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TPF Noob!
Feb 1, 2006
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in the middle of north carolina
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Hertz and I had a discussion on another thread and a couple of terms got bandied about and rightly so. Every now and then that exchange comes to mind not so much the context cause frankly i dun forgot that.. but the two terms.

High Art and Low Art... I think I know the historic meaning of them. My question is this....

Do the terms high art and low art create a presumption of the worth of the piece in your mind.

Ie is a still life printed on canvas in a fancy frame really of more intrinsic value, than say a poster of equal artistic merit. Does the simple application of tyrantical (made that one up) words add or detract from the value of a thing.

again no right or wrong answer you can even reframe the question ie is a painting of more artistic value than a photograph ect...
Do the terms high art and low art create a presumption of the worth of the piece in your mind.
Not even a little bit!

If a piece of art speaks to me, if I find I am having an emotional response to it, it doesn't matter what it is. That is the wonder and the beauty of the subjectiveness of art.
These threads are too entertaining to hole up here in the Alt forum, Charlie. If you keep this up, I'm going to be compelled to move them over to the Photographic Discussion forum.

Should I start with this one? :mrgreen:
Please don't

I like the people here lol... If anyone cares they will find them...

However if you are tell me to get back on topic I will. I ramble I know and I probably bore everyone to tears.

It seemed to me that discussing art was better suited among people who appreciated more than the number of megapix...This kinda stuff isn't about what's in your hand or even in your head its about whats in your soul... Now that is pompus...
We can leave it right here. It don't bother me none. :) Just checkin'.
mysteryscribe said:
ROFLMAO sorry this is just so silly..... By the way would you think vincent was a great artist if no one told you it was high art. My God they are just sunflowers, not like its a ham can with a candle for god's sake.
it's not and never has been about the sunflowers for me. :lol: It's the swirling cloud in "Starry Night" or the quality of light from the lamp in "The Potato Eaters" that spoke to me. ;)

Those paintings, like good photographs, need to be seen IRL to be fully appreciated.
Barbara once sent me to see a painting. It was hanging in an antigue store. It was long enough ago that most of the contemporary american artists were living on bread and beans. This one happened to be married to realty developer. Anyway I looked at the picture. It was just a field of straw late into the season. I looked hard, trying to see something worthwhile in it. I didn't want to appear stupid to my instructor.

I gave up and was about to leave when something moved in the painting. I mean real movement. I couldn't see anything but after several more minutes I saw it again. Finally I saw what it was. There was a tiny cloud of color. Not a cloud more like a gaggle of tiny tiny specks of color. I couldn't tear myself away from the painting until I figured out what Jean had done.

She painted all th staw bent in one direction. The gaggle of tiny flecks of color were formed into an almost undecernable wedge shape moving the oposite direction. The flecks of paint became butterflies and the movement was the wedge going against the grain of the staw.

It was maddeningly simple, but if you didn't look carefully you would not have seen the color at all. I have seen some painting that are supposed to leave me in awe that don't. It is the way the dutch masters handle light to make background depth that works for me... Matise doesn't. But thats what some people don't get... You don't have to like it all, just because someone else said it is art.

And Terri Regardless, I am not hacking off any body parts. (god i hate when I have to clean up a remark). Besides I have been warned by the post office I can't mail body parts.

ps for really low art see the new retro poster
High Art and Low Art were terms used by the Victorians to differentiate between the uses of the various branches of the Arts.
I believe I mentioned it in a discussion about 'is Photography and Art or a Craft?' or some such.
The distinction between High and Low is useful but it has been forgotten - mainly because it is trendy today to believe that everything is Art (because that then means that everyone can be an Artist).
The High Arts are now generally termed 'Fine' Art and refer to things like Painting, Sculpture and Poetry.
The Low Arts are of a more practical nature - Design, Architecture, Graphics, Textiles. In the mid-20th C they were often referred to as Commercial Art.
The basis behind High and Low Art is that High Art is Art for Art's sake and Low Art is done to earn a living.
There is nothing wrong with doing things for money providing that you don't get pretentious and pretend you are doing it for 'higher' reasons and creating Great Art. Calling it Commercial Art gives it due respect without getting carried away.
The other reason for retaining the distinctions is that if you remove the boundaries and believe everything is Art then you lose sight of what Art is.
If a poster banged out by a Graphic Designer to sell toothpaste is artistically equal to a Monet, then that means that the output of a photo booth or a CCTV camera is also Great Art. There is no distinction.
In fact I have seen an exhibition of pictures taken of the Earth from an automatic orbiting satellite and it was billed as High Art From High Up.
It seems that even machines think they are Artists now.
But it's all just a sign of the times within which we live (sadly).

As for van Gogh. His final paintings are, in my opinion, just second rate daubs - the outpourings of a madman (which he was by then).
He did far better work in his middle period. His sequence done in an orchard pre-figured Mondrian - but I guess no-one here has seen them.
I also find it amusing that one of his paintings sold at auction for the most money ever paid for a work of Art - and Vince painted it to pay his doctor's bill (1 or 2 Dollars in today's money). Art is never done for money :mrgreen:

PS And yes, I have been here to see the originals.
I did not dispute that there is high art and low art. Actually I totally agree.

As for Vincent, I liked his brother better. I never borrowed from my brother but I could have.

Also some poster art isn't to sell anything. It may well be the art of the masses at some point so of course it will be low art. But even artist judge each other by the monitary value of their paintings. Not what they think they are worth, but what they sell for.

If I remember my art history and I may not, there are lots of things I dont remember, Vincent was extremely jealous that Gauguinn (probably spelled wrong... I would look it up but I have been warned) sold painting for real money.
I read recently that "fine art" can be defined (in one way) as that which presents a subject for non-literal interpretation--a reasonably workable definition. My question is, what makes something "art" at all, whether high or low, fine or commercial? What distinguishes a fine art photograph from a snapshot?
excellent point.... I am curious as to what others thing about that. I see a lot of snapshots get ooos and ahhhhs and some damn fine art work get ignored... Some of it isnt even mine.

An even better question is does the average person really know the difference..... Or care....

Why doesnt everyone just give us one of the many ways you judge what is art and what isnt.

Me first:... The picture has to be bigger than the subject..... (figure that out if you can)

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