Author Topic: An objective criteria for comparing art skill  (Read 58966 times)

BeyondGood&Evil

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An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« on: July 22, 2007, 01:24:54 AM »
Precision.

In every other field in which humans compete, precision is key to success. Those who can aim a basketball more precisely or maneuver more precisely, or precisely fit more transistors onto a silicon wafer will succeed. There is no market for the lower end of precision, except with a price to match it. It follows that, in a free art market, the art requiring the least precision would cost the least, and if it doesn't, it is not a free market, but one that is manipulated behind the scenes.

Precision leads to higher approximations of reality, to higher order, less chaos. Never has humanity benefitted from having a less precise grasp of reality vs. more precision.

A monkey, elephant or toddler rank very low in artistic precision, and their artistic output from paintbrushes or fingers merely confirms this fact. Some works of modern art, such as that of Cy Twombly, Franz Kline or Jackson Pollock, are indistinguishable from the creative output of an animal, therefore for all practical purposes, their creativity is below the lowest of human standards.

Modern art is degeneration, devolution, deconstructing high standards in order to weaken the foundation of our high-tech, prosperous society. If we disregard the artificial media propping of modern art, children who grow up thinking they only have to match it to be famous and successful will not ever have the motive to achieve actual levels of artistic competency that are required of every art-related occupation.
f Frank Gehry made a chair, you wouldn't want to sit on it. If Picasso designed a car, it would be the ugliest car you've ever seen. In every other field of human experience, actual superior talent is required to rise to the top.

Mikhail Simkin

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An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2007, 05:28:05 PM »
Your opponents can argue that there are many pictures painted with high precision that are boring to look at.

Why art is chosen to weaken the foundations of our high-tech society? Can it achive such a goal? Technology does not depend on modern art.

BeyondGood&Evil

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An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2007, 02:12:50 AM »
Quote
Your opponents can argue that there are many pictures painted with high precision that are boring to look at.


And those boring paintings will naturally not get much attention. I would consider such an argument as if the opponent is defending a square wheel because some circular wheels are ugly.

The ugly circular wheel can be improved, since its underlying foundation is functional. The square wheel has no defense. Art, and all the other higher level talents that don't tangibly aid in survival, are developed only on a foundation of accumulated wealth. Without spare time, which comes after using precise-thinking to invent methods to maximize production (and minimize required time), art would never have been created.

Any behavior that if widely practiced would tend to breakdown the foundation on which its existence depends, is unsustainable, and therefore opposes the natural order. Children who are pushed to improve their ability to recreate reality from raw materials with their hands, can then more easily manipulate their world when adults.

The modern art world sets the bar of artistic ability as if the real world were the special olympics, where all you have to do is run in place (or drip on a canvas) and people will cheer and applaud. Kids who grow up and realize the bar is set at more Olympian heights will be NEUTERED competition for those who set the bar high for their children by insulating them from the laziness-inducing effects of what is effectively art affirmative action.

Art represents the future of a society, what we value and enjoy and consider representative of our mindset. A nation on its way up might very well value artistic precision, a symbol of mental rationality, which is a requirement for future prosperity, while a nation being gutted might appear to value artistic chaos and extreme subjectivity, a symbol of individual uniqueness and lack of any cultural unity.
f Frank Gehry made a chair, you wouldn't want to sit on it. If Picasso designed a car, it would be the ugliest car you've ever seen. In every other field of human experience, actual superior talent is required to rise to the top.

Mikhail Simkin

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An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2007, 04:40:07 PM »
Quote from: BeyondGood&Evil
And those boring paintings will naturally not get much attention. I would consider such an argument as if the opponent is defending a square wheel because some circular wheels are ugly.
Sometimes one needs to distort the circular shape of the wheel by installing chains for better performance on snow. Besides, your opponents can argue that the true progress is not achived by re-inventing wheel, but by inventing new modes of transportation, such as airplanes.

Quote from: BeyondGood&Evil
The modern art world sets the bar of artistic ability as if the real world were the special olympics, where all you have to do is run in place (or drip on a canvas) and people will cheer and applaud. Kids who grow up and realize the bar is set at more Olympian heights will be NEUTERED competition for those who set the bar high for their children by insulating them from the laziness-inducing effects of what is effectively art affirmative action.
I already used a similar argument in this forum.

