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Do you feel weird about art connected to horrible acts of violence?

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Jane2
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I also have a wall with Botero prints. Right now I'm looking at the man and woman in red dress dancing. They are indeed beautiful.

Have you seen the Abu Ghraib ones, artscallion? How do you compare them with those on your wall, and do you see the ones you have as been sensationalist?

P.S. the Berkeley show happened a year ago, so the reactions are probably reported somewhere.

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Updated On: 1/9/08 at 10:55 AM
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artscallion
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Jane, I've seen the Abu Graib works online. I've edited my previous post for clarity. My brief opinion of them is there.

As far as sensationalism goes, I think it's a complicated question, right up there with, and tied into, the question that makes us all cringe, "what is art?" But hey, you asked.

Being an artist myself, I tend to think that art exists in two distinct places. And, you have to look at each of these places differently.

First, I think art exists in the process of creation. This, I think, is where the truth of the work exists. Unfortunately for us, the only one who has access to this truth is the artist. The rest of us cannot judge this because we cannot know it. EVER. Art is as much about process and intention as it is about brush strokes and results. But the moment a second person (the viewer) becomes involved, the 'truth' of the work changes. This is why we cannot judge whether or not something is or isn't art. All we have access to is the final result, not the process.

The second place art exists is in the situation of the outsider viewing the artwork. At this point, the meaning of the work becomes a collaboration between the work (not its truth, but its static presentational existence) and the viewer. This means that the truth of the piece becomes a different thing every time it is viewed, depending on what each viewer brings to it, combined with what the viewer is able to take from it. Again, this cannot be judged because we can only know what our truth for the piece is.

So, sensationalism? That would exist in Botero's intention and process which we can only guess at. My guess, based on what I know of him and his previous work, would be that his intention was not sensationalism. But I could be wrong.

Way more than you probably wanted. But, as an artist, I find that question too difficult to answer in less complicated terms.
Art has a double face, of expression and illusion.
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Jane2
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I love what you wrote artscallion! That wasn't too much info at all! Thank you, I'd like to comment on it, as I love discussions on art, being an artist also.

First of all, I totally agree with your thoughts on the viewer not ever being able to know the motives of the artist. This is what I wrote in my post below about sensationalism. This is what I wrote "I wonder if and how you can tell the difference in motives from viewing the work."

We might disagree on the definition of art. I believe that art is creating something when nothing was there. Yes, I know, it's a broad definition, and lots of "art" is awful (in some viewers' eyes) but i still call it art. This holds for any of the arts, whether it be making a dance out of body movements, music from notes, prose from words, etc. You know what I mean.

As for Botero's Abu Ghraib-now that you clarified, I agree with you in that his work is beautiful. Absolutely stunning. My point was that he admitted to making up the scenarios, and I do think that's sensationalism to get attention. I understand he's passionate about the topic, but we don't know exactly what happened there.

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Ida Noodleman
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"I wonder if and how you can tell the difference in motives from viewing the work.
I don't refer to Botero here, though. I'm quite sure he's sincere."

I think that sometimes you can tell. Not always and certainly you can never know for certain what an artist may have been thinking or feeling. However, I believe you can sometimes look at a piece of controversial art and see that it lacks any artistic value and seems only to be created for the sake of being conroversial. In the case of living artists, we do have the advantage of being able to judge by what the artist says about their work.

If the art is done properly, I think the message comes across. I'm sure we've all seen artwork that doesn't put across that strong emotion and it may be because it was never really there.

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to insinuate that Botero was moving toward sensationalism. Knowing the full body of his work and something about his life, I belive he created these paintings to make a political statement and they do have artistic merit as does all his work.
What would Tina Yothers do?
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Jane2
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Ida, he admitted that those depictions are not what happened at the prison. He said he made them up after reading an article. As much as I like Botero's work, I call that sensationalism.
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I am bumping this to give Cruel_Sandwich the attention he craves.
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt

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