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Why does the Visual Arts Forum seem deserted?

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I could not agree that the modern movement was born out of "a "reaction" by Modernists to the Beau Art's insistence on the  portrayal of overtly literary themes and subjects, such as biblical scenes". Modernists are out to destroy art. They are nihilists - to take fine art that conveys meaning and replace it with the intelligible. For me, in the visual arts it is the most obvious - unless you take literature and jumble the words randomly, it would achieve the same thing.

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54 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

Both art forms are completely different especially how they are created. However, the way we respond to both are similar. ie If I listen to Rachmaninoff's Scherzo it definitely takes me places which is quite visual - more like a scene from an epic movie that a painting, but very uplifting.

I mean, if I imagine music in another form, sometimes it's of a visual scene

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_in_the_Forge_of_Vulcan#/media/File:Velázquez_-_La_Fragua_de_Vulcano_(Museo_del_Prado,_1630).jpg

other times it's like abstract art.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Lissitzky#/media/File:A_Prounen_by_El_Lissitzky_c.1925.jpg

Edited by Eiuol

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19 minutes ago, Boydstun said:

'Iris' by Capuletti

I like Capuletti as well - my favourite is Dali (but only selected works).

Edited by RomanticRealism

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2 hours ago, RomanticRealism said:

Modernists are out to destroy art. They are nihilists -

It's more complicated that.  And my saying so does in no way imply that I endorse the motives of the Modernists.  Just the opposite.  But just claiming that "they are nihilists" doesn't make it so.  And furthermore, if you DID understand Modernism, you would better understand Objectivism and it's position on Art.

You many have heard the term Bauhaus.  It's typically associated with architecture, but it also encompassed all the arts.  It developed hand-in-hand with Positivism/Logical Positivism - something which Rand stood in direct opposition.  Logical Positivism had (and continues to have) a major influence on psychology (behaviorism), politics, philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, etc.

Here is a pretty good paper on the issue (I haven't read the entire paper) but it took me about 2 sec. to find one on the internet that demonstrates a fair understanding of the roots of Modernism.  (The names of Carnap, Neurath, Wittgenstein are major players in the philosophy of the first half of the 20th. Century, and if you are interested in philosophy, it would be useful to understand some history).

Some excerpts:

On 15 October 1929, Rudolf Carnap, a leading member of the recently founded Vienna Circle, came to lecture at the Bauhaus in Dessau, southwest of Berlin. Carnap had just finished his magnum opus, The Logical Construction of the World, a book that immediately became the bible of the new antiphilosophy announced by the logical positivists.

Any attempt to link philosophy and art in the interwar period must go further than merely identifying parallelisms between movements. In fact, core members of the logical positivist and Bauhaus groups selfconsciously sought to articulate a view of the world in which both would play essential roles. Though on opposite political poles of the Vienna Circle, the philosophers Otto Neurath and Ludwig Wittgenstein each spent years pursuing architectural concerns. Throughout their writings Carnap, Neurath, and others singled out modern architecture as the cultural movement with which they most identified

From simple observation reports ("protocol statements") and logical connectives (such as "if/then," "or," "'and"), the logical positivists sought to ground a "scientific," antiphilosophical philosophy that would set all reliable knowledge on strong foundations and isolate it from the unreliable. Since all valid inferences would be built out of these basic statements, the sciences would be unified by their shared starting points. For their part, the Bauhaiusler hoped to use scientific principles to combine primitive color relations and basic geometrical forms to eliminate the decorative and create a new antiaesthetic aesthetic that would prize functionality. So close had the two groups come in their shared vision of modernism that, when the Bauhaus reconvened as the New Bauhaus in Chicago after fleeing the Nazis, the New Bauhaus imported the Vienna Circle's logical positivism as a fundamental component of its basic design program.

Neurath's scientism -his faith in the neutral, binding threads of statistics, physics, and logic- was key to the consolidation of the Verein Ernst Mach. But even as the Verein was in its infancy, Neurath continued his "unpolitical" technical social work and revealed a deep interest in workers' housing, art, and architecture. For Neurath, mass accommodation had several important political functions: it met the immediate material needs of the workers; it encouraged a collective form of life; and it served to build, sector by sector, Neurath's ultimate goal of full socialization of the economy. By the early 1920s Neurath had become a central figure in the housing movements in and around Vienna, drawing him into the circle of politically engaged modern artists and architects.

