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Re: Art, skill, communication, failure



I agree that we might be getting a little off topic with the specific art
criticism, but I think the larger discussion of art and craft is important
nonetheless. Three points:

1) a suggested addition to Richard Minsky's reading list: Pierre Bourdieu's
_Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste_ Harvard UP,
1984. He argues that our answer to "what is art" is less a response to a
transcendent quality in the work and more a product of our social
upbringing or exposure to the "right" artistic venues. Our taste is
developed, not innate. I don't know that I agree 100%, but it is an
interesting perspective.

2) As a "designer" my ultimate goal is to communicate my client's message.
If my end product is visually stunning, crafted with technical precision
and expertise, but fails to communicate the message, it may be good art, it
may be good craftmanship, but it is poor design. Communication is the
purpose of design. What would you define as the purpose of "art", the
purpose of "craft"?

3) The owner of one of our better local art supply stores is always
surprising people because he himself does not do anything "artistic." But
he knows more about the "craft" of art than many artists. Pigments,
adhesives, papers, brushes -- you tell him your project and he'll recommend
the best tools. He even lectures in the local art schools and programs on
pigments etc. But he can't draw to save his life. How would we label him?

Winston Pei

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Black Riders Design

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                          - Robert Carlton Brown
                             on his optical poem "Eyes on the Half-Shell"


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