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why fine art receives so little respect


Date: Thu May 02 2002 - 22:09:47 PDT

>Everyday I'm stumped as to why fine art receives so little respect. At
>the elementary level, it's something I battle everyday.

Let me preface this by saying that I am paying my bills in part as a Fine Artist and doing rather esoteric work at that. Years back I had a lot more respect for fine art. Today I look on it more as a day job to support my own study of global art or at least aesthetic production for as the Balinese told Margaret Mead, "We have no art. We just do everything WITH art." Most of the people of the world has had more or less this attitude for, I don't know, maybe half a million years.

A lot of Adults I meet have a great deal of respect for art. The first thing that they tell me when they discover that I'm an art teacher and artist is that they have no comprehension of art and that they can't even draw a straight line. Obviously there is a lot of respect for professional knowledge and skill there. They feel they'd be embarrassed beyond belief to be compared to real artists. Many of these people are well dressed and if they are not dressed by some servant then they have obviously gone through the same process as any good abstract expressionist in "composing" or putting themselves together. They have aesthetic skill nad have mastered the medium of fashion.

But it's confusing for them. most of their news about art comes in the entertainment pages and is not really treated as anything as significant as the REAL newswothy stories found elsewhere. ANd when fine art does make the news it frequently appears as a comic close for the evening and details some presentation that to the un-degreed layman escapes rationality. Piles of candy or pink plastic-wrapped islands, fornicating cow cadavers etc.

Fine Art, thanks to the artworld, has been narrowing and isolating itself for years now. We've done it to ourselves essentially. We've had help from art historians, critics, aesthetic philosophers, and gallery owners. We've had huge fortunes dangled in front of us which we can "win" lottery like with a little originality and (a lot of)luck.

This isn't to deny the actual validity of fine art but only to point out that comprehending and appreciating really good fine art requires more of people than they can afford to invest. It has immersed itself in too rarified an atmosphere.

At the same time fine art has denigrated the aesthetic life of the common person Jill six-pack and Joe home-maker---and they know it. Artists have withdrawn from general society and from the roles they once played in support of small-scale (formerly "primitive") societies before the illusive and ellusive glamour of fine art beckoned.

Life is out of balance and we have only ourselves to blame. Art education MIGHT be able to do something about it but it's still to early I think.

sorru 'bout that

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