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  1. #1
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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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.

  2. #2
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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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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    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post

    It was at that moment, that I knew that I was incapable of understanding "art".
    But I do get this "art":


  4. #4
    AEO
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    that's why cars are never art, they're just elegant cars.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  5. #5
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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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.
    If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=

  6. #6
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    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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    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.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  8. #8
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoelS View Post
    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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    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?
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

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    Senior Member avmanansala's Avatar
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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.
    "Study your math, kids. Key to the Universe." - Gabriel in The Prophecy

  11. #11
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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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.

  12. #12
    I ain't no newbie redirekib's Avatar
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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.
    "Never send a monkey to do a man's job." ~ Captain Leo Davidson ~

  13. #13
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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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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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  14. #14
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avmanansala View Post
    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?


  15. #15
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
    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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    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.

  17. #17
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    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.

  18. #18
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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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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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  19. #19
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
    That did not require practice.
    Tell that to the architect who designed it. Of course it required practice.

  20. #20
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    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.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    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.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    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".

  23. #23
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
    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.

  25. #25
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    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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