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How To Distinguish "Art" from "Trash"

YouTube link.

In the storage facilities of the Walker Art Center the process is facilitated by labeling the art as such:  "Do Not Open! Box Is Art."

One presumes that the trash is not labeled.

Via Artist Survival Skills.

I think "art" is like being "cool".

If you have to tell people that you're cool, then you're not cool.

If you have to tell people you just made art, it's not art.
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Maple, why so agitated? Obviously those of us who actually work and pay taxes are just too dense to "get it". I mean its not like we've taken the time to work the system of "art" grants that allows us to scam thousands by urinating in a bottle or smearing chicken grease on a box an calling it art.
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By my standards, as displayed on that table, none of those are art. They might be art-attempts or incomplete artworks. Yoko Ono's is the closest, but without any context, it is just a piece of paper.
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I agree 100% with Ted. If it required no effort to create, and you have to explain what it is, art it is not. The one exception I think would be the box and cassette made from foam. They required some artistic ability to create, but they are so convincing that they appear to simply be trash. But again it's an issue of context.
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I will not advocate each pieces, I don't know all of them. For example, the two objects from Fischli & Weiss and sculptures, these are not genuine tape and cardboard box. I've seen an exhibition of it once, and it's amazing, you get into a room that's filled with tools, plastic things, buckets, objects coming from a sculptor's studio. Everything looks dirty, with paint and plaster spots. First impression : "wtf!?" then you realize nothing is true, every single object, up to the ashtray, nails, everything is fake. The meaning of it is to question what experience we make when in a museum or in a gallery, and to question what is art.
More generally, I think the 20th century has been a battle field, to take the art from the upper classes that used to decide what was art by commissioning artists for portraits and decorations for expansive properties. Today, the buyers are the same, but at least they have to deal with something else, that is the relevance of the artistic questions. And the relevance include questions like "art for everyone" and "how to involve the public". So of course it's easier for a work of art to look like some, but don't forget that when an artist makes something that is questioning, it's meant to question you, and when it's made to indulge, it's made to indulge the bourgeoisie. But that always the same problem, people hate what's made for people, because one day they'll be someone.
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Ah, dlasnier, but let us not forget that sometimes when art is made to "question", it's actually made to indulge the poseurs who pride themselves on learning what they're supposed to SAY they appreciate -- an intellectual bourgeoisie, so to speak. Pretentious art-babble can be just as much an exercise in ego-stroking and showing off as portraits and decorations.
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Totally agree with that remark about how art is used by some, as a social recognition mean. I don't think, contemporary art is exempt of that, what I say is that historically, avant-garde and conceptual art, for example go in a direction that is more public oriented and also more independent of patrons' wills. I was just noticing that the more violent critics always come from the people who in the end are supposed to profit from something, if I really wanted to troll this up I'd make an analogy with the healthcare debate.
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Folks who are all hot about this video and art being a scam (applying for grants, not working and paying taxes, and such) might take a moment to consider what Vaisman was up to when he made an art work that looks like a box labeled TRASH. Do you suppose he was there before you? Do you suppose he might have just a bit of sarcasm in his concept?

Also, as a couple of others have pointed out, Fischli and Weiss made their "trash" from other materials. It's a classic example of representation. Anybody interested might want to check out this snippet of their great Rube Goldberg-meets-an-alchemist video "The way things go": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA0mFjJbNH8 If you can see the whole shebang, you'll probably agree that it's exceptional.

Sometimes an attempt to communicate via images or objects fails. That's usually because the (visual) vocabulary of the artist is not aligned enough with the viewer. Things like that just happen -- like a foul tip in baseball. When it happens, it's not a reason to condemn either the pitcher or the batter. It's only a chance to look at the event in the meaning-making-understanding game.
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@Praire Dog

hahaha...way to go! I get it, because it's just a bunch of random junk. You should have your own blog because you're wasted here.
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The definition of art has eluded us for millennia but it seems the comment section has it all worked out "if I don't think it's art and it doesn't look like anyone put a lot of effort into it and it's all weird and junk then it's not art"

I hate to have to defend these conceptual art school wankers but you people are so much worse. If I have to chose between a prejudiced, smug conservative and a clueless art kid then I've made my choice. Phhukk you people.
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And every time any kind of modern art is posted here, you get a stream of people saying how it's not art, how they could have done it themselves. Art is about intention and what you and I consider art may be different but it doesn't make the other's choice less art for them. John Carey said "A work of art is anything that anyone has ever considered a work of art, though it may be a work of art for only that one person".
And I don't think anyone could disagree with that sentiment.
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Wow, Howie, aren't you dealing with some raging class resentment. As an artist and proud tax payer, I take exception to the idea that you have to be a huge indolent waste of space to understand "art."

Then again, if one were to take Neatorama as their sole view into the art world, you might just come away with the idea that it's all labeled boxes and artfully arranged garbage. If you were to visit your local art museum (yes, it's kind of pricey, but they're not exactly rolling in the dough--too few people take advantage of the service they provide) you might actually be surprised. Bronze statues, Native American crafts, impressively huge installations, and portraits tower over you, painted to give the impression that the subject is literally more visible and important than you, the viewer. It's quite an experience.

I don't pretend to like the installations of sprinkled sawdust or looped videos of a tree, but neither do I feel this kneejerk need to paint the art world with one myopic and dismissive brush. Somehow I developed this measured view of art while growing up in a working class family that was at times homeless.
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I don't know what's going on, but that last comment was mine. For some reason, my information keeps being entered as AntDude.
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If the art does not speak to you, do not yell back.

People dismissed Picasso near the turn of the century for similar reasons that you are dismissing these works here, and he has probably had the biggest influence on art since then.

Also, im sure that conceptual artists dont make art just to live as parasites off of society. There are much easier ways to do this, that would probably pay alot better also.

To appreciate this art or talk about it does not make you smug, it just shows that your open minded. To dismiss it (which is not the same as discussing why you don't like it..) just shows the opposite.
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The question is not whether or not it is art, the question is whether or not it is *good* art.

And since that is entirely subjective, you can argue till you're blue in the face and it won't change anything.
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Mike O
You nailed it!!
I am the person in video and I have been working with artists and contemporary art for 20 years.
Art is not made to be "liked".
It is made to be absorbed, questioned
and ultimately define yourself as the viewer.
As with anything, your actions and reactions are the defintion of who you are.
I had no idea so many people would see this video.
At least I can say I have an interesting job and get paid for doing what I love. I make art, I work with art and I live with art. I think the more time you spend with it, the more you begin to understand and appreciate it. cheers
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oh and one more thing, Picasso is not the biggest influence on art today, that would be Marcel Duchamp.
People, he radicalized art back in 1916!!!
His worked has been discussed and debated ever since.
Google him if you don't know the name.
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