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Mass art still art?

  1. Feb 24, 2007 #1
    I think so, it's the value that any one person puts on it, there own interpretation and reality is the only thing that really counts even tho people will naturally disagree. Unless each mass produced sculpture, painting...etc is hand made by the artist it doesnt even have a chance of fitting into my "art" category. For example, Philippe Starck's 3 legged juice squeezer sculpture is a piece of art, as soon as they started mass producing this squeezer it became a failed 3 legged juice squeezers...
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  3. Feb 26, 2007 #2


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    I have a Starck juicer, and I like having it, it looks nice, and works to some very small extent! :smile:

    I wonder what is your definition of art, that mass produced work must be made by the hand of the artist (singular?) to be art?

    Even renaissance artists, at the beginning of the modern notion of the celebrity artist, commonly worked in workshops, with the principal having assistants. For example, with Verrocchio’s Tobias and the Angel, (in the National Gallery), produced in Verrocchios’s workshop, it is likely that Verrochio painted just the Angel and Leonardo assisting painted Tobias as well as some identical left hands, drawn from the shop’s collection of casts.

    I agree with a lot of things said in this piece that talks of art, technology and the ‘interpretation of reality’ that you mentioned. I think mass art is an important part of art today.
    http://www.compilerpress.atfreeweb.com/Anno Hübner Phil Mod Art & Phil Tech Techne 1998.htm

    It mentions Duchamp who, back in 1917, interestingly didn’t feel that the work needed to be hand made, but used his readymades or found objects, like the urinal he found and exhibited as 'Fountain', under the name, 'R.Mutt'. He also pointed at the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan and proclaimed it as art.

    Andy Warhol was more directly involved in mass, blurring borders between fine and commercial art, with, as examples, his repetitive depictions of Campbell Soup tins, his brillo box sculpture, his use of screen printing, and his studio – called factory.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  4. Feb 26, 2007 #3


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    Mass produced art is casual art. :biggrin:

    Actually it's 'industrial design', and the father of industrial design/art is considered to be Raymond Lowey, at least in the US.


    http://www.raymondloewy.com/about/design.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Feb 27, 2007 #4
    Well I'm actually studying Industrial Design in Toronto :cool:

    It's not possible for original art to be mass produced. Sure you can print off some of Verrachio's art, or you can get it right off the assembly line like your useless juice squeezer:tongue: ... but I hardly consider that art! Its more like a flat empty shell of the real thing that is driven by consumerism. People are finding a way to brand everything these days, even art - I don't like it one bit!:grumpy:

    Industrial Design is a different form of what we may define as art...as impossible as that may be to accomplish. ID can be more critical and is weighed more on satisfying others needs opposed to your own. Philippe Starck's juice thingy didnt satisfy anyone needs so I guess it became a sculpture... a mass produced sculpture like the little mini CN towers you see at every store here in Toronto haha :biggrin:

    p.s. there is nothing wrong with collaborating on art, the more the marryer!!
  6. Feb 27, 2007 #5

    I don't think so *****
  7. Feb 27, 2007 #6


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    I don’t really mind that you have a problem with my juicer:smile: , but to contradict you, it does satisfy my needs rather well – our juicing needs are not particularly great, and we find the mess fun! And it looks good to me! Is mini mass sculpture such a bad thing? I’m unfamiliar with the little mini CN towers you see at every store there in Toronto. Do you like the large one?

    Why does art have to be hand made by one or many people to be art? I was hoping to point out that the way you categorize art could exclude quite a lot of things that have been generally considered art for some time.

    Despite functionality, or as you call it, satisfying others needs, (the ‘fine’ in fine art is from Aristotle’s use of the idea of finality, meaning art has an end in itself, not for the sake of satisfying other needs ), design is collectable, being shown in galleries, and achieving huge prices in auction houses. One of Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounges being sold at Sotheby’s for $968,000, and a hand crafted Carlo Mollino table for $3.8m at Christie’s in New York, recently. The article I read this in ended,
    ‘You can sit on a Henri Moore. But you’re really not supposed to. And there is still something important about that.’
    I personally have no problem with aesthetically appreciable things being functional as well, but I also don’t have a problem with mass production.

