Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What makes an Artist

When Scharfstein discussed the collecting of African "art/artifacts" during Imperialism, I became intrigued by the circumstances in which these pieces of art were created.  The way Scharfstein puts it, these "indigenous" peoples recognized the demand for African art in Europe and took advantage of this  demand to create counterfeit pieces which they sold to these foreigners.  Now perhaps these objects can still be considered art, as they require the same amount of skill if they are to be decent imitations of the genuine and meaningful art or artifacts.  However if a skilled person solely uses their skill for material gain, are they worthy to be called artists?  Although their creations are similar to those that are genuie, does the lack of care and thought make them less than art?

This question is still relevant today.  Prof. Langguth addressed this topic briefly and said there are studios in which an artist doesn't even touch the work that is attributed to him or her.  Below is a video that I think addresses this question directly.  If you take the time to watch it, you will notice that the sculptor has a whole team of artists who work with him.  Now although he is working with his team, does he deserve full credit for the creation of this work?  Although he may be the one with the concept and the plan, there have to be several others who were crucial to the projects success.  Shouldn't they receive recognition for their work?  At what point to you make the distinction between who is an artist and who isn't?  There is no denying that this project is a work of art, but should this work be attributed just to one man?

if your not in the mood to watch the video, it shows Pedro Reyes who is working on his third project with disassembled and destroyed weapons.  This specific project mechanizes weapon parts to create music.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Ben. This is an interesting question. In a way, though, the same thing is true of the way a medieval cathedral was conceived and constructed (and later modified). Who is the "artist" in cases like this?