Post Reply Thoughts on art, preservation of art, and contemporary artists
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Posted 9/28/15
Just was browsing FB, and a friend shared this detailed piece on the preservation of digital art and technologically based art.

It got me thinking about a few things.

1. Is art meant to be made in a way that it is preserved, or is the effort to preserve art, somehow "judged"as good by the efforts made to preserve it? I mean outside of contemporary times, many pieces of art were created as commissioned pieces, which were simply for the enjoyment of their patrons, or pieces created by the artists for their own expression and (i suppose anyhow) enjoyment. It feels as though the art in and of itself was not made with the implicit intent to last the ages (although some pieces may have been, say, a piece like the Sistine Chapel,[notably also a commissioned piece] however, many of the outdoor frescos, by the very nature of their placement, could be said to have not.) Some of our masterpieces have been found in odd places, and the wood they were painted on, may in fact, had been at some time repurposed for other uses... a very testament to their value in the time they existed.

However, as the sands of time pass, and these pieces become known for their artistic merit and are deemed "valuable" preservation methods are often employed. Often to "restore" an original back to its state. (though only in today's age do we have the technology to peer back through time to truly see the traces of the originals.. and shockingly enough we see plenty of alterations due to "restoration efforts").

2. Technology somehow seems inherently ephemeral, and, at the same time, a method of which is all about producing copies. This kind of defeats "art" in the traditional sense, as typically something has value due to its scarcity. Van Gogh's starry night is priceless. A high quality giclee print of it? a couple hundred dollars. A postcard with it? $3. Is the art itself somehow changed through this reproduction process? No. But we value the originals more. For purely digital "art", however, it's impossible to determine which is the original due to the nature of data. If you go by format, (let's say the "original" is only the "original" due to it being stored on the owner's hand signed 3.5" floppy disk), then the format changes so often that the original has no value because it cannot be accessed due to changing technologies (after all, who has a 3.5" floppy drive, or a machine that can run it?) Not to mention the whole problem of photographs and their reproducibility via the negatives (and that's a format that has been around for ages... Yet still photographs somehow have a less than "pristine" history as an art form.. In fact it was long argued they have no part in the art realm due to their reproducible nature and because "anybody can take a photo).

3. This also gets me thinking about this point in time, and how unique it is that art is pretty much accessible to all, and how incredibly... "egotistical", for lack of a better word, that the artist these days is able to create "art" and consider its preservation in the act of creating it. And doesn't this make it lose value by having such access to it, and having so much of it at everyone's fingertips? (and if not in the long view of time, then at least in the immediacy?)

4. and finally, what is art, and has the definition changed from the past? What might that change be, and is it for the better or for the worse?
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Posted 9/28/15 , edited 9/28/15
There is still quite a bit of commissioning done in the art world. While I don't collect modern art, I do collect artwork drawn by mangaka and other animation artists from a variety of Japanese studios. I've commissioned artwork directly from them, so I imagine that those that are far wealthier than I commission artwork from contemporary artists as well. I would be surprised if they're not concerned with art preservation after spending so much and they may ask the artist to use media that will withstand the deterioration that comes with time. I think many more people are concerned with conservation now than they ever were in the past, with things like micro chamber paper and Mylar bags being very much in favor. I know of people who have spent thousands of dollars on Disney animation cels and have spent hundreds more on conservation efforts.

I think there are some artists, like Banksy, that create artwork meant to be fleeting. Some property owners have painted over Banksy's work as they deem it offensive, with others have sliced it out of the wall to resell.

Your second question - I think there is quite a bit of value in original artwork over a scan or high quality print. There's something about holding the original in your hand, understanding that the artist originally held the same item and observing their style, up close. If it didn't have any value, people would gladly trade the original for a case full of postcards.

TBH, I don't think digital artwork has much value, if any at all. It can be easily distributed in high quality. Everyone can own digital artwork. They may still enjoy it and may spend money having a high quality glicee crested, but as everyone can own it, it has no monetary value. One reason why these old paintings have value is because it's a limited, physical good and only one person can own the original. It is rare because there is just one of them and if the Internet was wiped out tomorrow, that old painting would still be around.

Arts definition has, of course, changed. Art is always in a state of flux because styles change as society changes. The modern art movement that started over 100 years ago has created artwork that, 500 years ago, would have been considered garbage. Do you think the artists of the Renaissance would have been impressed with Picasso's "Guernica"? I don't think so. Those artists would have dismissed Picasso as nothing more than a hack.

