The subject title says it all. To listen to some GOP'ers talk, you'd think socialism was Communism.

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I didn't feel I was being argumentative. But your advocacy for the devil is actually confusing me. I'm not sure how socialism and art have much to do with each other. You're hypothetically arguing against socialism because it might (in theory) risk the production of great art by those who are in conflict? For one, I've never actually heard that argument from anyone who actually opposes socialism.

And... if I sound argumentative, you sound biased against rich people's artistic capability. You're pretty convincing as the devil's advocate since you really seem to believe good art does not come from the "elite".

And I'll go further in saying the quality of art is totally subjective. I personally dislike Picasso's work, but he is called a "master". I also don't like Van Gogh. I feel pretty certain that if they were producing art today, their work would be considered "crap". It only seems anyone paid attention to them after they were dead... and so many dead people's skills and character are blown way out of proportion, and that's how legends are born.

I've seen some absolutely stunning work created today; work that trumps the work of many of the "masters", and by using things like ball point pens or sharpies. I've seen painting so real they look like photos.

Anyway... I could talk about art all day. Probably a derailment, really, so I'll stop.

What the hey, maybe Peter Max is greater than Vermeer or Rembrandt.

Actually, there was a study that seemed to demonstrate that the quality of art is objective on some hardwired level. It was about 30 years ago I read the study in Psychology Today so here is the best I can do in reconstructing it.

The hypothesis was that quality in art is culture-centric. The test devised to prove the hypothesis was to take people regarded as master artists from several different cultures. So, you had a master sand painter from a Southwest American Indian tribe, a master woodcarver from an African tribe, a master swordsmith from Japan, and a stained glass master from England. They had each artist choose two works of art from his/her field: one a masterwork and one a very good but not great example.

The prediction was that each artist would be unable to distinguish which was better consistently. Then each of the artists were shown the examples chosen by the others. The result was that even a stained glass maker from England could tell which African wood carving was the masterpiece, which sword was the better example, which sand painting was better. Every artist chose correctly in every case. It's hard to escape the conclusion that aesthetic judgments are actually objective in some way that's hardwired into the human brain. It would also seem to follow that the person who thinks Peter Max is superior to Vermeer is just simply wrong.

Getting back to socialism. Let's imagine a world that became socialist and democratic about 500 years ago. As a result, slavery never happened. Hence, we'd be living in a world without field hollers which became the blues which became jazz which became rock and roll and hip-hop. 

My hypothesis is that contented people tend to produce dull art. Art involves passion and struggling against adversity is a more fertile breeding ground for passion than contentedness.

Am I making more sense now?

Yes, you've made sense the entire time :)

And ew, obviously Peter Max isn't as good as Vermeer! But there are artists today that match Vermeer's skills. Here is a link to ballpoint pen art I Googled, just as an example. Some are mediocre; others are stunning. While these are not oil paintings, would none count as masterful? Here is one I think is extremely impressive, and another by the same artist. What makes a Vermeer better? Angst? I don't think so. I simply do not think that tumult is a requirement to masterful art... I think the only requirements are passion, dedication, and extreme patience. And time.

CC, what's great about Vermeer isn't his technique, it's the world he created in his paintings. He was the first major painter to show ordinary women in everyday situations. Housewives and prostitutes. At the same time, his paintings, as realistic as they are, are basically still lifes with people. Other painters have been even better at photorealistic rendition. Salvador Dali is one example, but there are many others. There is more to a masterpiece than mere technique. 

Okay, so... you're saying it's both technique combined with originality? Have you heard of Andy Goldsworthy? He creates art in nature, from nature. He builds these intricate, beautiful sculptures from twigs, rocks, and leaves... or whatever other piece of nature laying around. Most of the time, nature swallows the art back up instantly. I watched a documentary on him once. He spent hours building this incredible dome out of sticks and beechwood. He built it where he knew the tide would come in and, as it did come in, the structure unfolded beautifully as well. But then it was all gone and no traces left.

I think his technique is good; it takes time and patience. I think what he's doing is very original. Also, he lives a very peaceful life. What he does is an homage to nature. 

We could literally discuss hundreds, if not thousands, of modern artists, and compare them to ones long gone. I do dislike that people so often say there's no more good music, or art, or literature. Honestly, I think people have always believed that, and they never recognize true talent until it's dead and gone. There are billions of people on this earth right now, and to insist there are no masters left is pretty short-sighted. No offense!

You need to clearly define what you view talent/mastery to be if you want to exclude artists from its purview. I don't think art, even masterful art, is easy to define. There are too many variables and variations. I don't believe, however, suffering and conflict are the only avenues to masterful art.

His art is lovely but I don't think it'll be thought off hundreds of years from now with the reverence we attach to Vermeers, Gauguins, Monets, Rembrandts, etc.

I agree with you. But the point is, there can be originality and technical skill without strife... and both combined in one person. I may not have presented you with a modern master, but I do believe they exist, even in societies not riddled with poverty and conflict.

You're accepting my devil's advocate point: that in making life wonderful and comfortable one may be trading away greatness and accepting okayness (to coin a word) in its place.

lol... but you're doing a really good job of acting like you don't think there is great art today! Whether or not you think socialism should be kept at bay for fear there will no longer be great art is beside the point now! Haha Do you actually believe strife is a necessity for good art? You can believe that while still thinking socialism is best (if you do).

lol... but you're doing a really good job of acting like you don't think there is great art today! Whether or not you think socialism should be kept at bay for fear there will no longer be great art is beside the point now! Haha Do you actually believe strife is a necessity for good art? You can believe that while still thinking socialism is best (if you do).

Do I think there's someone producing masterpieces like Cezanne or Duerer or Vermeer today. No and the "art" you showed me really qualifies more as really good craft than great art to me. 

Quite frankly, painting probably is a dead art. There may not be any more great paintings. Oh, people will continue to paint, but the public doesn't care about painting anymore. Today's serious painters are painting with collectors in mind more than anything else.

Great art probably is being made in the fields of literature and cinema and possibly architecture. 

Well, fair enough. First, I want it to be noted that the art I provided you (other than Goldsworthy) I just found by a random search on Google, sooo... I was never arguing that it was masterful, only skillful... which I maintain.

I simply disagree there are no masters today; they may be living in obscurity, but I don't think they've gone extinct.


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