Quote from: BeyondGood&Evil
In every other field of human experience, actual superior talent is required to rise to the top.
Do you feel quite sure about that? The results of other quizzes, which advance similar ideas into the fields of literature  and musical science are the same.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 03:36:57 PM by Admin »

johnheartfield

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2008, 09:08:18 AM »
A comparison of some of the statements here with Nazi (Rosenberg and Degenerate Art exhibition texts for example), Stalinist (Lukacs for example) and various other anti-modernist (Sedlmayr for example) statements on art would be interesting. I wonder how well people could distinguish between them.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that a great deal of Modernist art boils down to a confidence game and another large portion of it to a specialist field that has no value for uninitiated viewers. However, to equate precision in science with exact realism in art misses the point. First of all, good science establishes and investigates rules for the analysis of raw data and doesn't merely produce formless masses of information. Great art is also an analysis of visual experience to get at rules and patterns. Extreme realism requires natural ability and devoted training, but it generally doesn't require much intelligence.

The fact that a huge number of artists turn this triad on its head and produce crap because they only recognize the value of intelligence, novelty and ideas doesn't take anything away from Matisse's or C├ęzanne's paintings. These are still fascinating paintings and not because they are unrealistic, but because there is more in them than a simple attempt to repeat surface appearances. And it certainly doesn't take anything away from Raphael's painting that every art-school mediocrity of the nineteenth century painted more realistically than him. The same goes for Caravaggio or Rembrandt whose paintings are full of embarassing technical mistakes that are absolutely irrelevant to the quality and interest of the works in question.

And with the sports metaphor: What made Michael Jordan one of the greatest basketball players of all time or Barry Sanders one of the most fascinating football players of all time was not their field goal percentage or average yards per carry. What makes them the best is that they were fascinating to watch and it was a lot more than raw physical skill and technical experience - even though it was that, too.

P.S.: I know Hitler was an infamously bad artist and I'm not familiar with his work, but I'd guess the quiz-organizer is being unfair to him in the quiz on masters and unknowns. No idiot in the world with a hint of education would compose the second picture the way it looks in the quiz. I assume it's been cropped badly. And I also thought the Churchill paintings were surprisingly good. The repetition of the nuns in the second picture wasn't a stroke of genius, but it's a great start.

Mikhail Simkin

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2008, 04:09:27 PM »
A comparison of some of the statements here with Nazi (Rosenberg and Degenerate Art exhibition texts for example) ... I wonder how well people could distinguish between them.
What a powerful argument: reductio ad rosenbergem. So that if Dr. Rosenberg ate with fork and spoon then we should eat with hands.

Historically,  Max Nordau as early as 1892 described the modern  artists as degenerates in his book Entartung.



Great art is also an analysis of visual experience to get at rules and patterns. Extreme realism requires natural ability and devoted training, but it generally doesn't require much intelligence ... These are still fascinating paintings and not because they are unrealistic, but because there is more in them than a simple attempt to repeat surface appearances.
I understand that there is more to art than depicting reality. It is legitimate to produce conceptual, symbolic or abstract paintings. However the work of the so-called abstract artists is hard to tell from ape paintings. But apes are not capable of abstraction. Therefore what is called "abstract art" is in truth apestract art and, as such, degenerate.

Joel

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2008, 06:50:29 PM »
"However the work of the so-called abstract artists is hard to tell from ape paintings."

For whom? Certainly not for people whose eyes are trained to recognize patterns and order in composition. I don't have a background in the arts but I do have a fairly visual eye based on work in film. It was obvious right away to me which paintings could not have been done by apes (where I erred was in thinking two of the "better" ape paintings, the ones more pleasing to the eye, were somewhat sloppy abstract works that you'd stuck in to trick the quiz-taker...it was my first quiz on your site, so I didn't really know your style).

You could hold up a dense scientific essay next to a page of gibberish and I might not know the difference. This just means that I'm ignorant when it comes to science. Just as some people are ignorant about aesthetics. I don't see why this is so hard to believe.

