Art world

DEFINITION

A sphere of activity or a sub-culture maintained by people whose identity is drawn in some way to or from art.When spoken of as the artworld, this art sub-culture is the contemporary network of art specialists who are most influential. This community is also called the "mainstream art world." When artworld is preceded by "an," as when reference is made to an artworld, the art sub-culture is a group of people who loosely or formally associate with each other because they are familiar with and agree with some similar art values and ideas. They may engage in, or are familiar with, some of the same art activities.Around the world and through the ages there have been many diverse artworlds. An artworld might be as large as the European artworld, or the twentieth century artworld. Examples of smaller artworlds are: the Italian Renaissance artworld, the sixteenth century Incan artworld, the court artworld of Sung Dynasty China, the ceremonial artworld of the Kuba people of West Africa, the contemporary gallery artworld in Los Angeles, and the artworld of graphic design. The shared information, values, and activities that define these artworlds vary tremendously. Values and criteria upheld in one artworld may not be prized in another. Investigating an unfamiliar artworld opens up avenues for gaining insights into unfamiliar, otherwise seemingly incomprehensible, or not-easily-appreciated artworks made within that unfamiliar artworld.Examples of more narrowly focused artworlds: the current ice-sculpting artworld, the artworld of Romanian art conservators, or the traditional pottery-making artworld of Pacific islanders.Although "art world" is the more universally recognized form of this term, "artworld" is frequently employed by artworld insiders.Quote: "... to see something as art requires... an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art; an artworld." Arthur C. Danto (American, 1924-) art critic. "The Art World," Journal of Philosophy, 61 (19), 1964, 571-584. Later Danto said participation in an artworld requires, "a knowledge of what other works the given work fits with, a knowledge of what other works make a given work possible." Arthur C. Danto. After the End of Art: Contemporary art and the pale of history , Princeton, NJ, Princeton U Press, 1997, 165. "All artistic work, like all human activity, involves the joint activity of a number, often a large number, of people. Through their cooperation, the art work we eventually see or hear comes to be and continues to be. The work always shows signs of that cooperation. The forms of cooperation may be ephemeral, but often become more or less routine, producing patterns of collective activity we can call an art world. ... Art worlds do not have boundaries around them, so that we can say that these people belong to a particular art world while those people do not. I am not concerned with drawing a line separating an art world from other parts of a society. Instead, we look for groups of people who cooperate to produce things that they, at least, call art; having found them, we look for other people who are also necessary for that production, gradually building up as complete a picture as we can of the entire cooperating network that radiates out from the work in question. The world exists in the cooperative activity of those people, not as a structure or organization, and we use words like those only as shorthand for the notion of networks of people cooperating." Howard S. Becker (American, 1928-) social theorist. Art Worlds, 1982, Berkeley, CA, U of California Press. "Understanding artworlds can help teachers and students evaluate the adequacy of their definitions of art." Mary Erickson (American, 1945-) art educator. "Artworlds: Avenues for Cross-Cultural Understanding," International Journal of Arts Education, 2002, 2 (2), 43-60.Also see art careers, art history, artists' organizations, context, culture, elitism, ethnocentrism, knowledge, motivation, outsiders, and theory.

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