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Re: Craftsman Defined & Artists Books

Sam wrote:

>And probably others whose work is considered mindless by the current
>consensus and will be judged the work of genius two generations from now.

which finally prompted me to contribute the following highly personal and
not particularly articulate rant.


Many people, schooled and otherwise, have this hangup about "Art" and
"Artists". Duchamp's urinal, mentioned earlier, proved once and for all,
that art is whatever we want it to be; that any work (object, composition,
dance, thought, etc) in the right situation or context (time and space)
*can* be considered to transcend its fellows (other urinals, for example),
or simply be sublime in its own right, and be "Art". If only one person
considers it to be Art, then -- for that person -- it *is* Art, and if that
person can convince sufficient others then for *all* of them it is Art.
Obviously, if no one considers it Art, then it isn't.

Further, art is generally considered to be works such as painting,
sculpture, musical compositions, dance, etc, therefore those who create
such works are artists. If I paint, I am an artist. If I call myself an
artist, no one can say with certainty otherwise. They may say I am not a
good artist but that is only their opinion. If five people think I am a
good artist, and five people think I'm not, then what am I? It depends upon
whom you ask. Those painters who are considered to be great artists
convinced sufficient others (through words or work) to be thought so. Sir
Lawrence Alma-Tadema used to be considered a great artist: today, most
people haven't heard of him and of those who have, most consider him to
have been not so great. Europe used to be almost crowded with court
painters, musicians, etc, who were in their time, celebrated: today they
are forgotten except by a few dusty scholars. Times change, tastes change,
circumstances change; and life goes on.

The long and the short of all this is that if Mary Smith calls herslf an
artist, and makes what she calls artists books (with or without the
apostrophe), then who is to say otherwise. Some will, of course, say she is
not, or her works are not art but might be craft, or whatever, but to her
friends, family, acquaintances, and maybe even some critics (remember,
everyone's a critic) she is considered an Artist and what she does is
considered Art. Only time will tell if it really is art, and for how long
it will remain so.


Respectfully submitted,

Richard Miller <rmiller@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

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