Art Worlds as Communication Networks by Xpgeel


									Art Worlds as Communication Networks

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, original (left) and recreations of lost 1917 “Original”
Who decides what is art?– the artist, experts, publics??
Banksy Another example of
artist resisting, questions
   Lecture—More about Theories of Representation
    vs. Theories of the “social construction of art
    worlds”, begin”Who Belongs in Art World”
   Discussion visits to Wack! (Vancouver Art
    Gallery special exhibition) and Gallery Gachet
   Discussion of Choices of Topics for First
    Presentations and Scheduling (Revision of
    Handout 2)
   Video on Art Gallery directors and the
    recognition/institutionalization of contemporary
     Overview: Internal vs. External Approaches
   Internal (Humanist--              External (Sociological--
    aesthetics, history of the arts,   & cultural studies)
    critics, etc.)
                                      Art=social production
     art=mystery,   spontaneous
                                       (and reproduction)
       creation of isolated genius

                                      importance   of social
     importance   of “aura” of
                                       networks for creation of
       individual artist for value
                                       belief in the arts
       of art work

                                      values change in different
     timeless, enduring quality
                                       social & historic contexts
       of beauty, perfection
Who creates the ‘creator’?
   “Unit of analysis” in art studies often wrong--
     should   not study “apparent” producers (painter, writer,
       actors etc.) but processes (art, artist part of broader field
       of relationships)
   ideology of creation conceals exploitation by
    market forces
   art trader or impressario =symbolic banker who
    creates belief in the arts by creating belief in the
    economic (and moral?) value of art
Pierre Bourdieu—
   Marxist, critical theorist
   Emphasis on
        Social and political structures & material conditions as limits to
         freedom of agency
        Power relations within the field of artistic production
             Creation of belief in the power of symbolic goods (art, artistic
              reputations etc.) and their conversion into economic and social
        history of the field of cultural production
        hierarchical model
        Relationships marked by class conflict
Howard Becker
   Symbolic interactionist
   Early work on labeling theory and social actors (a different
    way of thinking of agency)
   Emphasis on
      Sense-making (interpretive)
      Human interaction & identity-formation
      Consensus & conventions
      Art-making as a Collective Activity
      Notion of different types of “art worlds”
   Strong sociological background but also a performing
    artist (jazz musician)
Howard Becker’s Art Worlds
 Arts worlds include all the people involved
  in art-making
 Cooperative links through shared
 Study how participants “draw lines” and
  what art worlds do
What do art worlds do
   Develop conventions &
    shared practices related to
    creation (ex. musical
    notation systems)
   Mobilize resources
    (material resources,
    training personnel,
    networks, organizations)
   Develop Distribution
Different types of artists/artworlds (Becker)
    Types
      Integrated   professionals (ex. concert
      Mavericks
      Folk artists
      Naïve artists

    Classification according to how they fit in
     art worlds (degree of integration, consensus
     about the ‘rules of the game’, degree of
Ranking Artists (Becker’s 4
 according to different ways of working &
  career patterns
 1. integrated professionals
     fitwith accepted conventions & canons held by
     well-trained --technical skills, shared traditions
 innovative rebels against “system”
 begin as conventional “novices” but
  deliberately violate norms of art world
 techniques for success-- develop alternate
  systems for distribution
 do not totally lose touch with world of their
   Bill Drummond at
    the “Brit Awards”,
3. Folk Art
   link with community practices
     ex.Duck decoys, quilts, chain-gang songs, Christmas
   art serves needs, part of daily activities
    follows aesthetic conventions, using established
    procedures (ex. Sorting scraps by colour)
   often part of well-organized community, with
    informal training
4. Naïve Art
   aka. “primitive” naïve, grassroots
   indiosynmcratic
     ex. James Hampton, Throne of the Third Heaven of the
      national Millenium General Assembly
     ex. Art of children and the insane

   outsiders
     N.S.artist Maud Lewis, Henri Rousseau, Grandma
Van Laar and Diepeveen on “The function
of Artists in Society”
   Another  typology
   Five roles:
      Skilled worker
      Intellectual

