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  #1  
Unread 07-04-2014, 04:35 PM
annie nance annie nance is offline
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Default Tracy Emin

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/01/us/unmade-bed-art/

Is it art? Yes, because someone paid four million dollars for it.

Or not?
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  #2  
Unread 07-04-2014, 05:35 PM
ross hamilton hill ross hamilton hill is offline
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I like the honesty of her work, this is a great exhibit piece and I would guess has been bought by a gallery, it is a snap-shot of life and as such as meaningful as any painting, just not very practical if you want to put it in your living room. Installation art is usually so cold and intellectual, I like this because it is human. $4 million isn't much in the art world and money is a crazy value to put on art anyway. One of Modigliani's paintings ended up as the roof for a chicken shed, recently his painting 'doomed lover' sold for $214 million.
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Unread 07-05-2014, 02:40 AM
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John Whitworth John Whitworth is offline
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Of course it is art She made it, didn't she? (or in this case didn't). The question is whether it is good art.

It's not as good as the urinal, is it? Not as good as the pisser. What I want to know is does it smell?
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Unread 07-05-2014, 04:55 PM
annie nance annie nance is offline
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John, I was wondering the same thing!

But she didn't really MAKE it. Not intentionally as art, I mean, anyway. I mean it just happened and then she called it art. So does that count?

Last edited by annie nance; 07-05-2014 at 04:57 PM.
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  #5  
Unread 07-05-2014, 06:01 PM
Sharon Passmore Sharon Passmore is offline
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Do people really see clothing on the Emperor?
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  #6  
Unread 07-06-2014, 07:06 PM
ross hamilton hill ross hamilton hill is offline
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A lot of art is seeing things before others do, like the sulptural qualities in a public urinal or the reversals of Warhol, turning photos into prints into paintings. I like the pathos of this, the unmade bed and the personal detritus, it is public art, found sculpture, and should be judged as such, like Picasso's bicycle seat and handle-bars bull. People always say 'Oh anyone could do that', but the point is anyone didn't, the artist did and did it first, blazed a trail. And she did make it, she made the mess.
Anyway time will tell. Emin seems very 'establishment' now, she's a Professor at the Royal Academy, London.

Last edited by ross hamilton hill; 07-06-2014 at 07:10 PM.
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  #7  
Unread 07-06-2014, 08:35 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Sharon, I can't recall the last time you and I agreed on anything to do with art, but we certainly do this time.

What a farce. The emperor has no clothes, and all this proves is that it is impossible in today's art market to come up with anything that is so ridiculous that you won't find hustlers promoting it, and fools spending millions of dollars to own it - at least for a while - until they can find a bigger fool to pay even more for it.

Ross - the Modigliani you mention did not go for $214MM. That was the total price of everything sold in that auction. The Modigliani went for $42MM - still absurd, but at least it was real work of art by a real and enormously accomplished painter, not a piece of conceptual nonsense. Modigliani's the real thing - I even gave him a supporting role in one of my poems. The cans of beer I drained while working on that poem for close to a week, as well as the seat I occupied, have been preserved, as a matter of fact, and I'm now putting them up for sale on the Sphere. The bidding can start at $100,000 - a real bargain, compared to what else is out there - and 10% will go to Alex. Do I hear a bid, Ross?
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Unread 07-06-2014, 11:37 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Heh! Here's what grasshopper (M. A. Griffiths) had to say about it, in bold below, 16 December 2001 (posted to a private list associated with The Poetry Kit):

Quote:
The idea behind Conceptual Art, if I understand it correctly, is that it is not the actual artwork or installation that is important but the Concept behind it Ė as in the famous pile of bricks, which were ordinary bricks in a pile, but labelled as a work of art. The trouble with this, I feel, is that it depends too much on context, so you could re-christen it Contextual Art. In other words, it needs a sort of parenthesis to identity it as Art, and not just a pile of bricks or a dirty old bed or a crumpled piece of paper.

But if something only becomes Art through its context, I think we have the right to question its worth.

Being experimental doesnít necessarily make something good or exciting. I donít think we have to make a pilgrimage to the Tate before deciding there is something uninviting and vacuous about a room with a light flashing on and off. Surely this Concept had been explored in terms of space by architecture (in a functional way) and in terms of light by films and television (in an entertaining way).

Commenting on this Concept is not the same thing as commenting on a poem, because a poem has its own separate existence Ė it is not just a Concept.

With the Concept, the spectator is expected to do most of the work. As a spectator, I am not prepared to accept this. The artist should do most of the work, or whatís an artist for? We can all collect our own bits of rubbish, give the result a posey title, and put it on a plinth. Does this have any less value than what is often presented in galleries as Art, because it bears an Artistís name?

