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> Thursday, March 16, 2006: Art? Not Art?

 
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One definition of art: "Any human creation which contains an idea other than its utilitarian purpose." (Spinoza)

So what do you think of this graffiti on this photo? Art? Not art? (I'll count the opinions)

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Comments:

modern art, I think? (submitted on March 15, 2006)  

The way this picture was taken it is art. I think it depends on the graffiti itself. I like this picture! (submitted on March 15, 2006)  

Rome is devasteted because of graffiti ! Every building is full of graffiti . Many building are old and have murble ... when graffiti is on murble is quite impossible to take away!
So Ok graffiti ( I love it) but not everyware!
(submitted on March 16, 2006)
 

P.S.
really nice shot !
(submitted on March 16, 2006)
 

Interesting question! Would yous hare your opinion with us Manu?

I'd say it depends on the graffiti. As far as I can see from your picture, I would say it is a kind of art (someone used his/her imagination) but it is an "easy" art...
(submitted on March 16, 2006)
 

I think this one is not art but pollution... I really hate this sort of little small written graffiti; they make building look dirty... (submitted on March 16, 2006)  

Nice shot, like all your pictures. Art, I don't know. Don't do it myself.

Here there's a tendency for graffiti to appear on a building the day after it has been painted.

I think I'm going to ask you for some photography secrets.
(submitted on March 16, 2006)
 

Not art, because it's utilitarian. Are blogs graffiti in cyber space? (submitted on March 16, 2006)  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. (submitted on March 16, 2006)  

I would vote not art in this case. Generally I am not a big fan of graffiti however many show some true talent. (submitted on March 16, 2006)  

Spinoza took literature apart into atomistic and unrelated parts. In trying to disect art we kill it. It is what it is and we would do well not to impose modernist categories like those of Spinoza on what is mysterious and organic like art. That is not to say that your quote from Spinoza is not worth discussing here.

I concur that you're shot of the graffiti is artistic; a nice photo. One last thought is that, architecture is arguably a kind of art. City-scape is a kind of expression or we hope it is at least. Graffiti then is imposed upon another artist's work and while there may be artistic attributes, it is not of its own right art. That is, graffiti corrupts the art of others. Imagine writing with a sharpie across a Rembrant!
(submitted on March 16, 2006)
 

Art or not art? Tough one.

To me the stuff on this wall is not art. However, not all graffitis look bad. Some are very artistic indeed.

Funny Joe brought it up, because I was just thinking about Rome when I saw that picture. I love the subway in Rome. The trains are completely COVERED in graffitis, but in such manner that it pleases the eye (well, mine, at least).
(submitted on March 16, 2006)
 

I would say your photo IS art ,but the 'graffitti' definately isnt.In the UK that sort of graffitti is called tagging. (submitted on March 16, 2006)  

Art to one is pollution to another. Rembrant went bust because his work was no longer thought "good" art. Today, other than our inclinations being moulded by our cultural heritage, we also value antiquities more than newbies. This in turn could be considered as time "writing with a sharpie" over the paint's chemical composition (i.e. the paint darkening with age). Even giving it a name is of dubious value: of course it's art, but just because it is doesn't mean it's "good". I know hundreds of artists, unknown and famous, who produce mountains of crap. So what? That's my prejudices. What's art to me, in my private language and understanding, is that which grabs me by the soul and makes me gasp. For me, grafitti is just fun. (submitted on March 16, 2006)  

interesting subject.
In san francisco, there are plenty of official and/or protected and/or artistic murals. Some are clearly grafitis, some are not.

in the mission district, there is a big new grafiti that was commisioned to cover a wall (where other buildings are simply going for th $$$ and are selling the wall space for plain advertisement)

going to the latter subject, i think it's kindof 60% of all advertisements boards in SF which are illegal, unregistered, and unaccounted for... Talking about visual polution, I dont know. Grafiti CAN be art - SHOULD (?) be art .. it just need some legal boundaries.

Imagine some official grafiti walls... with new art every morning... or even better, watching them DO IT (some have an excellent technique)

that would be a change from random siggies of narcisic human beings who need to "pee" their tag like a dog marking his block.
(submitted on March 16, 2006)
 

Ben, dis-donc!!! moi, j'aimerais bien avoir l'avis de celui qui a écrit "nique la police" la sueur au front la main moite, un oeil dans le dos... je suis pas sûr qu'il a voulu engager un débat philosophique, ni faire de l'art revendicatif... (submitted on March 16, 2006)  

Simon,

You bring out some good points. First there is most definitely a subjectivity to art. The mystery of it is how art can cause a group of people to gasp while each soul is grabbed for entirely different and unique reasons because of or inspite of our predjudices. What is amazing is that art can speak to us in our most private languages.

Further, your points about Rembrant going bust is well taken. Art is often something that is appreciated post hoc, after the fact, rather than at the time of its creation. So there is very much a sense in which history does either underscore a work with its "sharpie" or scribble across it, marking it out as a dud. But again, who's writing the history books that teach us these things anyway - so we are back to predjudices again aren't we. Good thoughts. Thanks for the interaction.

Manuel -- Your right, it's William!
(submitted on March 17, 2006)
 

Thanks everyone for contributing to the subject. Some really good thoughts there!

I guess I should share my thoughts as well, so very briefly:

- Graffiti is art, but as some of you suggested, that doesn't mean it's necessarily good.

- Tagging (as in: reproducing one's logo, name or symbol on various places) is vandalism, not art.

One person's opinion.
(submitted on March 19, 2006)
 

Because it's tagging, this is vandalism. Having beauty, and intentionality, it's art. Oh the ambiguity.. (submitted on March 23, 2006)  



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