Kultivate Magazine’s April 2018 Issue is Now Available!

The April 2018 Issue of Kultivate Magazine is now available! This issue will feature 15 Years of Second Life, a photo essay on sailing and nautical art, a photo essay on The 1900’s Paris Sim, a photo essay on spring safaris, The Luane’s World sim, The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Exhibition in Second Life, the latest exhibition at The Dixmix Gallery, and The Edge Stylists bring you their April 2018 stylings! Click on the cover below to view this month’s issue:

aprilcover

 

Are your Flickr images art?

Can one make works which are not works of ‘art’? – Marcel Duchamp

If everyone isn’t beautiful, then no one is. – Andy Warhol

 

Are your Flickr images art? Are your social media photos and images art?

Recently, I asked a friend of mine to submit some of her Flickr images to an art exhibition in Second Life. To my surprise, she declined because she didn’t think her work was good enough, that it wasn’t art.

Her perspective is not an uncommon. Posting on Flickr, Facebook, Instagram or wherever is one thing, but declaring your work as art… Well, that’s quite another. Whether it’s insecurity, modesty, or you have a too high opinion of what art is, something stops you from declaring your work as art.

This isn’t a phenomena exclusive to the many photographers or graphic artists on the Web. It’s just as much an issue with anyone who hasn’t had their work formally anointed as art, and in some cases, even established artists.

Norman Rockwell throughout his life insisted, “I’m not a fine arts man, I’m an illustrator.” Just as with my friend’s work, some people disagree with Rockwell’s assessment.

So what makes something art? Does it have to be anointed by the amorphous art community? Does it have to be exhibited in a gallery? Do academics have to give it their snooty seal of art quality approval?

If you say it’s art, is it art? If I say it’s art, is it art?

Yes. (Don’t you love short answers? Article’s finished. See ya. Kidding.)

If you say it’s art, it’s art.

From the most mundane snapshot of your cat to the crassest closeup of your genitals, if you proclaim it’s art, it’s art. Who am I to argue?

Art history is filled with examples of artists who insisted their work was art before anyone was ready to accept it as art. It is not our place – no matter what we might think of your work – to tell you whether your work is not art.

Marcel Duchamp was trying to make exactly this point with The Fountain. In 1917, Duchamp anonymously submitted an upside down urinal entitled, The Fountain, as a work of art to the Society of Independent Artists, a society which Duchamp helped found.

[Image: fountain.png, Caption: Replica of the Fountain by Marcel Duchamp]

Duchamp did not reveal he was the creator and the urinal was presented to the board as being from new artist, R. Mutt. The urinal was rejected as art and never formally displayed. The only surviving photograph of it was taken by Alfred Stieglitz.

The Fountain would later be accepted as art and seen as one of the seminal pieces of 20th century art. Hurray for Duchamp.

There are two important things to take away from this story:

  1. The Fountain was rejected and never exhibited.
  2. It was submitted anonymously.

The original Fountain was lost and never exhibited. It never saw the formally saw the inside of an exhibit room of a gallery or museum (It might have been photographed by Stieglitz in his gallery, but it was never exhibited.).

Context does matter. Formally displaying a work in a gallery or museum does have an almost magical transmogrifying effect – what was once a simple painting of a soup can takes on a whole new meaning once it’s hanging in a prominent New York gallery.

If special people say it’s art, it must be art, right?

But this never happened with The Fountain. It never got a gallery show. Except for a few friends of Duchamp’s, who were probably in the know, it was rejected and relegated to the store room.

Duchamp was, of course, challenging the notion of what art is. In particular, by submitting The Fountain anonymously, he was avoiding having the work accepted simply because he had done it. He wanted the work, as challenging as it was, to be accepted as art not because the approval committee said it was art, but because the artist had said it was art.

So if you say it’s art, it’s art.

Duchamp would agree with you.

Note: If you want to learn more about The Fountain, read the Tate Museum article referenced below. The Wikipedia entry is a bit of a hash.

If I say it’s art, it’s art

But what if you don’t think your work is art?

Too bad. If I say it’s art, it’s art.

If I’m a gallery  owner or a museum curator or an art critic, you might be more likely to accept my word on it. A knowledgeable opinion is a little more likely to sway yours. At the least, you’re probably more receptive to them.

But what if I’m nobody with no art background, but your work “feels” like art to me?

Maybe I just like the pretty colors in your photo or something about your work really connects with me. Maybe I think what you’ve presented as a casual snapshot of your dog sleeping has a deeper meaning.

Is my response and opinion valid?

Of course it is. And there’s more proof from art history.

In 1953, Robert Rauschenberg exhibited a series of canvases called the White Paintings. (Follow the link to see the white paintings.) The White Paintings are plain canvases painted entirely white. Rauschenberg intentionally wanted them to look as plain as possible.

Why?

Because he was making one of the most revolutionary points in art history: Every one of us brings our own experiences with us when we view a work, imbuing what we’re seeing with a meaning special to us. Whether its Michelangelo’s David or Rauschenberg’s blank, white paintings, that meaning is personal.

Every one of us, sees a work differently because we are all different.

If I see art in a plain, white canvas or in what you think is just another snapshot of your sleeping dog, then it’s art.

Duchamp once asked, “Can one make works which are not works of ‘art’?” I think he meant the question rhetorically.

Our lives are art. How you document that art is up to you, but what you post to social media and the work you post on Flickr is very much art.

 

Sources:

Norman Rockwell: Artist or Illustrator?,  Abigail Rockwell, American Illustration, http://americanillustration.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/15.08.25_AbigailRockwell.pdf

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, Tate, http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/duchamp-fountain-t07573

Marcel Duchamp: The Readymade As Reproduction, https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/originalcopy/intro05.html

Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and American Photography, Lisa Hostetler, http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/stgp/hd_stgp.htm

White Painting [3 panel], Sarah Roberts, SFMOMA, https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/98.308.A-C/essay/white-painting-three-panel/

 

 

 

 

Kultivate Magazine’s Second Anniversary Issue is Now Published!

I am pleased to say that our second anniversary issue, is now published and is available for you to read! This issue features artist Bryn Oh, Anouk Lefavre, Stavaros Gracemount, Veruca Tammas, Ilyra Chardin, Inara Pey, Haveit Neox, Kiana Writer, Lanai Jarrico, Marcus Lefavre, Fnordian Link, Heidi Halberstadt, GinPhx, Beatrice Serendipity, Sandi Benelli, Hikaru, Enimo, Caledonia Skytower and over 50 images created by the talented artists of Kultivate Magazine! We hope that you enjoy this issue and we apologize to the lateness of this issue. Due to real life issues, this issue is a few days late but worth the wait!

Kultivate Magazine-July 17

Editorial: What Trump’s Win Means for The Arts

Kultivate has largely tried to remain out of the election fray, only allowing slight commentary in our in world group. But as we are an arts magazine, I feel that it is important to spell out what Trump’s win means for the arts in America.

It is no secret that the arts are always under attack. Usually in public schools, art programs are the first to be cut when a budget crunch hits. From art teachers to music teachers, their numbers have dwindled in America’s public schools. Back when I attended high school, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I can remember my high school having 4 art teachers, 4 music teachers, and many English and literature teachers. My high school offered Art 1 to 4, photography, painting, chorus, band, etc..Fast forward to last year at my nephews high school and he has confirmed that there was only 1 art teacher and 1 music teacher, with less offerings.

Continue reading “Editorial: What Trump’s Win Means for The Arts”