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Old 03-01-10, 01:59 PM   #1
UnsafeAlpine
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"Art is purposely useless."

A sentiment uttered by Richard Serra, an American sculptor. In a 2001 interview with Charlie Rose, Mr. Serra argued that buildings are not art, furniture is not art, etc, that art, to be art, had to be purposely created to be useless. That anything else is simply not art and should not be considered as such.

It's an interesting notion and I wonder what others think of this.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:07 PM   #2
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Years ago, I took my daughter to an interview for admission into an art program. The furniture we sat in wasn't the least bit functional, but was borrowed from an exhibition. It was made of particle board and extremely uncomfortable. But the artist had excellent woodworking skills (the joints were very good).

It was at that moment, that I knew that I was incapable of understanding "art".
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Old 03-01-10, 02:10 PM   #3
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It was at that moment, that I knew that I was incapable of understanding "art".
But I do get this "art":

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Old 03-01-10, 02:29 PM   #4
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that's why cars are never art, they're just elegant cars.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:30 PM   #5
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Plain and simply put that happens to be Richard Serra's opinion which he is entitled too but is most certainly wrong.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:31 PM   #6
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Plain and simply put that happens to be Richard Serra's opinion which he is entitled too but is most certainly wrong.
Why?
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Old 03-01-10, 02:37 PM   #7
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That quote is certainly a close-minded, elitist attitude. Just because something is functional doesn't mean it can't be art.

There are many items that fall into this classification. Matter of fact, sculpture isn't useless. It serves a function as decoration, as do paintings. An elaborately painted sawblade can be hung on a wall or even mounted up and used. Many smoking pipes are beautiful pieces of sculpture, but they are made to be used. Many types of furniture fit this category. Frank Lloyd Wright (sp?) type architecture is certainly art. I could go on and on. Functionality (or the lack thereof) doesn't define art.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:41 PM   #8
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That quote is certainly a close-minded, elitist attitude. Just because something is functional doesn't mean it can't be art.

There are many items that fall into this classification. Matter of fact, sculpture isn't useless. It serves a function as decoration, as do paintings. An elaborately painted sawblade can be hung on a wall or even mounted up and used. Many smoking pipes are beautiful pieces of sculpture, but they are made to be used. Many types of furniture fit this category. Frank Lloyd Wright (sp?) type architecture is certainly art. I could go on and on. Functionality (or the lack thereof) doesn't define art.
He brought up Wright's furniture and scoffed at it as well, asking, "were do you draw the line?" Why are dull pipes not art but elaborate ones are? What's the difference?

An elaborately painted sawblade actually loses its usefulness. To use it would be to destroy the art but to not use it makes it useless. That's actually a perfect example of his statement.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:45 PM   #9
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Regardless, it's still a sawblade. Look at chess pieces. They can certainly be rendered as exquisite examples of sculpture. But still, they are chess pieces and can be used as such.

Where do you draw the line? Frankly, that's a question that has as many answers as there are people. And there will likely be little to no consensus on the answer. Further, I suggest that your answer to that question will reveal much about you.

Lastly, why are you appearing to argue in favor of such a closed minded approach to art? Is there something that we should be learning about you by this?
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Old 03-01-10, 02:48 PM   #10
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Architecture is not art...Right...these works are not art...

Frank Gehry, Star Wood Hotel



Daniel Liebeskind, JEWISH MUSEUM, Berlin, Germany



Steven Holl, THE NELSON-ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART, Kansas City, MO, United States



Santiago Calatrava, City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain






Don't get me wrong, I don't think that ALL architecture is art, but to make that blanket statement is a little short sighted, in my opinion.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:51 PM   #11
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Art: any act of expression, that takes practice to prefect, and where the meaning of the act is dependent upon the opinions of the observer.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:53 PM   #12
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Art is something humans create that isn't required for survival, therefore it's useless. You could sit on a rock therefore a chair is useless art.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:54 PM   #13
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Bugatti Type 57

Supermarine Spitfire

Herreshoff International One Design

All examples of functional art to this texican cretin.
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Old 03-01-10, 02:59 PM   #14
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Architecture is not art...Right...these works are not art...

Frank Gehry, Star Wood Hotel



Daniel Liebeskind, JEWISH MUSEUM, Berlin, Germany



Steven Holl, THE NELSON-ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART, Kansas City, MO, United States



Santiago Calatrava, City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain






Don't get me wrong, I don't think that ALL architecture is art, but to make that blanket statement is a little short sighted, in my opinion.
Gehry is apparently a friend of Serra. When asked specifically about Gehry, Serra made the above statement.

Again, I ask, what makes these art but not this?

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Old 03-01-10, 03:00 PM   #15
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Art: any act of expression, that takes practice to prefect, and where the meaning of the act is dependent upon the opinions of the observer.
Then anything could be art and art loses its meaning.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:00 PM   #16
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I think he was pointing to the impulsive intention of the artist. If your intention is to build function, you have limited your ability to produce art in the purist sense since the end result is established before you've begun.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:00 PM   #17
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Gehry is apparently a friend of Serra. When asked specifically about Gehry, Serra made the above statement.

Again, I ask, what makes these art but not this?

That did not require practice.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:03 PM   #18
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I think that art is something that appeals to each person in a different manner. I will never comprehend Maplethorpe or even much of the pop art movement. A Campbells soup can is simply a way for me to get bad noodles and way too much sodium into my system to further enlarge my cow heart.

However, sitting in a fine automobile, listening to the mechanical symphony of a small displacement V8 at full throat as you carve through a perfect corner is art to me. The curve of a spinnaker that is trimmed just right is art to me. And the beauty of much of God's creation is art to me. All of those things have purpose and use. To me, it diminishes art to say that is purposelly useless.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:05 PM   #19
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That did not require practice.
Tell that to the architect who designed it. Of course it required practice.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:06 PM   #20
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Then anything could be art and art loses its meaning.
An art object's first purpose is to express (what is dependent upon the observer) and any subsequent functionality is secondary.

For example:

Wright didn't care that it leaked.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:10 PM   #21
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Then anything could be art and art loses its meaning.
Hardly. Art's "meaning" (such a nebulous concept) is going to be different for each person that views it, and also for the person that created it. If it has any meaning whatsoever. Much art is nothing but the result of the creative impulse of the artist, regardless of the end form.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:10 PM   #22
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I think that art is something that appeals to each person in a different manner...
To me, it diminishes art to say that is purposelly useless.
I'm the opposite. It diminishes art to apply it so freely to common occurrence. I consider your examples craft, great fabulous craft, but still craft.
BTW, I make my living in "craft" and am flattered you consider it "art".
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Old 03-01-10, 03:10 PM   #23
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Tell that to the architect who designed it. Of course it required practice.
Functionality was its first purpose; the green roof is to match the corporate logo, and the stucco was picked by an accountant for its cost.
The only act of expression there is the green roof.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:13 PM   #24
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An art object's first purpose is to express (what is dependent upon the observer) and any subsequent functionality is secondary.
Wright didn't care that it leaked.
but he sure woulda cared if it fell down.
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Old 03-01-10, 03:13 PM   #25
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Bugatti Type 57

Supermarine Spitfire

Herreshoff International One Design

All examples of functional art to this texican cretin.
Browning A5,
Remington 700
Colt 1911A
And yes, even a Bugatti Type 57 all qualify as functional art to the redneck that I am.
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