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View Full Version : Legitimate Artistic Expression or an Incitement of Violence?



Booger
April 13th, 2005, 09:51 AM
An artwork containing mock 37-cent stamps showing President Bush with a revolver pointed at his head is part of an exhibit at Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery titled 'Axis of Evil, the Secret History of Sin' Tuesday, April, 12, 2005 in Chicago. The exhibit captured the attention of the Secret Service who sent agents to inspect the works last week according to gallery officials.

I must admit; as in favor I am of free artistic expression, I believe that the artwork below goes too far. It also makes me feel uncomfortable to see a picture of the President with a gun to his head. With that said, even though I believe it may go too far, I'm sympathetic to the argument that this is artistic expression protected by the First Amendment.

Your thoughts?

Snoop
April 13th, 2005, 09:55 AM
If it's art, then it is art. If it is a political expression, it is kind of vague. Advocating the death of a president is against the law. To me it looks like the gun to his head is a symbol of an excuse - he was forced into doing what he did - but it's a poor excuse, just like GWB is a poor excuse for a president.

Snoop
April 13th, 2005, 10:13 AM
Here are some interesting artistic expressions I found:

http://art.mcn.org/Tony-Green/crab.jpg Crab Calloway and his Trio.

http://art.mcn.org/Tony-Green/clara.jpg Claraq Netta.

http://art.mcn.org/Tony-Green/Octavia.jpg Octavia.

http://art.mcn.org/Miriam-Owen/M-owen.jpg Kelp People.

http://art.mcn.org/Douglas-Purdy/03_2.jpg Tumbling Bear.

http://art.mcn.org/Jane-Reichhold/jrdolphin-show.jpg Shelf Life.

Snoop
April 13th, 2005, 10:22 AM
some more artistic expressions:

http://www.epilepsy.com/art_img/19FF1.jpg

http://www.epilepsy.com/art_img/6FF1.jpg

http://www.epilepsy.com/art_img/14FF16.jpg

http://www.epilepsy.com/art_img/18FF2.jpg

Mr. Hyde
April 13th, 2005, 10:41 AM
It's just Art. And I put it in the same category as Andy Warhol's work: crap. It's a political figure with a gun to his head. How is this any different than the following:
Rape of the Daughters of Lucippus, or the war time etchings that, I think it was Goya, made? Or ANY depiction of Christ crucified? All political art depicting something violent or graphic. Point being, Art is art, and if they're going to lash at this person for making some shabby stamps of Bush with a gun to his head, then they're going to have to lash at everyone else for their work to, and that's just not right.

Besides, the ONLY reason this is causing any controversy is because it's using a current president. If kerry had been elected, no one would say anything about this stamp art, or it would have Kerry's bust instead of Bush's. It's dull, uninspiring art and giving so much attention to it is only going to encourage this kind of dribble. Give me Pollack, Dali, Escher, Picasso, Van Gogh, or Magritte.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 11:09 AM
Does the "speech" in question ADVOCATE SPECIFIC criminal action?

In your examples, Mr. Hyde, no adovation of violence is being conveyed. Christ's crucifixion (atheist: "More like cruciFICTION!") does not advocate taking action and crucifying him.

FruitandNut
April 13th, 2005, 11:15 AM
Art, like Beauty, is a personal experience. The Tate Modern Art Gallery paid 10,000 about 20 years ago for a stack of 10 standard 'London Brick Company' bricks that someone called art. Even more extreme was a 'soiled' bed with a used packet of three on it that won a prestigious art award!

Iluvatar
April 13th, 2005, 11:16 AM
I see no problem with it. Throughout the history of art, there have been pieces depicting violence, both imminent (as in this case), or taking place. I don't find this piece to be any good, and perhaps in bad taste, but neither is it a threat to national security. Merely depicting an event does not advocate it.


More like cruciFICTION! Wow! you don't even need anyone to argue with, you're presenting the atheist side yourself, if poorly.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 11:26 AM
Merely depicting an event does not advocate it.

This isn't a depiction of a real, concrete act of violence. Note the lack of setting. It is only red & white stripes. As such, it isn't "mere depiction" of an act, it is attaching some quality to the act of violence displayed. What would it take for you to think that a piece of "art" or a speech condones violence? Does it have to show a picture of the artist giving a thumbs up or with a huge grin over the corpse of President Bush? There are clear insinuations being made by this "art". Now, I'm not in any rush to call the insinuations illegal, but claiming that this is a value-neutral piece of art is preposterous.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 11:27 AM
Wow! you don't even need anyone to argue with, you're presenting the atheist side yourself, if poorly.

I wasn't serious, man. It's a joke, like having a Christian say, "Agnostic? More like, FAGnostic!"

Zhavric
April 13th, 2005, 11:44 AM
Put yourself in the shoes of the Secret Service and we see that it becomes a Catch 22. The SS is REQUIRED to follow up on ALL threats to the president, both real and satirical. It is UNLAWFUL to discuss killing a president. *waves at the nice NSA people who are reading this flagged message*

So, if you're part of the Secret Service you have two options: check it out or ignore it.

If you ignore it and it turns out later that the artwork was part of some bizarre elaborate plot to do bad things to the president, then you risk being crucified later on for not investigating.

If you investigate the art exhibit then you're intruding on protected artistic expression.

Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't. Better to check things out and cover your rear end.

What I am NOT in favor of is the Secret Service censoring in any way the art exhibit.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 11:55 AM
Oh, and by the way, the piece of "art"'s title is "Patriot Act". Cute, huh?

Snoop
April 13th, 2005, 12:03 PM
Oh, and by the way, the piece of "art"'s title is "Patriot Act". Cute, huh?
I noticed that too - not very patriotic to point a gun at your leader.

What happened to your signature? - it looks so bland.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 12:17 PM
What happened to your signature? - it looks so bland.

It's the motto of the school I just got accepted into. "Christ and His Kingdom".

KevinBrowning
April 13th, 2005, 12:30 PM
1. That's not art, it's just stupid. 2. The Secret Service would be remiss if they DIDN'T investigate it. It's a public display directly and plainly depicting and arguably advocating harm to our president.

Snoop
April 13th, 2005, 12:35 PM
It's the motto of the school I just got accepted into. "Christ and His Kingdom".
Clive - "kingdom" is so passe' - "worshipers" is so much more apropriate.

Harrison383
April 13th, 2005, 12:36 PM
Not art. Crap. Then again, I have a high opinion of art....(it actually has to be "good")

And congrat Clive. /\ I'm going to venture a guess and say that the school isn't a public one. :)

HappyLady
April 13th, 2005, 12:42 PM
Am I the only one who thinks it is a fairly decent piece of art? There is so much symbolism that can be derived from it and yet with so few details in the piece of work. Does "Patriot Act" refer to it being a "patriotic act" to take Bush out, or is it referring to something within the Patriot Act about fighting terrorism? Is it saying that Bush is making himself a terroristic target? Or that he's making him country a target? What about the fact that he is on a stamp, which is usually commemorative of someone honorable? What about the fact that the gun is pointing to his head and he isn't shot yet? Maybe he's playing Russian roulette.

