Face Making

Le blog de l’artiste peintre franco-américaine Gwenn Seemel. Les articles sont en anglais et en français, et souvent ils sont bilingues.

Educating the public / Éduquer son public

2011 . 08 . 29 - Comments / Commentaires (16)

It’s a really bad way for artists to think of their interactions with their audience.

Ce n’est pas la meilleure façon pour les artistes de considérer les échanges qu’ils ont avec leur public.




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(16) Comments / Commentaires: Educating the public / Éduquer son public

David...

Engagement leads to education. Any work that engages someone ultimately educates them in some way. An artist need not see themselves as an educator when they create their work but I’ll bet you that 100% of the time there’s some kind of lesson in a work that you connect with. Education, engagement, entertainment… all branches on the same tree in my book.

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Gwenn...

For sure!  I’m talking more about the artists who feel the general public is stupid if that public doesn’t love their work.

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Kristina...

I completely agree and resent the patronizing dynamic these types of artists seem to be interested in facilitating!  I would add, though, that in my experience when I (try to) engage with a piece and it doesn’t work for me, I still walk away with something of value.  My understanding/appreciation of art evolves based on what I do and don’t like. 

In this way, one might argue, that the artists who are frustrated by the “unappreciative/uneducated” audience member are missing two points:  1) the audience is still learning/engaging, they just don’t particularly like the fact that they can’t control what is being learned, and 2) why are these artists making art in the first place? 

Either persevere despite the negative feedback because you believe in what you are creating and have faith that eventually you will be understood/heard/appreciated, or change the way in which you are expressing yourself so you can more actively engage with your audience.

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PIDDIU Mélissia...

Réflexion intéressante, mais je pense tout de même qu’on a pas tous les même chance face à la culture. Comme les carré blanc sur fond blanc et d’autre œuvres tel que les bleu de Klein. Toute ne sont pas accessible au public
J’ai remarqué en France que la population reste bloqué sur les artistes qui son d’abord figuratifs. Après s’il s’approche au plus possible de la réalité alors le public dira qu’il est vraiment talentueux.
Alors que ceux qui travail dans l’abstraction et le renouvellement de l’art comme l’a fait Marcel Duchamps ne sont pas considéré comme des artistes avec leurs ready made par exemple.
Et moi qui fait des étude d’art, et qui comprend mieux maintenant pourquoi tel chose se vend des millions alors que c’est tout bête je le comprend et l’explique.
Alors qu’il y a quelques année j’étais pareil que ce public qui ne comprenait pas grand chose à l’art et qui n’aimait que pour la plupart les réalisation de Léonard et d’autre genre s’approchant de notre réél.

Je pense tout de même que la culture devrais être plus accessible à tous. En particulier l’art car il est plus complexe et n’a plus vraiment de limite. Et comme le travail est purement visuel c’est assez compliquer parfois.

Je voudrais que la culture artistique prenne plus de place. Car la culture fait partie de la société et reflète notre époque

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Gwenn...

@Kristina: You’re right!  The usefulness of the “don’t like” is definitely underestimated by both artists and viewers.

@Mélissia: Le photo-réalisme est plus facilement apprécié aux USA aussi.  Et même si on trouve ce genre assommant, il y a quelque chose d’intéressant là dedans.  Le réalisme est plus accessible parce que tout le monde sait si c’est réussi, oui ou non.  Peut-être qu’il y a une leçon là pour les genres qui sont moins accessibles…?

De toutes manières, même si un artiste trouve qu’il a besoin d’éduquer son public pour se faire comprendre, je crois qu’il fera mieux de penser de cet échange pas comme éduquer les autres mais comme les engager dans une conversation.  Après tout, le dynamique entre un enseignant et son étudiant est moins attirant que le dynamique entre deux pairs qui se parlent.  Et c’est ça le problème des artiste qui ont du mal à se faire comprendre: ils se voient trop comme des enseignants.  Ils ne savent pas comment se taire et écouter!

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cjy...

I am with you on this one. I struggle with the idea of art as communication though. I guess if I think of myself as the audience for my own painting (because ultimately that is the first priority for me) I am using visual decision making to create a painting and until the piece is finished according to the logic within, it will not be ready to be viewed by the public. I don’t really think about what or whether or not the painting will communicate with an audience. Maybe I am thinking to literally about communication?

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Gwenn...

I know what you mean.  I do have things I’m trying to bring up with my work, but I don’t like to think of communication too literally either.  When an artist does, the work tends more towards propaganda!

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David...

Art is propaganda for the artist.

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cjy...

Very interesting. This quote :

” This image manages to insert itself into the viewer’s consciousness, but only as the embodiment of the the United States.  Yesterday’s message (Army recruitment) has lost out to this old white man’s imposing and memorable finger and expression.  This Uncle Sam now represents how we see our government, like a demanding old codger of Western European descent who wants a cut of our earnings every April.  Like a parental figure of sorts…?  Definitely keeping an eye on us.”

..zeros in on something I have always thought to be true in art : that the interpretation changes with time, context and audience. Which brings us back around to your point about why it is not necessary and is actually a bit condescending to think that people need to taught how to view certain art. I was recently at the Picasso exhibit in SF and I listened to the recorded spiel. The most interesting aspect of the narration was when it centered on the stories of his many girlfriends. The accepted interpretations of the art left me skeptical. Unless a piece of artwork is an illustration I don’t believe the content can be encapsulated with language. And in the case of some illustration the original intent can be misinterpreted completely altered, as per your example. Makes you wonder how we can ever decipher ancient artwork. I think we get a lot of it very wrong. I think that rather than conveying ideas - (I do agree that some artwork does that)- some art conveys emotion, wonder and awe outside of spoken or written language.

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Sandra B....

a) Artists should not even concern themselves with this.
b) People either “get” or like the art or they don’t.
c) Artists can’t spend their time trying to explain or educate all the people.
d) Artists should only worry about making art that the artist likes and “understands”.
e) Artists should just make art and exhibit it.
f) The art should talk for the artist. If the people don’t “hear” what the art is communicating then that is okay. Art sometimes (or should) pushes outside the limits that is currently understandable in the art world.

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Gwenn...

@Sandra B: All of those statements sound very limiting to me.  I think the experience of art (both for the artists and for the viewers) can have a lot more facets to it.

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Sandra B....

Gwenn - Thank you for replying!

Regarding your thinking what i wrote i limiting:
See a) above - “Artists should not even concern themselves with this.”
Very unlimiting to the artist.

Let the art “explain” itself - it can be anything to anyone. Very unlimiting.
If people don’t get it, so be it. But it is not for the artist to educate the public about her art.
To quote the artist, Georges Braque, “Art is made to disturb. Science reassures. There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.”

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CJY...

I don’t agree David, that “art is propaganda for the artist” unless an artist has an agenda.

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Gwenn...

@Sandra B: Your statements are limiting because they imply that there is only one right way of doing things, the making-art-without-thinking-of-the-audience way of doing things.  I think artists should think about engaging with their audience or not, whichever they prefer.

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David...

CJY, I can see your point as it wouldn’t be propaganda if the artist never shared their work with anyone. I’ve never met an artists without an agenda though, even if their agenda is not to have an agenda.

Sandra B., a quick brown fox is nothing compared to a new red Ferrari. The Ferrari is like a moon glow, simple and covered in dust. A fox is like an elephant, old and ready to pounce. My brother said they’re both worth listening to as one has a growl while the other has more of a breathy sound.

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CJY...

I don’t know - I think it all comes down to semantics. Agenda, purpose, expression, product for purchase. I think propaganda is pretty specific.

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