In this exercise I have been asked to  make notes in respect of an excerpt from Art History: The Basics by Grant Pooke and Diana Newall (2008, Abingdon, Routledge).  To summarise the excerpt from what I understand it is widely asking the question who decides if it is art and if there is a purpose to it.  A situation arose whereby an a sculptor (David Hensel) created  a sculpture of a laughing head on a plinth, and sent it to an international and prestigious art exhibition.  The head was returned and the plinth was displayed on its own instead.  A real case of who decided that the plinth was art.

Other parts of the chapter that stood out were:

  • “I’m delighted to have made an empty plinth that isn’t empty, where the exhibit itself is merely invisible”  (David Hensel 2006)
  • “There really is no such thing as Art.  There are only artists”.  (Gombrich 1984: 4), he suggests that art is something that artists do.
  • Decorative Arts; needlework, glass textiles, jewellery
  • Fine Art – Painting, drawing and sculpture (Royal Academy)
  • Contemporary Art – ceramics and embroidery, modern
  • All definitions or art are mediated through culture, history and language – need to look at social and cultural origin
  • Classical sculpture of Zeus  (copy of a fifth century BCE original – would have been judged on technical standard
  • Important to understand that the meaning and attributions of art are particular to different context, societies and periods.  Whatever the prevalence through time of objects and practices with aesthetic purpose, ideas and definitions of art are neither timeless nor beyond history, but related to the social and cultural assumptions of the societies and environment which fashion them
  • Artists – Tracy Emin, Grayson Perry, David Hensel, Bauhaus, Braque, Derain, Kirchner, Matisse, Picasso, Maurice De Vlaminck, Cezanne

The exercise also asked to list any words that were new to me.  I have created a menu that contains a glossary on my Home page, listing new words and their meanings and will continue to add as I go along.

I enjoyed reading this article and about the idea’s of what is Art and how historically it has changed and continues to change as each new artist comes along.  I do feel I need to learn how to take notes and what parts are important, along with how to correctly reference things.

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