I think it's an acceptable representation of art. Just because it makes someone uncomfortable or just because a lot of people don't like seeing Bush with a gun to his head, doesn't mean it isn't artwork.

KevinBrowning
April 13th, 2005, 12:47 PM
Am I the only one who thinks it is a fairly decent piece of art

Yes. If you think that's "art," then I'd recommend a good art history class or a Google search of the Ninja Turtles' names. I'm by no means an expert, but I know shallow drivel passed off as "artistic expression" when I see it.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 12:49 PM
There is so much symbolism that can be derived from it and yet with so few details in the piece of work.

Replace the gun with a phallus and it creates even more derivative meaning, and therefore MUST have more artistic merit! Sorry, but just because a piece of "art" is rife with symbolism doesn't make it good.

Ibelsd
April 13th, 2005, 02:59 PM
Art is whatever an artist can display that eminates from the brain. The first amendment doesn't protect only popular art. It is not limited to good art. It isn't limited to art which costs millions of dollars and it doesn't exclude art which is poorly understood. As long as the art was not supported by public funds, then it should be as protected from censorship as any other piece of art.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 03:04 PM
Art is whatever an artist can display that eminates from the brain. The first amendment doesn't protect only popular art. It is not limited to good art. It isn't limited to art which costs millions of dollars and it doesn't exclude art which is poorly understood. As long as the art was not supported by public funds, then it should be as protected from censorship as any other piece of art.

The First Amendment guarantee of free speech is not absolute. Inciting to riot (or violence) is a crime, although it punishes speech.

Andacanavar
April 13th, 2005, 03:54 PM
But I don't see where that's the case here.

Basically his point is, Bush stands in the way of freedom (the flag in the background). According to this piece, eliminating him, would allow the flag, aka freedom to fly free. Hence, a "Patriot Act" in this dude's eyes.

Whatever.

Iluvatar
April 13th, 2005, 04:09 PM
Sorry, but just because a piece of "art" is rife with symbolism doesn't make it good.I think you're hitting your head on the nail here. Take that a step further: just because it's not good doesn't mean that it's not art. 90-95% of modern art seems like faked crap to me. That doesn't mean that I should ban it. If the art was a big, bold-fonted message saying "Go kill Bush you fools! Now! This is not just artistic expression, go do it now!", I would accept it as a threat. However, merely showing Bush with a gun is not a threat.

The problem here is that by labeling any set of images as a security threat is cutting off a section of images that can be used for artistic expression.

On a side note, I would hazard a guess that the "artist" is not advocating the death of Bush. I would guess that he's saying that Bush will inevitably fall, and is unawares. This will come through whatever the artists thinks: Terrorist response to Bush's actions in the middle east, his bad economic policies, his preference for mustard over relish, whatever.

Iluvatar
April 13th, 2005, 04:12 PM
I wasn't serious, man. It's a joke, like having a Christian say, "Agnostic? More like, FAGnostic!" I know. I still find it somewhat of a cheap shot, and I've noticed a few theists do it, just sticking in small, unrelated shots at the opposing side. I'm sure atheists do it too, but I find it somewhat annoying that you make up an atheistic remark, and refer to it mockingly. A 1-line straw man.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 04:26 PM
I think you're hitting your head on the nail here. Take that a step further: just because it's not good doesn't mean that it's not art. 90-95% of modern art seems like faked crap to me. That doesn't mean that I should ban it. If the art was a big, bold-fonted message saying "Go kill Bush you fools! Now! This is not just artistic expression, go do it now!", I would accept it as a threat. However, merely showing Bush with a gun is not a threat.

Hey, Iluvatar: I was responding SPECIFICALLY to HL's claim that this was "good art". I don't think that it's good. I also never claimed that "bad art" should be banned.

"Merely showing Bush with a gun"? It's "merely" showing a GUN being held to Bush's head, and is titled "Patriot Act". The clearest explanation for this is that holding a gun to Bush's head is an act of patriotism. Now, the gun might be symbolic. "Murdering" Bush might be symbolic. But it appears to me to advocate shooting the President in the head with a pistol.


On a side note, I would hazard a guess that the "artist" is not advocating the death of Bush. I would guess that he's saying that Bush will inevitably fall, and is unawares.

It has a gun being held to his head. If he isn't advocating shooting the President in the head, at least metaphorically, then what is he suggesting? That Bush will bring about his own end? "Bush will inevitably fall"? No kidding. That whole "two term" thing really needs an inflammatory piece of art to capitalize on its importance.



I know. I still find it somewhat of a cheap shot, and I've noticed a few theists do it, just sticking in small, unrelated shots at the opposing side.

Okay, Iluvatar, you know why I wrote it? Because I was thinking of how to spell crucifixion. I was contemplating whether to put an "x" or a "ct". Then I noticed that the "ct" would spell "fiction". I found it funny to imagine an atheist saying, "Crucifixion? More like, cruciFICTION!" I find grammatical humor funny. Sorry, I guess I can only make jokes about Christian stupidity.

A cheap shot? Yeah, because no one EVER depicts Christians as bumbling idiots, or as mindless, memetically-programmed fools.

Apokalupsis
April 13th, 2005, 04:29 PM
It's crap. Plain and simple. I also believe that not ALL art should be legal. It also isn't the case that "it is just art." It is making a statement...a statement that should be illegal.

The same is true for the T-Shirt that was only recently taken off the market:
http://worldnetdaily.com/images2/killbushshirt2.jpg
It said:
For Gods Sake ...
KILL BUSH
Save the United States
and the Rest of the World

It sold for $16.99

Full story: http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43779

Iluvatar
April 13th, 2005, 05:18 PM
It said:
For Gods Sake ...
KILL BUSH
Save the United States
and the Rest of the World

That, I can fully agree, as it leaves no doubt as to the intention, and clearly advocates the act.

However, the stamps do not. Do you take every image you see as an indication the the person behind the image is advocating such a thing? Picasso painted war, and produced some of his best work. Many famous artists have painted suffering, death, and violence. Regardless of how you interpret this, it is only in the eye of the viewer that the intention to attack the president can be found.

As for the interpretation, I'd guess differently now. I didn't notice the title before. It seems to me that he's saying that the patriot act is Bush's political death, he'll go down in history as one to violate so many civil liberties. At least, that's what it seems to be saying to me.

Telex
April 13th, 2005, 05:31 PM
The art is obviously meant to appeal to people of a cerrtain mindset, and I believe it does. Just look at the responses in this thread: Virtually all the Bush supporters have blasted it as being "bad art." I personally find it an unexpectadly striking image, and if it's purpose was to instill deep emotions within its audience, I think it has achieved its goal.

Now, I normally don't like to play the "you just don't understand" card, but unless you guys have studied art in some way, you have no basis to claim that something is or is not "good" art. You can certainly say that "I don't care for that piece of art," but I sincerly doubt any of you have the required knowledge to label "good" vs "bad" art, except where "good" means "appealing to me" and bad means "not appealing to me." Art is far more complicated than most believe. There's a reason why "blue box on a green plane #3" is being displayed in that museum.

