Is cooking an art?
Posted 13 April 2002 - 08:38 AM
The result is that artists are liable to leave college with a narrower range of formal skills and concepts to ultilize – or to revolt against! It is virtually inevitable that art should become more and more conceptual, offering an idea – usually as encapsulated as a TV ad – rather than a worked-out process. Since the audience they are addressing has been educated primarily by TV ads, this makes for instant communication. The medium has become the message even more universally and fundamentally than Marshall McLuhan might have foreseen. Thus a pile of bricks is as pregnant with significance as a bar of soap or a can of beans.
Posted 13 April 2002 - 09:23 AM
I've been in the arts as a photographer, dealer and curator for more than forty years, and in each of those years, it's safe to say, this topic has come up, not infrequently over meals.
Would it be of any help to add that in my personal experience, there is not a clear line of demarcation between art and craft; that there is some of the one in the other almost all the time. Food and eating can be artful. Sculpture, to pick just one medium, may contain elements of craft. I would talk about the degree to which a chef invokes artistry, or the degree to which a painter is craftsmanlike, but I wouldn't disallow the description of either as primarily artist or craftsman without a highly specific analysis.
And just in case no one has yet taken exception, my own experience is that the art world (loosely defined) tends to reserve "artist" for the so-called "fine arts", eg, painting, music, etc., and "craft" for everything else, no doubt largely to keep their own club small.
Posted 14 April 2002 - 01:42 AM
On the art/craft issue, I am totally at one with Robert. For me, an artist must be a craftsman in order to create art. That's why a stick figure drawn by a 5 year old is not art, and that's why a pile of bricks might well not be art.
Intellectual or emotional intent on the part of the artist, or response on the part of the 'recipient', is not enough in itself to define art.
Similarly, craft alone is not enough. Craft alone can generate beautiful design but I distinguish that from art.
I am not averse to all modern art. I found that display a few years ago in the Tate, made from rice, appealing, and I would certainly not deny its right to be called art (though I'm not entirely certain) and I feel the same about the work of the lady who created inside-out houses (gosh, my memory is going very fast).
I'm happy with the sub-definition of "fine arts" because I think that's a useful distinction which actually enables new art forms to gain credence.
Never forgetting the original question of this thread it seems to me that most people's definition of art actually does allow that cooking may indeed be an art. Not all of the time, and not within the capabilities of all chefs. But it is valid, it seems to me, for a chef to put that creative artistic endeavour into a dish, beyond what is necessary just to cook an 'interesting' dish, and for him to do that for a purely aesthetic purpose with the objective of creating an aesthetic response from the diner. And if he uses his learned craft to do that, then indeed he has created art, however ephemeral.
Posted 14 April 2002 - 05:57 AM
When the Brooklyn Museum had their Sensation show, I took my family to see it. Now we all stood in front of the picture causing the controversy (I forget the name), and one of my 13 year old sons was smart enough to say, "if the artist called it something else, no one would know." And he couldn't have been more correct. The painting the elephant dung surrounded didn't look the the Virgin Mary, it was just called that. It could have been called Woman in a Field with Dung. But look at the difference changing the name is to your perception. So "art," is the aesthetic experience the artist wants you to experience. And taking that back to the original question, that is where the line is drawn. When I go into a BMW showroom to look at motorcycles, th designer isn't asking me to only view it aesthectically.
Posted 14 April 2002 - 06:22 AM
Steve,sorry to be personal for a moment but how many 13 year old sons do you have?
and one of my 13 year old sons was smart enough to say,
Posted 14 April 2002 - 09:36 AM
I'm not really a fan of Chris Ofili's work - I find it too decorative for my taste. I also haven't spent much time contemplating his work but I thought it was intersting to challenge the notion that the iconic figure, Mary, is white. She was, after all, middle eastern which hardley refelcts the consitently milky white skin she's developed over the years.
That she is always dress in blue robes derives from the expense of the paint - artist would save their most expensive colour for the most important figure. That's why ther are very few blue skies in very early works - either the couldn't find the pigment or couldn't afford it.
As for the elephant dung - beats me.
Posted 14 April 2002 - 09:39 AM
Its only because I'm very new to eGullet - but I am studying Simon R's entries very carefully
A fascinating, polite discussion. Rare.
Posted 15 April 2002 - 01:19 AM
I assume you mean Simon M, BLH.Its only because I'm very new to eGullet - but I am studying Simon R's entries very carefully
A fascinating, polite discussion. Rare.
Steve, I don't understand your last post. It is self-evident that art can't be created by people looking at it. No-one suggested they could. Why does that fact preclude objectivity?
And on your example at the Brooklyn Museum, do you not accept that the published title of a 'work of art' is part of the work? Why should the artist not be "allowed" to tell you what he wants you to see?
Finally, when you said "When I go into a BMW showroom to look at motorcycles, the designer isn't asking me to only view it aesthectically" you defeated the central theme of your own argument. The key word is "only", so you acknowledge that he is inter alia indeed asking you to view it aesthetically. And you now seem to accept that gives it artistic content. Which it has.