What I often see today is Junk Art to go with our junk food, and a series of flashy and/or pretentious gimmicks treated with hushed reverence. I am told these are deep and meaningful, but I am not convinced, which Iím sure labels me as a Philistine.

What is often ignored is the simple truth that being traditional doesnít mean something is automatically bad, and being new doesnít mean something is automatically good.

Artworks cited above:

In 1976, the Tate Galleryís purchase of US artist Carl Andreís
Equivalent VIII (consisting of 140 bricks) sparked one of the great modern art controversies.

My Bed, exhibited at the Tate in 1999 when shortlisted for the Turner Prize, consisted of British artist Tracey Eminís unmade bed, used condoms, menstrual blood, and assorted other objects in disarray.

Work No. 88, a sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball (1994), was one of Martin Creedís most famous works before his Turner Prize-winning Work No. 227, the lights going on and off (2001). The latter consisted of an empty room with its electric lights switching on and off in five-second intervals.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 07-06-2014 at 11:40 PM.
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  #9  
Unread 07-07-2014, 06:57 AM
ross hamilton hill ross hamilton hill is offline
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Emin's piece is not conceptual art, it is found art, as John remarked, in the tradition of Duchamp's urinal. Conceptual art comes from abstract or op art, it is about ideas, sensations and design. Emin's piece is about the human condition, it is detaied, representational and real. It is perhaps most closely associated with the kitchen sink tradition in theatre leading eventually to Becket and Pinter. In art maybe Soutine, even Van Gogh's chair and today Lucien Freud's warts and all paintings.
Conceptional art is perhaps most closely allied to Mondrian and then Bridget Riley but there is a fine line between abstract expressionism like Newman and Rothko which no matter how close it came to pure abstraction never crossed that line and dispensed with emotion. In some ways Emin is going back, reasserting the humanistic and confessional role of the artist like Van Gogh's or even Rembrandt's self-portraits and the tradition of intimate interiors ( like Matisse and Vermeer to name two). As I said she's become very established lately.
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Unread 07-07-2014, 09:22 AM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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I think we'll have to differ on this, Ross, which will do Enim no harm, since, as you say, she has become quite established and can survive quite well without my good opinion.

And the "But is it art?" debate will continue to rage with or without me, too.

The difference, as I see it, between realists like Soutine, Van Gogh, and Lucien Freud on the one hand, and this piece by Enim (I don't know her other work) on the other, has to do with creativity, compositional and editorial decisions, and craft--all of which, I feel, are necessary in art.

To translate reality into another medium--such as making a 2D representation on a painted canvas, say--absolutely requires the artist to filter it through his or her own experience and emotion. There are artistic and editorial choices in play--colors, composition, etc.

Even with Duchamp's urinal, the whole idea was startlingly original (at that time), he altered what he found (by adding the very visible signature R. Mutt), and he gave it an intriguing title, Fountain. He made artistic choices to filter our experience of this found object.

With My Bed, I don't see any filtering whatsoever going on the part of the artist, even in the title. In fact, that seems to be the whole point--behold this chunk of raw reality, make of it what you will. Every observer is left to interpret it firsthand--which, again, seems to be the point.

But I don't wanna deal with Enim's raw, unfiltered reality. I've got plenty of my own to deal with. If she's going to abdicate the role of artist by not enriching my experience of this reality in any way, I'm not interested. And since we all keep referencing a 1917 piece by Duchamp, found art doesn't even have the virtue of originality anymore.

Granted, My Bed came a few years before Damien Hirst's 2001 messy studio table at the Eyestorm Gallery and Gustav Metzger's 2004 messy workstation at the Tate, both of which got loads of schadenfreude-laden publicity when cleaning staff mistook these pieces for their component crap, and threw all or part of them away. But I don't see a whole lot of creative spark in any of these three "works"; I put that word in quotes because I don't see a whole lot of effort expended, either, although I suppose it was tricky to move them without changing anything. All three artists claimed that these pieces were representational, but I don't think the artists are re-presenting anything. They're just presenting it, raw, and leaving us to our own interpretations. And one wonders how many times we're going to see the same basic idea trotted out again and again by different installation artists.

In my opinion, the only saving grace of such installations is that they force us to have conversations like this, and to reexamine our feelings about the role of the artist, etc., etc. I guess these conversations are somewhat useful...and definitely more pleasant than the conversations I already have with my husband and children about unmade beds. But again, those of us discussing Enim's bed are doing all the work of deriving meaning from it. I agree with M. A. Griffiths that the artist should be expected to bring more effort and talent to the table than the viewer does.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 07-07-2014 at 03:32 PM. Reason: OCD
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