FruitandNut
April 13th, 2005, 05:43 PM
The 'Kill Bush' T-shirt was not intended as art - it was intended as an insighting political statement. If it was to be allowed, then personal statements like 'FruitandNut is a fu*k head' should also be allowed as 'art'. Why stop there, why not 'All atheists are the spawn of Satan and should be terminated in the name of God', or 'Theists are a waste of intellectual space, kill them off and make more room on the planet'. All very 'artistic'??????????????

ps. My personal thoughts on your 'choice' of President I will self-censor!!!

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 06:03 PM
However, the stamps do not. Do you take every image you see as an indication the the person behind the image is advocating such a thing? Picasso painted war, and produced some of his best work. Many famous artists have painted suffering, death, and violence. Regardless of how you interpret this, it is only in the eye of the viewer that the intention to attack the president can be found.

In what light did Picasso depict war? In what light do people depict suffering and such? In a way that glorifies it, or depicts it as "patriotic", i.e., in accordance with civic duty?

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 06:11 PM
...unless you guys have studied art in some way, you have no basis to claim that something is or is not "good" art

Anyone who has ever seen nature or has glanced at a painting has studied art enough to claim whether that art is "good" (not "good" in a technical sense, but "appealing". As any person can read an essay and attach a value to it without being an English major capable of appreciating the excellent grammar).

HappyLady
April 13th, 2005, 06:21 PM
Yes. If you think that's "art," then I'd recommend a good art history class

Thank you for the advice, Kevin. I took a "good art history class" at Penn State when I went to college. I also took another "good art class" while I was there where we analyzed art, music, and literature. My mother is an artist and so is my sister. What makes one person more qualified than another to determine how much education a person should have before they can critique an art piece? Further, what makes one person more qualified than another to determine what a "good art history class" is? Lastly, what makes one person more qualified than another to make the *assumption* that one has not had enough education to critique something?


I'm by no means an expert, but I know shallow drivel passed off as "artistic expression" when I see it.

And how many art classes have you taken, praytell? If you admit that you aren't an expert, then it is possible that you wouldn't be qualified to distinguish "shallow drivel" from "artistic expression" anymore than say...anyone else who is not an artist or studied it thoroughly.

Telex
April 13th, 2005, 06:21 PM
Anyone who has ever seen nature or has glanced at a painting has studied art enough to claim whether that art is "good" (not "good" in a technical sense, but "appealing". As any person can read an essay and attach a value to it without being an English major capable of appreciating the excellent grammar).
Unfortunatly, that's not the case with art, Clive. Art is not an essay, art is a poem. You don't need to be an English major to like a poem; you do need to have at least some form of advanced English instruction to understand the extent of the poetic devices being used, the theme of the poem, the message and feelings the poem is meant to instill, and the effectiveness of all those aspects. Example: I don't like most of Emily Dickenson's poems, but I don't go around saying she's a crappy poet. There is a difference between "liking" and "appreciating." And the difference is rather large.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 06:29 PM
Unfortunatly, that's not the case with art, Clive. Art is not an essay, art is a poem. You don't need to be an English major to like a poem; you do need to have at least some form of advanced English instruction to understand the extent of the poetic devices being used, the theme of the poem, the message and feelings the poem is meant to instill, and the effectiveness of all those aspects.

A poem that only English majors can understand is rather lacking, wouldn't you say?

The "effectiveness" of all those aspects should be CLEAR to any reader; if you have to look with an expert eye that laymen don't posses to understand it, it isn't very "clear" at all.

Music is another good example. I don't like Stravinsky to any great degree; he writes music well, but I don't like it. So, instead of saying that his music is devoid of musical merit, I say, "I don't like this piece." Where the example of the stamps differs is that there IS no artistic merit. No technical aspect. It's just a gun against Bush's head. It's the MESSAGE of the "art", not its presentation, that we are discussing. So when we say the art is "good" or "bad", we CLEARLY are not talking about the skills of the artist, as those skills are rather irrelevant.

It's like when people say Hitler was a great speaker. That's true. How many people would say that they like his speeches? How many would say that they "like" his speech?

HappyLady
April 13th, 2005, 06:34 PM
Replace the gun with a phallus and it creates even more derivative meaning, and therefore MUST have more artistic merit! Sorry, but just because a piece of "art" is rife with symbolism doesn't make it good.

But it does make it art. I didn't say it was "good". I said it was fairly decent. It is at least worthy of being called art.

HappyLady
April 13th, 2005, 06:38 PM
Hey, Iluvatar: I was responding SPECIFICALLY to HL's claim that this was "good art".

What say you on the art of manipulating the language so that you blatently put words in another person's mouth?

I challenge you to go through and quote where I said it was "good."

Telex
April 13th, 2005, 06:43 PM
A poem that only English majors can understand is rather lacking, wouldn't you say?

Not exactly what I meant. Comprehension can come to laymen as well as experts; However, to make an educated appraisal of the poem, one would need to study English. Example: "Fog" by Carl Sandburg


THE FOG comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Anyone can look at this poem and say, "It is about fog moving over a city. I like it." It would take an English major to say exactly what the message is (It could be fog. It could be something else.) and why that is the message. It's the difference between "liking" and "appreciating" again.


The "effectiveness" of all those aspects should be CLEAR to any reader; if you have to look with an expert eye that laymen don't posses to understand it, it isn't very "clear" at all.
Why? Should authors always cater to the lowest common denominator?


Music is another good example. I don't like Stravinsky to any great degree; he writes music well, but I don't like it. So, instead of saying that his music is devoid of musical merit, I say, "I don't like this piece."
Exactly.


Where the example of the stamps differs is that there IS no artistic merit. No technical aspect. It's just a gun against Bush's head.
Again, no. You don't have the neccessary knowledge to determine whether it has merit or not. You're confusing your own opinion and fact. Your opinion is that it is bad. That's not a fact.


It's the MESSAGE of the "art", not its presentation, that we are discussing. So when we say the art is "good" or "bad", we CLEARLY are not talking about the skills of the artist, as those skills are rather irrelevant.
I can count at least 3 people on this thread who have labeled it as bad art, not a bad message.


It's like when people say Hitler was a great speaker. That's true. How many people would say that they like his speeches? How many would say that they "like" his speech?
You are saying that he can be a great speaker while still have a bad message, right? I agree.

HappyLady
April 13th, 2005, 06:44 PM
Anyone who has ever seen nature or has glanced at a painting has studied art enough to claim whether that art is "good" (not "good" in a technical sense, but "appealing". As any person can read an essay and attach a value to it without being an English major capable of appreciating the excellent grammar).

But someone who isn't "good" at it, or skilled in it, won't know what to look for. You can look at picture and say, "It's pretty." or "It's ugly," but if you aren't skilled in analysis, that is the best you can do. You can read my essay and say that it is good because it doesn't have any misspellled words, but if you have only studied technical writing and grammar and haven't studied analysis of subject matter, you aren't qualified to say whether my whole paper is "good" or not, only that it has "good gramammer."

