Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 08:36:09 AM EST
Rdf's recent diaries Who profits from art?, The slow work movement and Adventures with Slow Work set me off on a particular train of thinking.
Rdf suggests, for instance, that an artist of a work that is "unique, such as a painting or sculpture" should receive part of the profits made on resale of their work. It's an interesting issue that I've no right to hijack, so please discuss that in his diary! However, thanks to Sven for this link to the obituary of furniture designer Sam Maloof, a maker of unique and beautiful objects:
How justified is the apparent distinction we make between art and design? If a painter or sculptor (or their descendants) deserves an interest in the future value of his/her work, does Sam Maloof? If something is functional, does it cease to be art?
So, I started looking at the not-exactly-art in my own home:
At one end of the spectrum, we have this jug. It's the work of the ceramic artist Deborah Halpern, best known (to me) for her public art in Melbourne.
It's signed, and I bought it from an art gallery. A more abstract sculpture was available, but I liked this. Does the fact it's a jug make a difference as to whether or not it's art?
A handpainted jug where the value of the object lies in the name of the designer, Clarice Cliff, not the near-anonymous painters of her studio.
I passed over many pieces of Clarice Cliff in jumble sales as a child. At the time, few people liked it, but sought-after pieces now fetch incredibly high prices at auction. Sadly, mine is not one of them ;) Is Clarice Cliff an artist? Were the studio painters? Is this jug a piece of art?
Something further along the line to being wholly mass-produced. A 1950's jug, (Crown Devon Stockholm) decorated partly by transfer, and partly by hand painting. But it's a highly designed object, a distinct step beyond putting a picture on an existing template. And it pours pretty well, too.
Now, well to the other end of the spectrum: TG Green Cornishware. Mass produced, by a distinctive lathing process that leaves the blue glaze proud on the surface of the object, it's still made today, and goes through a spike in popularity every time blue-and-white is in kitchen fashion. Original 1920's pieces are collected and expensive. Second hand versions from the 1970's (like mine) cost less than new.
So, in your view, where does design end and art begin?