on making art again

making art again…

with a fork…

most artists think a lot about what art is (and what isn’t art). most artists also think alot about what other people think about art, and how other people might understand or respond to art. making art is never just about making art.

some of this thinking about making art happens when actually making the art – starting a conversation about the making and meaning of art. artists sometimes call these conversations dialogues when they become more complex. dialogues may involve other artists or other things to do with the making of art.

i wonder if making art is still mostly understood (by most people) to be about the creation of an object or series of objects for visual or tactile consumption – and whether contemporary art which embraces other media such as music, film, installation or performance is adequately described with the single word, art. has the word art become ineffective in describing all of these varied creative outcomes? what do other people who don’t make art themselves think art is? why is art perceived differently to craft?

most artists want to make art that expresses or concretizes a personal feeling or opinion about something. most artists (but not all) also want to create art that lasts for a very long time. much work goes into the restoring & conserving of old works of art so that we can experience the artworks as the artist had originally created them (at least, we assume so). so, it’s very easy to think art is about the making of an object to express a meaning or concept which will last for a long time.

however, sometimes art is made to be ephemeral in intention or experience and a memory might be the only enduring record of it. for art that isn’t made to last, it is often documented by video or photographs a book, so that the art endures (or is at least remembered) in a more concrete form. sometimes the ritual of making art is a big part of the art and there is less concern for making an end object.

films are sometimes made as art and much like regular films they may be experienced once only. some people might watch films again (but rarely repeatedly, unless they have access to the film or it is permanently ‘installed’ in some way). sometimes art is also expressed through sound or music, and music is usually composed to be performed, listened to and experienced more than once.

similarly, writers or poets aim to publish their work so that lots of people will read their words for many years to come. a performance of words can also be art. all art needs a context and an audience to appreciate it, so art is perhaps more a desire to perpetuate a thought or opinion through whatever means are most appropriate and not so much about the making of an art object.

however, it would seem that most of the time art is created as a physical, tangible object of some kind, one which is made to be experienced by others and also made to last for a long time, but sometimes it isn’t. most people like art for the pleasure it gives in directly experiencing it, sometimes over and over again. this would require an object form of art, although film or performance give an objective expression of art, or a representation (or simulacrum) of a concept or an experience of art. art books are sometimes a substitute for such an experience, although a book as an object can also be art. it is the form or object of the art that brings the original concept into being as art.

the experience of art (or the art object) is an integral part of the art becoming art, which leads to appreciating why the artist made the art and then perhaps wanting to know more about how art is made.…

the real lends itself to unending exploration; it is inexhaustible.

maurice merleau-ponty


3 Comments

  1. Posted November 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Hallo Jazz (is that your name?) – I`ve been following your posts for quite some time and I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate very much your persistence and openness in communicating your thoughts and your work!
    As you have a clear tendency to an eastern way of art and philosophy – did you read some of Francois Jullien`s writings? They give me a lot and think them very inspiring, especially for us as artists, e.g. “The Great picture has no form” (that`s a translation of the german title).
    Many greetings from Berlin – Ulrich.

  2. Jazz
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    thank you Ulrich, it is much appreciated!

    also much appreciated is the reading recommendation – i did not know of their work but i think it will be a very interesting book to read & very helpful to me as an artist. thank you once again.

  3. Ulrich Werner
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I hope you`ll like the book, Jazz. The correct title is:” The Great Image has no Form, or on the Nonobject through Painting”.
    Best from Ulrich