Most of us here are novices at the study of art, yet look at how varied the opinions are. Some say it's crap, some say it isn't. Who's right? Who's more qualified?

HappyLady
April 13th, 2005, 07:00 PM
The "effectiveness" of all those aspects should be CLEAR to any reader; if you have to look with an expert eye that laymen don't posses to understand it, it isn't very "clear" at all.

This just isn't true.

In many art forms, ambiguity and confusion are very common. That is part of what makes it art is that when it is read it is subjective to the reader what it means. The difference is, the skilled eye appreciates and understands that the artistic statement is supposed to leave the viewer confused and ambiguous and the unskilled eye usually just calls it crap.

In that way, if I write a poem where I want to leave the reader confused and the reader is indeed confused, then my art was "effective." The unskilled reader is going to say, "That's crap. It doesn't mean anything." The skilled reader is going to understand that the conclusion was meant to be unclear. But the READER can never know for certain if the piece was "effective" from the writer's perspective without knowing the intentions of the write or the "intended message."

With this piece, what makes it "effective" is that it does make a statement. You don't look at it like a caveman and say, "Bush...gun." And leave it at that. While we may not agree on it's meaning, and I personally think the artist intended for there to be ambiguity and several possible interpretations, it does have at least one meaning. We can't, however, determine if it is "effective" without knowing the artist's intentions. We can say it is effective against the spectrum of "art" because no matter what you look at it and say, "Hmmmm? What is this trying to say?" That is what art does. It has abstract meaning.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 07:02 PM
Again, no. You don't have the neccessary knowledge to determine whether it has merit or not. You're confusing your own opinion and fact. Your opinion is that it is bad. That's not a fact.

My opinion is that it didn't take Michelangelo-like skill to draw the stamp design in question. But I guess I just haven't taken enough art classes to fully understand how the artist contrives through the contrast of lines to sublimate this, transcend that, and come to terms with the fundamental dichotomies of the other; and one is left with a profound understanding of...of...of whatever it was the painting was about! (A long way to go for a HHGTtG reference, eh?)


Why? Should authors always cater to the lowest common denominator?

Yes. The point of art is to communicate truth. If you can't communicate to the "lowest common denominator", then you aren't a very good artist.



I challenge you to go through and quote where I said it was "good."

"Am I the only one who thinks it is a fairly decent piece of art?"

That sounds like approval, to me. Certainly not a ringing endorsement, but a sign of approval nonetheless.



But someone who isn't "good" at it, or skilled in it, won't know what to look for. You can look at picture and say, "It's pretty." or "It's ugly," but if you aren't skilled in analysis, that is the best you can do.

Just because you can't write a five page essay on the brushstrokes of a painter doesn't mean that you don't know about art.


You can read my essay and say that it is good because it doesn't have any misspellled words, but if you have only studied technical writing and grammar and haven't studied analysis of subject matter, you aren't qualified to say whether my whole paper is "good" or not, only that it has "good gramammer."

Good "gramammer", eh? I see why you studied art in college (I'm sure you can point out why I studied English in college by picking apart my sorry posts about artistic merit).

When a layman says that a piece of art is "good" or "bad", he means that the piece of art doesn't appeal to him. When an art critic says that a piece of art is "good" or "bad", he (should) mean that it displays a degree of skill or nuance.


"Good" art shouldn't require a masters degree in art to appreciate. Certainly, art majors will appreciate the statue of David on different levels than a layperson, but there is a fundamental level of comprehension that you don't need an academic degree to understand. What makes Michelangelo's art so amazing, beside his sheer skill, is that it can be appreciated by anyone who looks at it. Subtlety is not something to be avoided, however. But it should be subtle on a level that any person could apprehend; an artist may, of course, do a parody in the style of some other artist, which would be lost on anyone not familiar with the style. But in any serious (public) work of art, such "inside" meaning must be subservient to the meaning that is being conveyed to the public.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 07:07 PM
In many art forms, ambiguity and confusion are very common. That is part of what makes it art is that when it is read it is subjective to the reader what it means. The difference is, the skilled eye appreciates and understands that the artistic statement is supposed to leave the viewer confused and ambiguous and the unskilled eye usually just calls it crap.

What does a layperson mean by calling it "crap"? If he means that the art is ambiguous, then he's right on the nose, isn't he? And who's to say that ambiguity is something to be appreciated? Why is someone wrong for not liking ambiguous art? I don't like Whitman because of his sentences. While others fall all over themselves to lavish him with praise about his "daring" and "unconventional" style, I find it all very unimpressive. Am I wrong? I think not. Is my professor wrong, who adores Whitman for precisely the same reasons that I despise him? I think not. It's a matter of taste, you see.

Slipnish
April 13th, 2005, 07:10 PM
Okay, let's look at it fairly.

<img src = "http://www.sherrymama.com/HEAPIPA8.jpg">

Is this art? Personally, I like the stamps better. But for my money you can't beat Rembrandt or the flemish masters. Anyone that can paint reflections on buttons are artists.

I like art that looks like something, rather than art that looks like someone sat on the palette and then the canvas.

So, for all you critics out there, is this art?

HappyLady
April 13th, 2005, 07:21 PM
Yes. The point of art is to communicate truth. If you can't communicate to the "lowest common denominator", then you aren't a very good artist.

:?:


"Am I the only one who thinks it is a fairly decent piece of art?"


That sounds like approval, to me. Certainly not a ringing endorsement, but a sign of approval nonetheless.

But it certainly doesn't sound like "good" which you quoted me as saying. "Approval" and "good" do not mean the same thing. I think it is qualified to be called "art". I never said it was "good art." Just wanted to clear that up.


Just because you can't write a five page essay on the brushstrokes of a painter doesn't mean that you don't know about art.

You are muddling too many artistic issues. No one needs to be qualified to write an essay to analyze art. One does have to be qualified to analyze art in order to analyze art. Qualifications may be subjective to a certain degree, but some have more perception than others through insight and/or study. You are also muddling the technical aspects of art with the aesthetic aspects of art. One can be a good "painter", but that doesn't necessarily make then a good "artist." I can be a great copy editor, it doesn't mean I'm a "good writer." My writing could be downright boring. A painter can...just paint. What makes a painter an artist is that they are able to convey something in the perceiver that causes them to stir in some way, mentally, emotionally, etc...


Good "gramammer", eh? I see why you studied art in college (I'm sure you can point out why I studied English in college by picking apart my sorry posts about artistic merit).

Tehehe...my BA is in English. Tehehe. I just like to be mischeevious. ;)


When a layman says that a piece of art is "good" or "bad", he means that the piece of art doesn't appeal to him. When an art critic says that a piece of art is "good" or "bad", he (should) mean that it displays a degree of skill or nuance.

Agreed, if you are including the ability to convey meaning in "skill."