With the move to Dessau and pressure from various sides, including the spartan geometrists of the De Stijl, the Bauhaiusler began a profound shift away from the mystical and toward the streamlined and industrial. This change was surely reinforced by the presence in Dessau of the big industrial concerns of Agfa, the Junkers aircraft plant, and factories for the production of gas and chemicals. Reflecting the new priorities, the teaching staff of the Dessau Bauhaus altered their titles from "masters" to "professors," and replaced graphic design with advertising. Their espousal of everything technical and scientific became ever more pronounced; art would act like science and serve as an initiator in the cycle of industrial production.10 Nothing pleased Neurath more than this new, scientific turn. When the Dessau Bauhaus opened in December 1926, Neurath was there, and he wrote about the occasion in the journal Der AuJbau. Celebrating the renunciation of ornamentation and decoration of every sort, he gently chided the Bauhaus for relying too much on the style of modernism and not sufficiently on its practical implications: "When will the modern engineers run the Bauhaus?" Insofar as the Bauhaus followed a technical, socially driven agenda, Neurath believed, it would serve the great revolution associated with the new form of societal and personal life [Neugestaltung des gesellschaftlichen und personlichen Lebens]. Since he believed that "artists were leading the battle for a spiritual liberation from the past," the Bauhaus's cultural role could not have been greater." This, in the end, was for Neurath the real import of the Bauhaus. Anyone wanting to "enter the promised land" liberated from the past "will seize upon the formation of the new form of life [Gestaltung des Lebens] as a technical achievement. This is the thrust of the Bauhaus, unfettering the liveliest discussion, and most vigorous efforts on all sides"

 

This was all part of the larger trend of "social conditioning" and "social engineering" or creating the New Man and worked hand in hand with Behaviorism and the ideas behind atonality in music.  And while you may not find any of this interesting (I doubt you were taught it in college - I know I wasn't), it's important in helping to understanding the broader historical context in which Rand formed Objectivism.

 

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1 hour ago, New Buddha said:

It's more complicated that.  And my saying so does in no way imply that I endorse the motives of the Modernists.  Just the opposite.  But just claiming that "they are nihilists" doesn't make it so.  And furthermore, if you DID understand Modernism, you would better understand Objectivism and it's position on Art.

This was all part of the larger trend of "social conditioning" and "social engineering" or creating the New Man and worked hand in hand with Behaviorism and the ideas behind atonality in music.  And while you may not find any of this interesting (I doubt you were taught it in college - I know I wasn't), it's important in helping to understanding the broader historical context in which Rand formed Objectivism. 

Firstly, I did conclude that you didn't endorse the motives of the Modernists. Secondly, you are right I did find that painfully boring. I do agree on the importance of history but I don't believe that you necessarily need subject your self to every detail unless you want to of course - you just need a broad understanding of the movements and simply observe the art to know what philosophical ideas were behind it. It is clear to me why Ayn Rand formed Objectivism (specifically the Romantic Manefesto), she simply observed the dominant type of art that was being produced and concluded it was anti-man and anti-mind. I don't believe it is that complicated.

Edited by RomanticRealism

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On ‎2016‎-‎12‎-‎26 at 2:16 AM, RomanticRealism said:

Can non-representational art be art?

The most commonly debated art topic on here, I think...

Can shapes, colors, textures, arrangements etc. communicate something without representing any concretes?

For example, can shape be beautiful, ugly, elegant, jarring, etc?

On ‎2016‎-‎12‎-‎28 at 0:52 AM, RomanticRealism said:

I do believe visual art does rely on the representation of concretes to convey something - that is the nature of sight. And the sum of the concretes add up to a visual theme. Just image for a moment that an artist created a modern non-representational "painting" prior to the 20th century, it would be regarded as a joke - at best regarded as decoration. That this decoration is now regarded as fine art they have suddenly become advanced? - what has changed, have they suddenly become visually aware? I have nothing against decoration and it has it's place, but to call it fine art is to negate the basic nature of fine art.

I don't think using music, a totally different form of art, as a comparison to the visual arts. Even with my limited knowledge on music I would not dismiss it as non-representational.

