ART MICHELANGELO: The Creation of Adam Fresco: Detail from The Sistine Chapel ceiling What is art? `Those things are considered art which are made by human beings in any material medium where production requires a relatively high level of skill on the part of their maker, skill being measured where possible according to the standards traditionally used in the maker's society', (Anderson 1979: Art in Primitive Societies) Is this Art? “Those things are considered art which are made by human beings” ANGER by Michael Michael is a gorilla Fractals made by computer Is this Art? “production requires a relatively high level of skill on the part of their maker, skill being measured where possible according to the standards traditionally used in the maker's society' The word art comes from the Old French - meaning skill Anderson’s definition also includes pottery, fish traps, boats, computers and so on, i.e. things that are not generally considered art. meaning is not required no sense of aesthetics context is required only in sense of skilfulness Vladimir Madonna 12th century The Definition of Art as Non-functional Human made things are usually categorized according to function. • chairs are things that function as a seat, • boats are things that float Classifying according to function allows us to exclude other things • sieves are neither seats nor boats because we can't sit on them or sail in them • they have a different function There is no functional criterion however, that allows us to exclude objects from the category of art art is an accepting category it can be extended to include sieves and boats. In some sense you can consider boats and sieves as works of art some things fit more easily into the category than others paintings are easy, boats less so and sieves least of all. Pottery Sieve from Headington, Oxford: 3rd/4th century. It would have been used for draining boiled vegetables or shellfish; the conditions under which objects gain acceptance into the category are always changing. Art of the 20th/21st century would not have been considered art in 18th century Nigerian Moyo Okediji 1956 - The Dutchman, 1995 acrylic on canvas Joseph Wright of Derby 1734 – 1797 The Experiment with the Air Pump 1. Institutional definition what is art is where it is displayed works of art are what are exhibited in art galleries (not museums) fine art sold at art auctions (not craft fairs, folk art, or ethnographic artefact) a cross-section of a cow is art if it is displayed in an Art gallery but not if it is seen in an abattoir. Damien Hirst: Mother and Child Divided Hirst won the Turner prize in 1995 where displayed is linked to the market process primary function that links the items displayed --- $$$$ • a repository of value on the international art market • supply and demand. definition often relevant to the production of objects by indigenous peoples who may intend to produce work that will be accepted by Western art market. Much of what indigenous peoples produce is now considered art by the West provides a means for integration within a wider world economic system sale of art to outsiders This has consequences for the use of art in indigenous cultures i.e. it is produced for a different meaning, for money, not so much for religious or symbolic (e.g. kinship) purpose, but to be sold to tourists, collectors, dealers. Western art buyers are not interested in works on canvas directly comparable to those produced in the West. This is one reason why African art contains very little that is pictorial, and is mostly cultural artefacts. 2. Intentional definition art objects are objects intended to be works of art by their makers most other objects intention is subordinate to their function. eg. intention to build a boat is insufficient if it sinks but if it is intended as a work of art it doesn’t really matter if it floats designation as an artist, his or her creations are art i.e. art is what artists make a cross-section of a calf is art if artist so intends The Prodigal Son (1994) A Damien Hirst sculpture of a dead calf cut in half and suspended in formaldehyde Hommage à Damien Hirst par Adrian Darmon, 2000 Death, 2003. By Jake & Dinos Chapman Shortlisted for Turner Prize 2003 But then there are objects whose primary intention is not to be a work of art but which are generally considered to be art objects.. Thunderbird and Orca totem pole Royal B.C. First and second Museum in definitions are of Victoria little utility for anthropology Senufo buffalo mask 3. Defined in terms of attributes usually associated with visual or interpretative properties rather than function function may be relevant to their interpretation but is not reason they are considered art eg. much early European art was produced for religious reasons, had a religious function religious context is secondary to their definition as art. Chalice 12th century when originally produced their function in religious performance was central to the kind of objects they were. i.e. religious objects not art objects Virgin and child 12th century What are the attributes of art objects? skill in manufacture Emotional features aesthetic features semantic or interpretative features interrelation Woven basket Kenya for example, early period artworks, skill, function and religious meaning integral to work of art, now expression of aesthetic factors. Fine Art rare expensive college course subject made for the market artist is named Has a date product’s uniqueness valued John Constable, Wivenhoe Park, Essex 1816 Oil on canvas produced by artists in Western classical tradition not utilitarian - art for art’s sake Is this Fine art? Baga (Guinea) Maternity figure Baga (Guinea) fertility goddess Mali mask “Primitive” Art Artist has no formal training not produced for the market but primarily for some religious or functional purpose connected with ritual and myth - not art for arts sake i.e. they are not seen to have any aesthetic sense artist is anonymous Art within a cultural tradition – Ashanti Shrine object no date creativity of natural man psychologically deep, instinctive, emotional in harmony with nature childlike allied with basic drives - sex and fertility Name comes from the legend of a woman named Akua who was distraught about being barren, for Akan women desire above all to have children. A priest instructed her to carry a small wooden child on her back and care for it as if it were real. The other villagers teased her, and the wooden figure came to be known Akua-ba as Akua-ba (Akua's Child). Eventually she Fertility Doll gave birth to a beautiful daughter, and her Ghana detractors began adopting the same measures to cure barrenness. word ‘primitive’ tells us something about the Western concept of art and the role it plays in the positioning of other cultures. Art is something that made its appearance on the higher rungs of the evolutionary ladder especially fine art. fine art is regarded as quintessentially civilized. Leonardo Da vinci : Mona Lisa C. 1503-06 fine art serves as standard of comparison a Or is this a Western classification of art. The masks, chairs, figurines etc. may not be considered art by the people who made them. Baulé (Côte d'Ivoire) comb they were made for a purpose Who actually decides what is art: them or us? Yemeni Ceremonial Dagger “Primitive” or “African” or “New Guinea” art is used to categorize, to distance non-Western peoples. I.e. primitive art is made by primitive people “Primitive” art is anonymous. Tami Mask Papua New Guinea the name of the ethnic group substitutes for the maker 'When I first went to the old Trocadero, it was disgusting…. The masks weren't just like any other pieces of sculpture. Not at all. They were magic things…. I too believe that everything is unknown…. I understood what the Negroes use their sculptures for…. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon must have come to me that very day” Pablo Picasso Les Demoiselles d'Avignon - Picasso Anthropology of art studies the role art objects play in people’s lives; for instance in their beliefs and rituals. The things studied include sculpture, masks, paintings, textiles, baskets, pots, weapons, and the human body itself. the symbolic meanings encoded in such objects, as well as in the materials and techniques used to produce them. The decorative scars are used to confer beauty, status, protection, and identity to the bearers. Photograph copyright Bojan Brecelj/CORBIS Anthropology of art the social processes involved in making objects. the role and status of the artist in the wider community rather than the individual biography the form and function of objects and their relation to aspects of the wider society. the aesthetic value in different societies. the ways in which material objects made by indigenous people have come to have value in the tourist and art markets as well as of the role of museums Australian Aboriginal Art The ancestral beings gave the rights to occupy the land the paintings help to establish the right to occupy the land and maintain connections with the ancestral forces in the landscape. For this reason knowledge of paintings and the right to produce paintings is closely regulated. paintings can only be produced by those acknowledged to have the right to do so. the way in which art is produced is related to group identity and gender land and paintings are the property of clans In addition to satisfying aesthetic needs, body decoration may be used as a visual means to show social position, rank, sex, occupation, local or ethnic identity or religion within a society. Maori tattoos or moko told about the bearer's rank, lineage, special skills and marriage status. A revival in moko is linked to Maori identity The Navajo create intricate sand paintings as part of a ritual act, destroyed once ritual over. the `doing' of the art is often of greater importance than the final product itself. sand paintings created on plywood or particleboard intended for sale are incomplete. Many languages have no word for art or artist. E.g Tewa, Balinese Balinese have no word for art, the beauty that they produce is considered part of everyday life, nothing special. does art exist in their society? How do we talk about someone else’s artefacts that we see as "art?” Kertha Gosa (temple) batik Objects from Tutankhamen's tomb were intended to guarantee the eternal life of the king and to protect him from evil forces that might enter his body and gain control over it. They were not meant to be seen by anyone. Is it Art? when objects that have particular religious/ protective/ ethnic/ meaning for one group can we consider them as "art“ from our perspective? Tutankhamen's death mask Anthropological Analysis of Art The anthropology of art is not the study of objects of other cultures that Westerners have accepted as art. We look through sets of cultural filters that prepare us for an "aesthetic" experience. An anthropology of art is not limited by the objects that are included in the Western category of art The concept ‘art’ needs to be open to allow the analysis of objects from other cultures on their own terms How do they define what is art - who defines art? values of objects in many different contexts are relevant to their meaning and to how they are understood. Asmat shield Art communicates significant meanings and feelings at different times, in different spaces, for different people. In every society art provides much more than an expression of beauty; it also creates and maintains social values Until recently in Western culture, only sailors, criminals and prostitutes got tattoos. The Romans considered decorative tattooing barbaric, and used tattoos to mark slaves and criminals. The negative connotations are still evident in the Latin word for tattoo: stigma. Today, the tattoo is undergoing a renaissance reflecting a change in attitudes towards the body: seen as a canvas. Art objects can be analysed from 3 perspectives 1. Form and function use of the object in ritual and religion etc. in the making of value. 2. iconographic objects that encode meaning or represent something or that create a particular meaning 3. aesthetic from their aesthetic affect or expressive quality Any aesthetic or interpretative considerations must be those relevant to producers 1. Form and Function One approach to understanding art is by looking at the form and function of objects. The function will to some extent determine the form and dictate the type of object it is The art aspect (semantic or aesthetic dimension) (e.g. decoration) can be separated from other aspects of the object eg. Hopi potters typically spend a great deal of time and energy decorating their pottery designs are aesthetically pleasing But there is no need to decorate them function well without the decoration 1. The function can be separated from the form. The art aspect may either compliment or exist independently of other functional attributes and embellish the objects aesthetically and semantically. eg. a club has many attributes of art fine craftsmanship, aesthetic appeal, signs of status and religious symbolism but it is also used as a weapon. Its functional attributes as a weapon have no necessary connection with its attributes as art. the design on a club or its aesthetic power may interact with its destructive capacity to make it more effective as a weapon. its design or form may supply it with power and ritual significance A mask may function to obscure a person's face that is its function a paper bag would function in the same way but a mask also serves to create a new identity, or even transformed -spirit possession in this case the design is integral to the function of the mask Tlingit mask 2. Representational or iconic Systems representational assumes that it can be interpreted to mean something that is, or becomes, external to itself For example a picture of a raven may simply be a picture of a raven to us to a Kwakiutl it may be a totem representing a social group. focus is on art as a system of meaning and communication how does art encode meaning. The pole is carved with crest figures that relate to family lineages, status and rights, 2. Visual and aesthetic means of declaring status symbolic halo, (or crown) on the king's head. scarlet hunting jacket of English gentlemen eagle feathers of the Indian chief’s bonnet golden embroidered jacket of the Indian rajah. jewellery in the shape of the star of David, or the cross is used to indicate religious preferences. 3. Aesthetics objects appeal to the senses important properties include an object's form, texture, feel, smell and impact the nervous system irrespective of one's cultural background. many of the properties are recognized cross culturally, eg, weight, colour, shininess, symmetry and so on may also include non-material attributes associated with it e.g. age, or distant place, or magical substance In the Yolngu the effect of shimmering brilliance is produced by covering the surface of a painting with fine crosshatched lines. shimmering effect is interpreted as the power of the ancestral beings shining out from the painting. The image is reinforced by song and by an emphasis in myth on similar images of transformation between light and dark. the creation of a particular aesthetic effect is integral to the art aesthetics is part of the semantics of the art also of the way art is integrated within the cultural system as a whole.