Apr 292015
 

For the commenters and others who recently objected that art can’t be objectively measured–I agree to a point. Far be it for me to claim that beauty isn’t a subjective experience! But there’s a difference between “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and “Storytelling has no standards.” Claiming there are no standards and everything is popularity is post-modern nihilism. I present as evidence the recent restoration of Ecce Homo.

A combination of three documents provided by the Centre de Estudios Borjanos on August 22, 2012 shows the original version of the painting Ecce Homo (L) by 19th-century painter Elias Garcia Martinez, the deteriorated version (C) and the restored version by an elderly woman in Spain. An elderly woman's catastrophic attempt to "restore" a century-old oil painting of Christ in a Spanish church has provoked popular uproar, and amusement. Titled "Ecce Homo" (Behold the Man), the original was no masterpiece, painted in two hours in 1910 by a certain Elias Garcia Martinez directly on a column in the church at Borja, northeastern Spain. The well-intentioned but ham-fisted amateur artist, in her 80s, took it upon herself to fill in the patches and paint over the original work, which depicted Christ crowned with thorns, his sorrowful gaze lifted to heaven.  = RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO/ CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS BORJANOS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS =-/AFP/GettyImages           NYTCREDIT: -/Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images

A combination of three documents provided by the Centre de Estudios Borjanos on August 22, 2012 shows the original version of the painting Ecce Homo (L) by 19th-century painter Elias Garcia Martinez, the deteriorated version (C) and the restored version by an elderly woman in Spain. An elderly woman’s catastrophic attempt to “restore” a century-old oil painting of Christ in a Spanish church has provoked popular uproar, and amusement. Titled “Ecce Homo” (Behold the Man), the original was no masterpiece, painted in two hours in 1910 by a certain Elias Garcia Martinez directly on a column in the church at Borja, northeastern Spain. The well-intentioned but ham-fisted amateur artist, in her 80s, took it upon herself to fill in the patches and paint over the original work, which depicted Christ crowned with thorns, his sorrowful gaze lifted to heaven. = RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT ” AFP PHOTO/ CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS BORJANOS” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS =-/AFP/GettyImages NYTCREDIT: -/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Are there standards, or are these equally good?

  12 Responses to “Taste in Art?”

  1. … point.

  2. With something like this, how would you distinguish between “this is a case where our tastes coincide” and “this is a case where quality is objective and taste is irrelevant”?

    Evidence would be something many people’s tastes find really good that’s actually objectively terrible, or vice versa, except naming examples of such tends to be the very thing that causes these arguments about whether objective quality is even real in the first place.

  3. Voice of Fire. $1.75 million purchase price, current estimated value ~$40 million.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_of_Fire

    The old lady’s work is better, for all that its a sad destruction of a beautiful painting. If she’d just done it on a canvas you could put it in any museum of modern art and it would fit in with the “primitives”. Particularly if you had a Popular Name sign it. Probably get a cool $100k for it from some NYC collector.

    Standards aren’t.

    This concludes my comment on the farce which is the Modern Art con job.

    As to the Hugos, compare and contrast the nominees from Sad Puppies: http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.ca/2015/04/sad-puppies-you-want-example-heres.html

    I see you liked “Parliament of Beasts and Birds”. Compare to “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” and “Championship B’Tok”.

    That is my “Sad Puppies” argument, right there. Upside Down does not belong in the Hugos, that it is there is a function of the same mental aberration that makes Voice of Fire an Important Painting. Its a con job.

    • > Upside Down does not belong in the Hugos, that it is there is a function of the same mental aberration that makes Voice of Fire an Important Painting. Its a con job.

      I think you simply fail at reading. Upside Down is very good. It makes B’Tok look like a week-old turd in comparison. That you can even imply B’Tok deserves to be near it says a lot.

      • “I think you simply fail at reading.”

        I know you think that. Its extremely apparent that you think that. I’m content to have you continue thinking that.

        I like B’Tok. Its a fun story, and I gave a damn what happened.

        Upside down was like holding a die grinder to my head and turning it on. I’m not saying it was badly written, just that it enraged me. As a story, Upside Down is one of those “art” chairs you can’t sit on, and therefore irritating.

        I’m not content to have the likes of Upside Down being chosen as “the best in SF/F”. I don’t like art chairs that you can’t sit on when what I want to do is sit down.

        • > Upside down was like holding a die grinder to my head and turning it on. I’m not saying it was badly written, just that it enraged me

          Oh, ok. I can totally relate, I felt the same way about last year’s “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere.” I’m still unhappy that it won.
          FWIW, there’s people on the Happy Hippogriff side that strongly agree with you – http://secritcrush.livejournal.com/495877.html

          • Ah, we have at last communicated. Agree with your assessment of the water story, it was utterly retarded.

            A well made Art Chair may have masterful craftsmanship, but you still can’t SIT on the damn thing.

    • >This concludes my comment on the farce which is the Modern Art con job.

      This line leads me to believe that you disagree with Brad, and that one can actually say some things are better than others. I’m glad to see we’re on the same side in at least that respect.

      • Of course some things are better than others. Skill counts.

        Modern Art is a cult that despises skill. Leading to Voice of Fire, which a ten year old with a roll of masking tape could manage. Its a stripe.

        However its entirely possible for skill to be directed into creating hideous ugliness. Geiger is an example. Its art, its highly skilled in execution, and I don’t want to see it. I’d rather see the weird old lady’s “repair” of the Jesus painting.

        Because sometimes it matters what the art is -about-. Monster Hunter International is a superior read to The Handmaid’s Tale even though Correia is less skilled than Atwood. Content trumps skill, sometimes.

  4. Are there standards, or are these equally good?

    Well, they’re certainly not equally hilarious. :-)
    Without that botched restoration job, I’d never have had the pleasure of the terrible ‘Rhesus Christ’ pun.

  5. Given I partially inspired this, I suppose I should reply.

    Firstly, I’m going to split a hair. Your example isn’t a work of art, it’s a restoration. In restoration there is an objective standard: likeness to the original. There’s little creativity in restoration work, although plenty of skill.

    Secondly, I’ll see the Phantom’s Voice of Fire and raise him and .

    Assuming there’s objective aesthetics, how do they include these and Michelangelo’s David, or the roof of the Sistine Chapel? Actually, I can think of a function that does this…

    • I actually like The Fountain, because it’s meta-art. It’s not art in itself, it’s making a statement about art. There’s lots of ways to judge “art”, and I think that’s part of the problem we’re running into.

      As for these pieces fetching crazy high prices, I’m of the opinion that’s just status-signalling among rich people. Once you get into status games it’s all about who can spend more rather than any sort of artistic quality, so I don’t think those numbers reflect anything about art itself.

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