What concretes does Scriabin's Etude #12 Op. 8 represent?

 

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On ‎2016‎-‎12‎-‎28 at 2:12 AM, RomanticRealism said:

I could not agree that the modern movement was born out of "a "reaction" by Modernists to the Beau Art's insistence on the  portrayal of overtly literary themes and subjects, such as biblical scenes". Modernists are out to destroy art. They are nihilists - to take fine art that conveys meaning and replace it with the intelligible. For me, in the visual arts it is the most obvious - unless you take literature and jumble the words randomly, it would achieve the same thing.

It's rather well established that modern art began in the Paris art scene in the mid 19th century, breaking with the heavily tradition laden classical academic art.

Edouard Manet, for instance, quite successfully critized the academic art and caused outrage among critics with paintings like "Olypmia" and "Luncheon on the Grass".

And if you think they were nihilists out to destroy art you'll have to consider many impressionist works shortly after Paris was besieged by the Prussians in 1870, and socialist Communards tried overthrowing the government which ended in the Bloody Week. Yet, the impressionists painted life-affirming pictures of everyday life in Paris while the city most likely still bore scars from the previous events. For example Renoir's "Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette" and "Luncheon of the Boating Party" (depicting both working class and bourgeois together), or the lively and peaceful street scenes from places that were recently ravaged by war.

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There were also significant economic forces that had a hand in the modernist trend.  In the 19th Century there was a great increase in the number of wealth persons who became patrons of the arts.  People in shipping, manufacturing, etc. were building mansions, etc. and the demand for sculpture, architecture, painting increased.  Prior to the late 19th C., a painters only real hope of making a living at his craft was to go through one of the prestigious academies.   Winning public competitions for art was a significant source of income for artists, and only those who had the right credentials would win.

The increase in demand for private art among the wealthy also increased the number of artists who could make a living.   But many of these artists either could not make it into the academies or chose not too.  And the number of positions in the academies was less than the market demand. 

The late 19th C. was an exciting modern time.  Things were changing.  And artists attempted to make their work stand out by being different, new and modern.  Private collector also wanted his collection of art to be unique, up to date and modern.  This was part of the reason behind the explosion in the number of different art styles.  And some of the work was very very good.

It's hard for us in our postmodern, cultural relativism age to fully grasp what the world was like prior to World War I and   Artists, architects, composers, mathematicians, philosophers, physicists actually did mingle and exchange ideas and kept up with each other.

Where one stood on the Debussy vs. Wagner issue was discussed in the papers and cafe's.  Planks' discovery of the discrete emission of radiation, which fueled Einstein's 1905 paper on Special Relativity, did find it's way into the art world.  The infatuation with cinematography and the stop action photography was central the  Henri Bergson vs. Einstein debate on time.  This too, found it's way into art.

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That is quite true, greater economic freedom meant more opportunities to experiment and be avante garde. The patrons went from the rich to the middle class, and the art changed accordingly.

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10 hours ago, Alfa said:

Can shapes, colors, textures, arrangements etc. communicate something without representing any concretes?

I don't believe they can, because they are attributes of concretes. On their own they can't communicate anything broad. Texture would be at the perceptual level and no more than that. You simply recognise it as texture. And I'll take it a step further, a single concrete that is representational can't communicate anything broad (theme). You need 2 or more concretes - concretes that relate to each other.

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10 hours ago, Alfa said:

What concretes does Scriabin's Etude #12 Op. 8 represent?

Very nice piece of music! What music evokes is a very broad sense, a general feeling. The concretes that you associate with those feelings will differ for each person. So you will have to answer that question yourself. An example is how a director chooses music to enhance a movie because of how the general sense of the music relates to the specifics he believes are being shown and in most cases the viewer will relate as well. What makes music special is that it seems to take you from the general to the specific, where as painting starts with concretes. People who try to justify non-representational painting believe the process is the same as it is in music ie start with some general feelings and then relate it back somehow to concretes. Painting is not music.

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1 hour ago, RomanticRealism said:

I don't believe they can, because they are attributes of concretes. On their own they can't communicate anything broad. Texture would be at the perceptual level and no more than that. You simply recognise it as texture. And I'll take it a step further, a single concrete that is representational can't communicate anything broad (theme). You need 2 or more concretes - concretes that relate to each other.