I've noticed a pattern while taking your tests. I do pretty well on the tests regarding "true" vs. "fake" i.e. comparing works that were created with some intelligence and works which weren't (whether by you, an ape, or a bad computer translation). I didn't do as well when asked to judge quality. Poetry vs. parody (though the parody was created without seriousness, it doesn't seem to have been created without intelligence), famous vs. non-famous artists, famous vs. non-famous musicians, Dickens vs. the other dude etc. This tells me that taste is subjective but that there are objective qualities to arts which make them "true" or "real" works as opposed to something created by accident (and I include your works which seem to have just been jotted off). Not that it makes them good, mind you. That's another question and one I think would be more interesting for you to examine.

Mikhail Simkin

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2008, 07:34:17 PM »
For whom? Certainly not for people whose eyes are trained to recognize patterns and order in composition.
Here is  an article which describes how noted art critic was fooled by a monkey painting. I know another such case which happened in late 2005. You may wonder: why I am citing a blog and not the  newspaper article? The Australian article, which is still linked in the blog, misteriously dissappeared. I managed to read it though when that blog entry first appeared and saved a copy on my computer. I also found blog links to the original Bild Zeitung article which also went down the memory hole.

Thus, the experts can't tell an abstractionist from an ape. And the knowledge about it is actively suppressed.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2008, 07:36:29 PM by Mikhail Simkin »

Joel

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2008, 08:29:37 PM »
No, ONE expert was "fooled by a monkey painting." There are plenty of other people who weren't. Or who, like me, weren't sure about a couple of the monkey paintings but knew for sure which ones a human being did. If you had an example an art critic who thought a human-created work was created by a monkey, that would perhaps be more revealing and address my point, though it would still be just one example contradicted by others. You are cherry-picking the examples you want to suit your hypothesis. I think some people can tell the difference, and some can't. It's not either/or. But the fact that anybody sees a difference means a) they are lying, or b) there really are differences. People have explained them on this board. The way you've constructed your house of cards, one counterexample sets it falling down (unless you really believe that majority opinion is the best arbiter of value -- not a very scientific position). I think you're more interested in proving your own biases "correct" than teasing out complex truths so I'll leave you be for now. Enjoyable website, though, and keep up the good work on that front. I'll enjoy taking future tests even if I don't interpret them the way you do.

Mikhail Simkin

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2008, 09:45:43 PM »
No, ONE expert was "fooled by a monkey painting."

My previous post describes  TWO cases, not ONE. The second I found only because the blogger also linked to one of my quizzes. Otherwise I would not have known that story. I made Google searches for ape's name and found another blog which in addition mentioned the first story. This is how I learned about. Everything happened by chance. I suspect that there were plenty of such stories.

There are plenty of other people who weren't. Or who, like me, weren't sure about a couple of the monkey paintings but knew for sure which ones a human being did.

You had the advantage of knowing that some of them were by apes. Otherwise you might well have been duped like Dr. Schneider.

You are cherry-picking the examples you want to suit your hypothesis.

Nay. I rescue from the memory hole all that I can.

The way you've constructed your house of cards, one counterexample sets it falling down

The house of cards was constructed by the artistic establishment. Just one example of an expert mistaking ape for art is enough to destroy it, provided, of course, that it is widely known.

paulherman

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2008, 05:46:17 AM »
I think the more relevant question here, & the one that must be defined before tackling 'criteria for comparing art skills' is: What is art? (Or is the subject really: An objective criteria for PAINTING skills?)
Paul Herman

Mikhail Simkin

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2008, 06:47:25 PM »
Precision was important in the past, before the invention of photography. There was also a lot more work for artists. Police employed them to paint mugshots of criminals. Explorer ships carried them to paint discovered lands and new species of animals. The portraits of relatives had to be done by artists.

Today all of the above can be easily done with a camera. What is left to artists is to produce nicely looking pictures for decoration. They should be nicer than photographs. One way to accomplish this is to paint imaginary worlds, like Kinkade does. Precision is not important in such work.

However one still can define an objective criteria: what percentage of people can do this? The results of my "True art, or fake?" quiz show that for abstract art the figure is 100%.

Piltdown Man

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2008, 03:45:56 AM »
My two-hour writing session was timed out- essay lost!

a highlight:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminism_(American_art_style)

check these 19th-century artists out, and the Hudson River school and it is obvious that what
is truly degenerate in an apples-apples rather than apples-oranges sense is contemporary
"realistic" painting.

