Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

There art, which are conceiving ideas, executing ideas,

There
really is no such thing as art. This is what Gombrich E.H said at the opening
of his book, The Story of Art. It
seems to be true in that there is no universal definition of art around the
world. The concept of art, including notions of beauty, has
reflected and belonged to the era and culture from which it is spawned. Most
art historians and sociologists might have different definitions of art. One in
particular, Howard Becker (1982) illustrates art as collective activities,
which means that numerous individuals are involved in producing artworks, even in the
visual arts sector. People generally believe that it is only the artist who
produces visual arts such as paintings, sculptures, and prints. It is, however,
a wrong notion that the public has these days. A
network of people, whose cooperative
activity organised via their joint knowledge of the
conventional means of doing things,
produces the kind of artworks that the art world is known for (Becker, 1982; x,
cited Alexander). In Becker’s book, there are two key ideas: the art world is a system of
cooperating people; there are some conventions that artists and support personnel have
utilised. He believes that two to three phases exist from producing to
distributing the works of art, which are conceiving ideas, executing ideas, and
distributing artworks. Generally, he explains these stages with the term, ‘division of labour’. He divides people into two categories:
core and support personnel. In this context, core personnel are the artists themselves, and
support personnel indicates a group of people involved in the process of creating the
works of art. Also, there are several conventions where artists produce the art and support
personnel help the artists. It could be aesthetic conventions and production conventions, such as distribution
channels, or materials.

In this essay, the process of creating
works of art will be analysed based on Becker’s theory. Becker’s
ideas could be applied to the entire art world, including not only visual arts,
but also literature, performances, and music. However, fine art, notably
paintings, will be dealt with in the essay. As Becker divides into three
phases, the essay will also be split into three sections: production,
execution, and distribution. All stages will include their own conventions, and
the conventions will be a chief term to deploy the argument. There are numerous
factors influencing painters when they create an artwork. In the production and execution phases,
they heavily rely on materials as
well as people who work in the art market and can give aesthetic advice on
their works. “Specifically, those could be related to
materials, such as canvas, paint and brushes, or to professionals with
expertise in the art and business, such as “dealers,
collectors, patrons, critics, aestheticians for the rationale for what they do,
and advantageous tax law” (Becker, 1982). In addition, it could be audiences
who appreciate works of art and respond to them emotionally, and other artists
who follow the previous trends
or make new kinds of art. In the first part of the essay, the preparation of
artworks will be explained. This is about the materials that should be prepared
before artists
can begin painting. The relationships between artists and patrons,
and artists and material suppliers will be focused on with the specific example
of the
paintings in Middle Age. Then, what could happen during the creating artworks will
be illustrated. During the process, the chief issue is the conflicts between
artists and support personnel when they decide what conventions they will
follow. Lastly, possible distribution channels will be explained with the
conventions that artists and support personnel have made. The essay will
conclude with a brief summary of the main contents and limitations of Becker’s
theory.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

It is
a common belief among people that only the artist will be the subject planning
and organising works of art, but some sociologists deny this statement,
insisting people should not ignore the omitted, unseen process of
preparing the artist’s
materials. Artists need materials to produce a piece, and they need personnel
to support them. They can choose the materials and personnel out of the pool
that is available to them in the art world they work in (Becker, 1974).
Painters have various options when drawing and painting a piece Their drawing
materials could be a pen, a pencil, or it could be even a conte. When it comes
to oriental painting, the ink stick, a traditional material for drawing lines
or painting on hangi, the Korean paper, will be needed. One Korean artist,
Minjoo Kim, typically uses ink sticks on janggi, which is the paper made from
paper mulberry, a tree that is only found in Asia. In her case, the way to make the
ink sticks and paper materials should
be remained until nowadays. Examples of objects that appear in her works are
traditional Korean mansions and plants that were drawn centuries ago. This
is a result of the choice the artist made from the pool of material suppliers.
A similar issue has also existed since the Middle Ages. At that time, when
painters could not draw what they wanted, they had to paint with what they ordered
from the Vatican. They would use extravagant materials such as gold and
pigments, which people could not acquire easily because the high price of the
materials was the only means of expressing the sanctity of God. The manufacture
of such items was
frequently so technical a specialty that the artists who used them could not
produce themselves.
This situation introduced again recently
with the development of technology and the discovery of new materials. For
example, the 3D printer is a new technology recently introduced to the art world, and
it allows artists to create unique artworks with unfamiliar materials.
Technicians as support personnel should show their abilities and prove
whether they are appropriate person who can help the artists to make a work of art
by following
artist’s direction. Support personnel should also be ready to
communicate with the artist and understand clearly what he or she wants to
create,
even if the artist does not understand technical terms due to a lack of technical
background
knowledge.

