Art Express and Communicates Something

Artists, Glen Ligon and Janine Antoni showed slides of their work at a symposium at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, which had been interpreted by the critics mostly in political terms. They insisted, however, that their art be evaluated in aesthetic terms as well.

Can the artist expect to control the viewer’s interpretation of their work?
And if so, wouldn’t this be accomplished through a direct technique? If the designed outcome has failed then it would seem the artist has failed to convey clearly his idea or message.

“Can the artist expect to control 
the viewer’s interpretation 
of their work?”

I find it interesting when artists get sensitive after putting out work and the public and or critics have an opinion on it, especially when that opinion is negative. Why would the artist react so defensively if the majority of viewers walk away with, in the artist’s mind the wrong impression? If we are asked to interpret a particular piece of work then the artist must somehow help the viewer to at least glean the idea or impression they want their work to have.

I teach my acting students that the actor’s job is to communicate the playwright’s story…to effectively express the words and feelings of their character in the context of the imaginary circumstances. If the audience collectively walks away with an unintended understanding of the work than somehow the actor has failed and maybe the director as well. As a theatre artist and director, when I produce challenging or innovative work I count it a success if at least two-thirds of my audience understands the material. Without the intention to communicate something I would be producing art for arts sake or for my own self-indulgence…rather selfish and pointless.  

“As a theatre artist and director, 
when I produce challenging or innovative work 
I count it a success if at least two-thirds of my audience 
understands the material.”

Artists are communicators. We fail when our work doesn’t communicate the intended idea. There is something to be said about the intended audience too. Art that some call “high art” is intended for a narrow exclusive audience – one that is cultured and sophisticated in their tastes. In the eyes of the wrong viewers misinterpretations will abound in this category. 

“Artists are communicators”

Leave your thoughts. What do you think? 

0 BE HIP! share your comments. Give your thoughts.:

Post a Comment

Leave me your thoughts.