One reason why say, Didion for example bothers to criticize Kinkade at all is that unlike the vast
majority of purportedly similar artists, he actually is skilled and not doing a third-rate fifth-hand
knock-off of 19th century popular painting. Compare also (in real life, not photos), Dali's brushwork, modelling and light to Vermeer's (a comparison Dali insisted upon himself). That's also degenerate- second rate Vermeer brush skills.

Of course it can be argued that deliberately moving into an apples-oranges situation is just a cop-out.
After all, Pollock's mom could hardly say dear, Da Vinci's splatter paintings are so much better than yours.

Sadly I don't have time to rewrite my comments on drawing skill and "realism" and so on. Maybe some other time

-Piltdown Man


Mikhail Simkin

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2008, 09:56:38 PM »
what is truly degenerate in an apples-apples rather than apples-oranges sense is contemporary "realistic" painting.
What do you mean by that? The only meaning I can supply to this is that realistic art after invention of photography is not really neaded. So it looks a bit patalogical when people paint portraits or landscapes. There is some room left for realistic painting still. Like historical scenes or book illustrations. Check, for example, this realistic painting. This scene certainly could not be photographed.


 
By the way, do you understand it. It is often argued that people can't grasp the meaning of advanced modern art due to their limited intellectual capacity. In reality, however, experts can't tell masterpieces of modern art from ridiculous parodies. This indicates that in truth any meaning is absent from moder art. In contrast, the above realistic painting does  have a clear and concise meaning.

Piltdown Man

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Re: An objective criteria for comparing art skill
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2008, 11:37:33 PM »
what is truly degenerate in an apples-apples rather than apples-oranges sense is contemporary "realistic" painting.
What do you mean by that? The only meaning I can supply to this is that realistic art after invention of photography is not really neaded. So it looks a bit patalogical when people paint portraits or landscapes. There is some room left for realistic painting still. Like historical scenes or book illustrations.

What I mean is, if we compare landscapes or beaucolic settings or mother-and-child kinds of pictures,
and what is chocolate-box art, of the 19th century to the same kinds of pictures in the 20th century and this century, it should be clear to anyone who has studied painting or done skilled work with their own hands that the general level of sheer technical skill has fallen terribly in those fields.

another example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Martin_Johnson_Heade_001.jpg

Of course a great part of this is precisely as you say- photography took over many of a painter's expected duties, and so many previously mandatory skills were taught ever less. Same kind of thing happened when the pianoforte took over from harpsichords and so on- being physically difficult to tune, yet holding its tuning far longer, the old skill of continually tuning your instrument on the fly has almost disappeared, and the effect on western music in general has also been radical, because the many different kinds of tunings all degenerated into th single one-size-fits-all-more-or-less 12-tone equal temperament (Mozart's father taught 55 tones per octave, for example, and which ones you'd be using would depend on the keys in the piece of music).

Check, for example, this realistic painting. This scene certainly could not be photographed.


 
By the way, do you understand it. It is often argued that people can't grasp the meaning of advanced modern art due to their limited intellectual capacity. In reality, however, experts can't tell masterpieces of modern art from ridiculous parodies. This indicates that in truth any meaning is absent from moder art. In contrast, the above realistic painting does  have a clear and concise meaning.

It is a modern Don Quixote, tilting at modern windmills. Where is Sancho Panza? must be the first question that pops into everyone's mind. With my particular background of being raised with 19th century books and living in different multi-lingual environments my whole life, I also see a word game, maybe someone named, say, "Solovski" is Don Quixote (rossignol=nightingale=solovei + "ski") but those are just my own associations which I do automatically to amuse myself. You know my real name and location so maybe you can see that the chain of events makes that a  "natural" pun.

By the way as a physicist you are certainly aware that a camera lens does introduce a specific distortion of reality/perspective, which is usually demonstrated by comparing reflections of light on water in a photo with how they look in real life. Leaving aside the desirability or unavoidability or whatever of subjective perception, it is theoretically possible to paint a picture which is more measurabley "realistic" than a photo, but obviously the documentary value of photographs can't be seriously discounted on these grounds.

-Piltdown Man