When I worked on my blogpost for International Women’s Day yesterday, I noticed (once again), that I have a very limited view on the artworld. There was this russian avantgarde artist Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova of whom I never heard of before. So I made a small research on Wikipedia, just to notice that I missed a really influential artist – and came across some art fields I never heard of before.
I wondered why and I came up with many more questions…
I grew up in Germany and studied in Germany, always feeling as a European. In art history classes we talked almost exclusively about german and french art groups. So when we talked about expressionism, we talked about “Der blaue Reiter” and “Les fauves” with a focus on Matisse. I don’t know if I wondered at that time if maybe at some point there were artists in Russia or the United States who worked on the same ‘problems’.
Are there? I don’t know! I can’t name any american artist of that time. (For Russia there’s Kandinsky or Chagall, but I didn’t think of them at once.)
Researched that and to my surprise, expressionism really originated in Germany, so that wasn’t some kind of unjust entitlement. But the movement spread all over the world and there are of course important expressionist artists in other countries than Germany or France. Yes, artists I know. But those I know have some strong relation to Europe as well, like Lyonel Feininger or Willem de Kooning.
To make a long story short: I think my view is blurred by my own origin and my surroundings. Plus: there is this strong atmosphere of elite entitlement whenever it comes to art, which is really sad.
I don’t know anything about art history in Asia for example. My only point of contact is the knowledge of several contemporary artists from South Korea (because I was in Seoul and Busan several times and there is a gallery in my city that focuses on artists from South Korea).
What happened in the artworld outside of Central Europe since 1900?
And is art relevant all over the world in the first place?
What about primitive or nature-oriented cultures? (I hate this word, primitive. So arrogant)
I have to post the question wether I’m talking only about art that can be releated to individual persons, in contrast to collaborative or anonymous work.
But speaking of that, what about the factory of Andy Warhol? Or of Damien Hirst? Or other famous artists?
And what about art that can be related to an individual, but this individual wants to be anonymous and that anonymity is part of the art? I’m talking about Banksy. Spoileralert: Though many sources still state that nobody knows the true identity, I’ve read about ‘the real Banksy’ in a book. Yes, I’ll take the time and search for the passage, but not today. I think it was in Don Thompsons ‘The §12 Million stuffed shark’, either that or his other book about art economics ‘The supermodel and the Brillo Box’. Both are brilliant by the way! You can buy them at amazon by following the link, if you’re interested.
From what point on do we consider some artwork as art?
When it sells for more than a certain value? But what about artwork that can’t be sold or sale was never intented?
Ok, Christo makes money by selling postcards of his floating piers, or you have to pay an entrance fee. It’s more difficult with the sale of a performance. While the performance exists only for a limited period of time, you can only buy a video, the right to execute the performance as intented, or even only a certificate that you’re the owner of this performance idea. Yep, that’s happened, read the books for more information 😉 (I can’t remember the artist and the artwork Thompson talked about, but it was fascinating – and funny. I’ll have to read that once again).
What about streetart and graffiti? Which graffiti is art, which is not?
And where do we distinguish between art and design? When we distinguish between fine arts with their focus on aestetics, and the applied art with their focus on practical considerations, is that a typical ‘western’ thinking? I just can’t imagine that for example someone who grew up in a Bhuddist culture would make this distinction.
Maybe this whole blogpost is just some typical western nonsense?
You tell me!