The following series of articles explores the arts. Effectively. This column’s approach to art avoids subjective debate and fosters objective discussion by focusing on intent, context, the creative process, and the neurological processes at work in both the artist and the observer. The thesis of this column roughly translates as “expand on that”. Our primary intent will be developing ideas about artistry. We will use a variety of formats to approach our topic from an overarching vantage; namely, the review, the interview, the how-to, and the questionnaire.
Some topics in art require background info. Reviews will cover the basic stuff we need to know in order to discuss complex concepts. For example, before we explore the ideas of functionality and necessity re art, we may review Donald Kuspit’s ‘The End of Art’ as a starting point. We may review Warhol and Hurst’s critics as a primer course before we spend time discussing the merits of marketing and popularity as art forms. It’s okay if you’ve never heard of any of those people; we haven’t reviewed them yet.
These reviews bridge basic topics and advanced topics, ensuring that both the everyday appreciator and the hermitic philosopher both have access to legitimate content. Art is for everybody, even people with no exposure to its advanced philosophies. Reviews will map the basic ideas that lead to the complex concepts so nobody gets too lost.
Interviews function to apply these ideas and concepts practically.
Our interviews will occasionally wander into areas of high rhetoric- we may for example encounter a dancer who rejects the assumption that art requires creation. We would then want to explore the implications of this argument- primarily that art is a verb, and that therefore the answer to ‘is it art’ must always be ‘no’- but this might be too fast a pace for the everyday reader. At these times a review will appear in the ‘similar articles’ recommendations, explaining key concepts from the discussion so everyone can participate.
Interviews provide both valuable experiential knowledge and rare content for our how-to columns. These are not how to draw a rabbit. These are how to intend content decision. These are how to determine a price for your work. How to maintain artistic integrity. How to find new revenue streams without producing more work if you run out of supplies. How to pick a medium that relates to your content. How to maximize the clarity of your information. How to combine proteins to stay nutritious while living in poverty on two dollars a day. Things every artist must know, and at the same time, things which most art appreciators would never think to ask. Hopefully how-tos will provide a peek behind the curtain for casual readers and a useful supply of tools for artists.
Finally questionnaires, the polar opposite of how-tos, sketch interesting continuations and implications of the ideas in the column left uncovered. I could explore every idea ever thought with y'all, but we don’t have time for that. Questionnaires will provide direction for people who want to go deeper into particularly gripping areas. They serve in this way to integrate feedback from the world- reader answers to my questions and my answers to reader questions provide a texture appropriate for the subject of art. Art is a relation after all.
As the final article on a given topic, the questionnaire provides launching points for individual contemplations. Through audience response and curiosity, the amount of content in this series increases. Participation, and participation alone, catalyzes our maturation, yielding intellectual development from the seeds of factual growth.
Development is not growth, nor is growth development. If your ear is suddenly double its size tomorrow morning, your ear has grown overnight. If your ear can suddenly see colors and smell smells tomorrow morning, your ear has developed overnight. Development occurs when we gain access to new capacities. Growth is good, but development is critical. One development in how we think about art is more valuable a thing than a lifetime of growth alone.
Similarly, the methods of expanding an idea differ wildly from the mechanisms of explaining an idea. To simply describe a show of art or define a cultural event would be the intellectual equivalent of mapping the tip of an iceberg. That is not our method. We want to mine the iceberg. We want to explore its constitution- in both a search for a meaningful understanding of the human capacities for artistry, and in a search for those new horizons that new ideas reveal.
Our method involves relating ideas to as many other ideas as we can in the quest for insight. Lateral, analogous, metaphorical, it doesn’t matter here- any relation can yield insight. So our method will be generally observational, generally comparative, and generally speculative. Sometimes an artist will have an answerless question for years and years before its insights appear. questions are to statements as diamonds are to dirt.
First, we’ll consider an idea; then, we’ll expand on that. We’ll observe developments in perspective and theory as ideas evolve over time. We’ll set a goal to raise twice as many questions as we posit answers. We’ll participate in mind. Artistically.