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December 12, 2012
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Modern Art: Art from meaning, or meaning from art?

:iconjeff-h:
Jeff-H Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Pardon me when I become entirely frank with you guys... I am not a fan of modern art whatsoever, and I actually somewhat despise it. I'm referring to those highly abstract pieces like a single line on a canvas or even Duchamp readymades or whatever.

So now that I got that out of the way, time to ask some philosophy:
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What would you call art in general? I'd say there's two broad types of art: Representational and Meaningful. We don't need to talk about representational since it is what it is, but let's talk about art with meaning behind it.

In my opinion, although art is technically subjective, and I would respect anyone's opinion on art, my primary criteria for art would be that it was created from meaning. In other words, creating art from a concept or idea or philosophy. For example, creating art from political or environmental activism, or creating art that corresponds with emotion and ideals.

I believe that if a piece has a meaning that was derived from it, it is not art. Meaning, I would not call it art if someone just stuck a meaning onto an object or a creation.

For example: A crumpled piece of paper. In every way, shape, and form, it's a single crumpled piece of paper. But now, I'm going to pretend that I'm a high-end artist-philosopher, and smack some philosophy onto
it.
Now, this crumpled piece of paper stands for dystopia among society. It's rugged and uneven texture shows that some communities are so far separated from others, but we all exist on the same entity. It shows how although we are so connected, some pieces of society are so separated from others, and all it takes is a little force to join them together. But even if we try to join them together, they can easily become separated with the slightest force.

See that? I just gave meaning to a crumpled piece of paper. I don't call that art at all.

So my question is: Do you call modern art "art from meaning" or "meaning from art?"
Did the artists create the art from something meaningful, or did they create the meaning from the art by looking at its textures, shapes, and overall appearance?

Now try not to misinterpret; I'm sure most artists think "how can I make something to express this?" before creating a piece. However, they choose to say "Alright, this motion or this object KIND OF represents the thing I was trying to express. But not enough, so I'm going to explain it in detail to show how."

Do you agree? Or do you disagree? Do you think modern art is created from meaning and emotion? Or do you think meaning and emotion is created placed onto modern art in attempt to sway the world into thinking that the artist had creativity when in reality they just smacked a random philosophical statement onto a previously meaningless object?
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:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012
Well, modern art starts from well before Duchamp or Dada (somehow it makes me think of Harry Potter and Defence Against the Dark Arts), so that's part of it. The whole aspect of modern art is to get out of the academic art drama and therefore, also includes photography and taking in bits of other culture and rise in appreciation of other type of work from other countries. It can be one or both or something else altogether. So when you say you aren't fan of it, you are tossing out a lot of artists from 1850s to 1930s though it's understandable if you don't like some aspects of it like you are pointing at. :shrug: And Duchamp's work does have a concept attached to it. Using those things available and giving it another concept or idea. He is probably spamming everything he can get away to get more concepts though. :lol: It's not like just creating it for the sake of an excuse (the 'even I/my kid/my baby brother,sister could do it' trend which you are giving an example of). Sure, if you want it to mean that way. Either way, modern art is old.
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:iconrovanna:
Rovanna Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012   Digital Artist
I think it's art if the person who made it says it's art. So yeah, if someone did have a crumpled piece of paper that they created to portray society, then it's art. I may not like it, I may think the artist is a pretentious tosser, but it's still art. I'm pretty sure most 'modern' (I think you're talking about Dada? Which is actually quite old.) artists don't just find/make a random object and attach meaning to it after. Sometimes they don't even have meanings at all, and they are created to be absurd sculptures.
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