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An answer to a recent question got me thinking about the intended audience for a work of art. One standard for qualifying as art seems to be that it must be somewhat representational. I wonder if it need be understood by anyone other than the artist himself. There seems to be a touch of second-handedness sneaking into the idea that others must be able to decipher one's work of art. If I, as an artist, create something that is somewhat abstract but with a meaning that I understand and appreciate, can it qualify as art? Is art to be seen as a means to communicate a concept to others or to state it for myself in a way that is meaningful to me? Maybe this would be seen as decoration by others who didn't know the meaning behind what they were looking at?

asked Apr 21 '11 at 22:43

Donovan's gravatar image


This is a deep question and eloquently captures the essence of what I was clumsily asking about in my question about abstract art. If I created a black painting with some yellow blotches in the top corner, it could be seen by an audience as a mess and "depraved" or even "malevolent". I and my astronomy savvy pals would know that it was a photo realistic view of, say, the corner of the galactic pole of the Andromeda galaxy but many would not "get it". To them it would be a depressing black canvas with yellow splotches. To me it would be a representation of man's ability to see the universe.

(Apr 22 '11 at 10:21) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

Looking at a peice of "abstract art" could be compared to watching a foreign film, or listening to a speech delivered in an unfamiliar foreign tongue. Without an interpretor, you might get a sense of what the film is about, or appreciate aspects of the delivery unrelated to the message being delivered.

If an artist desires to communicate a message, the message would be best communicated by expressing it in a form which the audience can grasp and understand. If the artist is merely doing it for self-gratification, then the roe about having it considered as "art" becomes a big to-do about what?

answered Apr 22 '11 at 12:48

dream_weaver's gravatar image

dream_weaver ♦

For men who shares his values.

answered Dec 26 '11 at 21:37

Humbug's gravatar image


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Asked: Apr 21 '11 at 22:43

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Last updated: Dec 26 '11 at 21:37