Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Authenticity: "Outsider" vs. "Trained" Craft artist

Q: Is the craft of an "outsider" artist more true than that of a "trained" craft-artist?


  1. This brings up the question of authenticity, and intention. "Outside" implies that the artist is operating outside of the art institution, and has a more direct connection to the rawness of emotion, process, and material-- and is NOT conceptually driven.

    Art institutions need conceptual artists to stay current with what's happening, and in order to evolve the institution's idea. Now, the conceptual lives in the digital.


  2. In response to this short response, I think there is a dogma that needs to be resisted which claims the art institution as if it is some bougie cult that has no pure intentions whatsoever in terms of authenticity and intention.
    I take it that the word authenticity here seems to mean the "pure" character of an "artist" whom creates work that is of the utmost honest intention apart from selling to the public work for an income or satisfying the institution’s bias expectations. If indeed this is your particular stance, you are also stating that those who pursue the arts, through these institutions, are not artists themselves. In fact, you are creating an image of the "outsider artist" as a bougie cult even though you are attempting to make this assumption based on artists in particular art institutions.
    To talk of art at such levels of high art and low art are abstract in themselves anyways, but to say that students/artists who do art work are completely poisoned and brainwashed in institutions themselves is a bold statement if not a general outlook on a bias that hasn't truly been investigated. I suggest you look up the word authenticity and intention in a much more considerate manner, since art in itself has struggled to define itself, nonetheless, it is still difficult to specify this abstract definition for the mass of those educated in the arts and not educated in the arts as well.
    In light of what you have just stated, I believe that everyone is an artist. Some of us choose to express or avoid the artist within ourselves, while some of us admire or dislike other artist’s work. Artists are creators of things whether they are functional or non-functional, whether they grab attention or disgust, whether we are approaching different themes or asking our audience to interpret the works for themselves. If we limit the word artist to people who create work solely based on the art institution and the outsider art movement, we have not grasped a universal definition of what art is. As viewers and creators, as undeniably painstaking the truth is, we are always involved in these dialogues physically and mentally, whether we are invested in it or not. Is this not enough to call oneself an artist? Clearly art cannot be measured completely by skill or completely by the notion of concepts. Only focusing on aesthetics would ruin or fail much of the artwork shown throughout these contemporary times. And to take a step further, if a work of art needs to be completed by the audience, the failure and success of the piece is as much in proportion to the viewer’s understanding or misinterpretation of an artwork. If these are all simplified truths, then yes, I can say we all play the role of an artist because as humans, we are always responsive to what we interact with in the average everydayness of our life. To say we didn’t have an opinion about anything in this world whether intentionally fine art, decorative art, utilitarian works of art, or even commercial art, would be a complete lie.
    I validate any argument that opposes my statement as such that can propose a truly captivating definition of what an artist is and what role or function they play in this endless demand and supply of wanting to categorize the word “art” in a truer definition. Yet language is a fickle element in this equation, which is why I so strongly oppose the word choices let alone the two obvious examples of groups that co-exist in our art society as of today.