Course to Promote Health Equity?
Prioritizing Women’s Health in Germline Editing Research
How Should Physicians Respond When They Learn Patients Are Using Unapproved Gene Editing Interventions?
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Gender Issues in Art History and Production
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