Why do you think Abstract Art is not popular here?

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  08 August 2005
But that's not abstract...
  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by Âme noire: I don't think Abstract Art is unpopular at all. Tell people to tell the names of traditional artists and I bet Picasso would be in 80 % of the answers.

Is this guy (Picasso) still in business? I thought he was banned long time ago from CGTalk and double to Mods.
  08 August 2005
@Stahlberg: You could argue about that, but the replace it with http://www.andriaroberto.com/Vassil...20Nel%20blu.jpg

@ashakarc: Yes, I met him yesterday at my Poker-Night with Newton
my new portfolio

"This is the best movie I've ever seen. It has a vampire and an explosion!" -- Fry
  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by Shaidar: A sinister figure. Wow that is original! Very cliched if you ask me...

The figure tells the viewer what to see and feel. It doesn't let them imagine, it smacks them and says, "feel this!".

The red canvas (or another abstract work) sits on the wall and exists. Instead of telling the viewer what to think, it merely asks them a question. It allows each and every viewer to use their own imagination and intuition to get their own unique feeling about the piece. Some may get a negative reaction about the piece, some a positive. But at least it is multi-dimensional and can be interpreted different ways.

The sinister figure reminds me of popular culture horror films. They just uses cliches built up over the past 100 years of cinema to make the viewer feel a certain way. The sinister figure or a bad horror film doesn't try and expand their conciousness or let them see the world in a slightly different and new way. It works on the surface level of emotion and feeling. There are so many different ways to touch a viewer, why limit yourself to something so obvious?

When I go to an art gallery I want to be moved, challenged, inspired, and changed. I want to see new, exciting and different works of art that challenge or enlighten me about my existence as a human being. I want my conciousness to be expanded. I don't want to be smacked and told something I already know.

To me, that is what art is about.

The abstract post:

warm dark
cry cold sleep
sharp flower joint
random face cloud
week realm assosite
que drag bags
curls eyes blue an
dress firefly moon
night winter fall brown
earth snow cold
kiss wave fly
visit beep cry
gasp cough
pain sleep
sleep pain

I have just told you the story of ones life through an abstract method. True, its unique, and stimulates the mind. But i prefer to read novels or short stories. Or as you may call them 'cliche' forms of writing.
So everyone who reads this post will have their own reaction to it and think about a different story to the life i have shown you. But is that good art? If art is communication why did everyone come up with a different meaning for what i said? If i say to the viewer "COW" americans think 'dinner' while hindu think 'gods'. so as an artist what have i communicated? If the point is to make all think something different then does it matter what we were trying to say in the first place?

This is why i think abstract is a poor language for art. Although i will say a good muse for artists. I have made many abstract pieces. But I would never deliver them as 'work' because i made them to act as muses for my illustration. They help me explore possibilities and streingthin my illustration. So in this i can appreciate abstract.
  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by Âme noire:
In my opinion digitally based art is not art in the most cases at the moment, because of it's figurative speech. The main goal appears to me to achieve realism with digital media.

anything the self-proclaimed artists has labeled as his/her art IS art.

Michelangelo's ceiling = ART
a pile of dirt in a gallery = ART

but just because its art, doesnt make it good art.
  08 August 2005
well, if i'm not in the mood for thinking, admiring or anything about the frame on my wall, i'll probably go for an abstract. For decoration of course. There are objects at my cave that are here just for decoration's sake, i don't want to look at them and think anything, or they don't have to mean deep, profound stuff to me. It's just a matter of taste i suppose. As for abstracts arts worth; well if a "weirdo" puts a handful of mud on a plastic handcuff...not for my taste. Just my 2 cents.
  08 August 2005
Originally Posted by CodeNothing: anything the self-proclaimed artists has labeled as his/her art IS art.


but just because its art, doesnt make it good art.

