April 30, 2009

In the Art World -- Pictures vs Words

I'm reading Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton.  Highly recommend it.  The chapter called "The Crit" focuses on CalArts.  Thornton says "It used to be said that some art colleges instructed their students only 'up to the wrist' (in other words, they focused on craftsmanship) while CalArts educated its artists only 'down to the wrist' (its concentration on the cerebral was such that it neglected the fine art of the hand)."   

Thornton goes on to discuss the critique process and how " there is undue pressure on artists to verbalize.  Many believe that artists shouldn't be obliged to explain their work.  As Hickey [an art critic] declares, "I don't care about an artist's intentions.  I care if the work looks like it might have some consequences."

So -- first -- I have to apologize to my fellow painter George, whom I asked to explain what was going on in a series of paintings he's been doing.   Still, I won't stop writing about what I'm working on, because I'm kind of a verbal person and it's not unnatural for me to match words to my own images.  

And  second -- where do I fit in the down to the wrist/up to the wrist thinking about art?  I have to admit I think craftsmanship is overrated...  but I have to think a lot more about this.  

What do you think?

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