It's hard to say if the change in what is considered art is for better or worse. I personally don't find modern art, such as cubism, attractive, but there are many others that do. I find manga and anime artwork to be very appealing, but there are many in the art world that would dismiss that. I think there are more outlets to obtain artwork than there ever was in the past and that everyone can own artwork as it's priced so that everyone can afford it.
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Posted 9/28/15
I believe it depends on the piece of art... a heavily damaged piece, regardless of who made it wouldn't be worth much... then again, if you try to restore art, the value could go down... like the Katana by grandfather brought back from WW2, if I had that de-rusted or sharpened, the value would drop way down (it isn't even worth much in the first place; Katanas in WW2 were made at factories, mass produced, with spring steel or high carbon steel, not the original tamahagane steel). Although some art is naturally preserved well, like those Ancient Greek, Roman, Assyrian sculptures are all very well-preserved, even if some of them are missing limbs. Even the statue of Marcus Aurelius still has some gold on it, and that was made during his reign I believe.

I don't like copies of art at all. If I bought a copy of the last supper, yes it's a beautiful piece, but it wasn't painted by Da Vinci himself, so it loses the originality value for me, even though it would be physically impossible to own the real deal.

I'm not knowledgeable of contemporary art past the days of Picasso, but I'm just not sure if modern day artists will be the next Rembrandt. I think that the definition of art has changed drastically throughout history, and throughout cultures. In my opinion, the definition of art is something that someone puts passion into. It can be anything; tattoos, canvas art, sculptures, mosaics, heck, even weapons can be considered art, like engraved revolvers from the 19th century, or European and Asian bladed weapons, like the katana (traditionally made ones of course, not the low quality stainless steel wall-hangers).
Bavalt 
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28 / M / Canada
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Posted 9/28/15
I welcome the separation of historical value from artistic value. I wouldn't buy an original painting even if I had the money, since a copy would be cheaper. Hypothetically, if I owned the original of a famous painting, and someone offered to exchange it for a replica that was exactly the same except that people would know it's not the original, the only thing holding me back would be that the original is worth more on the market. I don't attribute any value to the specific instance of that piece of art. Rather, I think that a piece of art should be intangible. If I pay for a piece of art, I'm paying for ability to look at it whenever I want and to associate my tastes with that piece of art in a demonstrable way. What I'm not paying for is the art itself. As far as I'm concerned, that belongs unconditionally to the person who created it. Possessing the original doesn't give you the right to call the piece of art "yours": only creating the original does.

As for art, transience, and value, I don't think it's a purely one-way relationship. I think that all art is made with the goal of permanence - even instantaneous art seeks permanence in memory, and as I said above, I think the "art" of something is removed from any particular manifestation of it, so I don't see that as problematic. Generally, good art (assuming there is such a thing as objectively good art - perhaps it would be better to say "popular" art) will have an advantage in accomplishing this, as people like it more and want to preserve it. That isn't to say that all art that lasts the test of time is necessarily good (/popular), though. But once a piece has endured long enough, it accumulates value for a different reason: as a point of reference. Old art tells us what people were interested in and how they expressed it at the time it was made. While I don't think that's in any way related to a piece's artistic merit, I certainly won't argue that this type of valuation is misguided. The problem is that we have a fairly standard unit for the measurement of value - money - and that unit has to factor in a piece's artistic and historic value and somehow come up with a single number to express them both.

I think art today is moving in a good direction. An artist doesn't necessarily get paid for every piece they make, but they usually do get recognition for what they've created, and with enough recognition come commissions. This, to me, is the way art ought to be commoditized. With a commission, you are actually paying for the art. You're asking someone "Hey. Can you filter this idea through your own mind and use your talents to manifest it into something I can show to other people? I'll pay you." And that's what were seeing. Artists make money either by producing things that other people want produced, or by producing things that other people are willing to pay to own a copy of - either out of a desire to associate it with their tastes, or simply out of an appreciation of the artistic merit of the piece and respect for the person who made it. It's not as if there's any shortage in demand for art. Rather, it seems like the more that's available for people to see, the more interested they are in the works that really catch their attention, and because of taste, plenty of artists find that somebody likes their work. I think it's ridiculous for scarcity to come into the picture at all, because artistic value is all about a person's appreciation of a piece, not the object that brings it to them.
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Posted 9/28/15
This is art:




This is trash that must be thoroughly cleansed, preferably with fire:

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23 / M / AZ
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Posted 9/29/15

PhantomGundam wrote:

This is art:




This is trash that must be thoroughly cleansed, preferably with fire:



Posted 9/29/15 , edited 9/29/15
yo~! lol, mr fox is back.

--
i blame the hoarders. i don't understand that sentimental crap when it comes to useless stuff.
. ...unless it's making your building more valuable (unlikely)
Sogno- 
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Posted 9/29/15 , edited 9/29/15
i like art
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41 / M / NW
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Posted 9/29/15
What about ancient temples that from an artistic perspective are just superb which are being demolished for political/religious reasons( ei more likely for profit despite claims of the former ). Well at least we have photos so I guess its fine.
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