moca museum

January 27, 2015
Blog 07

COMMENTS RECEIVED

Computer Art and the "Not Really Art" Stigma

Fred Rowley

Shouldn't we shout three cheers for the term "Computer Art"? To me, "Computer Art" is the satisfactory moniker. It clearly and precisely indicates art from a computer. That is all we really need to say about the category where we park our digital work.

However, it is perfectly clear that some potential clients and boosters of artists would prefer to steer clear of "computer art". Perhaps they support another paradigm, or maybe they are put-off by the obscure concepts and methods which we computer artists embrace. Perhaps our work would be better expressed in mystical and evasive terms. Perhaps too, it would be appropriate to leave an admiring potential customer with his own suspicion that our work has been surreptitiously manipulated and even faked by a programmed machine lacking all human qualities, operating from a dark cellar somewhere in Brooklyn.

To many art-savvy patrons, a "machine-made" label certainly indicates work of a lesser ilk than a handmade labor of art rendered in a conventional medium by a "real" artist dressed in a paint-dribbled smock, flittering amongst rows of unfinished canvases, then prancing into a brightly lit, sunny garden-studio. Pallets covered with sticky oils and soiled berets strewn about the place. A romantic setting conducive to serious artistic profundity, seductive bargaining and of course, with mint juleps served up by the fireplace.

We want to sell our art, too. Does a skeptical or prejudiced assessment truly hurt computer digital art prices and sales? Certainly, but with only one customer at a time.

False generalities can affect all of us computer artists. The "Not Really Art" Stigma suggests that computer artists themselves may be substandard. I personally might cede that some of us may be afflicted with rare limitations of smile or frown, perhaps even curly hair. Some of us may even hiccup. A Not Really an Artist handle doesn't fit on us. Through the computer we all have been able to artistically express ourselves, often magically if not beautifully. Isn't there something here to applaud, to envy and to appreciate?

The validity fuss, in my opinion is an already-decided-contest reminding me of an argument that raged years ago- a war between the upstart digital calculator and the long-admired, but much over-loved slide rule.

Slide rules, which were admittedly handsome computing devices, required a great deal of skill to operate: manual dexterity, precision eyesight, patience, a degree of guessing and some luck too. Nerves of steel, some would say and "talent" too were needed to operate this essentially analog computer. And many engineering students were actually rated by their slide ruling skills in tests conducted which were akin to auditioning for the lead pianist's position at the National Symphony Orchestra.

But the hand-held calculators rapidly vanquished the slide rule. Simple, smaller, replete with keys to type in data, cheap too, and because they directly computed an un-fudged optimized decimal number through digital means, not manual means, the calculators persevered over those beautifully crafted and wonderful slide rules.

Did the untimely death of the slide rule, as a few skeptical detractors had predicted, annihilate the logarithm, or destroy the art of architecture, or fatally wound the art of engineering?

When I started out long ago as an enthusiastic photographer still in my teens, hardly any authority was willing to accept Photography or Cinematography into the Great Circle of the Arts. Those electro-mechanical-chemical disciplines were then considered crafts and trades for producing manufactured images. Never! it was implied: would they ever be accepted as art.

Time has proven the Not Really Art Concept to be fatally flawed. But a similar, begrudging acceptance has almost certainly affected computer art. As with photography, cinematography, and computer music, I think all of our critics will soon need, for sake of their own reputations, to embrace computer art as the legitimate work of devoted artists, not as the conspiratorial work of machines and submen..but as true Art. Any decision otherwise will soon become plainly unsupportable.

And I strongly suggest: Three Cheers for Computer Art!

Fred Rowley is a former photographer, filmmaker, database applications developer and webmaster. He says, "In hopes of someday becoming a real computer artist, he, together with his computers, frequently probe the limits of reason."

Fred's website can be found at www.pomonaplace.com

He can be reached at fred@pomonaplace.com

IMAGES RECEIVED

by Raya Grinberg

Raya Grinberg's art at MOCA

Urban Landscape

Flight

End of Summer

Celebration

Chain

DON WELCOMES YOUR ART
Send up to five images (not over 300 KB each) by email attachment to:
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DONNIE 2015 IS CLOSED TO NEW ENTRIES

The Donnie is the Web's most prestigious and influential digital art exhibit and contest.

CLICK TO VIEW ALL 98 IMAGES ENTERED

MUSEUMS, COMMUNITIES, GALLERIES

Digital Art Gallery Online
Digital gallery of best pictures and photos from portfolios of digital artists.

Digital Art Served
Top work in categories such as computer graphics, matte painting, digital painting and photo manipulation.

Soho Arthouse (Soho Gallery For Digital Art)
Event space, gallery, tech, film screening room, product launches, pop-up, fashion week, charity art shows in NYC.

DAM - Digital Art Museum
Museum and gallery

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art is a contemporary gallery in downtown LA dedicated to the propagation of all forms of digital art, new media, digital video.

DeviantART
Community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose. Art prints.

Renderosity
Almost entirely 3D rendered art from such programs as 3DS Max, Maya, Lightwave and others.

Museum of Computer Art
Nonprofit US educational corporation chartered by the NYS Department of Education.

Digital Art Online
Online digital art exhibition space. Includes thematic exhibitions.

Museum of Digital Fine Arts
Spotlighting the most brilliant new artists of the modern age.

Digital Arts: California
Showcase of digital art both physical (in gallery) and virtual (online).

IMAGES RECEIVED

by Werner Hornung

Werner Hornung is a MOCA Grandmaster.

Werner Hornung's art at MOCA

Behemoth

Brainstorming

Escape with Style

Some Energy Will Never Be Lost

The Island of Oneself

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