There is a nice book called Body, Memory and Architecture, co-authored by the Architect Charles Moore, that relates such abstract things as form, color, texture, space, etc. to our implicit communication thorough -- and understanding of -- our bodies.  Body language is ways a very powerful conveyor of information.  Architecture - and Music - is in many ways tied to this.  Emotions are changes to bodily states.

Edited by New Buddha

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It looks like I need to clarify my view on the Moderns as being nihilists (which includes the Post Moderns). I can understand a revolt again Classicism because of their stupid restrictive rules, while the modern examples given above were the earlier works and have much merit but show a definite decline in clarity of style. Modernists generally range from Monet to Kandinsky, but my main point is that the philosophy behind Modernism has destroyed art to the degree of its unintelligibility which relates to its style, or if intelligible portrays the worst subject imaginable (which I call "axe through head" art) just walk into most art galleries and see for yourself.

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11 hours ago, Alfa said:

For example Renoir's "Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette" and "Luncheon of the Boating Party" (depicting both working class and bourgeois together), or the lively and peaceful street scenes from places that were recently ravaged by war.

Do you think it was Renoir's intention to make all the females and males identical (or very similar) to each other? - especially the woman in "Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette". Just an observation.

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51 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

Do you think it was Renoir's intention to make all the females and males identical (or very similar) to each other? - especially the woman in "Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette". Just an observation.

I think Renoir purposefully down-played the faces in order to direct focus on to the form, tone, color, composition of the work.  This is a fairly common tactic in such paintings as portraits.  The artists gives detailed attention to what he wants you to see while less attention to other aspects.

Why does Sargent only "suggest" the lower part of the gown?  Or provide less detail to the hands?

Edit: In this painting, Sargent wants you to scrutinize the face to discern the character of Lady Agnew.  The body, the drapery of the cloth, the fact that she is off-set from the chair - all support what Sargent saw as her central character.

 

Lady-Agnew.jpg

Edited by New Buddha

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Here is a good example of what Rand calls "the selective recreation of reality."  Nicole Kidman is a beautiful woman and a fine actress, but Sargent could do with a painting what no photographer can do.

 

4fef57f9d26c7981b572ba10d558a499.jpg

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28 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Why does Sargent only "suggest" the lower part of the gown?  Or provide less detail to the hands?

The type of stylization I prefer is when you have detail within areas of less detail like you mentioned but the less detail consists of gradations of form and colour, not smears. The fabric in Dali's work shows areas of intricate detail combined with areas of very little detail made up of subtle gradations of colours and form - and with the way the light is captured, the result is a sharp visual clarity.   

 

Dali_TheEcumenicalCouncil_Detail07.jpg

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52 minutes ago, New Buddha said:

Sargent was a master at capturing and conveying character.

I agree Sargent was a master at capturing and conveying character especially the woman - the man looks a bit ominous, but that could be because of the lighting.

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21 minutes ago, RomanticRealism said:

I agree Sargent was a master at capturing and conveying character especially the woman - the man looks a bit ominous, but that could be because of the lighting.

Well exactly.  The fact that Sargent deliberately chose to obscure the male in shadow tells us something of the man's character does it not?  As does his posture.  The fact that the woman is in full light, in a jaunty pose wearing a bright white skirt with her hat cocked to the side tells us something of her character as well.

The lighting, shadow, brush work, attention to detail in some parts and not others, the "smears" as you call them -- all are deliberately chosen in support of what the artist is trying to convey about the couple.

In the Lady Agnew portrait, the languid brush work and the reclined posture conveys something of her character.  Suppose that she had been centered upright in the chair, and the chair were centered, head-on in the painting and every detail conveyed in photo realism.  What would Sargent be telling us about her?

Edited by New Buddha

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Three of the girls are attentive towards the viewer. The girl facing away is not interested except with her interaction with the girl in front of her before she was interrupted by the viewer (visitor). Prior to the visitor the two older girls in the background were interacting and the two in the foreground were playing together, but the girl on the left is the least relaxed, she has moved away and stood at attention. The visitor is neither friendly nor threatening. I don't know anything about this painting - have I missed anything?

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