Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:40 pm

Norma wrote:...i never noticed your lack of capitals....

probably because it is not that big of a deal...  Wink

now, howzabout that vacuum cleaner, eh ?  

not to mention a prosthetic bonsai !

yowza !

i feel like tommy after ann margaret pushed him out of the window in "tommy - the rock opera" !!!


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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  Intricate Simplicity on Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:51 pm

I find this a very thought-provoking post- thanks for sharing!

In response, I feel compelled to repeat what is a rather overused, though apt, phrase that "art is subjective" (see also, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder").

Obviously this transcends the art of bonsai in general (and I would certainly consider it an art form) and the easiest way to understand how very true it is is to consider the viewpoint a parent holds of their child. Now if the child returns from school with a finger painting they did in grade school, that painting may not be considered art in the mind of the majority. In the parents' eyes, though, it can be more meaningful than a Monet. Not to say that there isn't acknowledgement that dear Monet had skill and created masterpieces, but for some personal reason- be it sentimentality or whatever- that child's painting is, for all intents and purposes- artwork.

And, to digress, I would like to make the point that skill is measurable to a degree as well. At a point, however, the measure of skill is going to more and more be closely tied to how new a category of art is. For example, stone sculpting has been a practice for milennia, so naturally there is more skill and technique that can be learned than say mail art which has existed maybe 50 years or so. That aside, the measure of skill would have to be weighed against the difference between the goal for the piece and the final result as well.

More to the topic at hand- We might not always agree with or connect with what was intended to be art by its creator. That does not mean it is not art at all. Nothing can be disqualified as art at all- it can only be categorized as different forms. That's the biggest misconception I believe that there is in art: that someone can decide what is and isn't art. I guess I echo the feelings of several posters before me in that I personally appreciate the piece in the OP not necessarily for the tree (it's good work but honestly not anything particularly outstanding), but for the statement of nonconformity made akin to Duchamp's. Whether it is personally appealing to me is irrelevant, it is art if the creator intended- hell if he didn't intend it to be, it still may be (see "found art"). We all have different tastes in paintings: you may like Picasso, while I may prefer Pollock. You may like classical bonsai, I may prefer the modern iteration. It's all art- opinions simply don't factor in and pretention shouldn't either.

Thanks for the discussion!

---

And to address the the digression above: I wouldn't make a big deal out of grammar. As long as u r not typing liek dis, i think u shd b ok. I do throw around the phrase "caesar non supra grammaticos" rather often, though. Wink

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:58 pm

beer city snake wrote:          <snip>and speaking of nick lenz... did he have an entry ???
if not, then that is a travesty. <snip>  

Nick Lenz did not have an entry. David Crust was a student of Nick's a decade or two ago, and I know they are currently still friends. David does have a few trees that started out as Nick's, I don't know if this larch is one of them. David has his own style, though he definitely shares some of the artistic sensibilities of Nick Lenz. I enjoy seeing David's work. He has a larch surrounded by Teletubbies that has a similar effect on the viewer that "Larch with Kirby Vacuum" does.

But he also has quite a few trees that he displays without "found objects", these trees often are very naturalistic, reminding me of some of Dan Robinson's work.

It would have been great if Nick exhibited, but David did a good job of being the representative of that "school" of art in bonsai.

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:53 am

if this was the north american "artisans" cup, i would be curious to know why nick was not an exhibitor...

entry not accepted ? (unlikely)
not invited ?
not interested ?




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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  Vance Wood on Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:28 pm

I only met Nick once and I thought him a strange duck at the time. Odds are he was not interested. With the phantom reputation he seems to carry you would think he would like to have a presence. But still; he does not.

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:37 pm

vance, you are probably right about him not being interested...
probably attributable to that phantom reputation rather than the converse...





