Welcome to Art 434 for the Fall 2017 Semester

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David Hockney with his Art

I have been using blogs for most of the 21st Century with WordPress but they have changed their platform fairly aggressively so bear with me while I navigate through their domain.  This Fall 2017 semester we will be looking at the Art produced in Los Angeles from post-World War II era to the present with emphasis on the following four exhibitions:  Pacific Standard Time, Made in L.A. 2012, Made in L.A. 2014, and Made in L.A. 2016.

I use blogs such as this one to extend the classroom and continue/sustain the dialogue beyond the four walls of Grant 129.  I refer to my blogs as Artspeak.  With that statement in mind, and to initiate Artspeak, I offer the following statement for you to consider, reflect on, and respond to with your thoughts/interpretations/relevancy:

“It seems to me the idea of a permanent avant-garde going on and on and on is an absurd idea…Modern art did triumph; the battle has been won in the history of art in our time, because it was right.  So the idea of a great battle still going on today is absurd and dramatic where there is no drama.”  (David Hockney, David Hockney (1976)

Your thoughts on Hockney’s perception of a permanent avant-garde?

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David Hockney with his Art

 

Author: roberttracyphd

Academic professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I teach theory courses in Art and Architecture History. In addition, I also curate exhibitions on campus as well as in other venues nationally and internationally.

17 thoughts on “Welcome to Art 434 for the Fall 2017 Semester”

  1. I believe Hockney has a point here, and I believe that is that art shouldn’t have to convey emotion, what it should do is capture your attention and present something new to you, regardless of how it is done. Avant-garde exceptionally excels in that, the mysterious and the weird. Without such a nonsensical thought process there wouldn’t be any sort of ignition to provoke thought in a manner that makes sense. So in essence avant-garde is definitely here to stay so that it doesnt make sense to make sense…. make sense?

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  2. I agree with Hockney’s statement that Modern Art won and that the war between Modern Art and the art that came before it is nonexistent. I do not think there was a war to begin with. Once Modernism came into fruition, those who were loyal to classic styles were left in the dust. Just like everything else in this world, art shifts and changes and without change and adaptation, it would die out. Modernism was not a force that was pushing away classic styles, but was instead the next natural step in art’s evolution. Art as we know it today is changing as well and theres no big debate about it. Contemporary Art has been the next big thing since after WWII and I feel like the art community is receiving it better than they did Modern Art. Personally, I think that what people did not understand with the uprising of Modern Art is that even though a new art style was beginning to thrive, the styles of old were not going to be forgotten.

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  3. I think the idea of a great battle between classical and modern art still lives in our art education system. I have been an art student for over 7 years now and feel like in every class I take whether it be art history, drawing, sculpture etc. we learn way more about historical artists and reference their historical works when learning about technical skill and composition. I rarely learn about new ideas, new artists, or new technological developments in the art world and how they are being used. I think this is important to be familiar with for students and young artists that are trying to make it in the art world today. New styles are being accepted and showcases all over the world in museums, in magazines, and social media but are rarely talked about or referenced in the class room.

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  4. I believe Hockney’s perception for modernism is true. That there was a war of trying to push the envelope in creating a new era of art. Both styles of modern and classical art they did not die out but over time people accept the modern art.

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  5. I would say that there probably is some truth to Hockney’s statement. There often comes a stagnant point in time where during that period nothing new or unique has emerged. Rather, it becomes more of a trend because of the idea’s initial originality. People are normally inclined to hop on a bandwagon, and even though it may not be intentional, the idea that is executed could end up resembling everything else that already exist in some way. That being said, I’d say that Hockney’s statement is subjective so everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

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  6. I agree with Hockney’s statement, there is an idea that avant-garde or all that is avant-garde is perceived as “true” art. Modern art, even today has been kind of pushed to the side and not seen in the same light. For artists to be considered an artist it seems as though they are pressured to pursue avant-garde. Maybe why graphic design in most schools/institutions/museums isn’t considered fine art.

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  7. For the most part, I think the angst of the fight for avant-garde is pretty ridiculous. There is no longer any angst, as most people who are in the art world have embraced it and we’re actually quite some decades away from when “modernism” was controversial. I mean, we’re quite a few decades away from post-modernism. However, I believe there are still ways to make all of this interesting, it’s just that it really isn’t controversial or astounding anymore.

    There’s always a cycle throughout history of creating, rebelling, and recreating. There’s always nostalgia and reverence towards the past, and then there’s always rebellion and a strive to be different. The difficulty is being truly unique within this cycle.

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  8. I think Hockney is right about the battle being over when is comes to modern art, but where I disagree is, as long as change exists there will always be people who refuse to except it. It is within human nature to keep forward thinking and innovating where we see necessary, regardless of popular opinion. An avant-garde continuing forever would mean that we have reached a pinnacle in human creativity and critical thinking, which I believe will never happen. New fresh ideas will always have a place in our society and when parts of the past or present are missing something, human beings will always find a way to expose it. At first people will refuse it, tear it down and curse it, but when there is a dyer need for innovation and change, it will be impossible to ignore it. After that is said and done all that comes next is “adapt or die”(that is, if you want to make a living creating art during your time).

