The role of the spectator

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
User avatar
Alec Smart
Posts: 671
Joined: June 28th, 2015, 12:28 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Alec Smart » November 28th, 2015, 7:54 am

Greta wrote: The standard of mavericks' work will tend to be inconsistent, ranging from unmade beds to original quality work.
But it's the unmade beds that get the publicity and it's only because of the controversy attached to them. My guess is that the number of people who are interested in this sort of thing because they see artistic merit in it is tiny.
Smart by name and Alec by nature.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Belinda » November 28th, 2015, 10:47 am

Alec Smart wrote:
You use the words "in order to coerce spectators into asking "What is art?", which implies that the art is presented to us with it's message or meaning already there.
I implied that the message is solely up to the spectator.
Socialist

User avatar
Alec Smart
Posts: 671
Joined: June 28th, 2015, 12:28 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Alec Smart » November 28th, 2015, 11:00 am

Belinda wrote:Alec Smart wrote:
You use the words "in order to coerce spectators into asking "What is art?", which implies that the art is presented to us with it's message or meaning already there.
I implied that the message is solely up to the spectator.
So, other than to arrange the delivery of the urinal to the gallery, what is the artist's job?
Smart by name and Alec by nature.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Belinda » November 28th, 2015, 1:02 pm

Alec Smart wrote:
So, other than to arrange the delivery of the urinal to the gallery, what is the artist's job?
It's to question what art galleries are for, to question the meaning if any of art, to make people annoyed so that they stop being passive spectators as they voice their feelings, to reveal hypocrites who pretend to see that the Emperor has posh clothes on. Not only is the artist risking his reputation as an accomplished maker, the art gallery is taking a financial risk too. The artist as heroic leader is the artist risking his own safety, as heroes do, in the interest of spectators who need to be shaken out of their apathy and made to ask questions, instead of being spoon fed ideas by others. Hero Leaders in warfare traditionally are literally avant garde.
Socialist

User avatar
Alec Smart
Posts: 671
Joined: June 28th, 2015, 12:28 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Alec Smart » November 28th, 2015, 1:20 pm

Belinda wrote: It's to question what art galleries are for, to question the meaning if any of art, to make people annoyed so that they stop being passive spectators as they voice their feelings, to reveal hypocrites who pretend to see that the Emperor has posh clothes on. Not only is the artist risking his reputation as an accomplished maker, the art gallery is taking a financial risk too. The artist as heroic leader is the artist risking his own safety, as heroes do, in the interest of spectators who need to be shaken out of their apathy and made to ask questions, instead of being spoon fed ideas by others. Hero Leaders in warfare traditionally are literally avant garde.
I like art but only at a superficial level, anything profound within it is completely lost on me. This being the case, I find it difficult to share your apparent respect for it and even though I think the world would be a much poorer place without art that is not because I think that artists have anything important to say. I'm probably just an uncultured yob, really.
Smart by name and Alec by nature.

A Poster He or I
Posts: 1104
Joined: March 18th, 2011, 4:57 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Anaximander

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by A Poster He or I » November 28th, 2015, 3:07 pm

Image

Marcel Duchamp: "Fountain" 1917 (signed R. Mutt). Medium: porcelain urinal, upended

User avatar
Alec Smart
Posts: 671
Joined: June 28th, 2015, 12:28 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Alec Smart » November 28th, 2015, 3:20 pm

A Poster He or I wrote:Image

Marcel Duchamp: "Fountain" 1917 (signed R. Mutt). Medium: porcelain urinal, upended
You see, to me, it's just an up ended urinal. I don't think there's any hope for me.

-- Updated November 28th, 2015, 8:22 pm to add the following --

And now there's two pictures of the damned thing.
Smart by name and Alec by nature.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7215
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Greta » November 28th, 2015, 4:44 pm

You are so conservative, Alfie - you do not approve of subversive shenanigans!

As you said, it's the goofiest works that tend to be picked up by certain elements of the media. Having the nerve to present a urinal or unmade bed as art is similar in spirit to entries like this in fashion shows:

Image
This space left intentionally blank.

User avatar
Alec Smart
Posts: 671
Joined: June 28th, 2015, 12:28 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Alec Smart » November 28th, 2015, 5:02 pm

Greta wrote:You are so conservative, Alfie - you do not approve of subversive shenanigans!
On the contrary, I love being subverted but I see urinals and unmade beds everyday so, for me, their disruptive effect is minimal.
Having the nerve to present a urinal or unmade bed as art
When you mix insanity with alcohol, re. Tracy Emin, nerve has very little part to play.
Smart by name and Alec by nature.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7215
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Greta » November 28th, 2015, 7:40 pm

But spectators love to watch crazy people do things that others wouldn't dream of doing. As you said, we're attracted by the unusual. That means context. For instance, lipstick isn't unusual but if you as a man wore it then people would make a fuss and make snap judgements. By the same token, urinals in men's toilets are probably not unusual but less so in an art gallery. Sometimes I fail to recognise people on the street outside of their usual context for me at work or in shops.

So context matters, although I agree that the urinal piece is barmy and not of interest. You need more than a shift of context to be interesting IMO. It's gimmicky, like "Piss Christ" was. If I want toilet humour I'd much rather Austen Powers or Family Guy.
This space left intentionally blank.

A Poster He or I
Posts: 1104
Joined: March 18th, 2011, 4:57 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Anaximander

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by A Poster He or I » November 28th, 2015, 10:25 pm

can a poor Yank ask what "barmy" means in this context? The word is not in my vocabulary and the dictionary entry is just confusing me. thanks --a posteriori

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7215
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Greta » November 29th, 2015, 1:11 am

Barmy = crazy or highly eccentric.
This space left intentionally blank.

User avatar
Lucylu
Moderator
Posts: 676
Joined: October 1st, 2013, 2:32 pm

Re: The role of the spectator

Post by Lucylu » November 30th, 2015, 5:06 pm

Adventureland wrote:Hello Contemporary Philosophers,

Whilst I begin researching art work which rely upon interaction. I ask:

What are your thoughts regarding the role of the spectator within modern art. Interpret and specify the term spectator, modern art and contemporary philosophers/philosophy as you wish.

Thanks for your input.
I've been trying to post an example of art interacting with spectator, but unfortunately my computer skills, such as they are, escape me. I was going to suggest Yves Klein, who uses human bodies to make his work.

http://www.yveskleinarchives.org/works/works1_us.html

I was attracted to one of his pieces, 'Anthropometrie (ant 130)' until I realised what it was. After that I found it slightly repulsive. Of course, the image hadn't changed, but it just made me feel a bit strange and not something I would want to own and look at regularly. I guess I like art to be uplifting and I feel it is sullied by human interaction at that level. I cant explain it but it made me feel 'dirty', where are should be pure (IMO).

-- Updated November 30th, 2015, 10:07 pm to add the following --

Edit *art should be pure.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts". -Bertrand Russell

Post Reply