Another factor involved in the process
is the recruiting and training of artists (Wolff, 1981). This could be ignored
sometimes as most artists have to be trained and recruited by art projects.
During the production of works, the educational system engages in “who
becomes an artist, how they become an artist, how they are then able to
practice their art, and how they can ensure that their work is produced,
performed, and made available to a public” (Wolff, 1981). These educational
processes happen in art schools, where another type of support personnel exists
such as advisers and professors. According to the article from Critical Art Ensemble in 1998, social and
aesthetic values encoded in the being of gifted individuals (rather than
emerging from a process of becoming shared by group members) are cultivated
early in cultural education. If one wants to become an “artist”, there is
a bounty of educational opportunities—everything from matchbook correspondence
schools to elite art academies. Lyon (1974, cited
Becker, 1974) has suggested the idea of a pool of resources as a way of
thinking about these processes of producing art. If people who work in a
particular medium need paints, instruments, or photographic paper, they will
find, more or less available, a pool of such materials or people from which
they can choose what they want. Cooperative links with the people who furnish
resources, both material and human, are a characteristic feature of any art
world. Manufacturers and distributors of materials, and the personnel in talent
pools, do not act simply to satisfy the requirements of artists. This point
will be connected to the next section: the conventions in the art world.

Artists
will experience plenty of conflicts with support personnel during the creation
of artworks. The first conflict they may face is aesthetic conflict occurring
between support personnel (Becker 1974). Artists sometimes produce artworks at the request of
collectors or galleries. Those are the individuals or organisations that are involved in the production of artworks to the extent that they can
affect the outcome. Painters sometimes create paintings to satisfy their
clients or exhibit their works in an exhibition. The first situation is not
common, but it can happen when patrons support artists, making the artists
paint what they themselves want to obtain. If artists are recruited in a group
exhibition, they will produce works associated with the topic which has been
set by the galleries and art fairs. Artists sometimes collaborate with each
other, but it is rarely seen in the art world. Gallerists could also engage in
the decision-making process. It happens when artists often create works which
existing spaces cannot accommodate. Artists seldom paint on a huge scale;
however, they used to paint on large canvases as Mark Rothko did in the 1900s.
Producing artworks requires an elaborate mode of cooperation among specialised
people. Communication may cause intensified conflicts. Becker (1974) explains
ways of solving and avoiding disputes with conventions that core and support
personnel have used.

People who cooperate to produce a work of art usually do not
decide things afresh (Becker, 1982). Instead, they rely on earlier agreements which
has become part of the conventional way of doing things in art. That is,
conventions enable people in the art world to run on a wheel with less
conflicts. For example, if a painter decided to produce a painting by using 3D
printers, he or she has to understand the fundamentals of the technology and
seek the ways of applying decent techniques to the means of drawing. In fact,
Jung Seung, an artist who attempted using 3D printers, experienced trouble
producing artworks the first time because he had to understand the features of
the technology and consider the appropriate ways to show his ideas through
using it. Although 3D printers are not a method for painting, they might be the
finest example of new technology being introduced into the art world. Also,
conventions can reduce the production time. If artists use iconography, which
means a symbol or an image in an artwork, they can save time considering how to
signify a something as symbolic. This also goes for the audience. Without
iconography, audiences might need a lot of time to see and read the painting.
Conventions dictate the materials to be used as well as the abstractions to be
used to convey particular ideas or experiences, such as when painters use the
laws of perspective to convey the illusion of three dimensions. Conventions
suggest the appropriate dimensions of a work, meaning the proper shape of a
panting. Gombrich (1960, cited Becker 1982) argues that the visual conventions used
by artists create the illusion for audiences that they are seeing a realistic
depiction of some aspect of the world. Humanistic scholars have found the
concept of artistic conventions useful in accounting for the artists’ ability to produce
artworks which provoke an emotional response from the audience, under the
condition that the artist and audience share knowledge of and experience the
conventions invoked.

