Art for Art's sake

Does (can) Art stand on it's own?  Should (can) a viewer objectively judge whether or not they like a work of Art independent of any bias re. the  identity and personalty of the Artist?


e.g. Can you like art created by an artist you dislike? 


This inquiry is not meant to be directed "personally" in any way.  I am motivated by a more pressing issue to my mind... does and can Art generally stand on its own in the eye of the viewers (or society) ... or does it lean (and perhaps heavily) on the "persona" of its creator.

For example, suppose someone dislikes an Artist and professes to dislike all their works.  Now, had they seen that artist's work in the absence of any indication that the artwork was by him, and in the absence of any indication of the personality, philosophy, or disposition of the artist, is it safe to say they would actually dislike them all (notwithstanding that they would claim so in any case)?


I'm trying to work out:
  
How does (can?) a viewer independently judge art?  Does the identity, personality, philosophy, motivation, "likability" or politics of the Artist matter at all?  Does the opinion of the person standing next to viewer, or the prevailing  opinion of the "experts", specifically about the Artist as a person, matter one iota?

Can a person say "I like that art" without any entanglements in any ideas about the personality behind it's creation?  Can an artist succeed by creation of great art or does he/she need to "be" what is expected, accepted, liked, or desired etc. in the "persona" of an artist?



How much is art, or has art been, (or perhaps always been)... "social media".   

Upvote, Like, Dislike, Cancel.
because #theArtistNotTheArt



marieb

Comments

  • edited September 2021
    Interesting topic.

    I think I can like a work of art without any consideration of the artist's personality. For example, I really like a lot of Monet's work. If I found out that he was a right b*stard of a man who cheated others and beat his wife, I don't think it would alter my opinion of his work. I admire Picasso's work and he was a b*stard to women. It's the same with music. I love Beethoven's work but by some accounts he was a pig of a man given to sharp dealing and was often cantankerous and diffucult to be around. He was a flawed individual (like us all) but I'll always love his work nonetheless.  Caravaggio  killed a man and was sentenced to death for murder.  But were his paintings good? Do I like them? You bet I do. And if I knew that a particular artist was goodness and kindness personified it would not make me like his work if I thought it was no good.  

    So, in short, for me, the personality of the artist has no bearing on what I think of his/her work. And I don't think it should. As for what critics/experts say about an artist or the quality of the work, they don't sway me one way or the other whatever they say. A glowing review or a damning critique is not going to alter my opinion of the work. 
    CBGanweshamariebCarolAnn
  • CBG

    I answer ‘yes’ to all your questions except …does the art rely on the persona of the artist? … answer ‘no’.

    I have examined and worked through various critical appraisal processes for art works and even compiled one myself. None of the parameters used to evaluate the art included the personality of the artist. Just not relevant to the evolving consciousness of art over the centuries.

    I imagine hundreds of thousands who painted, sculpted, played, composed, wrote and sang were reprehensible characters who abused women and children and others. To the human rights groups the work will be downgraded but the vast majority will love and value the artists contribution to art.

    Denis
    CBGmarieb

  • I'm trying to work out:
      
    How does (can?) a viewer independently judge art?  Does the identity, personality, philosophy, motivation, "likability" or politics of the Artist matter at all?  Does the opinion of the person standing next to viewer, or the prevailing  opinion of the "experts", specifically about the Artist as a person, matter one iota?

    Can a person say "I like that art" without any entanglements in any ideas about the personality behind it's creation?  Can an artist succeed by creation of great art or does he/she need to "be" what is expected, accepted, liked, or desired etc. in the "persona" of an artist?



    How much is art, or has art been, (or perhaps always been)... "social media".   

    Upvote, Like, Dislike, Cancel.
    because #theArtistNotTheArt



    Graph 1   Of course people are influenced by market hype. The gallery where a piece is shown. Reviews. But that doesn't mean much if the art is transcendent.
    Graph 2   Of course.  But what do you mean by succeed? In the academic and gallery world CV is more important than good work. It is a money game. There are of course breakthroughs. Few artist succeed in the money game. But they may be successful in personal fulfillment through art.  
    Graph 3  I don't agree. Art until the Industrial Age was mostly illustrative allegory. A one way street.


    CBG
  • edited September 2021
    what an interesting discussion!

    In my opinion,  it is easier to separate the two when the artist has reached a great mastery and the work itself speaks of it.

    But with today's divisiveness in social media over political opinions or actually any opinion on the hot subjects of the day may affect "social media followers", who rather not see a different opinion, but the actual art collector? I dont think good art can drive them off.

    To become "what is expected" by each and every collector? that's a difficult task and sometimes impossible, as one would like you to be a peculiarly dressed person, an eccentric look, someone would like you to have the same mother tongue/background to be more relatable, someone would like to feel they are helping a starving artist.. the best are those who are just happy with your work that spoke to them and any more input from you is a cherry on top. If one needs to be the only marketing person for one's work probably it helps to be a person easy to talk to.