"Good" art shouldn't require a masters degree in art to appreciate.

Agreed. It takes a perceptive and analytical person who is capable of conveying empathy for an object that doesn't "feel".

It isn't much different than what makes a good therapist. There are many therapists with Master's, and PhD's and they have the empathic skills of a rock. Empathy is something that is very difficult to learn. Analyzing art is similar, IMO. You can study "brushstrokes" all you want and even get your Master's in it, it doesn't mean that you are going to feel the emotion that Michelangelo conveys.


What makes Michelangelo's art so amazing, beside his sheer skill, is that it can be appreciated by anyone who looks at it.

But it is appreciated on different levels. Unskilled analysts will look at it and say, "That's pretty." Then they will look at a mass production flower print and say the same thing. A more skilled analyst will be able to "see" more in the painting than an unskilled one.

It doesn't mean, though, that a "good artist" should be able to appeal to the unskilled eye. Not everyone appreciates a beautiful sunset in the same way. If an artist was forced to appeal to the unskilled, then we don't really have "art" anymore. We'd have new book, "Art for Dummies."

HappyLady
April 13th, 2005, 07:30 PM
What does a layperson mean by calling it "crap"?

Well, look at this thread. Many are saying it isn't even "art." "It's crap," as in...not art.


If he means that the art is ambiguous, then he's right on the nose, isn't he?

But ambiguity doesn't mean it's not art.


And who's to say that ambiguity is something to be appreciated? Why is someone wrong for not liking ambiguous art?

There is a difference between "not liking", "not appreciating," and "not understanding.


I don't like Whitman because of his sentences. While others fall all over themselves to lavish him with praise about his "daring" and "unconventional" style, I find it all very unimpressive.

Lalalala...I can't hear you. Whitman is one of my favorites. I wrote a 45 page paper on the man and his work and gave an hour long presentation. It was a grueling semester, most of which I have blocked out of my mind.

But what you are debating here is not whether Whitman is an artist or not. You aren't even debating that he's a "bad artist." You are debating that you don't like his style. I know I dreaded Whitman for a very long time. It took me a while to appreciate him. But then it just cliqued and I gained an appreciation.

As far as the debate goes, you are saying that the piece we are debating is "bad art" or "not art," right? But it is just art you don't appreciate, like Whitman's verse structure.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 07:42 PM
But it is appreciated on different levels. Unskilled analysts will look at it and say, "That's pretty." Then they will look at a mass production flower print and say the same thing. A more skilled analyst will be able to "see" more in the painting than an unskilled one.

Making "pretty" pictures requires artistic talent. Calling Michelangelo's work "pretty" is like callling Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor "technically sound". Understated, to say the least.



There is a difference between "not liking", "not appreciating," and "not understanding.

You said that the layperson called it "crap" because it was ambiguous. If he couldn't understand that the art was ambiguous, then he wouldn't have called it crap. Now, he might not have understood that the artist INTENDED for the piece to be ambiguous, but I'm sure you don't need me to tell you about the hazards of imposing one's view of the author's (or artist's) intent on others.



Tehehe...my BA is in English. Tehehe. I just like to be mischeevious.

Writing or literature, out of curiousity?

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 07:48 PM
Lalalala...I can't hear you. Whitman is one of my favorites. I wrote a 45 page paper on the man and his work and gave an hour long presentation. It was a grueling semester, most of which I have blocked out of my mind.

But what you are debating here is not whether Whitman is an artist or not. You aren't even debating that he's a "bad artist." You are debating that you don't like his style. I know I dreaded Whitman for a very long time. It took me a while to appreciate him. But then it just cliqued and I gained an appreciation.

When an expert calls an artist "good", he means that the artist has skill. When a layperson says that this or that piece of art is "good" or "bad", he means "I like/dislike this piece of art".

Whitman, therefore, is "bad" in the layperson's sense (to me), but "good" in the expert sense (again, only in my estimation).

Come on, HL. His "poem", Leaves of Grass, was the most tedious piece of "literature" that I ever had to explicate. He drones on and on for what, 1500 lines? At least Milton's epic poetry was interesting! But Whitman's shorter works are most certainly engaging and impressive.



As far as the debate goes, you are saying that the piece we are debating is "bad art" or "not art," right? But it is just art you don't appreciate, like Whitman's verse structure.

I don't think that the stamps are "art". There's no unique characteristics to the stamps. It's just a gun against Bush's head. No superb, above-par technical excellence required for that. The presentation of the message required no artistic skill. Do you disagree?

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 07:51 PM
Yes. The point of art is to communicate truth. If you can't communicate to the "lowest common denominator", then you aren't a very good artist.

You're confused, I see. Okay, HL. What's the point of writing Paradise Lost if it's going to go over the heads of the great majority of people reading it? Now, not all art is targeted at the public as a whole, and that's fine. But if your target is the masses, then you'd better make it so that they can understand. Otherwise, you're not a good artist. An artist (or at least a writer) MUST be able to make his work relative to his intended audience.

These stamp designs seem to clearly be designed for the masses, not just the professional art critics.

Telex
April 13th, 2005, 08:10 PM
The thread has kind of jumped all over the place since I logged off, so I'll just list some of my comments that may provide clarification and/or more points of debate in relation to this thread.

1) Art doesn't have to be "pretty" to be art
2) The assertation that to be a "good artist" you must be able to appeal to the masses is absurd. How many people can understand a book like Heart of Darkness completely? Does that make it a failed novel?
3) Technical excellence isn't the sole criteria for good art, but it helps. If someone simply copies a picture that their grandman took, it doesn't make it good art. It can make it "pretty" though.

CliveStaples
April 13th, 2005, 08:14 PM
2) The assertation that to be a "good artist" you must be able to appeal to the masses is absurd. How many people can understand a book like Heart of Darkness completely? Does that make it a failed novel?

How many people read Heart of Darkness and said, "Gee, I wish I had a degree in English literature, because I lack reading comprehension skills." Surely, a work is not going to be ENTIRELY understood by ANY person, expert or otherwise. But if, like Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the work's intended audience is "the people", then a smart writer would make sure he wrote it so that "the people" would get the general idea.

FruitandNut
April 13th, 2005, 10:11 PM
While others fall all over themselves to lavish him with praise about his "daring" and "unconventional" style, I find it all very unimpressive. Am I wrong? I think not. Is my professor wrong, who adores Whitman for precisely the same reasons that I despise him? I think not. It's a matter of taste, you see.

-And personal taste is bound up in so many things that include culture, gender, religious and political perspectives, age/generation, education and 'individual' experience (for instance if Shakespeare is rammed down your throat at school, it may trigger rebellion).

Personally I quite like Slim Whitman :lol: ;)

ps. I got good marks in an assignment for my psycho approach to both Conrad and Heart of Darkness. I looked at colonial and gender attitudes in particular.

KevinBrowning
April 14th, 2005, 06:52 AM
Thank you for the advice, Kevin. I took a "good art history class" at Penn State when I went to college. I also took another "good art class" while I was there where we analyzed art, music, and literature.

First, by "good," I just meant one where they give a decent overview of important historical works. Second, I was being sort of sarcastic. I wasn't implying that you should rush off to register for a class before you're qualified to make a judgment about an "artwork." I find it even more astounding now, that you consider this inane, sophomoric little piece of "artistic expression" to be good art, now that you have revealed your background in studying art. Wow, a picture of the American president with a gun to his head. The most powerful man in the world, faced with danger to his life. A shockingly ironic concept. What's more, the words "PATRIOT Act" are included. Throwing in the name of a highly controversial law surely makes this a profound statement.

CliveStaples
April 14th, 2005, 07:55 AM
ps. I got good marks in an assignment for my psycho approach to both Conrad and Heart of Darkness. I looked at colonial and gender attitudes in particular.

The colonial aspect must have pretty much written itself, eh?

Apokalupsis
April 14th, 2005, 08:33 AM
However, the stamps do not. Do you take every image you see as an indication the the person behind the image is advocating such a thing? Picasso painted war, and produced some of his best work. Many famous artists have painted suffering, death, and violence. Regardless of how you interpret this, it is only in the eye of the viewer that the intention to attack the president can be found.
I have NO problem with a portrait of a man with a gun aimed at his head. The problem I have with this specific piece of crud...er..."art"...is that the subject of the piece, is our President of the United States of America.

It is a political statement. There is nothing magical about the picture...it's a picture with a gun pointed at his head.



As for the interpretation, I'd guess differently now. I didn't notice the title before. It seems to me that he's saying that the patriot act is Bush's political death, he'll go down in history as one to violate so many civil liberties. At least, that's what it seems to be saying to me.
And to me it says Bush should die because OF the Patriot Act being approved by him.

Apokalupsis
April 14th, 2005, 08:36 AM
The art is obviously meant to appeal to people of a cerrtain mindset, and I believe it does. Just look at the responses in this thread: Virtually all the Bush supporters have blasted it as being "bad art." I personally find it an unexpectadly striking image, and if it's purpose was to instill deep emotions within its audience, I think it has achieved its goal.
I would oppose the piece if ANY President was depicted in it. Radical liberal President or Radical conservative, Democrat or Republican...doesn't matter.

Booger
April 14th, 2005, 08:38 AM
And to me it says Bush should die because OF the Patriot Act being approved by him.

This is interesting. There are at least 3 takes on the artwork I've seen expressed in this thread:

1) Bush should die because of the Patriot Act being approved by him;
2) Bush was forced to approve the Patriot Act because of the threat of terrorism (the proverbial gun to the head); and
3) Shooting Bush in the head would be a "Patriot act."

I'm going to try to find out what the artist said it was trying to convey. Will check back...

Booger
April 14th, 2005, 09:03 AM
This is interesting. There are at least 3 takes on the artwork I've seen expressed in this thread:

1) Bush should die because of the Patriot Act being approved by him;
2) Bush was forced to approve the Patriot Act because of the threat of terrorism (the proverbial gun to the head); and
3) Shooting Bush in the head would be a "Patriot act."

I'm going to try to find out what the artist said it was trying to convey. Will check back...

Apparently, the artist has not spoken to the press. My personal take is 3) above. And if that is the statement the artwork is trying to convey, then the SS was right to investigate and further, threatening the President is illegal.

But with that said, if the artwork is legitimate artistic expression of a political statement that he believes the US would be better without Bush, should that be protected under the First Amendment? This thread seems to have deviated a bit to whether it is art or good art, but let's assume that it constitutes a legitimate artistic expression of a political statement. Should that be protected under the First Amendment?

My take? Yes. As I stated, I don't like the artwork since a depiction of the President with a gun to his head makes me uneasy, regardless of the extent to which I disagree with his policies. He is the democratically elected head of the United States government and leader of the free world and I would be incredibly pissed and upset if the President were assassinated. But yet, I can't help concluding that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that we must not punish or censor a political statement unless that political statement rises to the level of an actual threat directed at the President (or the incitement of violence towards the President).

But Apok, I agree with respect to the "Kill Bush" t-shirts. Not only are those t-shirts in incredibly poor taste, I think the ACLU would even have a hard time arguing that the t-shirts should be protected by the First Amendment. I should know...I'm a lawyer for the ACLU ;)

HappyLady
April 14th, 2005, 09:08 AM
Making "pretty" pictures requires artistic talent. Calling Michelangelo's work "pretty" is like callling Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor "technically sound". Understated, to say the least.

Agreed. But "laymen" do it all the time because they don't "get" it.


You said that the layperson called it "crap" because it was ambiguous. If he couldn't understand that the art was ambiguous, then he wouldn't have called it crap. Now, he might not have understood that the artist INTENDED for the piece to be ambiguous, but I'm sure you don't need me to tell you about the hazards of imposing one's view of the author's (or artist's) intent on others.

Right. But people who don't appreciate art will call it crap because they want it to be more concrete. They don't want to have to think about it's meaning. That was my point.


Writing or literature, out of curiousity?

It was a good mix of both, but I'd say there was more of an emphasis on literature than writing.

HappyLady
April 14th, 2005, 09:17 AM
When an expert calls an artist "good", he means that the artist has skill. When a layperson says that this or that piece of art is "good" or "bad", he means "I like/dislike this piece of art".

Agreed.


Whitman, therefore, is "bad" in the layperson's sense (to me), but "good" in the expert sense (again, only in my estimation).

Agreed.


Come on, HL. His "poem", Leaves of Grass, was the most tedious piece of "literature" that I ever had to explicate.

Nowhere near as tedious as anything by almost any English novelists, IMO. ;)


He drones on and on for what, 1500 lines? At least Milton's epic poetry was interesting! But Whitman's shorter works are most certainly engaging and impressive.

While both worthy of merit, Milton was more boring reading to me than Whitman was. Just a matter of preference, I suppose.


I don't think that the stamps are "art". There's no unique characteristics to the stamps. It's just a gun against Bush's head. No superb, above-par technical excellence required for that. The presentation of the message required no artistic skill. Do you disagree?

But you keep adhering to only one facet of art, technical skill. There is more to art than that. I am thinking the images were computer generated and in that case, the technical skill involved would be minimal. But the creative skill, choosing to use Patriot Act, choosing the flag for the background, choosing the gun at his head, the stamp concept, etc...all of these creative details require artistic skill. The artist was successful in engaging the perceiver on a mental and emotional level, and that does make art.

HappyLady
April 14th, 2005, 09:21 AM
What's the point of writing Paradise Lost if it's going to go over the heads of the great majority of people reading it?

You are trying to get into the head of the writer, and that is not really a facet of what makes "good art." Often, when I write poetry, I am not thinking of my audience. I'm thinking about me and I don't give a crap if anyone gets it or not.

Why do you think there has to be a point to creating art?


But if your target is the masses, then you'd better make it so that they can understand.

Why?


Otherwise, you're not a good artist. An artist (or at least a writer) MUST be able to make his work relative to his intended audience.

