Artist or Artifice?

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We’ve been discussing art as a concept as well as “quality” as a way of assessing art. You, my students, have so astutely agreed that originality, creativity, and technical skill are key components in art creation. Thus, consider the following excerpt from the linked article in the Atlantic titled, “Hit Charade” 

“One term remains evasive, however: artist. In the music industry, the performers are called artists, while the people who write the songs remain largely anonymous outside the pages of trade publications. But can a performer be said to have any artistry if, as in the case of Rihanna, her label convenes week-long “writer camps,” attended by dozens of producers and writers (but not necessarily Rihanna), to manufacture her next hit? Where is the artistry when a producer digitally stitches together a vocal track, syllable by syllable, from dozens of takes? Or modifies a bar and calls it a new song?”

Read the rest of the article here:  http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/10/hit-charade/403192/

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/03/26/the-song-machine

The music industry isn’t the only industry guilty of such artistic “outsourcing” …just ask our friend Mr. International! And of course, there is James Patterson:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/james-patterson-doesnt-write-his-books-and-his-newest-readers-dont-read/2016/06/06/88e7d3c0-28c2-11e6-ae4a-3cdd5fe74204_story.html

After reading the above two pieces, consider the following: 

  1. Can Rihanna and other recording artists like her be called an “artist”?
  2. Can James Patterson be called an “author”
  3. Does it matter?
  4. what issues are at stake in regard to Quality?
  5. Does the above cause you to widen or narrow your definition of an artist?

Oh you fancy huh?

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Read the study below by researchers at University College (London) regarding MRI scans in response to viewing art:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/8500012/Brain-scans-reveal-the-power-of-art.html

After reading, consider the following: 

  1. Does this make art more worthwhile as a pursuit in your mind?
  2. Does this legitimize art as a human endeavor?
  3. What does this say about human evolution?