Arts and Crafts

There is an opinion piece by  Denis Dutton in the New York Times today on Conceptual Art, which presents some views that I am very sympathetic to.   All creative endeavours involve some inspiration and perspiration – There is the idea and then there is the execution of that idea.  Conceptual art essentially removes the execution aspect of art and makes it a pure exercise in cleverness.  In some sense it does crystallize the essence of art but I’ve always found it lacking.   I just can’t get that inspired by a medicine cabinet.  I’ve always found that the craft of a work of art to be as compelling (if not more) as the idea itself.  In many cases the two are inseparable.  Dutton argues that the craft aspect of art will never disappear because people intrinsically enjoy witnessing virtuosity.  I’m inclined to agree.  So while Vermeer or Caravaggio will remain timeless Damien Hirst may just fade away in time.


Corrected the spelling of Damien Hirst’s name on May 15,2012

3 thoughts on “Arts and Crafts

  1. I’m not particularly into avant-garde art… but I have to agree that a great deal of the skill – and appeal! – of an artist lies in being able to project a mental image into some physical form that other people can experience.

    Much of the creativity comes in that movement from an often somewhat-hazy mental picture to what actually emerges in the physical world, as one deals with the limitations or strengths of a medium (or one’s own lack of skill, in some cases). In the transition from idea to some kind of physical entity, there can often be an almost complete transformation, somewhat for the better, surprising even the artist in some cases.

    To remove that process to me removes a great deal of creativity and chance for surprise.

    On the other hand: perhaps it adds another layer of creativity, making the art more of the art of verbally or otherwise communicating your idea to another person who then translates that into the actual physical actuality.

    Sounds like architecture to me…


  2. Hi Carson. Hope you’re well. Love reading your blog. Especially about art. Not sure if you remember me. It’s Kira, Bob’s sister. Am now living in HK and am interested in Chinese Contemporary Art or any art for that matter. Sorry to be so pedantic but it’s Damien Hirst not Hurst. Read the interview with you in the NYTimes. Very impressive.


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