Reading Response: What is Art?

Digital techniques have shaped how many artists create their work.  The digital technique such as morphing was utilized by police forces initially for aging potential victims (29).  It spread to artists who made portraits out of many faces combining them into one.  This created a whole new way to portray beauty.  Artists like Man Ray used overlapping negatives to create surreal images before advanced programs like Photoshop ever existed.  These techniques were more subtle and simple than later technologies employed.

As more tools became available to artists, the world of art began to rapidly change.  Many artists use digital imaging to create an image that they then use classic techniques to create the final product.  They might create some type of impossible reality that they then paint onto canvas.  Others artists switch that process around.  They will paint an image, and then scan it into a computer.  Sometimes they will manipulate it, repeat it, and make many replicas of it.  Many take their work as far as creating a three-dimensional object and scanning that in, or making something two-dimensional into a three-dimensional object.

It seems the art community is strongly divided on whether many of these new advances are art or not.  On one hand, some say photographic manipulation does not “record reality” (48).  People feel that the integrity of true-life records is being tampered with.  Others could argue however that photography has never been completely pure.  Everything is subject to the photographers’ point of view and what they choose portray.

Some methods completely separate the artist manually from their work.  They let a program create the art for them.  Often this is construed as a lack of creativity, and the artists’ “mark” is lost (57).  However, the artists’ involvement is still present within the work because it still “has the aesthetic signature of an artist” (60).

No one will ever win this debate because it is an opinion.  Some people find certain pieces of art amazing, and other find them to be trash.  It’s impossible to say who is right.  When acrylic paint started replacing oil, the same debate arose on whether acrylic paintings were art or not.  Maybe instead of calling many of these works “art,” it would be a better description to call them “visual social experiments”.  People who experiment with human features, or translate intangible ideas into tangible experiences cross out of the realm of art and into human science.

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1 Comment »

  1. sporteous Said:

    Well written and touches on some interesting and contraversial points. Would have been good to mention specific artists or works to help empshasis certain ideas


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