Mass production and the artist: A hypothesis
4 January 2007 9 Comments
Has mass-production contributed to the woes of artists, the arts and the perception of artists? Has it altered the definition (connotative or denotative) of art and the artist over the last century?
What I’m pondering is that a lack of skilled and passionate craftsmen in the trades potentially proliferates the idea of “artist-as-genius.” A good artist needn’t be a genius, and a genius is not necessarily a good artist.
Handmade objects, ornately and passionately crafted, are hard to find right now. The type of carving on the 100 year old Tryber piano in my living room isn’t done anymore, even on most of the very high-end instruments (or other objects). If such carving were done still today, if such carving and craftsmanship were valued and desired in today’s American culture — in furniture, homes, public structures and spaces — would the public expect more from artists, such as a more humble disposition, taking the appropriate mindset of public servant. Would the unspoken idea that an artist is a genius (albeit a socially inept, disorganized and generally troubled genius) be less prominent?
Our Tryber upright in the background: