File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 273

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 12:42:05 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] politics

 >>> Hobey Ford: Joseph Cambell hade an interesting concept about the  
definition of art.  The main precept was that a work of art contains  
everything needed to absorb and comprehend the value within the  
piece.  If a major aspect of the artwork is refrenced outside the  
piece and needed to comprehend the piece then it did not meet the  
critieria.  I find the concept interesting but am not completely  in  
agreement.  Consider Diary of Anne Frank for instance (my example not  
Cambell's).  The journal is very everyday in terms of what happens  
within the diary.  A  main force of the work lies outside the book,  
namely the tragedy of WWII and the mass murder of  jewish people and  
ultimate death of Anne.
    We find out outside the diary that Anne dies.  Cambell believed  
that referencing energy outside the piece made the work something  
else than art, not that is of no value but something else.  I am  
moved by Anne Frank's diary but the thing that gets me lies outside  
the work.  What do you think of this definition? Does the energy have  
to be generated within the piece through the characters or can those  
energies lies outside the work.  Consider if you made a work of art  
about the deaths of 911.  Is it manipulation?  there is a lot of  
energy in that concept that would come from the event not the art  
work necessarily. Is it then sentimentality or jerking the audience  
around?  This seems to be
a factor in "political art".
Hobey, thanks for this, something to think about.

I'm a big Joseph Campbell fan, but I have trouble with this idea  
about referencing in art. What about this? If you draw a line across  
a canvas, a landscape pops out. It's a reference from outside the  
piece, from back when we were lizards. We don't think, "line across a  
canvas" we think, "horizon line of a landscape." We can't really help  
associating every shape, color, idea of whatever... mom, god, sex,  
with our whole lived experience, can we?

I guess I really disagree with Campbell's idea because I think that  
art has to reference from the real world. That's how art works!

ART: A simple two-stage definition:

1) What people usually consider art -- that is, made by artist, shown  
in gallerys, hung on walls, displayed on pedestals. Art is simply  
art, no value judgement or analysis needed. Art is a simple category  
of objects.

2) The highest aspiration of humankind.

Just my opinion!

As far as political art goes, I think politics usually detracts from  
art. I use a dichotomy like this, it it art or is it a political  
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