You Don't Need Great Skill to be a Great Artist: The Debate

You Don't Need Great Skill to be a Great Artist: The Debate

you don't need great skill to be a great artist I do agree with that I agree with emotion because it's essentially there's one of the great fallacies of art history is that art is only about a kind of manual skill to deceive the eye the idea that art is somehow a kind of con or it's a form of visual trickery skill of course is a component of much great art in the past but it's not the essential component the essential components of great art and many things vision imagination intelligence bravery sometimes originality almost for its own sake sometimes exploring with the conventions of what art is and what art can be sometimes it's a spiritual impulse sometimes it's mystical sometimes it's more conventionally religious this is that this these are the underpinnings of the art of the past but skill is simply a means to realizing that if skill were the essential component of great art then all academically trained artists would by definition be great artists because you can teach skill and that's clearly not true any of the great artists in the Western tradition from Giotto to Michelangelo to Rembrandt Caravaggio to Monet to Picasso to Jackson Pollock they they're all examples of that now somebody seeing a Caravaggio for the first time would be drawn to the fact that in by the standards of 17th century Italy these look almost photographically real but that's not why they're great paintings they're great paintings because they have this immense spiritual depth because actually they fundamentally shift the way that you look at the world potentially and that was that was the kind of magic there was a kind of miraculousness about Caravaggio's felt when he first painted and when his work was first seen I think that the the elephant that stands in the room at the back of this argument the question about training and whether art can in fact be taught at all and what are the qualities that an artist needs to have in order to be relevant in a way purposeful successful success is less important may be relevant and purposeful is more in and I would say at the back of this argument is the fact that certainly in Russia and China the the basis for art education was an understanding about the French Bazar tradition which is really 19th century where you have to spend a certain amount of time drawing from a plaster cast of a Roman bust a certain amount of time drawing from a bowl of flowers and then maybe you know in your second year you might be lucky enough to draw a human body but anyway you spend four or five years doing in a sense a very academic training and with that the idea is that you have then the skills necessary to be a competent artist well I think this is a total nonsense art is not craft craft is there to make life more comfortable more livable art is there to make life more difficult more interesting and more complicated and an artist needs intelligence curiosity and the ability to constantly pro at the unknown everything to do is skill is to do with the known is to do with tradition is to do with in a way doing well something that has already been done I think the other elephant in this particular room is the idea which is a Renaissance idea but really the way you can judge a good artist is whether they can draw whether they can make a understandable and cogent reproduction of the way that life falls on objects in other words can they do on two dimensions a rendition of a three-dimensional world well this may have been relevant in the middle of the 15th century but we're at the beginning of the 21st we no longer need an art that is based on perceptual principles we need an art that's based on the conceptual principles in other word the whole origin of the word art is with the word skill an artful as synonymous with skillful and just because artists aren't making their own work doesn't mean there aren't myriad skills involved in making it so you know the quintessential example perhaps of unskilled art is the ready-made like Marcel additionals urinal or urinal depending on how you want to pronounce it and we're you know I'm planning to analyze that particular piece and demonstrate the multiple skills that Marcel Duchamp had in making that work it wouldn't be perceived as one of the most important works of the 20th century had it been just like a dumb gesture or a prank of you know unskilled labor there's a lot of strategic and tactical skills involved with contemporary art there are showmanship skills managerial skills when an artist like Andy Warhol or Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons is overseeing a large studio there's aesthetic skills of all sorts you know keen observational skills I was in the studio of Takashi Murakami in Japan and although he was no longer making the painting himself his eye for detail was so exacting that I almost felt sorry for his assistants after he critiqued their work because they had hundred little things that they had to do you know and he has a PhD in Tonga painting and he knows how to do it himself but has delegated it one of the artists I interviewed for a kind of background research for this debate was John Baldessari he's an artist that I got to know while writing my book seven days in the art world and he's kind of an elder statesman elder statesman of the Los Angeles art world he's been teaching there for years you know as in the 60s there was a lot of talk of an expanded notion of art and arrived at a Coon's belief is Joseph boys called it and artist mama expanded the north of God herb can be and I think he's in such a feed of an expanded notion of art there should also be an expanded notion of scale as you know there is not only the manual skills or craft related skills it's much more complex than that there are intellectual skills there are you know skills of dialogue dialogical skills there are intersubjective skills I think it's you know there's a whole range of many many different skills I think I think also one of the things I mean is always when I work it's important to to look what artists think and when I prepare this is you know whole talk here and the conversation about this in emotion other curious to know actually what great artists think do they believe you know we need skills and Louise Bourgeois the great artist in New York she was telling me and I'm gonna read here the quote for you little by little he is going to make up the skill and I think that's a very beautiful idea you know this idea that maybe it's also to the path skill is not something which is just there but in some speech is a volunteer is a process to do with learning there is an expanded idea of skill means that all of these things very often it's the mix you know which which makes it which makes it happen but now ever-increasing we have also the technological skill we have a South a an artist in China who develop small mark in second life and she has developed our obesity it's a whole fraud she doesn't Second Life so here you know technology and doesn't I mean we can also go we can go in totally into the present in the future but we can also go much further back and I mean from the Renaissance elevation really of drawing and painting to the status of liberal arts until the period then of our you know modern age we can say that the requirement of great skill on the part of the artist means mainly mainly sort of skill of the of the hands you know and it has also to do is a representation of the external world that was before you know photography and I think ever since you know photography was invented then throughout the 20th century we can say that you know alcohol away from this idea of it being about you know representation you

47 thoughts on “You Don't Need Great Skill to be a Great Artist: The Debate

  1. Incorrect you need both vision and skill. One without the other will not elicit true admiration. One of the greatest sadness I have seen is the perpetuation of inaccurate thinking that this video represents.

