And from the same web site:
I seemed to have gotten myself into another bog concerning art and the artist, see here and here, the latter who says:
In my own practice I am, for the most part, very much a "straight" photographer in the documentarist tradition. (I won't reproduce the footnote which is interesting in its own right)I certainly consider photographs by Felix to be "art." And, to boot, so many are of the "artist at work."
I guess I'm a label sort of guy (this is perhaps from years of trying to put a label on symptoms so we have a name for it, not just the symptoms. Human beings are not able to take "I don't know what you have" as an answer. They want some definitive named disease, which is not always, in fact frequently is not, possible.) In any case, I do think people have an idea of what an "artist" is, at least their artist. And I would agree that I was wrong and it doesn't make a tiny bit of difference what the person is thinking (i.e. one's personal aestheic), it is the output which should be judged as "art" or "not art." (It is possible that there is not a clear divide between the two. This violates all I hold dear, Aristotelian that I am. But we may something called "fuzzy" art, like "fuzzy" logic.)
Take the case of the paint by numbers above. It is certainly conceivable that, with modern image ware, one could deconstruct the Mona Lisa in such a way that even a child (especially a child) could duplicate this great work. What now? What do we call the product of such an endeavor? Certainly not "art" by an "artist."
The the link to the Growlery above is to a post about serial photographs of the same thing. Time in a bottle (Jim Croce). Is each individual frame "art" or is the picking and choosing of the frames the secret? What about a wonderful picture taken by a monkey? (I would dearly like to try this)
Even more difficult to sort out is the whole area of fakes. Not just exact copies of known masters, but, for instance, paintings in the "style" of an artist that are judged, by experts, to be by that artist. The controverys over fake Vermeer's comes to mind. The Girl with the Red Hat at the National Museum in D.C. in particular. (I always hated that picture anyway). Interestingly enough, for our discussion:
"Most scholars agree that Vermeer utilized a camera obscura in the composition and execution of "The Girl with a Red Hat". It is possible that he chose a wood panel support to replicate the gloss of a camera obscura image, which was normally projected onto glass. In particular, the diffused specular highlights of the lion head chair finial resemble the unfocused effect of an image seen in a camera obscura. Vermeer expert Arthur Wheelock points out, however, that Vermeer did not simply paint on top of an image projected by a camera obscura. While camera obscura effects were emulated in portions of the painting, in other places, the expected effects are not seen.Of course where would we be in our enjoyment of life if we didn't have Kyril Bonfiglioli's novels including "Don't Point That Thing at Me." (And here I always thought the "The Thomas Crown Affair" was based on these novels, but it wasn't. The first TCA came out in 1968 and the novels in the 70's. For a good review of Bonfiglioli see here.)
The more I think about it, the more it seems that the whole issue of art forgeries and fakes tend to put a perspective on the questions "what is art" and "what is an artist." People actually go to jail for art crime! Apparently:
Art crime includes forgery, fraud, theft, smuggling, and vandalism of fine art, antiquities, and ethnographic objectsPlease, tell me, if you are about to be put in the slammer for art "forgery" does that not mean that someone has defined art? Futhermore:
Elmyr de Hory eventually became known worldwide as one of the most talented and greatest art forgers. Even after his death, Elmyrs works still attracted attention. Some of them even sold for the same prices as the originals. Like many famous painters, he would die penniless after a series of unfortunate events.That last line has got to get to you.