Distribution
is the final stage in order to present a work of art to the public. The first
thing that artists consider is the distribution channel. There are numerous
ways to present their works, therefore artists must choose what channel they
are going to use. After deciding on the distribution channel, they might need
to obtain a critique or statement evaluating their work. This is because
judgements and evaluations of works and schools of art, determining their
subsequent place in literature and art history, are not simply individual and
purely aesthetic decisions, but socially enabled and socially constructed
events (Wolff, 1981). It could be interpreted that when thinking about the
dealer-critics system in Paris around the early 1900s, the Academy was the one
that evaluated paintings and prized artists (Alexander, 2003). Getting a
statement is not a necessity nowadays, but critics still play an important role
in making the artists and artworks famous. Becker (1982) believes that fully
developed art worlds provide distribution systems which integrate artists into
their society’s economy, bringing artworks to the audiences that will
appreciate them and will pay enough so that the work can proceed. These
distribution systems, like other cooperative activities which make up an art
world, can be manned by the artists themselves. More commonly, specialized
intermediaries do the work. The interests of the intermediaries who operate
distribution systems frequently differ from those of the artists whose work
they handle. Since most artists want the advantages of distribution, they work
with an eye to what the system characteristics of their world can handle.
Visual artists frequently establish cooperative galleries, sharing the expenses
and doing much of the gallery’s work in return for the chance to exhibit every
year. When artists support themselves from non-art sources, the distribution
system has minimal influence; when they work directly for a patron, it is
maximized; when they create works for unknown audiences, the influence comes
through the constraints imposed by the intermediaries who operate the more complex
and elaborate distribution system. Art worlds often have more than one
distribution system operating at the same time. Contemporary painting has
elements of a dealer-gallery system coexisting with patronage relationships,
which was true of seventeenth-century Italian painting as well. Distribution
has a crucial effect on reputations. What is not distributed is not known and
thus cannot be well thought of or have historical importance. In fact, it could
be seen that Young British Artist (YBA) is the one group that benefited from
distribution. One of them, Damien Hirst, was financially supported by Charles
Saatchi who let him create artworks. As a result, he could produce unique
artworks, then achieved fame with the artwork. Additionally, many American
artists gain reputations by Peggy Gugenheim’s support. She opened a commercial
gallery in London called Guggenheim Jeune in 1938. She also opened the Art of
This Century Gallery in New York in 1942 and presented artwork collected in
Europe to the United States. She gave the opportunities to many artists such as
Mark Rothko, and William Baziotes who became one of the New York School. Also
she played an important role in the advent of Action Paining by discovering
Jackson Pollock, an unknown artist at the time.

In
conclusion, the development of the network is based on trust. A network of
connections consists of a number of people who know artists and the artworks
well enough
to trust each other. Support personnel are involved in the entire process from preparation
to distribution of the artwork. At the first stage, artists decide what
material they will use in production, and it might cause problems if they
choose materials that cannot be acquired easily or if they do not know how to
use new technology. After they choose the materials, other support personnel can
engage in the process of production. During this process, there might be space
issues where there are not enough spaces to exhibit the work of art. Also, the
patrons or collectors might ask artists to create artworks only for themselves.
This can be called conflicts in aesthetics. Finally, the last phase that
artists must do is to find the distribution channel. This is important because the
reputation of the artwork depends on the place where it is presented. In
addition, the target audience affects the type of art. Every function in an art
world can be taken seriously as art, and everything that even the most
established artist does can become support work for someone else.

There are several points in Becker’s theory which have
limitations, although
his view seems to be valid. In an article and his book, he did not define what
collective actions or collective activity means. This could be open to questions.
In fact, some American sociologists contend it is controversial that people
need to know what forms of behaviour are collective, as Becker mentions art as a
form of collective actions. Furthermore,
with many artworks, it is not at all clear who is the artist and who are the
support people. This is because arts began to amalgamate with science,
resulting in diverse types of arts, such as bio-art. The later point is
acceptable in that Becker’s ideas were introduced several decades
ago, but it shows that his views need to be developed and reestablished.

 

 

x

Hi!
I'm Mack!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out