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Lesson Plans

Re: is anyone out there?Bill's still here.

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
taylorh (taylorh)
Mon, 8 Jun 1998 20:12:04 -0700 (MST)

On Mon, 8 Jun 1998, elwood p dowd wrote:

> was calder a "real" artist or just an over grown kid playing with
> his toys??? I always had my doubts about this modern "master".

Was Jimmy Stewart a "real" actor? :)

It's a context thing, isn't it?
And YOU get to make the ultimate decision
in terms of your context. You can't decide
for me, nor can I for you.

Sometimes, I tend to like the notion that "real" art is not a city or
urban phenomena. After all, Until 1970 or so cities never even constituted
1% of the planet's space, and though urban areas represent a somewhat
larger slice of population they've still managed to stay on the lower end
of the population curve in every historical era. Throughout history, most
people never lived in an urban center. Therefore non-urban art
predominates and the only reason art is believed to be an urban phenomenon
is that pretty much all the (authorizing) institutions have been,
themselves, urban centered phenomena.

That's a pretty unrealistic perspective despite whatever validity it
might be able to claim. I still like to pull it out now and again. The
fact is that the urban artists can claim the lion's share of the

At the smaller scale then, the question of whether Calder is a 'real'
artist or for that matter Duchamps or Bueys, Finster or Koons; dosen't
seem to have a 'real' answer, fun as it may be to argue it out.

I'd say that Calder was an artist and that play was an excellent marker
for art better than un-alloyed formalism at the very least.

BUT, what makes an artist an artist for you? And which ones top the list
of artists in your book? What's the basis of your aesthetic model?

Everybody ends up doing formalism eventually but its affectiveness that
makes an artist an artist for me... what affect does the work have and
Calder inspires playfulness. Top of my list, in no particular order,
includes Phidias (sculptor), Vermeer, Rothko, The Altamira artists,
Hasegawa Tohaku, Rembrandt, The sculptor of the Oni of Ife bust, Maria of
San Ildefonso, and Fritz Lang just to make it a short list...

I'm pretty impressed by the woman (Taymor?) who just did The Lion King
too. Nice performance work that definately shares a great deal with visual

I like instrumentalism but I'm not a big fan of contemporary efforts along
that line which seem to be more politics than art.