      Entrepreneur

      Social critic

      Social healer

   Other   dimensions
        Ex. Wittkower “Under the Sign of
           • Transformation from craftsperson to
             brooding geniuss                      F. De Goya. Saturn devouring his son,
           • Later to status of intellectual in    c. 1821
             humanistic profession
Concluding Remarks on the
Definition of the Artist
 Different criteria used in different contexts
 Fundamental conceptual problems
    Criteria used in classifying art &
   “aura” of the artist (authenticity -- School of Frankfort,
    Walter Benjamin-- “Work of Art in the Age of
    Mechanical Reproduction”)
   qualities of the art
     artisticcategory
     particular work

   characteristics of the audience/public (notion of
     “highbrow/lowbrow”     tastes (Levine--The emergence of a
      cultural hierarchy in America)
     SES
     size
Conceptual & practical problems in
studying artists & artistic careers
       Establishing criteria for locating, identifiying
       “Irrationality” of choices (P-M. Menger)
         Ex. Choosing poorer pay for more prestigious roles as
          an actor
       In modern times -- Clash between notions of
         career (regularities, patterns )
         Artistic recognition (singularities, unique, break past)
Changing views about values of art can lead to
changes in the status of the artist, artwork & the
social institutions & publics that support them

   Beaune Altarpiece

   PBS jazz series by Ken Burns

   Examples of establishing
    “cannons” through testimony of
    “experts” (ex. critics, “stars”,
    fans) and changing shape of
        Unique artists, unique art works
        (individual) vs. social construction of
        art/artists (Zolberg)
   Example: Problem of
       negotiating artistic values in
        context of new technologies
       new ways of thinking about
        connections between the artwork
        and the “aura” of the artist
       Walter Benjamin-- “work of art
        in the age of mechanical
Ways of Studying Artists & Arts
   “Are Artists Born or made?”
   Theories about artists’ careers
     1.labor of love (art for art’s sake) argument (Elliot Freidson)
           de-emphasizes income
           Arendt’s notions of labour (alienating but necessary) vs. work (creative vocation)
     2.artists & arts professionals as risk-lovers, gamblers
           satisfaction proportionate to degree of uncertainty of success
     3. Dual reward system
           monetary & non-monetary (psychic) gratification
     4. Other—couldn’t do anything else
Formal training Issues

 qualifications—non-routine
  activities depend on skills not
  easily transmitted or certified by
  a training system
     impact of schooling on
      earnings smaller than other
      professional groups
 mentoring/apprenticeships
 job matching (leaning-by-doing
 occupational risk diversification
     Problems using “income” as a way of
     identifying for artists & arts professionals

   Irregular incomes, seasonal
    variations, self-emploment
       public sources (subsidies, commissions,
       “privatization” (sales of services or works)
       transfer income from other employment
        (multiple job holding)
       personal (family, friends)
        Careers in the arts and rationality
        of risk management (Menger)
   “rational behaviour model”
   but artistic careers are risky
       high level of income inequality
       high chance of “failure”
       impermanence of artistic work, self-employment
       amibiguity of transition from training to work (skills)
       careers advance through recurrent & nonrecurrent work (non-
        routine work)
Criteria used in classifying art & artists
   “aura” of the artist
   Characteristics of
     the art form and genre
     audience/public (notion of
     Publics or audiences
     arts organizations,
      networks associated with
      different art worlds
Mediation & “Support Structures” &
Publics as factors in recognition & art-
   Arts worlds include all the people involved in art-
    making ?????
   Cooperative links through shared conventions ???
   how participants
     “draw lines” and what art worlds do
     Mobilize resources (material resources, training
      personnel, networks, organizations)
     Develop Distribution Systems and distinctions
Who Belongs in Art Worlds?
Arts Occupations, Institutions, Networks (continued) &
Mediation (Gatekeepers, Facilitators)

Source: V. Alexander Sociology of the Arts…(2003), p. 63   .
         Participants in art worlds --


Audiences/publics/consumers            Mediators
Who Belongs to Art Worlds?