    CBGmarieb
  • edited September 2021
    It's a great question. How much does what we surround art with shape and colour our appreciation of it? An artist's image. The name of the artist. The story of the artist ('He never sold a painting.' He cut his ear off.') The fact that people we respect say it's great and it's sitting in the gallery in pride of place.
    I think of Milli Vanilli. Grammy award. People loved the music. The music? Suddenly the music itself became completely irrelevant because of what surrounded it. It was really ugly old studio musicians, not cool looking dudes. And we had been misled. What surrounded it apparently disqualified it? The music didn't change. Not a note.
    The new drawing by Vincent is 'impossible to say what it's worth.' Because that drawing is that amazing? Some of Vincent's early work was a bit rubbish in my view. Some left me breathless when I stood before it.
    Some types of art such as genuine abstract have left me breathless. Some of it is not much different to trying to appreciate random patterns on my bathroom tiles. I look at the title and it doesn't help. But some of this is surrounded by supercilious people who make assumptions about you as a human being if you don't agree with them.
    So... a part of me loves art that cuts through with real impact on anyone. Whatever genre. I don't care if it's graffiti in an alley or hanging in a gallery. (Ok, i'll stop before I turn it into a rap.)

    CBGmarieb
  • If I didn’t like the painter as a person , perhaps finding them unkind or something , then I can get past it . 
    If they had political views that are so far apart from what I find acceptable for myself then I would just not want to support the person .
    So many factors to consider .

    I am not sure if this makes sense , as everything for me comes in emotion ( even thoughts , memories ) but if the artist has a vibe I don’t like much , then the painting would feel wrong in my house . I could still appreciate the craftsmanship.
    Perhaps it’s the same as “ never meet your idols “ kind of thing . 

    I’ve joined a few Facebook painting groups over the past months and sometimes I simply am in awe of a work and click the persons profile to see more of what they created . And found people behind the paintings to be totally not what I thought . And yes , it changes how I see the art work . 
    Its a good question as I never thought about this before . 

    If I look at some works of Mondriaan ( like Broadway boogie woogie” , I’m not moved at all . 
    But I like the way he wrote about it .

    I for sure think you can say you like the art without knowing anything else about the piece or creator . It’s what happens when I look up more about it , that can make me change my mind . 
    CBG
  • edited September 2021
    Yes it is an interesting topic.

    I recall years ago seeing a painting by Adolph Hitler and before realising it was by him thinking that the painting was quite good. Having found out it was by him did not make me think any less of the painting but it did raise the question for me of how someone responsible for so much death and destruction can have the sensitivity of an artist.

    Maybe it was naivety on my part at the time.

    I guess if I really liked someone’s work and then found out they were a hardline right wing homophobic misogynist I would wrestle with that. It would inevitably cast a shadow on the whole kaboodle for me.

    But I think that liking someone’s work and the art that they produce is not the same as, and does not mean, liking them.

    I have often heard it said by artists that once their work is out there it it is no longer theirs and becomes the publics. The public now own it and make it theirs in which case this may make it somewhat easier for them to disassociate themselves from what they may know, or think they know about the artist.

    Also there is the question of-can we really know what the artist is really like as a person unless we know them of course. Someone can be labelled a certain way by the press, for example, but in actual fact may not be like that at all.

    I think an interesting artist to bring up, particularly for this discussion is Banksy, who I am sure many of you will have heard of. He is an artist here in the UK  who usually puts his work on buildings anonymously. In fact he remains anonymous in terms of persona.
    His work is popular and well liked and is often sold for a lot of money. 

    He will often put works in deprived areas, with the intent of and knowing that the people in the area will likely benefit from selling the work that he has anonymously gifted them. For example he did a piece of work on a youth club door. That youth club had just had its funding either cut or greatly reduced and was struggling. They were able to continue after having sold the painting.

    He is also quite playful with his art and message, and though we may glean that he is somewhat anti establishment, likely left politically and pokes fun at the art establishment, we dont really know what his persona is like.

     =) 
    ArtGaltassieguy
  • To me there are two ways to look at it.

    The one way is to purely look at art for art's sake.  For instance, if I saw a random painting knowing nothing about the artist, we know there is regardless so much to look at and appreciate, for art's sake.

    The other way does bear in mind the artist and the setting/historical reason for the painting. Knowing this can really add depth to a viewer's appreciation of a painting.  For example, if we saw @tassieguy's rock formation masterpieces without knowing anything about him or why he painted it, we would see it for the skill and art's sake.  BUT, if we know how much he is one with the Australian landscape and how much he really knows those rocks, in my opinion this takes us to another level of viewer appreciation.

    All that to say, both happen at different times based upon our knowledge, and to have our background knowledge affect our experience is something we can choose to do, and it is most of the time insightful.

    Hopefully my opinion makes sense.

    SO:

    YES art can stand on it's own, and we can enjoy good art by people we dislike.  
    HOWEVER, we can choose to have info about the life of the artist affect our viewing of the painting, and in my opinion, we can appreciate the painting lot more if we think about this info.  

    We have the choice to look a painting in 2 different ways.
  • It comes down to intellectual V's emotional.

    I have often pondered this when thinking of Rolf Harris and his rise and consequent fall from grace, imprisonment and being stripped of many of the titles bestowed on him over his entertainment/art career.
    The portrait he painted of HM Queen Elizabeth II is still a good painting, but does anyone want to see it now?    I do not know if it even still hangs anywhere, but do remember the British public favoured it over most of the portraits she sat for.  I think they voted it the second best portrait ever painted of her, or something like that.  

    So it is the old internal struggle of almost political proportions.    Do I want to overcome my disgust and view the painting dispassionately and gain enjoyment and perhaps knowledge of how the work was designed, and executed; or do I want my emotions and sense of  'wokeness' to override my intellect, and pretend the work in question never existed?    I think the real question becomes, what is to be gained by liking such a work V's  what could be gained from not acknowledging its existence?

     
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