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Lesson Plans

Re: What art historians really know

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kathrine L Walker (klwalk)
Fri, 10 May 1996 11:45:36 -0500 (CDT)

All learning, including art history is a continuous process and changes
constantly. What art
historicans know, at any given time, is formed by fashion, fads, current
trends, their own beliefs and experiences. The critical skills we apply
to art, should be applied to art historians. (Helping people acquire
skills of one's own is one of my main goals as a museum educator!) I
think the key is to remember that any judgement is not objective but

An additional issue is that of museums displaying works of artists and
thus creating a market for them. Unlike galleries, museums are a public
trust and try not create public opinion. But we also have the issue of
trying to "know" what is good art. There is no answer to this question, but it often becomes a sticky issue.

Kathrine Walker, Educ. Coord, Beach Museum of Art/KSU

On Tue, 7 May 1996, Ken Rohrer wrote:

> I received an interesting fax from an artist from an artist promoting his
> product. I want to share it with the group for discussion. Here is a
> portion of the text:
> My art company all "started with a visit to MOMA and a sculpture called
> 'The Fountain' which was simply a wall mounted male urinal. It received
> great admiration from the 'experts.'"
> "Another observation was formed when some picture at the Met was
> described as a masterpiece- 'what depth of understanding, what line, what
> form, what play of colors, etc.'- was discovered to be a forgery done
> hundreds of years ago. Down it came from the hallowed walls into the
> oblivion of the cellar. Where the 'craftsmanship, etc' went was never
> explained."
> "Another milestone was when I created a method of baking automoblile
> lacquers on to masonite....I went to mall show after mall show and sold not
> a one, until an artist told me to take the afternoon off and he would sell
> my paintings. When I came back, he had sold three. When I asked him how he
> did it, he told me he had tripled my prices. He explained that people judge
> non-objective art by the price because they have no courage to simply say
> they bought it because they liked it."
> Because of these experiences, my art seems "like deep and obscure
> thoughts, but I can assure you, they really mean nothing."
> My question is, how much do art historians really know? Have some artists
> fooled the art critiques?
> If you have any comments to this message, please send a copy to the artist,
> Lee Daniel Quinn, at words for him to read. He is not a member of
> the list.
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