February 16, 2004

The Art Object as Toggle: Conclusions


I’m back to my art theory again. However, this is the last time for a while, dear journal. I promise.

I've been thinking about the affect my understanding of the “Toggle” must have on my perception of the Art World, and the world in general?

I should offer two caveats. First, the artist making art sets lose in the world an object over which he / she has little or no control. Second, The art object must become institutionalized in order to become the “Toggle” I have described. I am describing part of this process of institutionalization when I discuss the understandings placed on the art object by people in the art world. A detailed description of the institutionalization of the art object might be the proper subject for another entry. Arthur Danto describes his ideas about the Art World in detail in “The Art World.” Journal of Philosophy 61 (1964): 571-84.

While the artist has no control over his / her creation, neither does anyone else. The layers of meaning gathered by the object are subject to reinterpretation and obliteration by an evolving culture. One generation’s understanding of the art object may be derided by the next. Art historians, museum curators, critics, and theorists alike may compose reflections based on the art work. However, the occulus that is the art object may refract constructed images, distort, and bend them so that one image created by one author becomes confused with that of another until that which is reflected to succeeding generations of viewers has little or nothing to do with the original intentions, of the author(s).

The culture in which each viewer lives determines how he or she perceives the art object. However, the culture, like the art object itself can not be controlled. It is as though the art object and an evolving culture are living things that compose a dialogue with one another, and that dialogue changes over time constructing new meanings for the evolving culture about the art object.

Based on this discussion I have decided that totalitarian leaders and nations are wise to close the museums and prohibit all art making except that approved and made by the state itself. Art objects are powerful things over which we as individuals have little or no control. The new meanings composed by the dialogue between the evolving culture in which we live and the art object itself can change the course of culture. That is one of the reasons artists create art. It is because the art object is not simply a reflection of the culture in which the artist lives. Instead, at least some artists intuitively know that when they create a work of art, they release a free agent into the culture in the hopes that it may effect change within the culture over time.

*NOC (Newtwork Operations Center), http://www.a1-hosting.com/noc.htm, ©1996-2001, al.hosting.com (viewed Monday, February 16, 2004 at 6:24 A.M. EST)

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Take a look at:

Betty Bower’s Miracle Cards for wonderful political commentary you can send to your friends. She plays the part to the fullest!=

Holty’s blog for great political comentary and much more from an Australian point of view.

Mark Harden’s Artchive. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the best place to find excellent images of artist’s works on the WWW.

Gay Artist’s Galleries

Oku’s Surotic Gallery, an erotic art site.

Arts and Letters Daily, ideas, criticism, and debate, a service of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

ArtsJournal.com, the Daily Digest of Arts, Culture, & Ideas.

the Advocate, the GLTB news magazine.


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