    So that, for me, mass art is still art, but not necessarily just hand made industrial design, (and, Astronuc, I especially like what I’ve seen of Bauhaus work, http://www.bauhaus.de/english/bauhaus1919/index.htm#top [Broken])
    but also film, television, pulp literature, pop music…
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  8. Feb 27, 2007 #7
    Surely the Stark Juicer is Design not Art, It is fabulous design but design none the less. For those lucky enough to be wandering through Kowloon at the moment with a spare £100 in their pocket go to "Felix" restaurant at the top of the Peninsula hotel, the whole thing is Stark designed and the Urinals are the most fabulous I have ever pointed at.

    As for Art, if you commercialise your art you dilute it's impact. One of the great things about art is that it makes you stop, and every piece of both art and design I have bought has been because it made me stop as I walked past it, and my best bits still make me stop even when sitting in my house for umpteen years.
    If you sell that picture, sculpture etc to everybody then it becomes a peice of decor as nobody will give it a second look, or they will think oh one of those.
    I feel proud when somebody sees my Corbusier chairs and comments on how modern they look, because it shows that the design is still good even after 80years and that I have created a room that makes others stop rather than just coming in and sitting down.
  9. Feb 27, 2007 #8


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    Kung hei fat choi. I've been there, but didn't get to see the men's loos :tongue2: the women's aren't as impressive, so I'm told!
  10. Feb 27, 2007 #9
    there is something very relaxing about standing in front of a plate glass window on the top floor of a building, looking across the skyscrapers of Kowloon, whilst contemplating life. :-)
  11. Feb 27, 2007 #10
    You are just forming your needs around a failed product, which is plain and simple...do you buy half working things usually? its either a failed ID product or a mass produced "sculpture". My reference to mini CN towers was to illustrate the fact that its not the REAL CN tower... it doesnt hold the same value.

    Please read my posts carefully. I applied functionality to Industrial Design not art... art is a means of expressing humanity and does not have restrictions.. ID does... it should do what it was designed to do, that doesnt mean it can't be beauitful like art... but as soon as it looses its function it becomes a sculpture or a failed product....whichever you choose i guess.

    "Why does art have to be hand made by one or many people to be art?"
    because it sepeartes humans from technology...I dont need a machine making art for me.
  12. Feb 27, 2007 #11


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    I tried to read your post carefully, but I must have misinterpreted what you were saying. To your question, ‘is mass art still art?’ you wrote, ‘I think so…’, did you mean, ‘I don’t think so’?

    If you actually meant that you did think mass art was still art, this was then limited to hand made work, but not limited by the amount of hands in production, nor specifically by function, so, in effect, your question was, ‘is mass art, that is hand made, still art?’. Apart from whether or not hand made art is mass art, I imagined you were actually asking about whether functional hand made work was still art, as function would also be a questionable aspect here. I felt I was agreeing with you that functional work may also be art. Now I think you are saying quite the opposite, that something that half functions, (a matter of opinion itself), can not be valued for any function and can only be valued aesthetically. I don’t see the two values as mutually exclusive and do believe that aesthetic appeal can be found in ‘fully functioning’ objects, and that this may be considered art. Perhaps you are saying that there is some desired amount of artistic or functional value required for a work, and when biased toward art, defines art?

    My juicer, however, seems to be of the greatest concern here:smile: , so I’ll try to explain the position it holds in my kitchen as best I can. I actually didn’t buy it, it was a gift from my gorgeous husband. I didn’t even know it was Starck’s until I recognised the description in your OP, and I don’t know how much was paid for it the 10 or so years ago that it was given to me. I like it and when I think of juicing, maybe once every couple of months, or in winter it might stay out for a couple of weeks at a time, I think of it and how the shape and silver colour suits the whole enjoyable-feeling healthy-citrus fruit mess-breakfast- jarmies-morning music- experience. I was also given, at a fair where they were being demonstrated, a tiny clear plastic juicer that you plunge into the fruit, last year. The demonstration showed efficient juicing. This has never been used; if I still have it is at the back of a drawer somewhere. There is nothing fun about it.

    Perhaps that is forming my needs around a failed product, but I think it is just enjoying myself. Actually, I don't think so because it suits me well. I’m not known for my practicality, and given the option would choose the path more aesthetically appealing, in fact, I do, often, if it doesn't take that much longer, and admire instances where others have too, like the resin floors in traditional Japanese buildings.

