Wednesday, April 8, 2009


‘IDEA’ is defined as: a frame of reference and to explore the subject or issue from the artist into the art form.

1. Thoughts that the artist has about how to do an artwork or how to deal with an artwork base on time and problem they facing.
2. An opinion or belief the artist brings or brought comes from inside the artist and they try to express it through arts.
3. Haw an imagine something to be from non-arts from to arts and how from nothing to become something.
4. Information or knowledge that the artist and they try to relate it to public by creating an artwork.
5. A purpose or intention for other to understand what the artist fill and what is inside the artist mind by their art creation.
6. A principle no matter how oath it is arts is still art, some can understand the principle or ideas of arts same can’t.

An idea or theory is like a building or structure developing an idea is like building something and destroying an idea is like destroying a building.[i]
This forum was mainly base of how the changing process of presenting arts style from the perfect combination, arrangement, history, royalty and bible story to the idealism modern arts were art were presented by the definition of the artist itself and the arts come from the artist them self. As said in the book by Harold Rosenberg (1972) “In the last century, it was believed that the exclusion of subject matter (landscape, people, family scenes, historical episodes symbols) form painting would disentangle the image on the cavers from literary associations and clear the way for a direct response of the eye to optical data, In becoming more and more abstract, art is supposed to have attained or been reduced to speechlessness”[ii] . It also a discussion of the ‘IDEA’ that bring out by an artist is more importance than the artwork itself. By referring to an interview to Andy Warhol “Why is The Chelsea Girls art?” he reflected, and answered. “Will, first of all, it was made by an artist, and, second, that would come out as art.”[iii]. These are the stand that he has made for the public to know that, it’s the artist who makes the decision about the art, which make the art an art. This is the one of the statements that has brought us back to the importance of ‘IDEA’ in arts.

Pic 1: Andy Warhol, 1966

The ‘IDEA’ can be a principal of manifesto from the artist in to the artwork but the whole concept and idea still inside the artist them self. As Harold Rosenberg (1972) has point out, “In reality, however, an artist is a product of art – I mean a particular art. The artist does not exist except as a personification, a figure of speech that represents the sum total of art itself”[iv]. In my understanding for this matter, it is shown how an artist have their own right to express their creativity and ‘IDEA’ can be brought up from an artist without any static guideline to follow or obey. An artwork by an artist can be beautiful on its own as an artwork as long the artist know and declared it as an artistic work. As said by Charles Baudelaire when defending Richard Wagner as a critic in Herschel B. Chipp (1968) book, he wrote these impassioned words, “A man who reasons so much about his art is not capable of naturally producing beautiful works”[v]. This has proved that the artworks can stand as an expression and a principle of the artist. An art is the frontier for them to communicate with their spectator or viewers. Arts do not just limit to certain media, for example oil on cavers, watercolor on paper or mix media but it is also can be presented by a readymade objects. Maybe when the public has admired the artworks with the ready-made of objects it brings a deferent meaning to them base on their experience and observation.

The main focus of the discussion for this issue is more to the artwork title ‘Bicycle Wheels’ by Mr. Marcel Duchamp in world of arts and also some of the artwork by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, which can be related to Duchamp style. Ready-made objects, found objects, pop art and art to the mass also in the discussion were mainly to give more information to how an ‘IDEA’ is the key word in producing artwork than the artist them self.

As what we can see, art as ‘IDEA’ with a ready-made object is the main discussion in this forum. To make the concept clearly understanding by me, I have decided to make the ready-made objects arts as my forces issue. As what we already discuss the ready-made objects art has denying all the artistic process to create arts. For example the artwork ‘Bicycle Wheels’ by Marcel Duchamp were it has challenge the boundary of the artistic process of art, the prentice that has been done for …. As said by Norbert Lynton in his book (1981) “He was saying that what determines the art-ness of the work of art is the artist’s intention – not skill, not originality, not strong feeling, but the artist’s will and act. What counts is not the object but the idea, the conception. It seems arrogant – because it does not start by justifying the artist’s right to be an artist. But Duchamp’s attitude is only an inversion of our attitude to the idea of a great artist. It is an extension, perhaps to nonsensical lengths, of the Romantic nation of the artist as a super human genius, required to be very new and very lawless and yet terribly profound”[vi]. In this quote, he emphasizes what Duchamp has done and bring out from the definition of ‘IDEA’.
Pic 2: Marcel Duchamp : Bicycle Wheels

‘Bicycle Wheels’ an artwork that been reproduce for twenty-one times[vii] and has been an art collection by galleries, museums and art collectors. Marcel Duchamp have crate it by using a ready-made object, a bicycle wheels and a kitchen stool with a simple construction that assembled the two object that have a lot of aesthetic appeal were he ignore all the artistic process. Here we can see how he has demolished the process of coloring, observation technique, rendering, combination and others into artwork. In Herschel B. Chipp books (1968) je said, “Marcel Duchamp (b. 1887) in Paris had anticipated its light-hearted assaults on traditional ideas, While in New York during World War I, he continued working on a series of “ready-mades,” which have new become a kind of touchstone for the contemporary admiration for commonplace and junk objects”[viii] . In my opinion, when Marchel Duchamp working with this piece of artwork he deliberately ignore the traditional way of creating arts. His interest was only to make something that is not art into an art form. And to challenge the art society that, how can one produce an artwork from something that not art. His arguments are to define that an ‘IDEA’ of an artist are the focal point, it can be a combination of all experience and agenda into arts and the public may consume, admire and communicate with the artwork base on their personal view and contact.