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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  Andrew Legg on Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:56 pm

I find it intriguing that we seem to want to find a place for bonsai to go. I'm equally guilty, heck, I've got a ficus growing in a Croc shoe, but I'm a strong believer in different strokes for different folks. If you like traditional Japanese style bonsai, good on ya. If you like trees in vacuum cleaners, good on ya. In my mind all we must do is have fun and be open to new ideas. We don't have to like 'em all. Just because someone else's interpretation is different to yours does not make it wrong, just different. What we should be critical of though is when these things become an excuse for sloppy horticultural/aesthetic practices. That's just not cricket! If I can see that someone has taken the effort to grow/present a tree well, kudos to that person, whether I like it or not. All bonsai is art, like it or not. Do you like it? That's entirely personal. Is it good? This is where public acceptance comes into the equation. If it is good, you will know from the reception it gets. Just don't confuse good art with a good conversation piece. Same for bonsai. My Croc planting is a gets folks talking, but I'm the first to admit it's a crap bonsai, and rubbish art!

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:27 pm

speaking of "good on ya", i say andrew gets a big fat "GOOD ON YA" for that post cheers

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  JimLewis on Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:59 pm

I do not know Mr. Lentz, but I heard from somewhere/one that he's been having health issues (and I sympathize and hope I'm wrong).  I own one of his pots and have his book.

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  gman on Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:59 pm

Just wanted to raise a point on what Andrew wrote... All bonsai is art, like it or not. Do you like it? That's entirely personal. Is it good? This is where public acceptance comes into the equation. If it is good, you will know from the reception it gets.  
I think this may have been mentioned before but from my limited experience and exposure to the general public's (no bonsai training at all) reaction to Bonsai on display it can be way different than what folks practicing Bonsai think.  During our annual show (and other shows I've attended) the public's choice is often a much different tree than what our club members have chosen.  I've heard comments on a large, old, well trained pine, with fantastic character... like " it looks like a tree, but my favorite is this one" as they point to a small, whimsical, young (in age and training) bunjin styled tree!
Andrew don't take this wrong as I am agreeing with you as we (practicing this art/craft) have different tastes. 
Cheers Graham

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  Andrew Legg on Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:27 pm

Just wait till you throw in a flowering bougie or azalea and even the best old pine has no chance! Lol. I'm not sure whether I meant bonsai public or the greater public. I guess if we call it art, it's got to appeal to more than just us bonsaiistas. . . . . or does it?

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  coh on Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:33 pm

gman wrote:Just wanted to raise a point on what Andrew wrote... All bonsai is art, like it or not. Do you like it? That's entirely personal. Is it good? This is where public acceptance comes into the equation. If it is good, you will know from the reception it gets.  
I think this may have been mentioned before but from my limited experience and exposure to the general public's (no bonsai training at all) reaction to Bonsai on display it can be way different than what folks practicing Bonsai think.  During our annual show (and other shows I've attended) the public's choice is often a much different tree than what our club members have chosen.  I've heard comments on a large, old,  well trained pine, with fantastic character... like " it looks like a tree, but my favorite is this one" as they point to a small, whimsical, young (in age and training) bunjin styled tree!  
Andrew don't take this wrong as I am agreeing with you as we (practicing this art/craft) have different tastes. 
Cheers Graham

This is true of other art forms as well. For a while I was painting "semi-professionally" (as in, trying to get good enough to earn enough money to quit my regular job). I was winning awards at shows, and selling a fair number of paintings. Many shows were judged by an artist, but also had a "people's choice" award. Generally the paintings chosen by the judge were very different than those chosen by the public. Judges tended to choose paintings that were more "arty"...for example, paintings that were composed well, where edges were varied to create specific focal points, where greyed tones were used rather than overly saturated colors, that kind of thing. Paintings chosen by the general public were more often those that looked like photographs, with no depth of field...all sharp edges and stronger colors. Often these were paintings done by less experienced artists.

This was a frequent topic of discussion among the artists in the shows.

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

Post  Andrew Legg on Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:00 pm

I guess as practitioners we are the true connoisseurs of the art form, whereas the general public could be more considered the popular vote. For the art to make an accepted step change in what's considered 'acceptable' it will have to gain that acceptance with us. After all, we're the ones that do it.

What is nice to see is bonsai gaining recognition as an art form, and not just a horticultural hobby. On the back of the local African Bonsai Convention 4 convention and exhibition recently held in Stellenbosch near Cape Town (with Francios Jecker, Tony Tickle and Ryan Neil headlining) we have been invited to possibly display trees at a fine art festival locally in about half a year's time. It will be a great opportunity for us here.

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Re: Duchamp's Fountain of the bonsai world.

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