craft is what releases art

Today I’m quoting Richard Gilbert, who has written an excellent text called:


you should read it all  – all of you!

Here are a few samples to give you an idea what it’s all about:

  • Craft is what releases art
  • Art announces itself in form
  • While talent is common [sic!], the higher levels of craft are not, so craft is our appropriate focus

I was struck by a new insight: putting talent in center makes life into a pure chance scenario, an everything is written in the stars kind of reality, focusing on craft is empowering!

6 Comments Add yours

    1. Sigrun says:

      All thanks to Mr Gilbert

  1. Harold Rhenisch says:

    It might be useful in this context to think of art as being the result of integrating craft into one’s bodily and perceptual space, rather than a product outside of it. The first is the pre-Enlightenment version, based on handwork; the second is the Enlightenment version, predicated on romantic individuality, which, nonetheless, uses the pre-Enlightenment term. The statement “craft is what releases art” is solidly in the Enlightenment camp, in that it considers ‘art’ to be a state (ie the pre-Enlightenment version) which is blocked until craft can release it (like water behind a dam after the sluice gate is lifted), with the body and consciousness being separate from it (and the mind doing the unblocking). The pre-Enlightenment version would have the body united with craft as the art (no intellect required). The ultimate Enlightenment version is deconstruction, which is all about the mind reducing everything to mind-work. What, then, would post-Enlightenment be (which seems to be what you are searching for)? Not more mind. Not the mind directing body-work. Not the body without mind, as in the new folk art (art as colour ) school (let’s call that The San Francisco School, or maybe the West Coast School, so we could include Chihuly in Seattle), getting at the biological roots of suggestivity, ie working with genetically-determined biological and cognitive receptors for colour, form, and so on, a kind of deep psychology, definitely post-intellect and post-body, in that the body is dissolved into genetic coding, and a kind of planet-wide body extending into deep time and able to extend into machines. That, however, might be the art of the previous decade, and what is on the horizon is social or contextual, in a way past Duchamp. It might be more of what we see in Burtynsky. Very different from Bernhard Becher, for example, although the subject matter is not unrelated. It might be the successor to what we currently see as process-based or performance-based or installation-based work. Right now, they need a gallery space or some kind of framing … but do they? Manipulating a car in the high-speed mathematical curves and geometry of the Autobahn between Berlin and Cologne … is that not post-Enlightenment art? It’s certainly part of the culture. Where does this energy-art exist within the realm labelled ‘art’? That would be a great place to look. Cheers, Harold

    1. Sigrun says:

      overwhelmed – thank you!

  2. This idea–that craft makes up the significant portion of art (though craft alone is not art)–is one I am doggedly trying to convey to the students in my poetry survey class. It’s harder to explain than it seems it should be. I am going to read the text you’ve linked to see if I can glean any better ideas from it than what I’m doing so far. (Wish me luck!)

    1. Sigrun says:

      Absolutely! I wish you the best of luck!!!
      As mentioned, I find the craft element very encouraging, because – if one accept this idea – becoming a better artisan is something we all can achieve, hard work is all that is needed -. But maybe one has to be rather mature to find relief in such an idea?

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