    Why do humans need to be separated from technology, if you don’t need a machine making art for you, do you mean it can’t make art?

    (BTW, I realise I have been imprecise, as ever, and, regarding my view of art, should have said ‘mass art can be art’ rather than ‘is’.)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  13. Feb 28, 2007 #12
    How do you define the limit to function. The Stark Juicer does Juice which is it's function just not very well, it also look good, A magimix juicer juices very well but looks ugly because nobody has looked deeply at it's design, but does it juice as well as the next model as yet unproduced? and therefore is it not also a piece of sculpture/failed product.
    They both have a level of artistic, design and functional merit just in different proportions.
    To arbitarily dismiss a whole section of a population because it does not fit into an artificial pidgeon hole is limiting your ability to see the bigger picture. I find it interesting that in my small field people who appreciate the art and design in an object even when they don't like it, are often more likely to come up with radical solutions to science and engineering problems as opposed to leading a more blinkered existence where the safe proven route is followed.
    I would also say it is a skill that can be learnt as Mrs Panda thought all art was pretentious rubbish, but after a decade of wearing her down it was Mrs Panda who suggested we bought a "Bob Carlos Clarke" for the house, something I would not have ever suggested although liking the humour of his work.
    --Anybody wanting to check Bob Carlos Clarke should engage broad mind filter 1st, but when you see the deeper meaning of the work, it is very clever--
  14. Mar 1, 2007 #13
    I define limit to function as it is very important in ID. Also I never said the Starck Juicer is ugly, although I do have every right to say it is... just as I can argue that your magimix is good looking. Beauty is not the issue here, as it is impossible to define.

    where do you draw the line? I say when it doesn't do what its designed to do its bad design... bad design means you aren't successful which means you have failed. Philippe Starck compromised function for looks, and thats fine - but you can't consider that good design, it may be beautiful art buts its bad design.
    BTW what bigger picture are you claiming that I do not see? :rolleyes:
  15. Mar 4, 2007 #14


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    Sorry to rehash this, I’ve been away.

    I’m sorry, too, that I was confused as I consider the juicer functions to a certain degree. Were the function it is used for be the tray it was originally meant to be, I’d have been less confused. That would fit with your sentence, that it doesn't do what it is designed to do, being bad design. Panda was asking how much function is necessary.

    Regarding function, some designs may require the most efficient, however, some designs, particularly those with individual consumers in mind, I think should involve other considerations, other things that people may want as well as efficiency, and sometimes at the cost of an amount of efficiency - cost, durability, environmental issues, sometimes social issues, sometimes aesthetics…. Here, design should support its function, as my juicer does, but the extent to which it does this may be compromised by other factors, and because choice is more likely to satisfy more people than pure efficiency, I think this approach will more likely produce a successful design.

    I appreciate Le Corbusier and other Bauhaus artists/designers/architects, as well as many other modernists very much. Their work is reflecting their interpretation of reality of that time, many believing that form follows function. I think it is also important to learn from them that this is not always the best solution, for instance the histories of Trellick Tower, Park Hill Estate, Robin Hood Gardens, Chandigarh…

    Arguments against function as sole priority, is that this universality of definition, this uniform efficiency, doesn’t recognise diversity, locality, adaptability, multiple interpretations; it is serious, austere, alienating. It dictates to the consumer. (Also that 'form follows function', doesn't make much sense as a universal law.)

    I also think that there is a lot to be learnt from the postmodernist reaction against function, where form follows fun. Starck’s urinals at Felix work, or so I believe, but the most interesting thing about them is not that. That strangers on the internet discussed how enjoyable they were, strikes me as evidence of a rather successful design.

    Perhaps you are right, not for successful ID reasons, but because of the diminishment of the earth’s natural resources, that we should all conform to wear, use and live in the most efficient use of these resources, with no freedom to choose. I think that a lot of modernism wasn’t enjoyed by many people they were made for was because they were unaware of the reasoning in the design and weren’t properly equipped to question them. Now those that have lasted are being appreciated, often by those who, like Mrs Panda, have become familiar with them, and learnt to understand the reasoning involved and in some cases, enjoy them. If we must live a life dictated by lack of choice, then we must all understand and appreciate why, so that we can enjoy it as best we can, and possess greater power to question its proper implementation.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2007
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