I think that is a deep philosophical issue, in your opinion it's art because a self-proclaimed artist labeled his/her art for himself/herself as art. My point of view is, that art is art if it can stand my hard and unfair criteria of art. Maybe we should talk first about what we consider as art . Good and bad art are just solely based on taste.
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"This is the best movie I've ever seen. It has a vampire and an explosion!" -- Fry
  08 August 2005
The problem with debating the meaning of "art" is that it almost always leads nowhere. It's all very well to say that a pile of dirt on the street that someone decided was art is art because the person considered their interpretation of it to be somehow artful, but that is ultimately unhelpful. If you really want to push that view, then the concepts to which the word "art" refer become so diluted, varied and uncertain that the word itself becomes meaningless. When that happens, we basically have to invent a new word. Either that or become a postmodern deconstructionist (or something equally imo silly). Debating the difference between "good" and "bad" art is much the same. I would say that art is the result of an attempt to get more out of something than is really there, whether through representation, camera angle and lens, the shape of some clay, or random colours on a monitor. It's when you deliberately infuse meaning into something that wasn't there before.

To the initial poster: I would contest that in a sense, abstract art is very popular on this site, only perhaps in a different way to what you would expect. Many, indeed probably most if not all of the works on this site involve abstractualisation. When you refer to abstract art, you are rather reffering to art which is considerably more abstract than anything else here. The design of a future cityscape involves forms which are abstract in the sense that they are as they are for almost purely aesthetic reasons. If you'd agree that pure abstract art is in essence the pursuit of various aesthetic effects independent of representation, then you should see where I'm coming from. Sci fi or fantasy art, to me, sits somewhere between photographic representation and abstract art. That's a large part of what makes it interesting. It bridges a gap between the two worlds, and that could also explain why "normal" everyday people without a huge art knowledge can find it so fascinating.

Personally, I find that the most amazing abstract art is that produced by a child drawing patterns with some felt tips, and not trying for anything in particular. Abstract works by the "masters" tend to strike me as somehow snobby and elitist.

hmmf... looks like Ame Noire sortof beat me to my point.
  08 August 2005
Unhappy Wow I am very surprised at this thread and the opinions.

Just to give you all an idea where I am coming from I graduated bit a BFA in painting and decided to go back to school at Gnomon for the cert. My Undergrad in painting was pretty wide and accepting of all painting directions especially abstract and they spent little time teaching very sharp drawing/rendering techiques in an authoritative way. What they did stress however is the importance of formal issues in art regardless of medium.

Attending Gnomon I noticed noone ever talked about Cy Twombly or William DeKooning but I always thought that it was due to the fact that design and illustration is what is stressed not art. As a matter of fact I could almost quote Feng as saying in an early class that in Concept you wont be hired to create art you are hired as a designer-to create designs to which you will own 0%. However the awesome people on this site, at Gnomon, around the net pretty much all stress composition, design..etc first and foremost to whether it is loose or tight in the end. Those are the formal issues composition, design, color usage, value. That is what abstract art is. The painting either is a well composed piece or it is not regardless of realism or reference to objects or complete lack thereof.

I don't know but part of why I am an artist is that I covet color. (perhaps am little dull in the head) Sometimes I wonder but a great application of color can entertain me for a long time....and when you start using color's in relationships forget it as good as sex sometimes. But that's just me. I am pretty dissapointed at the lack of conversation and debate on abstract artists and issues. I guess I will remain a closet admirer of Cy Twombly's delicate scratchy flirtation with written language and Hans Hoffman's push pull or vice versa.

Oh well...
  08 August 2005
There's also the sucategory in representational, figurative art between "highbrow" and "lowbrow"


On Lowbrow Art...

"One of the dark secrets of The Art World is that a majority of art students beginning their professional training, when asked who their favorite contemporary artists are, will name one Lowbrow practitioner or another. A great deal of energy is invested in disabusing them of such notions"

On Figurative Art...

"Many arguments that rage on the fringes of The Art World are central to Lowbrow: most conspicuously the polarization of the figurative versus the . . . well, the non-figurative. People want to look at pictures of people doing stuff."

On Making Money...

"Not only do Lowbrow shows seem to sell out faster and more frequently than their TAW equivalents, but Lowbrow artists routinely move lithographs in quantities and at prices unthinkable to most printmakers in TAW. They often get illustration gigs based on their signature styles, and there is an entire industry imprinting their imagery onto T-shirts, purses, Zippo lighters, appointment books, calendars, jewelry, light fixtures, furniture, dishware, etc."

  08 August 2005
I heard that they made the model for the Millenium Falcon with parts from other model kits. They had the base model set up in the studio and had the crew randomly place pieces on it until the modelers thought it was done.
Word to your moms, I came to drop bombs.
  08 August 2005
The views and comments presented in this thread have thoroughly stimulated my mind. Thank you all.

