Sunday, February 23, 2014

What is art?


 My favorite comment came from anna_hohoho "I love you [Madonna] and respect oh so much. But russians have freedom, right to chose what they do. But our country is different to America. Events in russian church shows that. Russians can't show their ass in church because its a simbol of being pure like an angel. I don't go to churches. But my granma does. She took part in world war 2. And I don't want her to see pussy riot in there. Because its disrespectful for the memory of winners. So, I really believe that you just want freedom and love. But some times people are different. And freedom are different... I ho[p]e you will understand."

Other Russians commenting had some valid points about the differences in culture. They also mentioned that the "police" in the image are actually not police, but "peacekeepers." One Russian women, alisenok_bg, with some of the best points kept commenting to get her point across, & eventually said Pussy Riot should go "to the countries where people appreciate and encourage so called art." As her frustration with other commenters mounted she began to show her elitist view of art. Having a high-brow opinion of what art is & isn't doesn't negate her other comments, but it brings up the question "Is what Pussy Riot doing art?"

In this Russian woman's mind, it is not art. Based on her comments, I gather she loves her country & culture, & was trying to set the record straight regarding a post by a singer she likes enough to follow on Instagram. Her country, as we could tell by the opening sequence of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, boasts some amazing artists. But that is not the whole story. Let's take Kandinsky.

Reiter (Lyrishes) by Kandinsky 1911, Museum Boijmans Beuningen*

Born in Moscow in 1866, Kandinsky was raised in Ukraine, & studied law at the University of Moscow. But he studied art in Munich (my favorite pieces come from this period), only to return to Russia in 1914 due to World War I. Then with the rise of communism & its strict view of art as "for-the-people" propaganda, he returned to Germany, until 1933, when he moved to France. France is where he created his most significant works & he became a French citizen. Many times his non-representational art was challenged as "not art." 


So, why am I writing about this on my embroidery blog? Haven't all crafters at some point in time wondered if what they create is art? Haven't we had others belittle our work, or creativity? Art is subjective, that's what makes it great. What one person loves, another will hate. Where someone sees a tree, someone else will see the meaning of life wrapped up in years of symbolism. Where a government sees anarchy, an individual sees freedom of expression.

Working on my redwork self portrait


Is what I make art? If you asked me 5 years ago, I would say "no." But now? Now I say "Hell yes!" I am using my chosen medium of thread & fabric to create something as a form of expressing myself. If nothing more than to say a traditional craft like redwork can be used in a different way. My redwork speaks to me. I can only hope that it resonates with others. Kandinsky's work seems to be standing the test of time. We shall see if Pussy Riot will. As for me? I am just hoping to leave a legacy for my daughter, to create, no matter what.


*Image attribution.

6 comments:

  1. I share your thoughts in this post. When I was more inclined to be intimidated by others opinions of what I create, someone made a comment about a piece I posted. It wasn't critical, but demeaning. It set me back a long way in sharing what I create. That was then. Now, I don't know how much that comment would effect me but it wouldn't discourage me as it did then.

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    1. When I was younger, I was more likely to let demeaning comments stop me. I was a voice major in college. I was snubbed a few times & that undermined my own confidence regarding my voice (another form of art). I allowed that to get under my skin & I gave up. Now I know I can sing & I don't care what other people think. I have gotten there with my embroidery also. I guess I just needed to mature a bit.

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  2. Interesting thoughts. I think many artisans don't see their work as 'art', and it's hard to say 'I am an artist', because of the general western cultural preconceptions which exist about art, and textiles in particular. Funnily enough I just read a piece in the UK Embroiderer's Guild magazine, where the chair was asking why there was so little textile work in last year's Royal Society of Art exhibition!
    I think we just have to keep on doing what we're doing and we'll get there. I think your portraiture is very inventive and fun - and most certainly art!

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    1. Good point Jules! My mom just showed me a juried art exhibit coming up. She suggested I enter a piece, & I am hemming & hawing & I just blogged about this very thing. I am 2nd guessing my own "art." I need to put my money where my mouth is & decide which piece to submit!

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  3. Interesting perspective on art. Your Red Work is art. The face you are working on in the photo seems to have a personality. Thanks for popping by with kind comments. I think we would have much in common in real time. Keep smiling and creating.

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    1. Thanks! It's good for me to hear people's comments on my work, especially now that I have the confidence. That has come with age. I guess it's just up to each individual artisan/ crafter to push the boundaries & get more acceptance in the galleries.

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