Among our favorite topics at The Muse Dialogue is that great question at the center of our world: What is art? Into the fray enters Andrea Romero. Romero is struggling with the tension of knowing that art exists but being unable to define it. Art is not simply whatever we want it to be or whatever we say it is — for if that were the case, then the word would be irrelevant entirely. Yet as soon as we use the word, consensus seems perhaps a distant hope. Romero writes, “It would be too easy to reconcile the conflict by simply accepting that certain concepts are ineffable and that language is just a placeholder. Art exists – I will never debate that, but it is rather frustrating to be unable to define something I value so deeply.”
Join her as she explores this ever compelling topic, as she contemplates what artists intend in their work and what they and we have to say about them in her essay “Validating the Artist’s Intent Is Not Validating the Artist’s Word” (click here to read full article).
Alexander McQueen, Purple Flowers -- combining inspiration from nature, design, architecture, and fashion.
Famed French couturier Paul Poiret once said, “I have always liked painters. It seems to me that we are in the same trade and that they are my colleagues.” Yet fashion has had to struggle to gain that “collegiality” among the arts, being also seen as “the bastard child of capitalism and female vanity,” according to Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Elyssa Jechow contemplates the question of the claim of fashion as an art form, and its challenges, in our newest article from The Muse Dialogue: “Is Fashion Art?“
Zandra Rhodes stands in front of costumes for English National Opera’s production of Aida. Photo Credit: London Evening Standard
TMD opens our next issue on Fashion and Costume Design with Alexandra Holness’ article “Fashion in the Arts: A Powerful Collaboration of Creative Minds.” This article opens the series by asking about the role of fashion and costume in collaborative art forms. The performing arts of theater, opera, and ballet involve more artistry than just acting, singing and dancing. Part of the collaborative process includes the visual spectacle of costume. The role of fashion is so significant that in curtain calls after a recent performance by the Pittsburgh Opera, an interesting thing happened. Read more and find out just what that was.
We will be releasing articles throughout the week, and you can find them all in Vol. 1, No. 5: Fashion and Costume Design.
Elyssa Jechow has added an update to our most recent issue, Street Art and Public Art:
“Graffiti is oft used not just to record, but also to make a statement. There is some unfortunate vandalism, to be sure. Yet there is also what we call street art, public art, guerrilla art. Street art is technically definable, usually referring to unsanctioned art that is produced in public spaces, but since that definition does not really speak to medium, genre, or materials, then we realize that street art is boundless in its possible range.”
Click here for her discussion of graffiti and its social function today.
Katz Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh, with sculpture by Louise Bourgeois (Photo: The Muse Dialogue)
The worlds of public art and street art are complicated, enmeshed in social mores of the age and political debate, and all this discussion before we even get to the question of aesthetic judgment. Street art has aroused controversy, and that seems part of its purpose. Public art differs at least in that it has the permission of those who place it in the public view, but it too has awakened its share of contentiousness. Then we must consider the history of art that has been preserved for the benefit of the public. The collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. is “public art” in its own way for it belongs to all of us. No small matter, these questions, and good ones for our contemplation. TMD takes this opportunity to look at some of the art in our public places in Vol. 1, No. 4 Street Art and Public Art.
The Harris Theater, owned by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and programmed primarily by Pittsburgh Filmmakers, is home to numerous local film festival screenings. (Photo: The Muse Dialogue)
The Muse Dialogues brings in the New Year with Vol. 1, No. 3: Film Festivals. This issue contains thoughts on the growing role of film festivals and their significance in the art of the moving image. And in case you were wondering what was the first film festival, the first US film festival, Or if you have asked what is SXSW and how many people were there last year, we have that covered here as well. For a table of contents, and article snapshots, click on the link above or the image at right — Pittsburgh’s own Harris Theater.
As always, we look forward to your thoughts and welcome contributions on the subject. Enjoy!
Anna Pavlova as The Dying Swan (Photo: Public Domain)
Michelle Van Doeren, a teaching artist at Pittsburgh’s School for Creative and Performing Arts, makes an argument for why our public education system needs to support arts education. This piece comes as an update to our issue, Vol. 1, No. 1: Arts, Families and Children.