How can you know who the "intended audience" is as a perceiver?


These stamp designs seem to clearly be designed for the masses, not just the professional art critics.

How can you know this? Did you speak with the artist?

HappyLady
April 14th, 2005, 09:24 AM
I find it even more astounding now, that you consider this inane, sophomoric little piece of "artistic expression" to be good art

Psssst....like I told Clive, go through the thread and show me where I ever said it was "good" art. Seriously, I'll give you five bucks if you can find it.

(Hint: I never asserted it was "good art," I asserted that it was worthy of being called "art.")

CliveStaples
April 14th, 2005, 12:17 PM
But if your target is the masses, then you'd better make it so that they can understand.

Why?

Because anyone who doesn't tailor his work to his intended audience is an idiot. Now, the work doesn't have to spell things out for the audience; subtlety and ambiguity are perfectly fine. However, if your target audience speaks ENGLISH and you write your essay in SPANISH, and your intention is NOT to befuddle the audience but to educate them about, say, the effects of lowering taxes over a long period of time, then you're a fool.


You are trying to get into the head of the writer, and that is not really a facet of what makes "good art." Often, when I write poetry, I am not thinking of my audience. I'm thinking about me and I don't give a crap if anyone gets it or not.

If you "don't give a crap if anyone gets it or not", then you're merely defining your audience as a very small portion of the population, i.e., YOU.


Why do you think there has to be a point to creating art?

Art is meant to convey truth. I only call "art" things that communicate about transcendant ideas, e.g., the human condition, love, beauty, God, etc. A drawing of a gun against someone's head is a political statement, not "art". If I wrote on a canvas, "John Kerry should not be president", would that be art? No. If I drew a picture of John Kerry with a line through it, would it be "art"? No. This whole modern "abstract" movement seems rather superfluous. "Hey, look, it's a f**d-up looking figure-eight. It's so meaningful!!!" Art without point is meaningless to me. Now, you may have different criteria for "art". That's fine. You might find meaning in a black splotch of paint on canvas.




These stamp designs seem to clearly be designed for the masses, not just the professional art critics.

How can you know this? Did you speak with the artist?

Did you see the "seem" in there? It seems to me that the stamp design is meant for the masses; it was meant to change people's mind about President Bush, or to highlight some sentiment about Bush. The design is mind-numbingly simple: a gun against Bush's head. "Patriot act". There's no nuance there. Sure, you can delve into the metaphors of the gun. But it seems rather clear to me that the most obvious message conveyed is that shooting Bush in the head would be an act of patriotism.



How can you know who the "intended audience" is as a perceiver?

I can't know. The author, on the other hand, tailors his work to his audience. If I wrote an article to be submitted to National Review, I'd write it differently than if I were submitting it to my local paper (local examples would be lost on NR readers).




But you keep adhering to only one facet of art, technical skill. There is more to art than that. I am thinking the images were computer generated and in that case, the technical skill involved would be minimal. But the creative skill, choosing to use Patriot Act, choosing the flag for the background, choosing the gun at his head, the stamp concept, etc...all of these creative details require artistic skill. The artist was successful in engaging the perceiver on a mental and emotional level, and that does make art.

"Creative" skill? This kind of crap is considered "creative"? Assassination: such a creative concept! Such genius! If "engaging the perciever on a mental and emotional level" makes art, then all political ad hom attacks are "art".



While both worthy of merit, Milton was more boring reading to me than Whitman was. Just a matter of preference, I suppose.

Yeah. See, I like poetry that COULDN'T have been written by a 4th-grader writing down everything he saw.



But with that said, if the artwork is legitimate artistic expression of a political statement that he believes the US would be better without Bush, should that be protected under the First Amendment? This thread seems to have deviated a bit to whether it is art or good art, but let's assume that it constitutes a legitimate artistic expression of a political statement. Should that be protected under the First Amendment?

If we're going to protect speech that APPARENTLY advocated assassinating the President but is ostensibly metaphorical, then who's to say that three people actually advocating killing the President in pamphlets and such aren't just engaging in metaphor?

Snoop
April 14th, 2005, 12:25 PM
anyone who doesn't tailor his work to his intended audience is an idiot. - Clive, I object! This is a blanket statement that just doesn't sit right with me. A good artist will tailor his/her work to any audience that will pay to see or buy it (unless he/she is independently wealthy).

I just wanted to let you know - carry on.

CliveStaples
April 14th, 2005, 01:07 PM
- Clive, I object! This is a blanket statement that just doesn't sit right with me. A good artist will tailor his/her work to any audience that will pay to see or buy it (unless he/she is independently wealthy).

Heh. But -- the artist is merely tailoring his work to the audience that will pay best. He still targets an audience.

KevinBrowning
April 14th, 2005, 03:06 PM
Psssst....like I told Clive, go through the thread and show me where I ever said it was "good" art. Seriously, I'll give you five bucks if you can find it.

(Hint: I never asserted it was "good art," I asserted that it was worthy of being called "art.")

Nah, you said "fairly decent." My apologies. I simply disagree. It's just stupid. The artist was trying to be profound or clever or something, by using two of the most obvious and unoriginal devices possible: the president with a freaking gun to his head, and the words "PATRIOT Act" slapped in there for good measure. Maybe my definition of art is a bit more demanding than some. I don't think "modern art" is art at all, neither are those crude atheistic pieces that get so much attention like pictures of the Virgin Mary made with feces and set up right out in the street where everyone can be offended and grossed out. In short, "shock value" does not equal artistic merit.

CliveStaples
April 14th, 2005, 03:34 PM
If the KKK put forth a stamp design in 1964 with Martin Luther King's head with a gun to it labelled "Patriot Act", would people be defending it as "artistic expression", or would they have the common sense to see that it is murderous trash?

Now, a shirt can say "F**k Bush". That's legal. Not art, but legal. Seriously advocating the assassination of the President doesn't mystically become protected because it's done on canvas instead of over the radiowaves.


Digression:

Seriously, the "tolerant" and "peace loving" left seems to be advocating and propagating an awful lot of hate and violence. Here in Oregon, the "progressives" wrecked some Republican campaign headquarters and attacked Republican workers. Funny how "war=evil", but attacking people who disagree with you seems to be acceptable. Odd, that.

Snoop
April 14th, 2005, 03:44 PM
Digression:

Seriously, the "tolerant" and "peace loving" left seems to be advocating and propagating an awful lot of hate and violence. Here in Oregon, the "progressives" wrecked some Republican campaign headquarters and attacked Republican workers. Funny how "war=evil", but attacking people who disagree with you seems to be acceptable. Odd, that. It's called self-defense.

CliveStaples
April 14th, 2005, 03:58 PM
It's called self-defense.

Yes, because FREE SPEECH IS SO THREATENING (http://brain-terminal.com/posts/2003/10/20/when-protesters-attack).

And holding up signs (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24488-2005Jan20.html?sub=AR). How DARE they!!!