    At the same time, I don’t think that a new wave of contemporary art will ever make a “classic” form of art vanish. The classic form of art will only become a learning tool for the future and possibly an element that sparks another new wave waiting to take over for a time.

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  9. I think that Hockney’s statement is true in a sense that nothing, especially art, stays permanent. So when he says that a permanent avant-garde going on and on is an absurd idea, he is definitely right. As we all know, there are many different mediums of art and each of them have changed over time. It would be absurd to think that art will be the same from now on and never change again. People may not have immediately accepted new styles of art in the past but in this day and age, pretty much all art is accepted and appreciated.

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  10. To some extent there is some truth in Hockney’s statement. While I would hardly consider it to be a battle or a war, historically there has always been innovators attempting to push the envelope while many attempt to remain in the boundaries. This is not the case for just art, but for everything ranging from sciences to fashion. The avant-garde could easily be considered unique and strange at first, however; it could just easily be considered the newest trend. The rivalry between classic and modern is no different. The new kids on the block brought out their own unique style, and the masses followed suit.

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    1. I think Hockney is right about the battle being over when is comes to modern art competing with classic art, but where I disagree, is as long as change exists there will always be people who refuse to accept it. It is within human nature to keep forward thinking and innovating when we see necessary. An avant-garde continuing for ever would mean that we have reached a pinnacle in human creativity and critical thinking, which I believe will never happen. New fresh ideas will always have a place in our society and when parts of the past and present are missing, humans will find a way to expose it. At first people will refuse it, tear it down and curse it, but when there is a dyer need for innovation and change, it will become impossible to ignore it. After that is said and done, all that comes next is “adapt or die”.

      This exact topic reminds me of graphic design and the lack of acceptance that technology has advanced our art to new levels. But still the need was there and it has become difficult to refuse.

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  11. Permanent avant-garde does seem to be an absurd idea in my opinion. It is possible that I am misinterpreting Hockney’s statement, but doesn’t avant-garde mean radical or possibly socially unacceptable forms of art? Therefore it seems that by definition, avant-garde cannot be “permanent”. It is always changing depending on the culture or time period. I do believe that modern art has triumphed and I believe this victory is demonstrated by the success of modern artists. However, I do not believe that the battle is completely over. Many people, especially those in the general public, look down on modern art and abstractionism. Many people view classic art as the only “true” art form. So, I believe a great battle is still going on. This battle may not be within the art world but it is a battle in regards to education. Masters level art students should not be the only ones with high esteem for modern art. Modern art may be right, but not everybody realizes that yet.

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  12. Hockney made this statement in the mid-70’s, perhaps reflecting on the past transgressions necessary for modern art and other movements to succeed. However, the following decades had its share of social drama, the definition of art continued to expand – art can not only shock but now it can amuse. Now, technology is making innovations and making the art world more global. Avant-garde is subjective, it depends on receivership of the art, but I believe an internal battle will always exist in every artist. He or she seeks (or should seek) to innovate, to express ideas and perspectives beyond the social norm.

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  13. I agree with Hockney when he states that the idea of a great battle going on today is absurd. Certain art movements hold a higher level of importance over others, but all of that is subjective. However, each movement is vital to that of the other. I think that, for the most part, we as humans tend to reject something new; many people do not like change and it can take a while to adjust. Art is not stagnant. It changes over time and over time people adjust to it. The battle that exists, exists within oneself. We should discipline and innovate ourselves to keep on creating something new, even if it something that people wouldn’t consider “true” art, because again, art is subjective.

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    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself! This art battle is no different than any form of change in the art community. All art movements have made some sort of significance or impact on art history. To keep with one style of art would be insane because things are always changing . I think any form of art has its guides and its own style to it, however, art itself is subjective. I don’t think that permanent Avante-garde makes an artist’s mark or defines them because it shouldn’t. It’s not wrong to adopt that style and use it. However, I think it should not diminish an artist’s ability if they were to create outside of this. It isn’t true art then.

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  14. I would have to agree with Hockney in that there is no more “War” and instead there is a comfortable belonging of both the old and the new. Avant Garde art allows for those who want to express their ideas in possibly unpopular ways that can have a chance at becoming popular. Modern art is easier to like because most times it is easier to understand with clean lines and simpler ideas. This belonging of both genres allows for more creative ideas to be expressed in whichever way someone feels is best for their idea. It also makes it possible for collaborations where a Modern artist could work with an Avant Garde Artist to create something clean and radical at the same time or an Avant Garde Artist working with a modern Artist to bring about a work that expresses both genres and conveys their idea in the best way possible for the piece. Allowing both areas of art to have a place in the world without war among each other only brings about better artwork for the world to create, see and experience.

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  15. I must say that I do agree with Hockney’s statement. In the post war art era there was definitely a shift in the art world. Europe and or specifically Paris which was once the place for the art scene was working hard trying to re-build and pick up the pieces after all the horror of WWII. That in my view gave the United States the chance to become the new center of the artistic scene. First New York followed by the LA art scene brought pop art, minimalism and abstract expressionism to a whole new level.

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