  08 August 2005
Cy Twombly
William de Kooning
Hans Hoffman

The first two only confirm to me why I don't like (most) abstract art. Though I try, as always, to have an open mind - they simply bore the crap out of me. I can almost feel my inspiration and joy of living slowly draining away as I look at them. Of course I realize there's a historical context, life's work, awards won... but that only gains my respect - not my interest. If you can find something to like in it, that's great, more power to you.

Hans Hoffman on the other hand, actually used color in a MOST delicious way. His compositional skills are superior too.
Quote: I covet color

I do too, I know exactly what you mean... that's why it's such a pity abstract art usually uses color so horribly. (And the other elements of good design as well.)

Keep posting examples of your favorite abstract artist, and maybe we'll all learn something here in spite of ourselves.
  08 August 2005
To answer the question by the original poster of the thread, I think abstract art can be compared to someone else's incoherent dreams or consciousness. Dreams are very abstract and are often incoherent except to the dreamer himself, and most people find their own dreams interesting. But most people find listening to someone else's dreams very boring, I'm one of them. If I can visualize someone else's dream or consciousness in a recognizable form, I may find it interesting. (e.g. Dali's paintings could be someone's dream) Scribbles and scratches just don't work for me. I've had 4 years of formal art education which gave me enough training to appreciate abstract art, but it never did anything for me personally. I'm not saying that scribbles, scratches, and drips don't have a place in the art world, it's just that I don't get it. And to those who do get it, good for you.

Have you ever heard of atonal music? Music is already abstract, but atonal music is, well, very abtract, and I just don't get it. I would equate it to Cy Twombly's work.

More famous abstract painter for reference:
Mark Rothko

  08 August 2005
Hey, steady on people.

Granted, abstract art isn't everybody's cup of tea. And certainly no one can be expected to like everything. But, 'scribbles and scratches', 'joy of living slowly draining away'. I mean really, it's a bit strong isn't it?

Firstly let me say, anyone who can be fascinated by the colours and textures of Lichen and mosses growing on a stone wall. Or anyone who can appreciate the richness of rusted steel plate that's been weathered and scratched. If you've ever been entranced by the dappled patterns of sunlight on a forest floor. You can appreciate abstract art. It's simply a question of context and expectation.

Do not expect a message or a story, there isn't one. Do expect the sheer sensual pleasure that is paint, and marks and textures and colours. Forget about trying to figure it out, enjoy and accept the invitation to simple reverie.

One of my very favourite paintings is: 'The Kitchen Maid' by Vermeer. I have only seen it twice in my entire life. If you are not lucky enough to have seen this painting first hand. Take my word for it, it is one of the most profoundly beautiful manmade objects there is. And any reproduction of it does not convey any thing of it's sheer physical beauty. I remember distinctly, its effect on me, seeing it for the first time.
I have only had a similar reaction to paintings, two or three times since.
One time, was not long after seeing the Vermeer. It was a retrospective exhibition showing the work of Mark Rothco. I was totally overwhelmed by these extraordinary paintings. A student at the time. I had very little money, but remember buying the very expensive exhibition catalogue, hoping I could relive the experience once, the exhibition closed. That catalogue did not get opened very often, after an initial viewing. Fortunately we have a few marvellous Rothco's at the Tate gallery, which I visit often.
Another time was at the Whitechapel Gallery, here in London. Another retrospective, this time of the artist: Cy Twombly. These paintings are utterly beautiful, deeply moving. I left that exhibition feeling massively enriched. Again, I bought the catalogue, I'll never learn. I long to see paintings by Cy Twombly again.

Abstract painting and indeed painting in general, can never be popular, because paint is not a mass medium. And so relatively few people ever get to see them. Paintings simply cannot be reproduced using current printing technology. However paintings with a strong figurative and narrative content, do survive better than most. Which is probably why they have the greatest influence. But I think it's true to say, that no painting was ever improved by reproduction.

Here are a couple of links if anyone is inclined. They are for couple of really good contemporary Abstract painters: Sean Scully and Howard Hodgkin. If there is ever an exhibition of their work near you. do go along and take a look.


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