HappyLady
April 15th, 2005, 06:05 AM
However, if your target audience speaks ENGLISH and you write your essay in SPANISH, and your intention is NOT to befuddle the audience but to educate them about, say, the effects of lowering taxes over a long period of time, then you're a fool.

You aren't talking about "art" here, though. You're talking about educating your audience with a tax essay. Maybe in a piece of art work my audience would be English speaking, and I'd write it in Spanish with the intent that they would do the work to interpret it. If I put that Spanish writing next to some picture that raises eyebrows, many English speakers would find out what it meant. Maybe it would even be a political statement about the influx of Hispanics in America in the recent decades. I don't think it makes it "idiotic." I don't think you've proven the whole "intended audience" theory.


If you "don't give a crap if anyone gets it or not", then you're merely defining your audience as a very small portion of the population, i.e., YOU.

No. I expect people to read it. Just people in general. For instance, if I write a poem for ODN members to read, I don't create my poem around that concept of "ODN members will read this." I create my poem as an expression of something within myself. If the ODNers don't "get it" it doesn't mean it was "bad art."


Art is meant to convey truth. I only call "art" things that communicate about transcendant ideas, e.g., the human condition, love, beauty, God, etc. A drawing of a gun against someone's head is a political statement, not "art".

You don't think politics speak of the "human condition"? :?:


If I wrote on a canvas, "John Kerry should not be president", would that be art? No. If I drew a picture of John Kerry with a line through it, would it be "art"? No.

It *could be* art depending on what else was going on in the drawing. I agree that alone they aren't art. But the stamp is more abstract of a concept than what you are asserting. There is more going on in the picture than that.


Did you see the "seem" in there? It seems to me that the stamp design is meant for the masses; it was meant to change people's mind about President Bush, or to highlight some sentiment about Bush.

But you seem to be basing your critique on the art of what you seem to think it means. If it only meant that Bush should be assassinated, then it isn't much different from a T-shirt. BUT:


Sure, you can delve into the metaphors of the gun.

This is what makes it art. There are several things going on in the picture that cause us to question, "What does that mean?" It makes it art. The gun does not have a direct and obvious meaning in the picture. OR:


But it seems rather clear to me that the most obvious message conveyed is that shooting Bush in the head would be an act of patriotism.

The obvious meaning that you perceive is NOT the only possible, or even probable meaning. Therefore, it's art. Others have already stated that maybe the gun means that Bush is putting himself in harms way as he tries to protect our country. It COULD BE a POSITIVE message that Bush is a true patriot BECAUSE he's putting himself in harms way to protect our country. Notice he's standing boldly in front of the flag. He could be protecting, not impeding. But see, you can't know that possibility is any more or less true than YOUR interpretation.

The reason you are calling it crap is because you are only taking into consideration YOUR meaning, rather than acknowledging that the metaphor DOES exist and that it DOES speak to the human condition, and that is what makes it art.


"Creative" skill? This kind of crap is considered "creative"? Assassination: such a creative concept! Such genius!

You are minimalizing.


If "engaging the perciever on a mental and emotional level" makes art, then all political ad hom attacks are "art".

Political ad hom attacks don't make a person "think" "What does this mean?" It might invoke anger or joy, but it doesn't engage and connect. That is the difference. An ad hom attack doesn't pull the viewer in. It just is.


Yeah. See, I like poetry that COULDN'T have been written by a 4th-grader writing down everything he saw.

From "Out of the cradle endlessly rocking"

"Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird's throat, a musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands and fields beyond, where the child leaving
his bed wander'd alone, bareheaded, barefoot,
Down from the shower'd halo,
Up from the mystic play of shadows twining and twisting as if they
were alive,
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories sad brother, from the fitful risings and fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning and love there in the mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous'd words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither, ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
A man, yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them, but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence sing."

Fourth grade observations??? You are minimalizing Whitman's genius. This particular poem is about his spiritual awakening that led him to be an artist. If you really think he writes on a fourth grade level, then I'm inclined to think that you don't comprehend Whitman and that is why you dumb him down. He is one of the most spiritual writers I've ever read. While his style may be wordy, it all serves a purpose. He changed the face of poetry with his unique style. More importantly, his spiritual messages are profound. When you first said you didn't like him, I thought it was just a lack of appreciation of his style, and understandable. But, as the professor who taught Whitman to me once said when I didn't "get it", "It takes a spiritual awareness of yourself to understand Whitman. He is the kind of poet you can read at 20, 30, 40, and so on and each time you will glean something more and more profound and enlightening."

I suggest that if you don't like Whitman now, pick him up again in about ten years and see if your perception has changed any.

While comparing the "stamp" to Whitman is laughable as Whitman's genius far outweighs this artist, in comparing the two, it is possible to gain several perceptions as to what the words or picture mean. That is what defines it as art. It's not all spelled out for us on the surface. You have to look deeper to find the "truth" regardless of the artist's intent.

HappyLady
April 15th, 2005, 06:10 AM
If the KKK put forth a stamp design in 1964 with Martin Luther King's head with a gun to it labelled "Patriot Act", would people be defending it as "artistic expression", or would they have the common sense to see that it is murderous trash?

Was the "Patriot Act" in existence then? What would the "Patriot Act" have to do with MLK? If they created a stamp with MLK standing in front of a flag with a gun to his head and it stated, "Equal Rights" or something like that, then it would be viewed the same, IMO. It would have several interpretations, not necessarily the obvious one being the "correct" one.

You keep minimalizing the stamp to being JUST the president with a gun against his head. There is more to it than that.

CliveStaples
April 15th, 2005, 12:48 PM
The obvious meaning that you perceive is NOT the only possible, or even probable meaning.

It's not the "probable" meaning? Who's claiming to know the intentions of the artist now?



From "Out of the cradle endlessly rocking"

I was talking about "Leaves of Grass". Whitman's other stuff is great; I'm not disputing that he's a genius. But "Leaves of Grass" is not his best work, in my opinion.



While comparing the "stamp" to Whitman is laughable as Whitman's genius far outweighs this artist, in comparing the two, it is possible to gain several perceptions as to what the words or picture mean.

What are you talking about? I didn't compare the stamp to Whitman.


Was the "Patriot Act" in existence then? What would the "Patriot Act" have to do with MLK? If they created a stamp with MLK standing in front of a flag with a gun to his head and it stated, "Equal Rights" or something like that, then it would be viewed the same, IMO. It would have several interpretations, not necessarily the obvious one being the "correct" one.

Is the obvious one the WRONG one? How do you know?


You don't think politics speak of the "human condition"?

"Bush=Hitler". Very artistic. Hamilton and Jefferson's politics are FAR different than the schlock peddled by hatred-mongers these days.


You aren't talking about "art" here, though. You're talking about educating your audience with a tax essay. Maybe in a piece of art work my audience would be English speaking, and I'd write it in Spanish with the intent that they would do the work to interpret it.

EXACTLY. If you wanted them to interpret the language into their native tongue, you WOULDN'T write it in their native tongue. Your message and especially its presentation are tailored to your intended audience (which isn't always "the people").