----- Original Message -----
From: "t.whid" <firstname.lastname@example.org
> the self-consciousness of being 'meaningful' or 'profound' usually
> leads to crap. (there are many roads to crap)
Any path can lead to success or failure depending on:
A. The definition of "success" or "failure" one implements for oneself.
B. The competency and ability to achieve the task one sets out to do.
But to declare that "intent" is in and of itself a problem- and that the
artists who "do it for a while know this" strikes me as cutting off far too
> That's not to say that
> it can't lead to something interesting. I doubt Beuys thought to
> himself, "I'm being profound and meaningful, ain't it great!,"
I don't know about the "ain't it great" part. But I also doubt that his
interest in art was simply to entertain. I think he engaged in deliberate,
conscious acts. So did Duchamp. So did the situationists, the fluxus
artists. Even Cage, in his chance pieces, was "saying something." Warhol was
consciously "saying something" with his "nothing." Warhol most certainly
knew what he was doing.
> If one is interested in what the world might define as 'profound' or
> 'meaningful' subjects, than perhaps one's work will be 'profound' or
> 'meaningful'. If one is not interested but takes these subjects
> anyway, one will probably churn out self-conscious badart (i'm going
> to use that as one word from now on, badart).
Of course. Integrity is important to the success of any artwork.
> But seriously, these terms are so vague... the color red could be
> 'profound' and 'meaningful' to someone and it could be a paint chip
> to someone else.
"Profound" is subjective but "Meaningful" is not really that vague. It
simply implies that the work means something, that a piece of art has
something to convey to the audience. The debate as I see it revolves around
what that meaning is. Of course, none of the most meaningful work can be
discussed in terms of theory or critical assesments. You are moved,
inspired, or come away having some insight into your self or the world that
you did not have before. The idea that an artist can not "intend" this is to
say that all the great artists are merely awkward stumblers into brilliant
accidents. [Death of author is "post-modernist".] That this conversation is
very "trite and cliche" is post modernist.
"Must" an artist make work that is meaningful on a true level, a level that
goes beyond the capacity of most art, (which is "meaningful" on an
intellectual level only), or engage the audience to simply "reconsider thier
viewpoints"? Must" an artist make art that reveals layers of mediation that
are imposed by humans onto thier environment? I don't know. I don't know if
anyone "must" do anything. But profound strikes me as a term used for this
sort of cutting away of mediation. The establishment of a new paradigm, the
revelation that old rules do not apply [when they actually *don't* apply.
There is a difference between *profound* art and "profound" art. The problem
is that a history of hacks has made profound into a dirty word, people are
afraid, "do I come off as too profound?" In actuality this is a ridiculous
thing to worry about. "Do I try to be profound and fail dismally because I
have no understanding of what I am talking about?" is why "profound" has a
dirty connotation. Of course, any work that is actually profound doesn't
have to ask. [Except in the case of inflated vanity.]
> It has nothing to do with post-modernism IMO, a modernist, a
> symbolist, a romanticist, (probably not a neo-classicist) could all
> follow the same advice which is simply the old cliche, "follow your
> passion," which said another way could be, "do what YOU find profound
> and meaningful to YOU."
I was referring to the conscious decision to reject art that has meaning or
sets out to be profound. But mostly, to the idea that artists cannot
"intend" certain results, or that an audience "takes the result to the art".
An artist can influence others through art, an artist can most certainly
intend to be profound and do so. If, as you say, the artist is capable and
ready to make a profound statement. Maybe 999/1000ths of the people who seek
to make "profound art" are capable of it. And so for some reason we've
assigned the label of what those seekers "want to achieve" to them as if
they achieved it- all very ironically, but it seems people are forgetting
that "profound" has a meaning beyond irony. There are a million hard drives
and servers broadcasting the end result, just as there are canvases in dusty
basements, or, in all honesty, art that is being sold for millions and
hanging on gallery walls and in permanent collections.
> I personally don't attempt to do any work which is 'profound' or
> 'meaningful'. Those thought patterns simply don't go thru my head
> when I'm thinking about new work.
So, what does?