When we talking with the ready-made object artwork, we can see the entire modern artist have the influence of Marcel Duchamp work, but there are some adjustments when the artists already make same treatment and additional approach with new perspective to the readymade objects. Because of that it’s already have a new value were civilization, historical, psychological, political, sociological, theological, religion and sciences. For instance an artwork by Jeff Koon’s, a modern artist who also have some influence by Marcel Duchamp to create his work. Here he have use a ready-made object for his artwork, where an electrical home appliance that is a vacuum has become his chosen object for his artwork title ‘New Hoover Celebrity IV, New Hoover Convertible, New Shelton 5 Gallon Wet/Dry, New Shelton 10 Gallon Wet/Dry Double Decker’ (1981/86). Just like Duchamp, he has used these ready-made objects and recompiles it purposed into art. From this artwork it clearly shown how he use a few units vacuum without any alteration to it and he arrange the vacuum to a double decked acrylic glass structure and fluorescent light, to represent the social status in the late-twentieth-century. As when I refer into his web site by Tate (2001) there a statement said “He immaculate replicas of domestic products, advertisement, kitsch toys and models exercised an enthusiastic endorsement of unlimited consumption, unlike the veiled criticism of some work of the first generation of Pop Artist. Koon’s perceived Western civilization as a driven society, flattered by narcissistic images and with a voracious appetite for glamorous commodities”[ix]. It is clear enough how he tries to relate his art work with the consumer product that represent and reflect to the modern world and to be firmed on his statement in his art. This is how he represents the contradictory attitude towards consumer culture in it.

Pic 3: Jeff Koons : New Hoover Celebrity IV, New Hoover Convertible, New Shelton 5 Gallon Wet/Dry, New Shelton 10 Gallon Wet/Dry Double Decker (1981/86)

The method and analysis should be base on sociological approach, were the ready-made objects the artist have choose was connected to social problems at his origins during that time. Since we tend to ask WHY, HOW and WHEN it happens. WHAT contribute the consequences? We just have a look at Jeff Koon’s history of working, after leaving Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore (BA 1976), he started working in to membership department of the Museum of Modern art and after that him working with the Wall Street brokerage house. With those experiences seem to be the acute awareness of affinity with the consumer goods as his arts object to his idea. When he chooses the vacuum cleaner, it has been classified as monuments to sterility. Where in the modern days people are particular do the cleanness and how it symbolize the wealth, happiness and control in the modern society. By arranging the deferent value of vacuum to a double decked acrylic glass and fluorescent light, he seems to show how some value have been given to the status of the society at that time. The value of luxury of the consumer product in the artwork he created. As he have said in Dr. Andreas C Papadakis books (1989) “ I don’t seek to make consumer icons but to decode why and how consumer objects are glorified and the show is about how (the upper) class controls the class structure by propounding, through information, the desire for luxury and abstraction above people’s level of education”[x].But don’t forget he also shown us how civilization has made the boundary to one community of society. During the time he did this piece of artwork (this is not the only version) he tries to reflect the commercial systems of the modern world were he said that the upper class is always try to dominates the whole system by their knowledge and information there have. This is what has contributed him to represent the status of society with these particular ready-made objects. He has given a new meaning from ordinary vacuum to become an icon for the modern society.

Now days ‘ART AS AN IDEA’ has dominate the style of modern arts. It has become the main concern whenever artist creating their artwork, because in the modern world today, the public wants to buy the ‘IDEA’ not only the artwork. The artwork can be fancy as it can be, but the ‘IDEA’ to create it that counts. It is the important topic in the modern art movement at this very moment. It was a privilege or specialty that the artists have compared to the ordinary people. And how certain it is when the ready-made objects can be purely conceptual and the artist can approaches the mind of the spectators to admire and approach the artwork with their own perception and observation. By my understanding, if we want to break all the rules of the artistic tradion, just follow Duchamp reasoned were you have to begin by discarding its fundamental value: beauty and artisanship. This has brought out that the importance of the ‘IDEA’ in the modern society, not the artwork. It shown how an artist do not have to follow the foot step of discipline that been follow for decade but artist them self that make works of art that not ‘arts’ to arts.

[i] (2002) Macmillan English Dictionary, Macmillan Publishers Limited. Pg 706
[ii] Harold Rosenberg (1972), The De-definition of Art, Action Art to Pop to Earthworks, Horizon Press New York. Pg 55
[iii] Harold Rosenberg (1972), The De-definition of Art, Action Art to Pop to Earthworks, Horizon Press New York. Pg 12
[iv] Harold Rosenberg (1972), The De-definition of Art, Action Art to Pop to Earthworks, Horizon Press New York. Pg 13
[v] Herschel B. Chipp (1968), Theories of Modern Art, A source Book by Artist and Critics, University of California Press. Pg 4
[vi] (1981) British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data, Looking at Art, Kingfisher Books Limited. Pg 144
[vii] Andrew Stafford, Making sense of Marcel Duchamp,
[viii] Herschel B. Chipp (1968), Theories of Modern Art, A source Book by Artist and Critics, University of California Press. Pg 8
[ix] (2001), Tate,
[x] Dr. Andreas C. Papadakes, New York New Art, St. Martin’s Press. Pg 45

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