Is art really subjective?
The below article is about an artist who is hatching an egg. That’s his art project. Often modern art has me wondering about what some people consider to be art at all.
French artist Abraham Poincheval, 44, aims to become a ‘human hen’ by sitting and laying on the eggs inside a glass vitrine at a Paris modern art museum until the chicks emerge.
My take on this story
There’s a part in the novel Fahrenheit 451 that I’m reminded of when I read this article, “And at the museums, have you ever been to the museums? They’re all abstract. That’s all they are now. My uncle says it was different once. A long time ago, a long time back sometimes pictures showed things or even showed people.”
While I realize that art is subjective there is an element of the objective to it. To create something like The Thinker, Rodin’s masterwork that sits atop the Gates of Hell, requires skill, effort, dedication, knowledge of anatomy, the materials used, and the tools of the trade as well as all the subjective things that go along with art. So expert was Auguste Rodin’s knowledge of anatomy and his ability to sculpt it precisely that he was sometimes accused of casting corpses instead of actually sculpting. This knowledge of anatomy was gained by years of painstaking research which included dissections.
I must be forthright and say that I do not know the background of the above mentioned French artist. Perhaps he has spent years researching chickens and the exact manner in which they sit upon their eggs. But even so does that make his art worthy of reporting on?
The National Endowment for the Arts needs to be done away with.
The NEA uses tax payer dollars to fund art projects that otherwise would get no money. There is a reason there are thousands of “starving artists” in the world. Most people just aren’t good enough or unique in a way that makes people want to buy their work. Art is expensive and deeply personal; for most people the dollars and desires just don’t match up all that often. I’ve been to art galleries and found a work that I loved. Something I really would like to own and hang in my study. A work good enough to impress me and make me covet it. Then I ask the price. I leave the gallery without every time. Artists that don’t sell anything don’t make money. It’s tough to eat, let alone make more art, under those circumstances. So the NEA gives artists money to make their art.
Suddenly art that no one was paying for becomes art that everyone is paying for. Only this time they are paying through their tax dollars and not because they have any fondness for the art or artist. Some people make wonderfully good art as a hobby, others try to sell it but never will, and a few, a tiny, minuscule few actually become what society calls “artists”.
The list of art paid for by the NEA that your average person never would have spent a dime on is pretty long. Google it when you get a chance and see some of the urine soaked examples, and that’s not a euphemism, they really do involve urine.
Our hen man says, “He saw the performance as a meditation on ‘the cycles of life. The cycle from egg to chick takes roughly 21 to 26 days, which correspondents almost to a woman’s (menstrual) cycle’. “
And so it seems that little bit of symbolism makes this art.
It seems to me the entire purpose of modern art is the message associated with it and nothing else at all. Craft and aesthetic don’t seem to matter. A person can really do anything at all and call it art as long as they can contrive some supposed meaning out of the piece. That could just be a turd rolled in coconut if the artist says it is a symbol of modern transgender struggles. There is a reason we’re still talking about the Mona Lisa, David, and the Thinker. They each represent a level of objective skill that we can appreciate and that we each know we will never reach. You and I could sit on an egg. For most of us the idea of calling that art is a joke. Yet, thanks to the NEA, it’s a joke we are all paying for. The yolk is on us it seems.
Just after reading the above article my thinking was reinforced by a video I saw on YouTube from PragerU.
Why is it so bad? That’s a very good question. Personally, I think the NEA has a lot to do with that. When people get paid, not for art, but for the cause or message of the art, they get to make whatever they want, call it art, and get paid for it. What incentive is there to do better or for the master to be rewarded?
Getting rid of the NEA wouldn’t kill art. On the contrary it would improve it because the artists would have to work harder to get the money. Somewhere out there a young artist is learning, crafting, and studying hard and one in a million of them will be remembered for their art.
If you are an artist, do your art. Do it for yourself and even one other person who might enjoy it. I think perhaps a real artist doesn’t care how many people see it. Sure, it’s nice to have eyes and minds on the piece but an artist creates out of something deeper.