      Life Drawing Class, Bocour Paintmaking Studio
                       NYC, c. 1942
    Production of Culture
    Perspective (Peterson, Anand)
   How culture “shaped by systems in which it is
    created, distributed, evaluated, taught, preserved”
   Culture not a mirror of society
   Focus on
     Expressive aspects of culture
     Processes of symbol production
     Analysis of organizations, occupations, networks,
     Comparisons

In situated studies of specific cultural forms and
   changes in them
Six Facet Model of Production
 Technology
 Law and regulation
 Industry structure or field
 Organizational structure of dominating
 Occupational careers
 Markets
Uses of the “Production Perspective”
   Organizational Research
     theories  of management
     institutional decision-making
     Networks of production
     Resource partitioning patterns

   Studies of Informal Relations
     Links between Class and Culture (ex.
     Resistance & appropriation
     Fabricating authenticity
Critiques of Peterson’s Production of
Culture Perspective
    Ignores or de-emphasizes
      “uniqueness”   of art to research constructed nature
       of collective representations, values
      roles of fans and consumers in shaping cultural
      meanings of cultural production
      power relations
Participants in
Mediation Processes

   Gatekeepers vs. facilitators : types vary with art
    form and genres
      Ex.   Diana Crane on proponents of Avant-Garde Art
   Examples of types of “mediators” (between creators and publics): book
    publishers, record companies, film distribution networks, art gallery
    owners, booking agents, critics, reviewers for media, museum curators,
    sometimes even fans or fan clubs, etc…
Characteristics of the Mediators &
Artistic Values
   Mediation as a way of conferring
       The role of critics and other
        gatekeepers in recognition
        processes, examples:
            Shrum– emergence of Fringe
             Festivals as a performing arts genre
             when critics begin to review it
            Change in status of Graffiti and
             recognition by artists
       Institutional forms & legitimation
            Status of “Venues”, status of artists
            Not-for-profit and for-profit models    Super Bowl XXXVIII, Halftime show, 2004
             & differences in socio-cultural
             status (DiMaggio)
       L. Levine: The emergence of
       Cultural Hierarchy in America
   Starting question: why can’t you compare high
    culture & popular culture?
   Why do people distinguish between highbrow and
    lowbrow audiences & their understanding of the
   Art forms not ‘cosmic truths’ but result from
    ‘peculiarities in the way culture operates
Levine’s Case study of the reception
of Shakespeare
     To study problem of equating notion of culture to idea of hierarchy
     Believes primary categories of culture are determined by
      IDEOLOGIES not grounded in actual observation of cultural
      practices & tastes
     Believes there was less hierarchical divisions in the past
     But set in mid 20th c.
          Do same hierarchical distinctions apply today? Or have we again
           entered an era in which high-brow & low-brow distinctions are less
    Mediators &Cultural Hierarchy
   social meaning(s) of performance art
   control and social “reproduction”
     Social origins and established formulas or genres
     Hegemony & cultural industries
     Cultural things as mirrors of underlying structures
      (functionalism, Marxism)
   New theories– more dynamic
     Symbolic  exchange, interaction
     -”production of culture approach” (Peterson,
Peterson on Country Music
   How do mediators (record producers)
    choose artists to promote?
     Authenticity, originality, distinctiveness
     Transformation of field of country music from
     Process of institutionalization
     Identified audience
   Paradox of creating authenticity artificially?
   Socially-agreed upon idea (social construction of
    reality– through shared values & practices)
   History of country music (a revolt that became a
   Artificial notion of the ‘unchanged’ past– hillbilly
    music (poor rural white Southerners)
   Early distain of this type of music because of its
    association with hillbilly culture
   Evolution of terminology (to country and western)
  Mediation in the Production of
  Culture Perspective

 How   law, technology, careers, markets,
  organizational structure shape culture (in this
  case a form of cultural expression called
  ‘country music’)
 notion of social production of culture (shared
  values, practices etc.)
 Emergence of differentiated roles in the field of
  cultural production (manager, talent agent etc.)
Planning Short Assignments and
Class Presentations
 Discussion of reading assignments and ideas
  for topics
 Research resources (library)
Note to Users of these Outlines--
   not all material covered in class appears on these outlines--
    important examples, demonstrations and discussions aren’t
    written down here.
   Classes are efficient ways communicating information and
    provide you will an opportunity for regular learning.
    These outlines are provided as a study aid not a
    replacement for classes.

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