Content

DEFINITION

The message conveyed by a work of art ??? its subject matter and whatever the artist hopes to convey by that subject matter, it should not be confused with context (the work???s environment) or form (the physical characteristics of a work). Source: Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"<br><br> As opposed to subject matter, content is the "meaning" of the artwork, e.g., in Moby Dick, the subject matter is a man versus a whale; the content is a complex system of symbols, metaphors, etc. describing man&#39;s existence and nature.<br><br>What a work of art is about; its subject matter. Content should not be confused with form (a work&#39;s physical characteristics) or context (a work&#39;s environment ? time, place, audience, etc.), although each of these effect each other, and a work&#39;s total significance. On the other hand, some feel that content is the meaning of a work beyond its subject matter ? denotations ? that it consists also of its connotations, levels of meaning which are not obviously apparent. Content has three levels of complexity. The first includes literal iconography; straightforward subjects and imagery, describable facts, actions, and/or poses. The second includes the basic genres, figurative meanings like those afforded by conventional signs and symbols, basic tropes, and/or performance qualities. The third represents the effect on the subject of form and context.(pr. KAHN-tent)Quote about content: "Content is that which a work betrays but does not parade." Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts, 1903. Related link: The Russian emigrant conceptual artist team Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid are responsible for the projects they titled "The Most Wanted paintings" and "The Least Wanted paintings", reflect the artists&#39; interpretation of a professional market research survey about aesthetic preferences and taste in painting. Intending to discover what a true "people&#39;s art" would look like, the artists, with the support of the Nation Institute, hired Marttila & Kiley, Inc. to conduct the first poll. In 1994, they began the process which resulted in America&#39;s Most Wanted and America&#39;s Least Wanted paintings, which were first exhibited under the title "People&#39;s Choice." Their research resulted in data on the content peoples of numerous countries prefer to see in paintings. See conceptual art. Also see allegory, interesting, and narrative art.

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