The Art World
Rodney Chang, 1979
The artist gives human concoctions of fantasy and reality a physicality and thereby provides society's individuals with a vehicle for delving into wholeness as escape from their fragmented real life. Therapeutic stimuli triggers in the viewer an atypical abundance of different levels of consciousness activity, enough to create the sensation of pleasure in the viewer. The art object is artificially man made to fulfill the necessity of exercising maximum, ideally, spontaneous responses from all levels of one's consciousness. The initial constant aesthetic stimulus or art object is only the introduction to an infinite number of mental integrations of each viewer's creative energy levels of consciousness. The viewer is now the "artist" who makes the physical art complete. Without him there are no preferred objects that can be viewed as "art;" everything would be commonplace. But the artist also plays a more historic role than the spectator. It has been said that the artist has the duty to create a record of his contemporaries' way of thinking. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the dedicated artist does what he does because it helps him know and understand himself as he is a derivation of one's social climate. The artist, half fanatic and half realist, helps others laugh at the hardship and seriousness of their lives. He helps keep their childhood fantasies alive and at the same time experience the adult reality as they pass through the later years of life.
An art critic must know art history and techniques but also be creative. For it is this celebrity that can determine the nurturance and growth of one fledgling artist at the expense of other struggling and starving artists. He has an active role in the development of contemporary art history. With the power to choose artistic trends as significant, these people can determine the future commentaries about our life thought processes by future art historians and anthropologists. The art critic serves as a social agent who judges artists' products. It's as if society developed, for the art world, a system of checks and balances for good taste. It's as if the creator of a creative act of high quality is not capable of judging the worth of his work, being completely immersed in personal bias. so society maintains the power to sever certain revolutionary art directions to minimize threats to itself; and it can determine what is served to us and thus the nature of our lifetime's preferred expression of aesthetic tastes or biases.
The historian records the social interaction after the artist, viewer, and critic have left the scene. The new leaders and the stricken are constantly tallied, described and labeled. The art historian, like other historians, must keep to the code of newspaper reporting to maintain a sense of objectivity.
The successful art object is now metaphysical . It's packed with power to release aesthetic responses in some human targeted group. Even the worst rendition of a paint-by-number piece can elicit a satisfactory artistic response - in the person who completes it. Art objects need innate accountability to continue to exist in the social world. Once they lose their magical power to turn people on aesthetically they no longer serve the purpose for which they were created. They then must make the grade into the reclassification of antiques or fine arts artifact or else succumb to insignificance. The artiness of any object of this world is relative, relative to the interaction of a particular mind. A creative person with "more imagination" may view a substantially larger number of things and events as artistic experience. More commonplace objects turn into or give suggestion to creative form. In fact, for some, everything in life is beautiful. It's psychological, a state of mind. Every time someone appreciates something as art, his levels of consciousness are charged up. Thus society, for prosperity and economic reasons, needs to draw some artificial line between artiness and dullness. The policemen of this fragile line are the art critics. Once a public taste is derived, every individual is forced to accept this contemporary preference or risk being subjected to the ridicule of accusation of having uncultured or poor taste.
I do not believe one can get the complete and authentic artistic experience from the art piece, as personal as it may be, unless confronting it actively and physically. A memory of a statue is not the same mental experience as being right next to it and touching it. Theoretically, no art exists within museums at night when there is absence of human perception and interaction.
Being an art student is like being in a military boot camp. You go through a great amount of brainwashing. One's career success as an artist, like any other job, is the developing of a compatible attitude with those who support him. Artists, like other folks, have to "play the game" to get anywhere in art. It's a social asset to have a loft (art studio) to entertain and show ones work to important guests. So the student must know this world that he is to embark into, one that does not conform to his preconceived romantic notions about the carefree ways of the professional artist. He may resign from the ranks of established taste instead of trading off some of his creative authenticity for the social approval necessary for advancement. The art student gets his creative mental consciousness well tune, developed, and calibrated to the current social taste. He does more than just learn techniques to use the tools to crystallize his swirls of fantasies into definitive shapes of reality. but he must also work in art school according to what's exciting at the moment, not do art redundant to the present art culture.
The artist has social responsibility to create things that maximize the experience of aesthetics in his society. The viewer, on the other hand, has the chore of keeping open his receptiveness to the creative nuturance of the artist's efforts. Some prefer contemporary works, others, pieces derived from historical periods. Together they construct a bridge between the future and the history of art. And thus one of the functions of the art museum is to serve as a safe of taste for the established status quo and also to promote its aesthetic supremacy.
Psychologically, the artist serves as a facilitator, providing a stimulus to the viewer and thereby aiding the latter also mentally to create art. The artist creates the means; the viewers must endlessly continue the creative act. The completed object must be good enough to serve as medium by which each plays in the fantasies of acceptable social art. Otherwise, it is dropped in favor of new artistic stimuli euphoric to its converts.
The one-man show is a ritual by which one grows into the established art world. The herd gathers and mills around the gallery space. A significant social act of art has occurred. The neophyte artist is now officially off and running in the ranks of publicly recognized artist. He has "shown", somewhat having been "published" for a writer. One selects a sophisticated group (fellow art students, professional artists, maybe a critic if he is lucky) to review the objects' value by professional standards. If it can make a hit by stimulating the recesses of the professional's consciousness, then it must work too, on the layman, the illiterate of serious art.
Art product manufacturers also play their role in the maintenance of the status quo of taste. One is distinctly limited in the choice of colors of commercially available paints, such as Grumbacher blues, reds, and greens. Sure you can mixed colors, but the combined results always reflect the limitations of the original specific hues. Eventually, through conditioning, these company colors become standard cultural preferred taste and prevalent in most works, no matter who the artists - such as "sky blue" landscapes. the choice of ingredients for the manufacturing of paint must include economic decisions for the control of costs of ingredient formulations. And thus the constant race to make better selling greens or blues continues, success been dictated by consumer artist sales versus costs of production, results influencing the popularity of art works' palettes of the times.