  2. The lady says there is "managerial skill in the work of Damian Hurst, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons because they have to oversee a large studio" (of other artists doing work they sign as their own.) Does this strike anyone else as sick? And she goes on to say when in the Studio of Murikami that he "no longer paints the paintings but his eye is so good, he is the artist"… sick, sick, sick…

  3. What is with this absurdly bombastic music? Completely unnecessary, melodramatic and distracting. Also the reason I stopped watching at minute four–4 minutes too long.

  4. A book may have a great plot, but if the writer can't spell or create sentences, would you want to read it? Art is the same way. You don't need skill to create art, but why would anyone want to own the result. I prefer art that is both interesting and well crafted.

  5. ps oh yes..and women whose heads are replaced with a bunch of flowers…and dont forget the paint dribble down the side

  6. the music is here and the pixilated disruption because them in power do not want you to hear this…because it speaks about true art………..and currently the art world is corrupted by antlers, hares with long ears and splats of rubbish and mindlessness

  7. When skillness, invention, intelligence, visionarity and capability to transmit clearly own thoughts to people without need of complicate explanations, only then we are in front of a great artist otherwise He will be only a spectacular illusionist that world will forget soon

  8. Why have the visual arts evolved to where the only accepted form is modern, contemporary conceptual art, while music seems divided into two general forms – classical and contemporary? Traditional 'salon' style paintings would seem to be the equivalent of classical music. While realistic painting is greatly restricted by what the camera can do, the camera has no imagination or ultimate control over what a greatly skilled artist can do manipulating realistic images.

  9. Art is interior decoration , no more and no less. A painting is to decorate the wall of the cave which you live in.

  10. Gabriel Orozco (contemporary artist) says he likes to disappoint spectator with his art. That is one of his skills, right? And if you don't get it is because you are not smart enough. The biggest skill of all of this so called "contemporary" style is to kill intelligence and critique. Many of this contemporary artists are so insolent and they call it bravery. Bravery is to say: Enough of this bullshit! Laundring Money is the real issue behind all of this especulators of "contemporary art"!

  11. Young children don't possess technical skill but have allot of imagination and vision, why isn't there artwork worth millions, while grown up who produces identical pieces are. Many people admire hard work, knowing how hard something is to do makes it all more impressive. Saying i don't need skills, i don't need to produce 1000 pieces before i start to hone my skills. I can just crap on the floor and spray paint it gold. This is incredible lazy if you want to become a medical doctor you need to learn the theory, if you want to become a writer you need grammer, if you want to become a singer you need to train your vocal cords. Why should artist get to take the easy way out and say who needs skill this is art, everything is art, if i make a mistake then its art. Grow up learn the basic foundation of art, perspective, form, values, color, anatomy etc. Else don't give yourself the same titel that people who actually spent their life learning this stuff has. Call yourself imagination communicators or something. Ok now you may be angry, and if so i successfully made art, this comment might be worth a million dollars, imagine that XD

  12. Please turn the music down. It drowns out the voices. What might have been a very interesting video is unwatchable for me because of this. If you retool it I would love the hear what these people are saying.

  13. The background music was unbearable and very distracting. The discussion could have been interesting if there had been a real debate with opposite ideas, but there was none.

  14. sounds like batman is rushing to the scene to give his input on the çontemporary artist's skill set

  15. As a musician I find this total bullshit. Could I bang keys on a piano randomly and expect people to applaud? What is nowadays called "modern art" has nothing to do with art; it´s all about being trendy, holding up the politically correct banners, and knowing how to market the worthless crap you sell.

    If a couple of teenagers can fool all the "critics" and arty-farty museum goers into thinking that a pair of glasses they left on the floor were an exhibit, full of some deep meaning, it´s obvious to anyone with a brain (which hasn´t yet been completely washed) that the art establishment is a big con. THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES ON!!

  16. Some cogent points, in tune with the contemporary debate – but why that dreadful background music? Do the editors not trust the spoken word?

  17. That woman sounded so ignorant.
    She seems like the type of person that thinks because you by art you know about art. How embarrassing, I pity her…

  18. There is one thing I know, and that is that this music is really annoying. I was waiting for Indiana Jones to tell something about his art.

  19. I agree that contemporary art is incredibly imaginative these days, artists can explore so much more than just craft or skill. Technique gets boring esp if the same techniques are taught over and over. Artists can acquire and actually create their own skills from experience and intuition.

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